WIL from Streaming Daily for Two weeks
About a month ago I was home alone. Not by myself for the day. Not for the week. For a whole month. My family was in the UK and I had little to do, but program and work. So I started streaming.
I had been watching other developers stream and wanted to try my hand at it. So here's what I learned.
Most people find the hardest part of streaming is the setup. Well, it turns out I was not the exception. One of the most helpful resources I found on stream was Suz Hinton's My Twitch Live Coding Setup.
She walks you through setting up OBS Studio and the hardware she uses. I paid particular attention to how she talks about things instead of the specifics of her setup. For instance, she gives justifications for the different stream overlays she uses. It's a killer article.
My setup looks like this:
First off, you'll have to pardon two things, the infinite mirror, and my dark image. Everyone's asleep!
Notice the Sources on the bottom left. After adding a Scene this is where most of the magic happens. Well, some of it. OBS has a lot of magic.
- Screen Capture: You aren't really streaming if you're not capturing your screen. This is perhaps the most important source. Showing what you're doing is what you want after all. When I stream on my normal setup, I've got 2 monitors and have to change the screen source.
- Video Capture Device: I also have two cameras. My laptop is a Dell XPS 15 and the camera is placed in an awkward position. It's at the bottom of the screen so if I were to use that, you'd be watching me type all day. I've got a 1080p USB camera that I set on top of my monitor. Works well enough.
- Audio Input Capture: Here's where I've spent the most thus far. I'm using a Samson Q2U microphone with a mount. This is a great beginner microphone which I bought a while ago because I thought I would start a podcast. It has a USB connector and one you can plug into a compressor. For some reason, OBS doesn't detect my microphone when I first load it. I have to unplug and replug it in again each stream.
- Desktop Audio: This captures any music I'm playing and also the voices of guests. There's most likely a better way to do this, but it will suffice for now. One key thing is to wear headphones so you don't get feedback issues.
- Background: I'm using my picture from my Twitch page for consistency. I created it the same as my output size and added the bottom bar on this picture. Nothing to see here.
- Browser: The Twitch Alerts, Viewer Count, and Chat are all Browser sources. Head on over to Streamlabs and sign up to get access to these.
That's what I'm working with. I've got other scenes setup, but once you've got a handle on the main driving scene, you can handle any of the others.
What I learned
Streaming to Youtube didn't give me a lot of engagement. It was like yelling to the void. I'm sure that has to do with not having any followers, to begin with, and I've got some now. After talking to a bunch of streaming devs, most had said they preferred to Twitch. I must say, I agree.
Consistency is the key to getting engagement. Doing it daily made my engagement increase quickly. All my first streams were centered on my RedwoodJS demo project. I have about 10% left on that project and then it can be used. That last bit is always the hardest.
Announcing that your streaming and what you're doing also gets great engagement. I got more viewers by letting people know I was streaming, and then I got more followers on Twitter. It's a virtuous cycle.
Make a checklist of things to do before you stream. On my first stream, I went 30 minutes before I realized the issue with my microphone. There was terrible feedback and you couldn't hear what I said. Mic check 🎤.
You can filter out typing with some OBS magic. I don't have a fancy compressor or noise gate. My microphone helps, but there are some OBS settings that can help. I found this video helpful, but there's a ton of them on the Tube. Your settings will most definitely be different than another user's. Record without filters, then AB test them as you tweak. And satisfice.
Streaming has been really fun. I've talked to a bunch of other developers in the past month and it's a pretty tight night community. If you've ever thought about streaming I think you should try it.
That's all I've got today. I'm sure I'll learn more as I continue. If you've made it this far, I want to say thank you. You can follow me on Twitter or Twitch with the links at the bottom of screen. If you want to contact me, you can email me or DM me on Twitter.