In these strange times I thought I would document Hands Up for Trad’s ventures into Live Streaming. If anyone would like to discuss anything please contact us.
When Covid-19 kicked off and everyone was making music videos and zooming left, right and centre we decided to hold back a bit and see what the opportunities were. It seemed clear to us that were great opportunities to engage with the public with live streaming. People can ask questions from all over the world and generally feel part of something by getting shoutouts from the host of shows.
I looked at various streaming apps including OBS (Open Broadcasting Software), Be.Live and eventually settled on Ecamm Live after watching Facebook Ads guru Jon Loomer recommend it. I thought about using OBS seriously (It’s free!) but it wouldn’t let me schedule a Facebook Live post and trying to make the stream look good wasn’t as easy as you think. Ecamm Live lets you schedule posts on Facebook and YouTube. I like being able to schedule as the software sets up a post on the platform and people can choose to get a notification when you are live. (Ecamm Live is a Mac only app)
Ecamm instantly makes your stream look good. It brings in Skype calls to your broadcast using NDI software which is native in Skype and Zoom enabling you to conduct interviews easily which look good on screen. OBS and the other platforms do this as well but Ecamm seemed to look better and just works.
We made the decision to start a live stream chat show for Scottish traditional music where we invite bands and solo artists onto the show via Skype and chat and show music videos to the watching audience. I have learnt a lot! My CPU was going mental at the start and I tested lots of ways to reduce and decrease the stress involved and things are much better now (thankfully!).
I bought a Logitech HD webcam (I use my MacBook Pro in clamshell with an external monitor) and already owned a Blue Yeti USB mic so the visuals and audio that I broadcast look and sound good. If you are thinking of purchasing a webcam and mic I would recommend the Logitech however with Ecamm you can easily use a DSLR camera that looks great. Many cameras will let you use them with the USB out of the camera however you may need to get an encoder to use your camera with streaming software. The Blue Yeti can be quite expensive but is very good. I’ve also heard great sound coming from a headset and even Apple AirPods.
Now I’ve got the software sorted I write a basic script, invite the guests to come on 30 minutes before we go live so I can set up different scenes for different guests. I also go live 5 minutes before the broadcast time as everyone who is interested in watching gets a notification and they catch the start of the show. I ask everyone on the show to share the broadcast – the more viewers the better! Live has really increased our engagement on our Hands Up for Trad Facebook page by over 800%. I haven’t been restreaming to YouTube yet as Ecamm Live is about to start it as a native feature and we won’t have to pay for a separate service.
I think there are many opportunities out there for live streaming. This weekend we are starting our first Hands Up for Trad Music Club with two acts Mike Vass and Jenn Butterworth performing live from their respective households. I’m using a website called Cleanfeed.net that lets us bring in high quality audio and then sync it up to video. We are showing the concert on YouTube only to ticket buyers and it won’t be available afterwards. We are selling a range of tickets – one ticket type allows the buyer to also get a recording of the gig. After this we plan to remotely produce spoken word interviews between two musicians in speaking in English with other shows coming out in Scots and Gaelic. We are also looking at live music festivals.
If anyone would like to chat about how you can stream your own events please contact us.