Facebook Live Blues? YouTube Live stuttering? If your live streaming video quality isn't dreamy, this may be why.
Just about the time I moved to Todos Santos, Mexico for the summer, I started experimenting with Live Video. In Mexico City, my internet had been great, so I hadn’t even thought about the requirements for Live Video.
It turns out my internet connection here is less than optimal. The Universe likes to keep us on our toes, right?
Did I decide to give up and deal with it this fall? NO! I did not give up on Live video!
I investigated some co-working spaces with super fast connections, and I met some nice people through that process. I also brushed up on my knowledge of the technical requirements for a good Facebook Live session.
First of all, there is a difference between Wifi and your Internet connection. Your wifi is your local wireless connection within your house or office that seems like magic.
The wifi box (router) receives the info from your device through wireless transmission and sends it to the internet via the cable that plugs into the wall.
If you share wifi, or are far away from the wifi box, you may end up with a weak wifi connection and stream your video poorly, even if you have a great Internet connection.
First thing to figure out, though, is your Internet connection:
Here is what is going on in that benign little cable that connects you to the Internet. I also go over this in the above video I did for our YouTube Channel. (not live, by the way).
Your internet connection consists of two pieces. Let's think of it like two pipelines in the wire.
Pipeline U is the one that sends information UP to the server. When you start a session on Facebook Live you are sending the video information UP to Facebook's servers, (or YouTube or whoever is hosting your live video.)
Pipeline D is the download pipeline where you receive information - download documents, files, photos, and yes, streaming video.
The service you have from your internet provider determines the size of the pipelines, so to speak.
Now you might imagine that video files are fatter than other info. This is because of the level of detail in video versus just uploading a picture or a document. It’s like the difference between sending someone a recipe, a picture of a cake, or the whole cake. Which would take up more space?
You also don't have control over your local internet connection options. If you live in an urban area with fiber optic you likely already have an internet connection with a good Pipeline U and a great Pipeline D. If you don’t, you might be able to upgrade.
Or, you may still have a connection that gives you great a nice big Pipeline D but a small Pipeline U. That is the case for me in Todos Santos. No fiber optic on our street (although I do think they have it downtown).
Here is the bad news. Not only is a small Pipeline U not great for Live video, it will slow you down when you upload the smartphone videos you create with your phone.
First thing - check your download and upload speed at http://www.speedtest.net/
Check with your internet provider about your options. Ideally you want at least 2 megabytes per second (Mbps) upload speed for LIve video.
Right now my Pipeline U is under 1 Mbps.
This caused me some angst when I first got here. But I've experimented with it to learn about it, to be able to pass on to you, and so it all worked out.
What I learned is it is possible to stream Facebook live with less than 1 Megabyte per second.
For live viewers the visual is a little fuzzy and there's a bit of a lag at times.
Should you let this stop you if it's the case for your connection, too?
In my opinion, no. It depends on your goals. In general I say Go For It, because even if it's not perfect, you will learn something from it.
The other thing that I learned is that the video file improves after Facebook upload it and processes it. So you are not stuck with the quality of the initial stream in the final video.
This is because all the video information that was trying to crowd its way into the tiny Pipeline U finally arrives at home base and organizes into a higher quality video.
Finally, your viewers also have their own download Pipeline Ds, so their experience is determined by that, too. You could have a huge Pipeline U for sharing your streaming video, but if your viewer has a puny Pipeline D, it will affect their viewing.
You have no control over the connection that your viewers have, so you can take that off of your Worry List.
What happens if you check your Pipelines, you have a decent size Pipeline U, but your Live Video quality is still suffering? It might be your wifi.
Try moving closer to the wifi box, and think about who else might be online in the house. Ask your partner who is watching cat videos on YouTube while streaming music on their iPhone to log off for a minute. If you have a video gamer in the house, ask them to stop for a bit. Then see if your streaming video improves.
Last tidbit: Live video and "live stream" video are the same thing. However, a video that is not live can still be streamed - like when you watch a movie on Netflix.
Bottom line - have patience with the process. You are learning new things. It might be a little messy and annoying at times, but it’s like riding a bike - once you learn, it seems easy. Plus, it is empowering to be able to diagnose your problems. Let us know if you have more questions!
As part of our 30 Minute Business Video Basics Summer School, today we did an extreme makeover of sound, lighting and composition (aka where to put your face in the frame).
You can see the video HERE.
I did it via Facebook live which is why it is in vertical orientation. (also known as "portrait" mode). The same principles apply for horizontal (landscape) filming, too.
I start with the existing lighting and showed you easy ways how to fix or improve the shot. Then I show you the option of adding a simple additional video light. We also hear the difference between the sound before and after, with and without a mic. With live video you also have to consider your internet connection. You can learn more about how your internet connection affects live video HERE.
Here is the video, followed by an overview (but really, it's more interesting to watch it below.
When you're shooting a video you have three elements to think about:
the sound and
which is just another way of saying where do you put your face in the frame.
Considering that filmmaking is an art form, you can imagine there is a lot of art and science behind all of that.
However, you are not a filmmaker. You are running a business.
I know both sides of that equation - video and marketing. I also know exactly what to simplify for your purposes so that you get enough information to make decent quality videos but not to suffer from overwhelm.
Research and our own experience probably shows that more choices do not always improve our outcomes. Humans tend to freeze up with too many choices and not make a decision. With Video Avoidance being a rampant condition we don't need any more ways to procrastinate.
My motto is always keep it simple and keep moving.
When I started this video the shot looks pretty bad. In fact, it made me wince but I kept it that way for a few minutes to show you how to fix it.
The first thing we fixed was the sound. We turned off fans and we plugged in a microphone.
In this case since we were doing live video I showed you my favorite earbuds to use for live video. (more information about a higher-quality mic to use when you tape your videos when you are not life.)
Next, you can either fix your light first or your position for the shot.
In the teaching video we actually fixed your composition first. I did that because I had already run through this for the live video. In reality, if I'm using natural light or ambient light, I always fix my light first and then I set up the composition. That is because it's easier to move me then to move a window in a wall or a really ugly fixed backdrop, for example.
In the video you'll see the difference when I play with the ambient light in the room. The main takeaway is you always want to figure out a way to get that white glint in your eye. If you are really backlit by a window one way to even that out is to raise the level of light in the room. And that is what we did. Sometimes that's easier than trying to find another cloth or something to drape over the window especially if it's going to be in the shot. And that is because usually it ends up looking like, well, a cloth or something you draped over the window, and not that great.
I also always start with the overhead lights off to see if I can get the light to work without them. But it's not the end of the world if you have to use them. It's all about balancing the amount of light from different sources.
So moving on I adjusted the curtains on the lights behind me and then I played with it window that was in front of me that I had positioned my desk to maximize and then we turn down the overhead lights and blah blah blah.
WAIT - did I lose you?
So what you just saw is a great example of why watching a video is often more powerful than reading information, especially for a how-to video. It’s pretty boring to tell you what we did in the video, isn’t it?
So go ahead and take a few minutes and watch our Extreme Video Shot Makeover. If you are someone who likes reading, here is the workaround - we put captions files on all our videos.
Don't get me wrong - every video I do starts on paper. We back up the video information in our Ultimate Guide to Fab Videos, along with lots of info on the blog. If you have questions, you can always join us in the Summer School - through the end of August, at 1:00 Central Time on FB live.
Thanks and stay cool!
Kala is the Founder and Executive Producer of the Ultimate System for Fab Videos, Finally Done