With everything happening, we are seeing a major uptick in Livestreaming. In March, Facebook has reported a 50% uptick in Livestreaming in March alone. Zoom’s monthly active users hit an all-time high in March with over 200 million users. The pandemic has also skyrocketed the prices of webcams. With popular models like the Logitech C920 that has hovered around 50usd per year, it has now hit the $200usd price point due to supply/demand and backorders. While the world embraces the move to digital events, I think it’s a great time to talk about Livestreaming, webinars & monetizing these methods for the Caribbean.
Over the past month, I too have been diligently doing my homework, researching everything, from the software, equipment needed to run a professional-grade Livestream and also looking at the various ways we can go about monetizing our hard work. Trust, the investment needed to properly do this at a high level, costs a good bit of change. You will need to take a look at your goals for why you are Livestreaming or doing webinars, in order to make a proper decision on how you go about investing in everything needed.
This info is also great for those who are looking to put on live shows as well. If you are a music artiste, poet, comedian and you want to take your shows to the next level, from a quality standpoint and also to finally start charging for your efforts, this article is for you.
There are 3 key areas for actually producing a Livestream or webinar. Those areas are Hardware, Software and webinar platform to monetize.
By the end of reading this, you will understand everything you need to produce a high-quality Livestream, what you will need to do, however, is take a look at all of the options and begin assessing your budget, in order to get the best bang for your buck.
The most critical part of the puzzle is the hardware. We need to start to invest in some equipment, a great webcam is not going to cut it anymore if you are looking to kick things up a notch. We are going beyond just doing Livestreams/webinars for the company Zoom meetings.
We are looking to produce a high-quality show. So let’s break down what we need to up the quality of our streams.
Cameras & Capture Card
As I mentioned earlier, we are going beyond the webcams. If you are looking to produce an event and get the best quality possible, we need to step into the world of using DSLR’s and Mirrorless cameras for our streams.
A few examples of DSLR’s and Mirrorless cameras you can check out to get you started are:
There are a wide variety of cameras you can use. This list comprises of some of the best starter cameras to elevate your quality. Since streaming can last a few hours, you will also need to get a dummy battery that connects directly into your wall, so that it doesn’t cut off on you.
For myself, I purchased the Sony A6100 to get me started. For the dummy battery, I went with the Gonine Ac-Pw20 Power Supply.
The next thing you are going to need is a capture card. This will allow you to plug your DSLR/Mirrorless camera directly into the computer and it will recognize it as one of your “webcams”. There are capture cards that can be installed directly into your PCI slot into your computer or you can purchase a capture card dongle, that connects right into the USB drive on your computer. They both work extremely well. Since I have a Macbook Pro, I cant install a capture into my computer, so I purchased the popular Elgato Camlink 4k capture card.
I encourage everyone to scour Amazon and eBay, in order to find the best deals. You don’t even need to buy brand new, you can search for used devices as well to save yourself some money.
If you decided that you want to start with a webcam to make your video conferences or lives a bit better than the built-in webcams on our computers but still not ready to make the investment of going the route of DSLR, here are some of the best webcams on the market.
Next up, you are probably going to want to get some audio equipment to get better sound for the Livestreams. I won’t go too in-depth here, as everyone’s needs or usage will be different. I would suggest you check out popular USB condenser mics like the Blue Yeti to get started.
If you are looking to go a bit more professional with audio in your streams, then you can look into adding an audio interface and XLR Mic. For my audio interface, I decided to go with the Focusrite Scarlet 2i2 (3rd Gen) and for my mic, I picked up the Audio-Technica ATR-2100x.
If you are reading this, you are most likely ready to go beyond the normal way of going live, which is to just load up your favourite social media platform and hit “Go Live”.
Over the past month, I have been researching and testing broadcasting software that allows us to produce a Livestream or webinar with a variety of elements, to make it more engaging and dynamic. The broadcasting software will allow you to produce the show and then integrate with all of the popular platforms on the market from social media to webinar or event platforms.
That way, when you “Go Live”, you actually have a Livestream that is of much higher quality and allows you to do some pretty crazy things on your live. Some of my favourite features have been using Overlays, adding lower thirds, rolling pre-recorded videos during the lives, inviting guests onto the stream, using the picture in picture while I go through a slide presentation or the guest uses their computer to walk us through a tutorial.
The various broadcasting software also will allow you to have multiple camera sources, you can connect your phones or tablets and also include those screen shares into your live feeds. The list goes on with what you can do. So here are the most popular broadcasting software to produce your lives or webinars:
- Ecamm Live (Mac Only)
- Stream Labs
- Switcher Studio
- Yellow Duck (To Stream From Desktop to Instagram Only)
- Restream (Allows you to broadcast to multiple platforms simultaneously)
I decided on using Ecam Live. Going through all of the tutorials, feature sets, testing with the free trial and checking out their academy, I felt super excited to start trying out Livestreams and in the few that I did, it felt pretty easy to use.
