5 Must Haves for Live Streaming

Right away - there is a ton that is not listed here. Marketing, lead generation, networking, equipment and systems breakdowns, etc. While I will covering all of it soon, I want to you know to know the equipment I couldn’t live without when it comes to live streaming.

Over the last 2 years alone, I’ve purchased (a lot) equipment to enhance the overall quality, minimize load in/out times and scale the essential kit to 1 easy-to-manage case that can jump on a jet for air travel – yes, an entire production studio kit in 1 carry-on! That alone is a monumental accomplishment in which i’ll be outlining soon.

The real punchline for this free info? I want you to learn from my successes and failures in order to save a ton of cash, time and level up your live streams.

Let’s get to it!

5. IPad Pro 2018

Most of the time, an iPad is an iPad. However, Apple’s newest edition focuses on solving many problems or quirks of it’s predecessors. The most glaring advantage you ask? Screen real estate and form factor. After using a 12.9 iPad Pro for 10 months in the field with live video, I became very aware of the things needing refinement. Lugging around that giant screen was only great when doing streams with a ton of graphics and camera sources. Otherwise it overall contradicted the process I had for every other piece in the production kit. The 5.0 system enabled setup speed and minimal footage like never seen before for any video production or live streaming. The real punchline, this new iPad 11” is a great compromise.

USB-C - Finally. This single feature solves so many issues from the limitations of lightning. HDMI out while Audio in from an external source. Power Deliver (PD) through the port to power external devices like the Zoom H6. Less adaptors, often able to go straight from a device (USB Mini -> USB-C) and so many more:

  • 4x4 Cell Radio

  • Less adaptors needed

  • Quick charging

  • Huge screen, small footprint

  • Performance is amazing

  • USB-C

4. ZMI USB Hub PD Battery

When it comes to live streaming, you’ll quickly find when using an iPad as the switcher that you need more USB ports! Hubs are great to help solve this problem, but often need external power, are clunky and other issues. Since most devices with already be charging from a USB battery, what if that battery acted as a hub too?

The Pros:

  • Charges quickly

  • Battery only mode

  • Metal enclosure

  • USB Hub for multiple devices

  • USB Battery for multiple devices

  • Power Delivery (PD) 45w USB-C Port

This type of battery is very new to the industry and I fully expect other manufacturers already have their version in the works. Today, this is the best battery / USB Hub solution on the market.  

3. Litra Pro Lights

You are using film lights right? Bringing your own lighting to the party always improves the visual quality. When we first started in the world of live streaming, we used all the traditional stuff: Arri, Lowell, etc. Our biggest takeaway from using HMI and tungsten is it takes way too long to setup and cool down. There must be something better? LED lighting changed the film and video industry, however, it isn’t a perfect solution in many cases. 

Price: The main variable for small businesses. Big names in the lighting business offer products that are superior in many less known names – at a high cost unfortunately. The LitraPro is a bit expensive compared to other lights out there, however, I assure you that it is worth it!

Performance: More than just the intensity or brightness, but also how well the light reproduces colors.  Brightness is usually based around a lumen rating. Higher the lumens, brighter the light. As a reference, a 60w Edison bulb produces around 600 lumen.

Many people complain that LED’s have a green tint. The Color Rendering Index (CRI) is a rating based from 0-100 with a 95+ as a baseline for excellent quality.  

The Pros:

  • Use while charging

  • Unbelievably Small

  • Soft-box Accessory

  • 1200 Lumen

  • 95 CRI

  • 45 min battery (Full Brightness)

Are these great for lighting large areas? No. Their main purpose will be for spaces where the talent is within 10’ of the camera and when you need a minimal light setup. Otherwise the LitraPro makes a great secondary light.

Are they expensive? Don’t let the price deter you from buying this light. Splurge on one, test it in the field — you’ll be hooked and will find yourself waiting on the next batch in the mail!

2. Zoom H6

This is an absolute game changer for audio recording or mixing in the field. We’ve used many other systems from the low-end to high-end in quality and price and the Zoom H6 is our go to for every live stream. Can you believe it – 6 XLR channels in a device nearly the size of your iPhone!

The Pros:

  • Portable

  • Afforable

  • 6 XLR Inputs

  • USB Interface Mode

  • Easy to use

1. Netgear M1

The M1 is a mobile router unlike anything else on the market. It’s portability and internal power is how my team and I power all of our live streams! No matter what live streaming system you’re using (Switcher Studio, SlingStudio, etc.) this is the one purchase I know without a doubt, you’ll love!

The Pros:

  • All Day Battery

  • Internet Offloading

  • Portable Size

  • More!

  • X16 Modem

  • 4x4 Wifi

  • Ethernet Out

  • External Antenna Inputs

What about the size and stability of the wifi network it creates? Great question! While most live streams will take place within a 30’ box, we’ve pushed this baby to the max! As with any wifi devices, height is going to help overcome many issues. While live streaming at a concert venue, we were able to setup 2 wireless cameras in the crowd by the stage and the switcher (wireless) in the back of the room, around ~150’. Stop what you’re doing and go purchase it now!

Final thoughts

It’s taken a long time to get to this list. Only recently has most of the tech come into existence. While many awesome devices or pieces of kit aren’t mentioned here, my team and I agree that this list enables you to immediately level up your live streams. I truly hope you received value and should you ever need help with live streaming or video production, you’ll go Steadi with us!

What is on your top list? Let us know in the comments.