Written by Tate Holcombe, Senior Director, Production
Over the past year and a half, we’ve seen an absolute explosion of live video. From the expansion of Instagram Live to the streamers of Twitch, much of the world has come to understand and appreciate live video. But too many still think that Live Video is either too expensive or just a gimmick if you’re not in a studio. Let’s dive in.
What it is, and isn’t.
Live video isn’t a replacement for your existing video strategy. It’s a compliment. One of the strengths of Live Video is to be able to respond quickly to events that have just happened or are currently ongoing. Think of it as your own News Show where you get to share the stories you want. Live video also allows for immediate interaction with your audience. In general, people who tune into a live video are loyal followers and are going to be on your side for most issues. You are going to be reinforcing ideas to your most loyal audience. However, you may not reach as many undecideds outside of your core audience.
Choosing the platform
With so many new options to broadcast yourself, it’s important to understand the differences in the major live-streaming platforms.
The easiest to get started with because all you need is your phone. Going live on Instagram takes very little effort. It’s just a few taps on your screen and you’re good to go. Instagram live is best for reacting to current events or taking questions from your followers. Warning: Don’t use it for events or anywhere you don’t control the audio.
Facebook Live gives you much more control over the quality and distribution of your live video, with the option to go live quickly either from your phone or from more of a studio. It’s a great option to connect with your followers and do a Q&A, and a starting point to have a guest or two talks with you about upcoming events or policy issues that resonate with your audience. Facebook Live is also the easiest for people to share, which impacts your ability to reach more people. But, make sure you’re monitoring the comments section and engaging that audience.
If you’re going live on YouTube, you’ll probably want to invest in a serious live streaming setup. iPhone live videos can struggle on YouTube when many other live videos are coming from a more polished studio environment. If you have an old digital camera lying around, all you need is a $50 LED light and a microphone and you’ll be good to go. YouTube is a great place to host conversations and to go live for longer periods where you’re interacting and informing on specific issues. When investing in a setup to go live to more polished platforms such as YouTube or Twitch, keep in mind that you can also use that setup for news hits or podcast interviews.
Video game streaming rules the twitch platform, but there are a lot of advantages there. Twitch was built for live streaming so it has some of the most robust capabilities. Yes, you’re probably going to have to play a video game while on stream, but Twitch remains one of the last untouched areas for politics, with the sole exception of AOC playing Among Us last year. It’s a great way to reach a younger audience who doesn’t always frequent the other platforms. If you or a candidate want to get a Twitch Channel up and running, our production team is DYING TO WORK with you.
Don’t forget the audio
One of the biggest missteps that we see in live video is HORRIBLE audio. Even something as easy as using AirPods with your phone while on Instagram Live can increase your audio quality by 25%. Other easy and affordable microphone options such as Rode Microphone SmartLav which plugs straight into your phone for under $70 or hit Amazon with “iPhone Mic'' and grab one of the top-rated mics. Just make sure you’ve got a room without echoing audio.
What’s behind you?
Your background matters. Don’t just hang a campaign yard sign or two behind you and call it good. It’s better to have your kitchen or office behind you than a pair of duct-taped campaign signs or the stark white wall/hostage video look.
Have questions about building the right live video set up? Reach out to our production experts and we’re happy to walk you through it in ridiculous detail!