I love the fact that I can bring in multiple cameras into Ecam live and hosting guests is a breeze. Using broadcasting software is like having a TV broadcast truck, controlling everything from graphics to switching, right in the comfort of your home.
So the workflow would be, I use Ecam Live to produce my webinar and then I will use Restream to broadcast to multiple social media platforms. I can also use Ecam Live to broadcast to a Meetings/Webinar application like Zoom, Webinarjam, etc, that way I will have all of the guests in 1 room, making it much easier to manage.
I will advise everybody to take a look at the various applications, read reviews, watch videos and test them out to see which one performs the best way for you, your workflow and your budget.
The beauty of the Webinar & Event platforms is the fact that you will be able to get all of your guests into 1 room and not spread out over a variety of platforms.
Each platform will have its own unique feature set that will allow for crowd participation, which will make for more engagement in your streams.
Pairing these platforms with one of the broadcasting software mentioned above will give you the ability to have all the amazing features that entered into your stream, whilst the webinar/event platforms will essentially house all of your guests.
Some of the top Webinar platforms you can use are:
Now, you are probably thinking…Webinar software gets pretty expensive. Can I use something like the meetings in Zoom to broadcast my webinars too? You can, you just don’t have as much control and features as when you are using Zooms Webinar add-ons. You also don’t get the option to turn on the monetization features, for people to pay for access to your streams if you are not using one of the Webinar platforms.
For large events…think concerts, some of the top software that keeps coming up are:
Again, everyone will need to research each platform and make a decision on what is the best platform to use for what they are trying to achieve.
Since I am just starting out and trying to not overdo it on the monthly fees for the subscriptions, I will be using Ecam Live for my producing my show, Restream when I want to broadcast to multiple social media platforms and Zoom Meeting when I want to have everybody funnelled into 1 room for a more focused and engaged workshop.
Since Covid 19 started and every single in-person event has been cancelled, the globe has hustled to get their events happening online. Now while webinars, Livestreaming and virtual events have been happening globally for years now, it was never something we did here in the Caribbean.
The normal thing for us to do was to have a Facebook or Instagram live (without the use of any desktop software mind you).
We have been slow to jump on the train but now we are seeing more of our artistes holding live mini-concerts and the question that has been plaguing everybody is about monetization.
How can everybody who puts out to produce a concert, stream it, start to make some money on it?
For starters, you will not be able to monetize on Instagram live, so let’s just get that out of the way.
The easiest way for anybody to start monetizing for their Livestreams would be to broadcast to any of the Webinar software listed above and turn on the Payment Access features.
That way everybody has to pay for access to your webinars & concerts.
If you wanted to put up a paywall but the Webinar software is a bit expensive, you can do something like this.
Set up Pay links, if you are in Trinidad, you could use Social Pay, Buzz Pay or Wipay and then when people make their payments, you can either manually send them your Webinar invitation info or you can set up a redirect page that will allow them to register into your Webinar/Event.
For me, the roundabout way that I will be taking will be to use Eventbrite. I will create the Webinar Meeting room, set up the event in Eventbrite, put up the price point, etc and have the webinar Links/Info be sent to them via email once they have made their payment.
I can even add the event into my Website shop as a product in Woocommerce and after the individual has paid, they would receive a link to register themselves for the event and an email with the confirmation of their spot.
Facebook recently announced that they will be helping creatives monetize Livestreams by being able to set up a paywall. However, Facebook’s monetization features have never left the USA, so I don’t expect this feature to be active for users in the Caribbean.
Case in point, Facebook’s current platform to monetize videos called “Facebook In-Stream Ads“, is not available in ANY Caribbean country. This is the most telling sign that this new form of monetization will not be available for us in the Caribbean.
My advice, research the hell out of the Webinar platforms and either pay the additional money for the full integration of payment systems like Paypal or you can learn how to go the roundabout way, as I discussed a bit higher up, using Eventbrite, Pay links or selling access through your websites shop.
You will even have the option of doing the Livestream for Free and then selling access to the replays as soon as it is done. The choice is yours.
Don’t forget you can use Paypal to have the funds deposited into your Visa Debit (JMMB in Trinidad) or Visa Credit Cards, you can also create a free Payoneer account and connect this to Paypal. Payoneer will then deposit the funds to your bank account in any of the Caribbean islands.
I have spent the better part of a month researching all of the information put forth in this article.
I have started my own webinar journey and been practicing on creating my own show. The first 10 webinars I did, was to get practice with the software and now that I have ordered my equipment, I am super excited to now add those into the mix once I receive it.
If you follow me on Instagram (@Keronrose), I offer a lot of my behind the scenes work over there. So as soon as my equipment is in hand, you will get to see first hand of me putting it all together, testing it out and building out my own live show.
I hope this was helpful and gave you some direction on how to go about getting started upping your Livestreaming/Webinar game. I hope that you find success and if you happen to learn some cools things along the way, let me know too. I am a noob at this lol, so every day is a learning day for me.
Want to check out some of my past Livestreams? Here they are (Digital Age Webinar), there was definitely a difference from my very first live to my last. Looking forward to taking this up to another level.