Do you want to go live, but are totally baffled by what tech and tools you need to use?
Tech is one of the biggest barriers that people mention when it comes to what is stopping them from starting their own live show.
In today’s article, we're exploring the tech that you need for your live show so that you can go live with confidence. We’re joined by the amazing Doc Rock who is going to help us along the way.
Doc Rock is a thinker, creator and maker. He’s a YouTube trainer, speaker, podcaster, moderator, designer, and a whole lot more.
We’re talking about computers, CPUs and GPUs, but we’re going to make everything as easy as possible to understand so that it doesn’t feel too overwhelming.
What You’ll Learn
[8:20] How did Doc Rock get Started?
[15:46] What Tech do you Need to go Live?
[27:19] How to Deal with Ecamm Delay
[30:39] How to Use Ecamm & Restream Together
[33:02] How Much RAM is Required for Live Streaming?
[41:26] How Many Connectors do you Need for Live Streaming?
[54:12] What Camera & Microphone set-up does Doc Rock Use?
How did Doc Rock get Started?
Listen at [8:20]
Doc Rock is an amazing communicator, a great thinker and an amazing creator who gives so much to the communities that he is a part of.
But what is his career history, and how did he end up in the world of live video and content creation?
"I was a paramedic in the military, and all of us are called doc. In the military, if you are very deliberate and by the book, you are often called Sergeant Rock. So those two combined was the perfect name."
And Doc is a total font of knowledge, he just seems to have a knack of making even the most complex and dry subject seem totally fascinating!
"I got into tech as a kid, and then I discovered the computer lab in school and I was hooked. When MTV came out all anyone wanted to do was make music videos, so I got into learning how to shoot videos and take pictures so I could promote my small band."
Doc and I have lots in common, especially on the music front. We are also both recovering perfectionists who are trying to approach live shows with confidence.
What Tech do You Need to go Live?
Listen at [15:46]
For many people, a lack of understanding around what tech to use holds them back from starting their live show.
So, first let’s look at what you actually need to go live.
Of course, you could go live with just your phone. You shouldn’t let a lack of gear hold you back. But if you have a little bit of a budget, there are lots of things you can do to level up your live shows.
If you had absolutely no gear, what would be the first three or four things that you should invest in?
Doc says, when it comes to choosing what tech to use for your live show the first place you need to start is with that piece of equipment between your left and right ear. Your mindset! The majority of failure comes from just thinking about it wrong.When it comes to choosing what tech to use for your live show the first place you need to start is with that piece of equipment between your left and right ear. The majority of failure comes from just thinking about it wrong. @docrockClick To Tweet
Well that’s great, we all have a brain in our heads that we can use - so that’s the first thing that you need to go live!
"Once you get started it’s time to put in some work. The people that have been at this for a while tend to make it look easy. But it’s like basic buttercream, it’s one of the simplest things to make but it can go horribly wrong. So you have to be ready to do some work."
Great, you’ve got a brain in your head, and you are ready to get to work, so what do you need next?
"I would tell anybody who is just getting started to spend nothing else until they have an M1 Mac Mini, as it is a small, powerful and affordable piece of equipment that you can run your entire studio off of. That way you have a dedicated machine."
I had PCs for decades and I still like Windows (honestly!) but since I switched over to Mac in 2016, I’ve been so much more productive. This also allows me to use Ecamm Live which is Mac only.
Doc recommends that you get the baseline M1 processor and install Chrome, Ecamm Live and nothing else (no matter how tempted you are) and use that for streaming your live show.
Macs are not known for their affordability, however, some of the new Macs are surprisingly affordable and a great option. Especially the new M1 Mac Mini, which costs under $700 or £700.
If you can, he would recommend that you get a desktop rather than a laptop. The reason being is that the airflow is better on a desktop, and therefore, they run more efficiently.
Other laptops will do the job (although you can’t use Ecamm with a PC), however it’s not what Doc would recommend.
How to Deal with an Ecamm Live Delay?
Listen at [27:19]
Sometimes when streaming there can be a delay between your audio and your video, and the video can take a little bit longer to process.
So how can you fix this?
In Ecamm there's a great feature in preferences that allows you to delay your microphone by a couple of frames or more.
"Every device you have will add a little latency to it, because it has to round trip to that device. So, it’s going to add a little bit of change just due to the fact that it’s processing sounds."
There is really no way out of this, even if you are using million dollar recording equipment. You just have to edit it, or plan for a delay in how you talk or play your live show.
