Facebook Live: Affordable gear to get you started live streaming

Why should you bother with Facebook Live?

Facebook Live is a fantastic way to showcase your business in a personal way. Why? It's live, unedited and real. People can ask questions which in turn helps start building audience relationships. With Facebook Live or any type of live streaming, your audience gets to see and know the person behind the business and their expertise.

Facebook is definitely King when it comes to social media. For the majority of businesses, your audience and potential customers will be on Facebook. Yes they might well be on other social media platforms too, but in most cases, people will be on Facebook.

Another reason we should be making use of going live, it now is the only notification set to ‘Suggested‘ by Facebook when someone just likes your page! Everything else is switched off by default and relies purely on interactions. So make the best of it. Facebook wants Facebook Live to succeed.

So what do you need to get started?

Before you run off looking for special equipment, you don't need much to get started. Here was my list plus what I have added and built on as I go.

1. Smart Phone or Tablet

If you don't have a good smart phone and not due an upgrade for ages, don't worry, people forget that you can also use tablet/iPad to use for live streaming. Personally, my Samsung Galaxy S5 mini has very poor quality on Facebook Live (ok for Periscope) and I think this possibly is an issue with that type of phone, as I have seen others using Samsung phones (inc S7) on Facebook Live and Snapchat, experiencing the same type of delay issues on sound.

Solution: Levono tablets are really affordable and give me great quality for video, and Facebook Live. The sound is fantastic too, I did a live video, classroom style with no mic, and the tablet set up 8′-9′ feet away and the sound was perfect. The model I use is an 8″ Levono Tab S8-50 which is still a great tablet but is now out of date so I am looking at new tablets and will review soon.

2. Tripod for Mobile/Tablet

Once you have a Smart phone (Android or iPhone) or tablet (Android or iPad), you are ready to go live. The first obstacle is keeping the phone or tablet steady as this is essential for viewers, otherwise they can feel dizzy or ill trying watch a moving target.  Books can be used to prop up your phone but ideally you need a small tripod. The Arkon tripod is really sturdy and versatile. I also use it for my  DSLR, Canon 550D. This tripod comes the phone holder but as I wasn't using my phone, needed a tablet holder too.

When positioning your device, you need to keep the top of the device below your eye level as the camera is at the top, almost look over the top. Don't look at yourself, this will look as if you are gazing out at window somewhere. Try and test to see the difference. Another option, you can place a photo at the top of your device to help you focus and get over any nerves. The comments in your peripheral vision so don't worry, you will see them.

3. Lighting

At the start, desk lamps can do the trick but they can be blinding, heat up and cast shadows. At the same time, you just need to get started so here is my start out set. For basic lighting, the CN 160 LED light from Neewer was recommended to me. It comes with 2 filters, white and orange for a softer effect and is compact and lightweight. True, it is not the softest light but it works. It definitely is a great entry level light and can be used with any regular tripod. Runs on AA batteries although I would recommend getting rechargeable camera battery if you are using for long periods. Remember, it is cheap! So don't expect the best lighting ever but it certainly does the job and always handy for portable lighting.


Lighting Extras

A standard tripod is necessary for this lighting. I just use a cheap one that I have had for ages for my camera. To give you an idea, I've listed the best seller on Amazon below. This one goes to 60″ so you might want taller capacity for standing videos and if you are taller than me (which wouldn't be hard!). Other considerations, a V-shaped hot shoe mount will allow you use both the camera and light on same tripod. Definitely isn't an essential at the start (I've used cable ties to secure the light) but I would have picked one up at the start if I had known about it. Having the lights directly in front of you can be very blinding, so I place the light slightly to the side and device setup directly in front of me. Play with it and try to minimise shadows. For this reason, I invested in the Neewer mini soft box. Again, not essential but also not an expensive product which does the job to remove the glare.

4. Sound

Using mics depends a lot on the device you are using. My levono tablet has really good sound so I often don't use my mic for daily Facebook Live videos but the bonus of using a mic, you can reuse your Facebook Lives and create MP3s so good quality sound is something we should aim for. Certainly if you are creating edited videos, you need them to look and sound professional. There is nothing worse than a muffled sound on a video, puts people off immediately plus gives the ‘home job' feel to your business. Always remember, try to be as professional as possible. You don't need a mic to start but you definitely should consider if you are continuing with video in your business.

I've tried 2, the BOYA is a fantastic entry level lapel mic and I love the long wire so I can plug into my DSLR when I am recording videos for courses. You will need to install 3rd party software on Android to get it to work. I use RecForge. The 2nd mic I've tried, is one recommended by many, the RODE smartLav plus this will also need the 3rd party software. Sound quality is a bit better for sure but the wire is very short compared to the BOYA, too short to work from my DSLR camera for other videos so for me, the BOYA is the one I recommend first for all round, the RODE if you want better sound quality and OK to only video close to your device.


Tips for Video editing

Here is a great video to hide your mic from Justin Brown. Check out the rest of his videos for great tips on video editing. I've followed Justin for some time and can highly recommend him, he knows his stuff. 

Improve ANY Lavalier Microphone: Mount (and Hide) for the BEST Audio!

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