Twitch.tv has become a popular resource for game broadcasters over the past couple of years. In fact, some have even made a full-time living from it, managing thousands of viewers and fans while, at the same time, delivering quality broadcasts with a variety of games.
But managing a game broadcast isn’t easy. You need consistency–airing at least once a day–in order to attain an audience. It also never hurts to have some form of hook to keep people coming back to your broadcast.
So here are five things to keep in mind when it comes to setting up a top-notch game broadcast for people to come back to. This goes for all those looking to gain infamy online, whether it’s by playing one certain game you’re good at, or a number of games to show off what all you have to offer. Just keep these items in mind and you’ll be able to build on something greater.
A Video Camera, of course!
While you’re able to broadcast certain games with built-in tools, you want to have an image that goes along with it so people can see you as you’re playing your games. Hearing you is one thing, but seeing you react to the games is another. You’ll want to have a good video cam on hand.
For the consoles, Sony’s PlayStation 4 camera is a good way to go, while over on the Xbox One, you can’t go wrong with the Kinect. (Yes, it’s the best way to broadcast yourself during gameplay sessions. You don’t have to take advantage of its motion-sensitive features.)
As far as PC cams go, most laptop and desktop models have ones built in, but in case they don’t, give the Logitech HD Pro C920 a try, along with the Genius WideCam F100 and HP HD 4310. They’re all quite affordable, and help you get a good picture of yourself set up so you can add some personal touches to your broadcast.
Broadcasting Like a Pro
Next up, you’ll need the tools in order to get your broadcast off on the right foot. Some games and systems have built-in support already, so you may not need to worry about this. For others, it helps to have the right tool for the job.
Elgato Gaming’s Game Capture HD60 enables you to hook it up to your device and broadcast with ease. It also comes with built-in editing features, in case you want to make YouTube videos on the side, or perfect how your broadcast is going to come across. For those who want to take their games to the next level, there’s also a PC-specific Game Capture HD60 Pro that can do the trick, although it takes a little more time to install.
Both devices are around $150-$200, but they’re the best route to go, offering more ease of use than most other game capture devices on the market, along with a bevy of features.
All Mic’d Up
Using a headset is an affordable way to get your message across to viewers when it comes to how you game, but that can mean long-term discomfort on the ears, unless you have a good gaming model on hand. In that case, you’ll want a devoted mic, so you’re free to move your head around and be yourself while you chat with others.
The Blue Snowball USB supported mic is not only good in quality, but also large in stature, so it has no trouble capturing whatever audio you have going on. It goes for around $69-$89, depending on the model, and works fairly well with most PCs.
If you prefer something far more advanced, try out the Razer Seiren Elite, a deluxe-sized unit that’s shaped a little slimmer than the Snowball model, but is even more efficient when it comes to capturing audio. It’s more expensive, around the $180 range, but it’s certainly worth it, especially if you’re a fan of Razer’s tools.
The Interwebz (a series of tubes)
Obviously, in order to have a good quality stream going, you’ll need to make sure you have the right speed of Internet on hand. The faster the better, as most game broadcasts require the standards below, as dictated by Twitch’s help site:
- Codec: H.264 (x264)
- Mode: Strict CBR
- Keyframe Interval: 2 seconds
- Maximum bitrate of 3500
- Codec: AAC-LC or MP3, Stereo or Mono
- Maximum bit rate: 160 kbps (AAC), 128 kbps (MP3)
- Sampling frequency: any (AAC), 44.1 KHz (MP3)
It also helps to try and keep that efficiency going with both your broadcast and game device on hand, so be sure to keep tabs on it to make sure the quality is on the upkeep. Services like XSplit or other broadcasting software can help with this, measuring anywhere from Excellent (where all these requirements are met) to Incompatible (where you’ll need to check the above standards to keep up).
Remember, people like a quality stream, so it pays to have a solid Internet service backing you up.
A Green Screen Goes a Long Way
Sometimes you want to add some additional flair to your broadcasts, instead of just showing off your messy recreation room or, worse yet, some background that doesn’t really match the excitement of what you’re playing. This is where a green screen can go a long way.
It’s not entirely a necessity if you’re running on a budget (the high-speed Internet will probably set you back the most), but it never hurts to have a solid background so that your webcam can focus more on you while you play. And the truth is, a good green screen won’t cost you an arm or a leg.
The 6’X9′ Chromakey Green Screen Backdrop Background by Fancierstudio, for instance, usually runs $40, but you can find it in most places (like Amazon) for around $20. ePhoto also has a 10X12 Green Chroma Key Green Screen Muslin Backdrop around the same price.
Good luck, and happy streaming!
Cover image source: Elgato Gaming