If you have this issue and you think it’s abnormal, then submit a support ticket to Ecamm, and by all means Doc or someone on the team will check to see that everything is set up correctly.
How to use Ecamm & Restream Together
Listen at [30:39]
At the moment, Ecamm only streams to one destination. However, it works really well with Restream which allows you to stream to multiple platforms, and you have access to all the comments across different platforms during the live stream.
I use Ecamm as my switcher, my studio and my production, and then let Restream send it out to other places. As a bonus, Restream gives me a high definition back-up recording of the stream.For live streaming I use Ecamm as my switcher, my studio and my production, and then let Restream send it out to other places. As a bonus, Restream gives me a 4k back-up recording of the stream. @docrockClick To Tweet
What’s really great about doing it this way is that Restream converts the video into the appropriate format for each platform, so it allows you to maintain the quality of the video while easily repurposing your content.
Because Restream runs on your browser rather than as a desktop app, it can do all the multi-streaming in the cloud so you don’t need as powerful a computer as you do for alternatives on the market.
- Related content: How to use Ecamm Live & Resteam together
How Much RAM is Required for Live Streaming?
Listen at [33:02]
This is one that we get asked a lot: “How much memory do you need to live stream.”
And the follow up question to that is: “Do we need to think about the GPU?”
The CPU is the Central Processing Unit, the “brain” of your computer. This does all the hard work and processing on your computer.
The GPU is the Graphics Processing Unit, which is commonly referred to as a graphics card and is used to render images and videos.
"We don’t speak directly to the GPU with Ecamm or streaming in general, so it doesn’t matter. But certain things that we are using have a lot of contact with the CPU."
I have always said that 8Gb of RAM is not enough, I’ve always recommended 16Gb, 32Gb or even 64Gb. However, with the new M1 Mac processors, you might not need all that memory anymore.
"Even people using Mac were using an Intel processor up until recently. The new M1 processor doesn’t work the way the old x86 processor does. So the new 8Gb Mac feels like the equivalent of the 32Gb RAM. I got the 16Gb RAM for the resale value, but if you can’t afford it then you can get away with 8Gb RAM. Your computer won’t be slower because of it."
So, the main thing to focus on here is CPU as the GPU for streaming isn’t really going to affect you, it will mainly come into play if you do a lot of video or photo editing.
How Many Connectors do You Need for Live Streaming?
Listen at [41:26]
There are loads of ports on computers, and people get really confused about what is necessary and what is not.
Especially with the new M1, which can only fit a certain number of displays.
"USB-C is the physical shape of the hole and the ports, it is incredibly flexible and covers everything from power delivery to data transfer. The USB 4.0 is the latest version and it’s way faster. So, where people get stuck is they see the Mac, and it only has two holes in the back and they think they can only plug in two things, not realising that the two holes are way more powerful than what you would get on an older model."
Thunderbolt 3 and Thunderbolt 4 both use the USB-C type connector, but they provide a much faster connection.
To expand the number of Thunderbolt ports, you will need a good quality hub.
This means you are not limited to what connectors you have on your computer. You can increase the number of Thunderbolt 3 or 4 ports this way and it allows you to plug in your mic, camera and maybe a stream deck if you are using one. You can only plug in one extra display to the M1 MacBook Air, MacBook Pro and iMac. The M1 allows you to connect two - one via HDMI and one via Thunderbolt. But with a DisplayLink adapter you can plug in more, and I’ve seen people connect over 4 displays to their M1 Macs.
What Camera & Microphone Set-Up Does Doc Rock Use?
Listen at [54:12]
Doc has an amazing camera and background set up.
"I use a Sony A6400 which goes into a camlink 4k and then into a OWC Thunderbolt three dock so that I can stream from the Mac Mini."
Again, the microphone is another thing that is really important and that people tend to ask a lot about.
"I use the Shure SM7B. I used to wonder if it was overrated, but now I understand why pretty much any radio station in the world uses one of three microphones, including this one."
So, hopefully that has helped you understand a little more about the tech that goes into a live show. It really doesn’t have to be too complicated, and you certainly shouldn’t let it hold you back.
This Episode's Sponsors
This episode is sponsored by Restream
Watch Episode 120
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Who is Doc Rock?
Doc Rock is a thinker, a creator, a maker. He sees the world as a place full of possibilities. He’s on a mission to touch the lives of a billion people through collaborating and sharing stories and ideas. He’s a YouTuber, trainer, speaker, podcaster, moderator and designer.