May 22, 2020

Live streaming with webcams

By jfbethlehem
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The mobile setup might be a bit too basic for your taste, but you still don’t have an unlimited budget. You do have your own laptop and you would like to use that. This brings you to the next level of live streaming.

For this level, you will need some additional equipment. Like in the previous setup, you will need a tripod. But you will also need a webcam. This webcam does not have to be expensive and you have good webcams between $50 and $300. Besides the tripod and webcam, you will need a good laptop. 

If your music mixer buddies are close to you (physically, emotionally is optional), you can also run a cable from the mixer to your laptop and get sound directly from them. This often is a better source of sound than what the camera can pick up on.

Laptop requirements

Any laptop with an i5 (equivalent) or newer processor with 8GB of memory should do well enough. If you have a good nVidia graphics card (GTX 1080 or better) in your system, you can even use the graphics card to do the majority of video processing.

The minimum requirements for OBS are:

  • AMD FX series or Intel i5 2000-series processor (dual or 4-core preferable) or better 
  • DirectX 10 capable graphics card (on Windows)
  • At least 4 GB of RAM
  • Windows, Mac or Linux operating systems

These requirements are really the bottom end of what you will need in your laptop. It is recommended to get a stronger system if you are planning on doing good quality streaming.

An i7 4-core processor or better would be preferable. Also more memory will allow for better processing of the video data that is being created by OBS. And if you add a good nVidia graphics card, preferably a GTX1080 or better, you can also use the graphics card to do a part of the encoding of the video.

Lastly, a network port (USB or built-in) is very advisable. This is because wireless tends to sometimes lose connection for a while (seconds to minutes), during which your viewers are watching either a blank screen or a static screen. This is especially true if your wireless router is not close to where your laptop is.

Choosing the webcam

Choosing the webcam is a simple choice: Get the best one you can afford. On average, Logitech cameras are the most well known and they have been in the live streaming market the longest simply because they have good webcams that last a good long time. Microsoft and other brands try to compete but Logitech is the biggest name on the market when it comes to webcams. Some of the best and most used webcams are:

Resolution1080p601080p301080p30 720p604K30 1080p60 720p90
FOV (degrees)73909090
Picture qualityExcellentExcellentVery goodSuperb
Special featuresLandscape/portrait modeStereo microphoneBuilt-in ringlightHDR, 5x digital zoom