There are several inexpensive pieces of equipment that will increase your audio quality, video quality and will increase the number of angle shots you can get while recording. The value these tools will provide you is priceless. Using these pieces of equipment will help make your videos more professional, especially since your IPhone or Android microphone will not likely produce the quality sound you desire. Below, there are several equipment recommendations listed. All of these pieces can be purchased online with the links provided.
For your convenience, we have categorized the different types of gear into bundles based on your budget. There is the “Shoestring” budget, the “Mid-grade” budget and the “High-End” budget. It’s easy to spend hundreds, maybe even thousands, on the proper equipment for your live videos. However, we know that this is not always realistic or even logical for what you are doing, which is why we have provided both budget-friendly options and high-end options for your equipment purchases.
**Disclaimer: Please do keep the mentality: “you get what you pay for” in mind. The more you spend, the higher quality hardware and software you will have. However, it does not mean that there is anything wrong or bad about being on a “Shoestring” budget. It is just important to keep in mind that a microphone worth $20 will likely not produce the level of quality a $50 or $60 microphone will.
FOR THE SHOESTRING BUDGET:
- Flex Camera Stand ($5)- Five Below
- If you’re looking for a decent quality camera stand, so you can show better angles in your videos, look no further than your local Five Below retailer. They have a great camera stand for only $5.
- Gorilla Pod ($18.99)- Amazon.com
- If you’re looking for a camera stand that is flexible, then the GorillaPod is a great option. It’s not a large piece of equipment, so it travels well, but it can provide a large range of camera heights and angles due to its flexibility. Even better, is under $20 with 2-day shipping if you’re an Amazon Prime member. Purchase it here: http://www.amazon.com/Joby-GP1-A1EN-Gorillapod-Flexible-Tripod/dp/B000EVSLRO?ie=UTF8&%2AVersion%2A=1&%2Aentries%2A=0
- PylePro Wireless Microphone- ($12.87) Amazon.com
- If you’re looking for an inexpensive microphone that will get the job done, then the PylePro is a better option for you. It’s a small device that has an earpiece that will hold the microphone at face-level. It will plug into your headphone jack, but it also comes with a converter to allow you to plug into a greater range of devices. Purchase it here: https://www.amazon.com/Pyle-Pro-PMEM1-Headworn-Omni-Directional-Microphone/dp/B003D2S7HA/ref=sr_1_2?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1466096331&sr=1-2&keywords=pylepro
- PylePro IPhone Adapter (<$8)- Amazon.com
- For less than $8, including shipping, you can get an adapter for a microphone. Not all microphones will work with your newest IPhone, which can be frustrating. However, with this adapter, you can inexpensively overcome this challenge. Purchase it here: http://goo.gl/lMOGtO
- Neewer IPhone Camera Light ($17.90)- Amazon.com
- If you are looking for a less expensive alternative to the LimoStudio Lighting Equipment, this camera light is a great option. For less $20, you can have a light that clips directly onto your IPhone (or Android, it does work on both types of phones) and it will powerfully shine in the direction of your choice. Purchase it here: http://goo.gl/pgvnsq
- Docooler Adapter (~$6)- Amazon.com
- If you need an adapter that will work with nearly any microphone, this could be another great option. Amazon has it listed for guitars in the headline on their website; however, it can serve as a great tool for creating live videos. Purchase it here: https://www.amazon.com/Docooler-Guitar-iPhone-Converter-Adapter/dp/B00HJNJZW0/ref=sr_1_8?ie=UTF8&qid=1466096376&sr=8-8&keywords=docooler+adapter
FOR THE MID-GRADE BUDGET:
- StayblCam ($74.95)- StayblCam.com
- The last thing anyone wants to look at while watching a live video is a shaky camera. The nausea kicks in for many, and when people start to feel ill watching your videos, they’ll stop watching your videos all together. You lose a sense of professionalism with a lower image quality as well. For a little under $75, you can solve this problem with a stabilizer. It will hold your phone in place while you are on the go, making traveling and shooting high quality live videos easy. Purchase it here: http://stayblcam.com/collections/stayblgear-shop
- LimoStudio Lighting Equipment (~$51.89)- Amazon.com
- Although audio and video quality are important, you cannot forget to have proper lighting. To avoid having glare make it impossible to see you or what your showing, get proper lighting. Although it is one of the more expensive pieces of equipment, the improvement of your video image quality will be far more valuable than the $52 you spent on lighting. Purchase it here: http://goo.gl/D1shvA
- SmartLav Microphone ($79)- Amazon.com
- If you are looking for a better quality microphone and are willing to spend a little bit more money, then the SmartLav Microphone is an option that needs to be seriously considered. With a 4.3 star rating on Amazon.com, is a fashionable and effective option. It’s small size makes it easy to transport and the microphone conveniently plugs into the headphone jack on your smartphone. Purchase it here: https://www.amazon.com/Rode-smartLav-Lavalier-Microphone-Smartphones/dp/B00EO4A7L0/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1466096274&sr=8-1&keywords=rode+smartlav
- Targus 5-Foot Tripod ($45)- Walmart
- An important part of producing live video is getting the proper angle. To make your videos more professional, shooting an angle that is not looking upward toward your body or face is a great start. Getting a tripod that will shoot at an eye-level angle will provide a better view of your face; however, it can be tricky to find a tripod tall enough. This piece of equipment will help solve this problem. For under $50, you can add 5 feet of height to your camera. It also folds up nicely, making it easy to travel with and easy to store. Although this tripod is not the best quality on the market, it will help you get the job done and more professionally than before. Purchase it here, or at your local Walmart store: http://www.walmart.com/ip/Targus-Red-Pro-Series-60-3-Way-Panhead-and-Bubble-Level-Tripod-TG-P60T/16224607
FOR THE HIGH-END BUDGET:
- Mevo Studio Cam (PRE-ORDER: $299)- Mevo.com
