Reflections on my first live stream

On June 28th 2020 I did my first livestream concert to launch my Savage Pilgrims album.  (Just press play above to watch it) Since lockdown began I've seen a lot of people do live-streaming with a really mixed bag of results. I think if it's done right it can be a valid and interesting form of art in it's own right. Not second best to a live audience gig but something different. Something special.  

However, I think some musicians have it wrong in assuming you can just point a phone and play some songs. There's a lot that needs careful thought, preparation and practice. You have to think about the framing of the shot, the background, the lighting and above all the audio. It has to sound really really good.  

And then there's the performance itself and the issue of camera eye contact.  In the same way that stage acting is different to film acting, so it is with Livestreaming. How do you get over emotion in your music, how big or small should your performance be? Finally there is the sense of community that comes from a healthy comment stream - for this I enlisted friends and family who were able to answer questions and be social.  

I certainly didn't get it all right on this first try,  The light was a little dark as the evening progressed and there were some issues with video latency/sync. But I am happy that I did the best I could with the equipment and budget I had available to me. Above all I was pleased with the response I got. The tips were extremely generous and I made as much money as I would normally make with a week of touring.  

For those that are interested I've included some technical details below. This is in the interests of community and the spirit of sharing knowledge. I am indebted to Joe Solo and Darren Poyzer who both gave generously of their time and experience to share some pointers with me about their experiences. I'd also like to thank Neil Pearson for his encouragement and advice in this. 


Audience response
The audience was consistently around 80 people for the duration of the concert.  By the end there had been over 800 comments made. As I write this 2 days after the gig Facebook is telling me it's had 1,600 views, 2,200 engagements and reached 3,400 people.

Here are some comments - 

+ A lovely evening, great stories and truly fabulous songs.   
+ I’ve watched/listened to a lot of online gigs over the last couple of months and this was honestly the best sounding online gig I’ve seen/heard by far. 
+ That was fabulous, clear and lovely on a small iPad 
+ A very professionally delivered performance - the sound and the whole presentation was a joy to watch and hear. 

Technical Information
AUDIO  : Single Condensor microphone (MXL 990) (Cost approx £75) going through a Pre Sonus Audio Box USB 96 (Cost Approx £90)
VIDEO : Used my iPhone SE as a camera using an app called 'OBS Camera' (Approx cost £17) 
COMPUTER : Toshiba Laptop running Windows 10 connected to internet with an ethernet cable (more stable than wi-fi) 
STUDIO SOFTWARE :  OBS (Open Broadcast Software) Free to download 
GRAPHIC DESIGN : Backgrounds were done using Canva.com free design website
LIGHTING : All borrowed from around the house. Main room light, Floor reading light, 2 table lamps, 1 desk lamp, 2 Chauvet Slim Par56 stage lights  
 

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