Podcasting and streaming can be a viable side income especially if you love playing games or if you have certain hobbies that other people might be interested to watch you engage in it. Streaming while playing games and talking to viewers has proven to be quite popular – not everyone wants to play a game to blow off steam, some are happy to watch you play. Famous Youtuber PewDiePie clinched his #1 rank on YouTube just by playing a lot of games and streaming his outrageous reactions.
While making entertaining reactions or interesting gameplay objectives or other content is up to your own creativity, there are other aspects that this article can help you improve. Namely, the quality of your streams.
Starting Out: $0
Starting a stream or podcast can be something that you most likely do not need to spend any money on. The basics are a camera and a microphone, and most teenagers already have an above-average camera and microphone attached to their smartphones. Similarly, most adults already have a laptop or tablet with an above-average camera as well as a microphone. Most people also have a data plan of sorts, or access to free Wi-Fi. To start out, you most likely already have the hardware you need – you just need to find a way to make use of it.
If you have a laptop that does not have a good camera and microphone, your phone should be able to make up for it. IVcam is an app that connects to your PC via USB to give you a webcam and microphone feed, and it is free to use, but you are limited to 720p resolution. You can also have it connected wirelessly through your router but note that there will be a 0.5-1s delay depending on your router signal strength.
If you are streaming on a computer, OBS (Open Broadcaster Software) is probably the best software to use to combine your webcam/audio/game screen feeds into a single screen and have it transmitted directly to your streaming platform, be it facebook live, YouTube or Twitch. The best part is that OBS is free.
Also, if you need music in your videos, be very careful about using copyrighted music. YouTube has a number of royalty free tracks which you can use for free. Alternatively, you can search for ‘No Copyright Sounds’ for tracks which can be used for free.
Entry Level: Under $100
Webcams are arguably less important if you are a gamer and you are just starting out – some gamers like Minecrafter Mumbo Jumbo have done without a webcam for their streams, however it does take some creativity to be able to emote and express yourself using the in-game avatars. Nevertheless, you are almost certainly more relatable if your viewers can see your face and facial expressions. Like Dr Disrespect, this platform also allows you to dress up and adopt an alternative persona for amusement value.
If you already have a 720p webcam, or a relatively modern camera on your phone, you already have a relatively decent setup. We recommend purchasing the permanent PC client (USD 24.95) if you wish to use IVCam because it means that you can connect any phone with the app to your PC. However, if it is likely that you might be streaming from different PCs, then it might be better to purchase the app licence instead through Google Play or iOS store.
For Microphones, a condenser mic with a tight pickup range will enable you to continue streaming even if you have a slightly noisy background (i.e. family members who are moving around the house, or if there is renovation happening across the street). Also, it would capture your voice with very good fidelity. Having an audio mixer is helpful because it can allow you to mute or instantaneously adjust the microphone volume without having to Alt + Tab and fiddle with the PC settings mid-stream.
IVcam app (Paid) – USD 24.95
Condenser Mic – S$29.90
V8 Audio Mixer – S$16.65
Serious Level: $300 and Above
If you are doing pretty well with your streams perhaps it is time to consider reinvesting some of your income into upgrades that make you look and sound better.
A green screen combined with the Chroma Key function in OBS (Open Broadcaster Software) is a very clean and professional way to cut out your background. Preening your background can be difficult and effort intensive, but with a green screen you can always superimpose any background you wish and still have it look very realistic. Other methods of cutting out your background (without green screens) exist, such as webcams with edge detection, but they do not look as clean as a green screen and leave blur artefacts in the image. The edge detection does improve the cutting when combined with a green screen.
Next, most room lights are horrible at making you look good on screen. A ring light or some LED strips are inexpensive ways to improve your lighting situation. Mainly, you need enough light to reduce shadows, but at the same time the lighting should not be too harsh so that parts of your body or face are not overexposed. If you are near a window, using sunlight is great, however since lighting conditions change throughout the day, this may not be the most reliable source of lighting.
Moving on to audio, a condenser microphone may not be the best for gamers. The wireless (or wired) Antlion Mod Mic delivers really good audio quality and it can be installed to fit magnetically to your favourite headsets. This option is great only if you already play games with a headset on. If you typically need to not wear a headset, then a table microphone may be better.
If you are a musician, a professional audio mixer would be best for handling your guitar pickup and microphones. Some sound absorption panels would also be useful to cut out the reverberation from your homemade studio. Unfortunately, if you are a musician and you wish to do music-type content, having to shell out money for decent instrument/vocal microphones is unavoidable. The Audio Technica AT2020 has our recommendation for your home studio.
Finally, an Elgato Streamdeck, is a good way to create customisable buttons to do things like switch between screens or mute/unmute your mic and audio. While you could buy a separate keyboard and paste stickers on it, the streamdeck can be customised such that the buttons have a different function when you are in a different mode or application, and the picture on the button can be automatically changed to reflect things like your microphone mute status.
Green Screen – Under $15 depending on size.
Antlion Mod Mic (Wired) – $89.99
Lighting – $20-50 depending on your needs.
Elgato Streamdeck – $137.99/$219.00/$379.00 (6/15/32 keys)
Having Reliable Internet Connection
Most streamers and podcasters would already have this nailed down, but if you haven’t, reliable internet is paramount. Having your feed cut out halfway on a regular basis is a sure-fire way to lose viewers. If you already have an internet plan for home use, the next weak link for most people is the router. Rather than shelling out upwards of $300 for a good router, the ASUS RT-AC88U is a good top-tier Wi-Fi 5 router that still performs solidly despite the fact that it is using an older connection type. Coupled with the fact that it is selling for around $100 on Carousell makes it an incredibly good purchase if you are trying to stream/podcast on a budget.
Alternatively, a good data plan from TPG/Singtel /Circles Life could be sufficient
It’s Not About The Cost Of Your Livestream Or Podcast Set-Up That Creates Your Show
You do not need to spend a million dollars in this endeavour – you just have to look (and sound) professional. Ultimately, there are many YouTubers and streamers who still produce engaging content without using expensive equipment. It takes very little to get started.
As your viewership increases, it probably pays to invest in better hardware to improve your workflow as well as the look and sound of your streams.
Power your business with Digital Business Banking Solutions
OCBC Velocity helps you view all your accounts details, comes integrated with E-Invoicing and cash management capabilities as well as access to our award-winning trade financing solutions. Use OCBC Velocity, your business in your hand.
Join The DollarsAndSense Business Community
For more content that helps entrepreneurs, freelancers, and self-employed individuals and learn to build better businesses, join the DollarsAndSense Business Community on Facebook.