- This device is a camera plug-in for your phone. It comes in two color options, white and black. This camera will be a much higher quality video camera than the one that is built into your phone. It also has a built-in microphone and the capability to inform you about your Wifi connection, battery life and more. The catch is, it has not been released yet. If you want a better video quality, pre-order this camera. Pre-order it here: https://getmevo.com/features/camera
- ioGrapher (varies)- Iographer.com
- If you’re looking for a hardware kit that comes with several pieces, the ioGrapher kits provide several different options meeting any needs you may have. Although some kits may be pricier than some of the other options, the quality of hardware is excellent and everything that you could want or need comes into one kit. Purchase it here: http://www.iographer.com/collections/
- ProMaster TriPod ($379.95)- Amazon.com
- If you’re looking for a tripod that can extend up to 63 inches at its maximum height and is great quality, look no further than the ProMaster Tripod. Although it’s more expensive, it’s high quality, which is found in the fact that is made of carbon fiber rather than aluminum. With reversible legs and a reversible center column, you are now option to many more angles not only vertically, but horizontally as well. Shooting angles at a professional eye-level while going live is no longer and problem, and now, you may even be able to shoot with an angle that looks downward. It folds up easily, and its carbon fiber structure makes it lightweight and easy for travel, while still being plenty stable for recording. Purchase it here: https://www.amazon.com/ProMaster-Professional-XC528C-Carbon-Tripod/dp/B00C1NYMZS/ref=sr_1_2?s=photo&ie=UTF8&qid=1466102783&sr=1-2&keywords=tall+tripod&refinements=p_72%3A1248879011%2Cp_n_condition-type%3A2224371011%2Cp_36%3A20000-47500
Just as important as needing the proper hardware to produce live videos, you will also need the proper software. To start, check out Open Broadcasting Software (OBS) and Live:Air Solo. Both of these pieces of software are free and are purposed for streaming. OBS is used to live stream from a PC or Mac and Live:Air Solo is used for iPhones (it does not yet work for Android devices). Please refer to the two articles below that have more information on OBS and Live:Air Solo and how to get access to them.
- Live:Air Solo How To & Background Information: http://3vbiz.com/how-to-use-live-air-solo-for-hd-facebook-live-streaming-and-overlays/
- OBS How To & Background Information: http://3vbiz.com/how-to-use-obs-for-facebook-live/
If you are looking for an upgrade from OBS and are ready to invest some financial resources, then look no further than Wire Cast or vMix.
- Wirecast ($495):
- At first glance, the price may be intimidating; however, don’t let yourself be intimidated by the figure. It is well worth your investment. If you feel that you have outgrown OBS, Wirecast is great software to transition to. For starters, Wirecast works with an array of input devices compared to OBS. Additionally, with Wirecast, you can mix audio, do audio delay, replay audio, have picture-in-picture, have live switching and have many more sources appear on your screen than free versions of live streaming software. The endless features allow you to be more creative and give you the ability to create your own original brand while live streaming. Learn more & purchase it here: http://telestream.net/wirecast/features.htm#capture
- vMix ($0-1200)- We recommend the $350 version:
- vMix offers several different packages; however, the advantage to using vMix is that there is a 60 day free trial period before you are required to make your purchase. The trial only covers a basic package, but this package allows you to get to know vMix and whether or not it is a good fit for you. If you decide that you like vMix, you can then purchase the package of your choice. vMix offers multiple inputs; you start with 4 inputs total, but the more you spend, the more inputs you get. This software also has several different transitions, it allows for HD production, there is a built-in audio mixer, there are templates you can add on and the list of features continues. There is great opportunity to be creative and original with vMix. When choosing Wirecast or vMix, it comes down to personal preference. These two pieces of software are substitutes for each other, so you only would need to purchase one piece of software if you feel that it is best for your business.
Another feature many people producing live videos like to have access to is audio mixing. Audio mixing allows you to not only improve the quality of your audio, but can allow you to add certain sound effects to your videos to make them better quality and more professional, overall. Like the live streaming software, there are both free and paid options. As mentioned earlier, although all of this software will only help you, the quality of audio mixing software will vary with the price you pay for it. Below, are two recommendations we have for audio mixing software. One option is free and the other is not.
- Snowmix (Free)- http://snowmix.sourceforge.net/
- Snowmix is a free software download that allows mixing of both recorded and live video and audio feeds. Like OBS, it provides imagery upgrades such as overlays and graphics. However, it Snowmix allows animations to be introduced as well. There are an unlimited number of video and audio feeds that can be ongoing. Having access to an unlimited number of audio feeds means that you can introduce multiple sound effects that can be emphasized at certain times during your live video, adding not only a personal touch, but more quality and professionalism (if used properly) as well.
- XSplit Broadcaster (Free, but can be upgraded)- https://www.xsplit.com/#broadcaster
- XSplit Broadcaster is predominantly used to live stream video games; however, this does not mean that you have the ability to not live stream audio or video from different sources. With XSplit Broadcaster you can stream live from multiple sources, but you have limited abilities to upgrade your audio through mixing. By upgrading for either $4 monthly or $2.50 monthly (either package is appropriate; however, it is recommended you closely evaluate each package to decide which one is the best for your business), you can add on more audio mixing features. The difference between the $4 package and the $2.50 package is that the $4 dollar package has everything the $2.50 package has and more. Please note, the agreement you purchase locks you in for 36 months. If you decide this software would be beneficial to you (after testing the free version of course), it is recommended that you upgrade to a paid package so that you have more audio mixing capabilities. Details regarding upgrades can be found here: https://www.xsplit.com/buy?pp=WWW_NAVBAR#form