(Video livestreaming) 9 crucial steps to improve your stream quality

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The quality of your livestream and video podcasts matter so it can be frustrating when the quality is not there. But there are ways to improve stream quality. Let’s dive into my checklist of making sure you have the best possible stream quality.

1. Reliable internet

I know, I know, it’s a struggle. But reliable internet on everyone’s end helps. I try to remember to restart my internet and sometimes even my computer before livestreams just as a proactive measure to make sure it’s all as fresh as it could be.

Read next: [Tips] How to fix Wi-Fi issues

2. Close other programs

Most days, I have a ton of tabs and programs open on my three monitors. I do use them during the day certainly, but many of those tabs and programs are not necessary during my livestream. I don’t send Slack messages or emails during a livestream. So those programs can be closed easily.

In reality, I just need Restream open in one tab, a second tab with notes, maybe the guest’s LinkedIn profile and their book if they have one.

3. Proper lighting

Proper lighting does make a difference. Sit with a window in front or slightly to the side of you to take advantage of natural lighting during the day. A ring light and other lighting also help.

This is my setup, for example.

lighting setup for improved stream quality

4. Set the best incoming stream quality in your streaming software

It’s impossible to publish a full high-definition stream if the incoming stream from the host and guest are at lower resolutions. For example, in Restream, guests, and hosts can set their video quality. Many livestreaming programs have similar functions.

Simply ask each guest to check their settings (usually a settings cog or wheel) and then make sure their video input is set to the highest level. Here’s how that looks in Restream.

stream quality for guests in restream

Note, that if the host changes the outbound stream quality to a higher setting you may have to do this again once in the studio. You can do that by clicking on the setting wheel again.

5. Set the best outgoing stream quality

Before going live, the host needs to set the outbound stream quality as well. In Restream, that’s done in settings as well and looks like this.

stream quality outbound

I usually just stream at the highest level, but if you go too high, some networks might not take the stream. For example, Switcher Studio has an even higher experiential feature, which looks great, but won’t work on Amazon Live, for example, just like full high definition won’t. But, I would recommend streaming at the highest level possible, and that all starts with the signal the guest and hosts are sending into the event.

Amazon Live is one of the few networks that simply declines the stream. Other social media networks just stream it at the quality that they allow even if you send them a higher quality. I still would recommend sending them the higher stream quality, however.

6. Good audio

Good audio matters and that includes having the same levels for your guest and yourself. I shared some tips on that in this article, and I shared here which microphones work well.

Read next: How to install sound panels to make your podcast sound great

7. Content quality

And, of course, these are just the technical tips to improve your stream quality. Let’s not forget that you also have to create a show worth watching from a content perspective.

Make it interesting, have a great conversation, and show your human side.

Livestream expert Ross Brand says it might be worthwhile to consider different segments even. Each segment covers a specific topic sub-area of the overall topic, for example.

8. Engage with commenters

Ross also said that once you have people commenting, it’s important to engage with those commenters. Acknowledge them, say “hi,” read the question and answer it when there’s a question.

9. Update your background

Some people say it’s authentic to see whatever it is that’s naturally behind you. I don’t have a huge problem with that but just be aware if that background represents how you want to be seen on the stream. I prefer to use a physical backdrop on my livestreams. In some streaming softwares, you can also use a virtual background.

We don’t have to overthink our livestreams, but these tips can help you stand out from the crowd – especially as more people and companies start doing their own livestreams.

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