How To Live Stream Using A Camera You Already Own

How To Live Stream Using A Camera You Already Own

There’s an event coming up that you’re itching to live stream. You also happen to have a video camera stashed in your electronics drawer (or in the backseat of your car, under your couch, in the attic…).

The only problem is—you’ve never live streamed before!

Wondering if you can use that camera to broadcast your event? Chances are good. Read on to find out how to set up a live stream camera using the equipment you already own!

How To Set Up A Live Stream Camera

You need at least these three things to live stream: a video source (usually a video camera but it can sometimes be a mobile phone or tablet—check!), an encoder, and a high-speed internet connection.

We already know you have a camera. Follow these three steps to transform your camera from a recording device (or dust collector) into a live streaming machine:

1. Determine what kind of video output your camera has.

If you have the camera manual, you’ll find this information there. If not, look up the camera make and model online to determine the output. Most consumer-level cameras made within the last several years output an HDMI signal; professional-level cameras might also include HD-SDI connectivity.

There’s lots more to live streaming than a camera. Find out everything you need to know about pulling off a successful broadcast with this extensive live streaming checklist.

2. Purchase a video encoder.

Your camera records the action, but not in a format that works well for transmitting over the internet. (Most cameras are simply built to record.) The encoder essentially optimizes the video for online transmission.

There are different types of encoders. Software encoders run on your laptop or desktop computer; hardware encoders are separate, dedicated devices made for video streaming. Do your research before buying an encoder, as there are a number of options available.

If you decide to go with a software encoder, make note of whether you have a Mac or a PC; this will be important for the next step.

3. Purchase a capture device.

By now you have a good handle on the components you’re working with—the camera output, the encoder, and, if you’re using a software encoder, the type of computer you’ll be using. The last component you’ll need is a capture device—usually only required if you go the software encoder route. This piece of hardware captures the live video feed from your camera and delivers it to the encoding device.

Magewell’s USB Capture HDMI and the UltraStudio Mini Recorder from Blackmagic are two commonly used capture devices for HDMI outputs that connect to either the USB 3 port in your computer (for PCs) or the Thunderbolt port (for Macs).

To Complete the Process…

Hurray! With the completion of the steps above, your video camera is ready to roll! But now that you’ve mastered the process of how to set up a live stream camera, there’s still one ingredient missing. What’s a live stream without a live stream platform where people can watch?

For small audiences, budget-minded broadcasters, and those just starting out, there are several good options that are either free or very inexpensive. But as your audience grows you may want to find a live streaming partner that not only guarantees a high-quality broadcast, but also offers production advice and streaming support. At Stretch Internet, we stream more than 60,000 live events every year with an emphasis on providing outstanding live support and memorable experiences.

Until then, grab that camera and get live streaming!