What you need to become an internet streaming star
Through conjecture, Google and a bit of trial and error, Iain Lee thinks he has the right equipment to broadcast his new show with Katherine Boyle.
The show isn’t on the radio, but the couple is broadcasting on Twitch, an Internet-based service primarily used to watch people play computer games like Fortnite,
No longer just the guest, Lee is now director of the studio, operator of cameras and lights, as well as sound technician who films, modifies and mixes the show.
“I love doing buttons, faders and all the technical stuff. I don’t understand, but I’m a big fan of failure. And oh, you feel alive when there’s an audience and it’s going wrong.” says Lee, who was once a BBC radio host.
The new show required some new equipment.
He had to buy a PC, because his iMac was not very good for playing. A decent video camera was also purchased for live streaming and recording of him and Katherine Boyle on their chat show, The Late Night Alternative, launched earlier this month.
His game capture device Elgato will help broadcast his video game.
Another computer with preloaded sounds is connected to an audio deck mixer which also feeds into the PC.
But Lee’s favorite purchase is the £ 69 ($ 90) microphone arm. It is spring loaded, hooks onto the desk and rotates silently without bouncing.
“God, getting it was the sexiest moment of my life – except when I recently labeled the thorns,” he jokes.
Lee is breaking up because he has just joined 7.1 million other streamers who came to Twitch last month, wanting to create their own home TV.
The blocks flooded Twitch and has been a boon to any company that makes equipment to help streamers. They say that sales have increased and demand has exploded.
Some were waiting for this moment.
Computer accessory companies such as Corsair and Logitech have joined many of the smaller companies that produce streaming-related transmission equipment.
Over the past three years, Logitech has acquired Jaybird headphones and Blue Yeti microphones. They also captured gaming equipment and software companies such as Streamlabs, Astro Gaming and Saitek.
Bracken Darrell, Logitech’s CEO, says he understood that streaming was a commercial opportunity when customers started using mice, keyboards and webcams to stream video games on YouTube.
Darrell says the blockade has helped people find their voice and respond to what’s going on in the world. He does not think that things will return to normal.
“You can’t put the genius back in the bottle,” he says.
John Maier, the boss of Blue Microphones, agrees. The trends observed for years have been “hypercharged”.
“People want better sound, video and a way to share them: everything went through the roof as soon as people started being at home,” says Maier.
On July 21, Logitech had a record 23% increase in sales to $ 792 million (£ 622 million).
Darrell believes streaming technology still has a long way to go before it is for everyone.
“Our whole mission is to remove the passages. So we’re not close to where transmission and streaming are easy enough. It’s still too difficult, too complicated,” he says.
The broadcaster and the famous Twitch streamer, Claire Lim, or “Wee Claire”, as it is known on Twitch, initially found it difficult to transmit when playing video games.
He started 18 months ago, playing Red Dead Redemption 2, while chatting via an old webcam.
“I kept falling off the horse and then I ran over a dog with my horse. I killed him,” he laughs. Between games, he started introducing chat sessions.
Now as a Twitch partner, he broadcasts on the platform, seamlessly switching between different graphic backgrounds, mixing the audio and calling and reacting to his followers.
Lim’s show includes different characters and its graphics are transformed to make it a “Scottish Mum” character.
He says that instead of a single TV show, it looks like it’s broadcasting an entire channel.
“I want my viewers to laugh, enjoy their time with me. I want to give them a visual party,” he says.
For this, use a streaming deck of Elgato. Much like a DJ booth for Twitch, its buttons activate stored zoom screens and warning sounds. Each print works like the audio visual queue called by a TV director in a live show.
Elgato is another company, recently acquired by Logitech’s competitor, Corsair, which has seen its fortunes take advantage of the increase in streaming during the block.
Its products were sold according to Julian Fest, general manager of Elgato.
His father Markus Fest founded the company 20 years ago, but it was around the time Twitch started in 2012 that Elgato streamed.
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After he and his father found out that their software had been pirated, they contacted illegal downloaders to find out why they were stealing the product.
“And they all came back with the same answer, oh, I’m recording my Xbox, I’m recording my PlayStation and uploading it to YouTube,” says Mr Fest.
Instead of fighting them, they built a product based on their feedback. In 2018, Elgato was sold for an undisclosed amount and Mr Fest went with him to Corsair.
As for Mr. Lee, he says the show “is going great” and the technology is holding up.
“Katherine and I have fun learning in front of everyone and I think the audience likes it. Why would anyone go to the studio to do a radio or television show? It doesn’t make sense anymore.”