When the events industry went virtual during the pandemic, many creators rushed to turn in-person gatherings – fitness classes, craft workshops, trivia nights, comedy shows, and more – into livestreamed events. The success of these events has encouraged many creators to stay online – but moving an entire event enterprise online can be intimidating. There are all sorts of new tools and costs to consider, like webcams, microphones, backdrops, and bandwidth.

What is a livestream event?

A livestream is like any other event, except it includes a camera and audio setup in order to feature live online video streams of your speakers and performers. Guests who can’t attend in person can now participate in the event online by watching and listening to the livestream.

Taking an event and venue online via video stream is easier than it seems. “Really, you don’t need to spend a lot of money to get started [livestreaming an event],” says Gilad Gershoni, the founder of full-service streaming agency Elevated Stream and the longtime soundman for Grammy award-winning hip-hop trio De La Soul. “You just need a phone or computer and an internet connection.”

We asked him for the tips, tricks, and entry-level gear you’ll need when learning how to livestream an event.

Table of contents

What equipment do you need for a livestream?

Test, then test again (and again)

Make sure you have the proper bandwidth

Look for areas to upgrade

Let the pros do the work for you

Ready to host your first livestream?

What equipment do you need for a livestream?

If you’re thinking of livestreaming an event, the basics remain pretty basic. Gershoni, who’s worked on Twitter’s Thursday Night NFL streams and at festivals including Coachella and Bonnaroo, got his start livestreaming on a budget, getting his first livestreaming gear by digging around in old drawers to find used video and audio equipment. He suggested the following as a good start:

  • A modern laptop with a camera and built-in mic. The image and audio quality of even modestly priced laptops is impressive and, when paired with supplementary tech like a smartphone or GoPro, quite effective.
  • A smartphone. Its versatility is unparalleled, offering camera and sound, plus any number of complementary apps and functions.
  • If you have a webcam, GoPro, or microphone, pull it out and hook it up. “Get going with that, and build from there,” Gershoni says.

And get familiar with all of our improved online events tools, too, including partnerships with video suppliers, streamlined page setups, and more.

Test, then test again (and again)

“So many people have a hard time just pressing start,” Gershoni says. “But that’s just what you should do: a test run. Many test runs, in fact, since there are a few things to figure out.”

First, consider your basic setup: how will your camera and microphone be best set up to capture your livestream?

  • Keep it simple. Set up your camera or phone to record both audio and video. (A good phone tripod or stand that fits your device and floor space, is sturdy, and rated the right weight ought to help.)
  • A livestreaming platform such as Vimeo, Facebook Live, Instagram Live, Twitter, Twitch, and YouTube Live, allows users to preview a stream

Eventbrite has partnered with Vimeo to make it easier for creators to host live (and on-demand) video events. Creators who use Vimeo livestream can stream online through passwords enabling them to:

  • Customize the video player
  • Simulcast through a website or social media, and add interactive elements such as Q&As, polls, and chats
  • Eventbrite creators also receive preferred pricing on Premium Vimeo accounts

Look for a couple of simple errors during your test run:

  • Is the camera angle roughly straight on, rather than shooting down from above or, worst of all, up your nose?
  • Are you struggling with shadows? Avoid backlighting, which puts your face into shadow and fights the camera
  • Try a quality ring light or an LED spotlight, with temp control, dimming, remote, and tripod options

Learn how to choose the right video hosting platform for your virtual events, whether you’re creating a webinar, virtual conference, or another format.

Make sure you have the proper bandwidth

Another vital test: your internet speed. Avoid glitches and lagging with the right internet connection.

Confirm your upload speed, which represents your horsepower for sharing a stream on the web.

  • Finding out your upload speed is simple. There are several free, accurate tests just a Google search away, such as speedtest.net, TestMy.net, and fast.com
  • Test your upload speed at different times throughout the day, since it will vary depending on your network, internet traffic near you, and the placement of your router if using Wi-Fi

Different kinds of streams require different amounts of bandwidth, according to Gershoni.

  • A conversation, for example, would require a much lower upload speed than a concert with a massive lighting show or someone streaming a video game on Twitch
  • Those seeking higher-quality streams should consider hardwired ethernet rather than Wi-Fi, so assess your bandwidth requirements using an online speed test
  • Next, consider your video encoder’s bitrate settings – you’ll want double the amount of bandwidth provided by your internet company to ensure that you have enough spare capacity

Remember to consider your audience as well.

  • Adjust your frame rate according to your tests. This will help you make decisions about resolution (4K, 1080p, or 720p)
  • How strong do you think your audience’s internet connections will be? How important are high-quality visuals for their experience?

Another advantage to a strong and secure internet setup is how it enables online merchandising. Discover how to increase your online event’s revenue with add-ons like t-shirt sales and more.

Look for areas to upgrade

Once you’ve nailed the basics – and maybe even hosted a stream or two – you’ll quickly recognize areas that need improvement. If you get frustrated, don’t forget: “The best way to do this is to get out there and try it,” Gershoni says. “It takes lots of practice and testing to get comfortable.”

A few minor upgrades can make a big difference.

  • You can buy a 1080p webcam and microphone to give more control over your audio for around $100 each (some webcams come equipped with good microphones)
  • For conversations or MCing that might happen over Zoom, which is fully integrated with Eventbrite, a simple clip-on mic with a USB connection can make a huge difference. “Today, there are tons of mics that can give you a range of capabilities,” Gershoni says
  • A dynamic or condenser microphone will help capture a range of instruments. Focus on where to place the microphone, if you need a stand, and what kind of sound you’re trying to record

Unless it’s already blazing fast, you’ll eventually want to invest in your internet connection.

  • Use a hardwired internet connection rather than Wi-Fi, which adds more connectivity risks. “Bandwidth is really the last mile to cross,” says Gershoni. “If it’s limiting you, consider upgrading your service or your technology.”

Does your event include live music? Find the equipment and livestream software you need to stream a high-quality concert, according to our experts.

Let the pros do the work for you

Go ahead and take virtual streaming into your own hands – but don’t hesitate to seek help from the pros. At Elevated Stream, Gershoni and his team help brands, event creators, educators, and entertainers find the right equipment and work smarter within their streaming environment. Elevated Stream also offers virtual remote control rooms where streamers can bring in remote guests to add a whole new element to their broadcast.

If you’re not sure where to start, check out the agency’s Live Stream Kits: a mobile, self-serve solution that provides the tools you need to stream like a pro – without complicated setups and poor quality. “Part of our consulting is really understanding what the goals and objectives are for the creator,” Gershoni says.

Now that you’ve got the lowdown on livestreaming, let’s review the basics, so you’re fully equipped to stage your first event:

  • Take stock of the gear you already have
  • Test your camera, microphone, lighting, and backdrop
  • Check your internet speed
  • Do a full test run on the platform(s) of your choosing
  • Go live and have fun!

But before you go live, explore ticketing strategies for online events, with tips on free, donated, and tiered ticketing.

Ready to host your first livestream?

If you’d like to discuss your goals for a livestream, reach out to Elevated Stream at info@elevatedstream.com.

If you are ready to host your first livestream, log in to our platform and get started now!