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Set up a Quality Livestream from Home with Simple, Affordable Gear

The following is a how-to guide for setting up a quality livestream from home using just a couple of affordable pieces of gear. While a basic guide, it covers in detail all the key things you need to do to get up and running with a reliable stream. We’ll focus on using an affordable USB webcam, a simple USB mic or a headset, and the free OBS application for connecting to popular streaming services like YouTube Live.

Internet

First of all, how good is your Internet? You’ll be able to test this in the OBS application as we’ll describe at the end but, generally, you should be fine with a common broadband connection. A test run would help.

Affordable Webcams and (Briefly) Other Options

A common and simple option is to use an external webcam. These comfortably attach right on top of your monitor or elsewhere you may want them.

Why not use your computer’s built-in webcam? The external ones are just better. Some have Zeiss lenses and offer zoom capability among other features. And an external webcam can be adjusted into an optimal position. These webcams connect very easily to your computer via a USB cable.

Before we move on to setting up a webcam, we’ll look briefly at some of the other camera options. A livestream can be done with DSLRs, mirrorless cameras, compact “touristy” camcorders, action cams, smartphones, dedicated streaming cameras, 360 cams, PTZ cameras that allow for motion control, and ultimately even surveillance IP cameras.

For more elaborate streaming sessions, PTZ cameras are often the best choice. These can be pan/tilt-adjusted in motion during the stream. Ideally, a second operator seated at a controller will move the camera while you (or an entire team) give a presentation. PTZ cameras also have zoom capability ranging up to 30x, which is something useful for sports and other live events. If streaming is something you’ll be growing into, going forward, a PTZ camera may be a good future-proof solution for you. In the meantime, many can be used similarly to how a webcam is used.

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