On this Friday Lives episode, host Anya Razina spoke with Warren Reid, Live Streaming Ninja and Live Solutions Specialist at YouTube. They covered technical resources for YouTube creators as well as some tips and insights for Partners and Brands. Learn more about live streaming on YouTube in this article.
👀 The start of Warren’s YouTube career
Warren has a rich experience in live streaming. He started broadcasting back in 2010, just playing piano and chatting with the audience about everything. However, it wasn’t until the "Occupy Wall Street" era when Warren dove into this industry. He started professional live streaming on Ustream. Years later, the company he worked for moved to SaaS, which was not interesting for Warren. Coincidentally, at that time, YouTube opened up, and Warren was hired for a similar position. There were almost no people with relevant expertise in that field at the time, so it turned out to be a perfect match.
I shot an arrow into the dark, and thankfully it landed on a tree.
😎 Being a part of the YouTube Live Solutions Team
The YouTube Live Solutions Team is basically all-encompassing. You’re unlikely to notice them, as they “work in the shadows to serve the light.” Warren said that a big part of their work is to support the most significant events, such as music festivals or sports events.
The second part of their job is YouTube ecosystem support. It includes working with users to develop and implement new features.
We want to make sure that there’s actually demand for these features we’re building.
And the third part is educating both external parts and internal users. Warren calls this process “onboarding.” It helps new users to learn more about the YouTube Live features and internal teams to understand better how the platform works.
☝️ What do you need to start broadcasting to YouTube Live?
Warren said that onboarding is mostly about boosting confidence. Most people already have everything they need to start live streaming on YouTube.
Most people have the tools in their house to stream a professional stream. But they’re just really hesitant to hit that ‘start streaming’ button.
So, all you need to go live is a computer, a phone, and a stable internet connection. You don’t need any additional hardware or software to start. However, Warren says you’ll understand what you want to do and how to achieve it as you stream more.
The only thing you really need is a device, internet connection, and good content. And then everything else shapes around that.
A little bit more about mobiles
You can live stream with your phone on YouTube, but there are some additional steps before you broadcast.
- You need to have at least 1000 followers on your channel.
- Next is verification — for example, suppose you’re planning to do a stream tomorrow. In that case, you need to plan to enable and verify your account today because you’re not going to be able to kickstart that stream for 24 hours.
Once you’ve done these steps, feel free to go live.
⚙️ Optimal settings for going live on YouTube
Warren stated that the most important things you need to take care of are the bandwidth and your computer’s power. These factors depend on what you’re going to stream. If you want to broadcast interviews, 1080p and 3 Mbps are sufficient. But if you’re trying to live stream, let’s say, League of Legends or Call of Duty, that might not really be sufficient. You might want to bump that 1080 bitrate up to about 7 or 8 Mbps.
Your audience is also important when it comes to deciding on the quality. If most of your viewers watch YouTube from mobile phones, there’s no need for Ultra HD quality; 720p should be enough.
One more tip from Warren – make sure you at least have double the bandwidth of your pipeline. For example, if your internet bandwidth is seven megabits upload, don’t set a bit rate close to that ceiling to provide the most stable connection possible.
👍 Tips to be a successful live streamer
With more than ten years of live streaming, Warren has shared some helpful tips to help you succeed in this industry.
- Test everything. Of course, you can’t predict everything, and some troubles can and most probably will happen. However, you can minimize them with some preparation. Test the titles underneath the names, the thumbnails, the description, test everything. Tap the links you added below – maybe there’s an additional space or character somewhere. Also, test your hardware and connection. Perhaps you will find and fix some issues, and if you check it beforehand, you won’t need to do it during the live stream.
- Be genuine. Warren said that new streamers or even big companies that want to use live streaming for their marketing are convinced that everything has to be perfect and polished. But the truth is, people root for imperfection, so don’t be afraid of making mistakes.
People like seeing you unpolished, unfiltered, and raw, because they feel like they’re there in the community with you.
- Communicate. Communication differentiates live streaming from VOD content, and you should use this potential to its fullest. Creating conversation helps you build a community, reach a bigger audience, and grow your channel.
If you’re streaming and you don’t have a chat turned on, you really need to reconsider why you’re streaming in the first place.
- Be consistent. For Warren, consistency is the key. Schedule your live streams and stick to them so your audience is ready to meet you. Another piece of advice from Warren is to go live during or right after big events — for example, if you’re a gamer and there’s a big game convention or presentation. It’s a good idea to do a live stream review or reaction so people can find you and continue the conversation.
- Relax. As Warren said, you don’t have to be perfect. Also, even if you test everything, there’s still a chance you’ll face some unforeseen issues. He recommends relaxing in such situations. Instead of contributing to the emotional outbursts, channel your energy to solution-seeking. Maybe you have seen similar problems during the tests – you’ll remember it if you remain cool-headed.
- Multistream. As a part of your testing, Warren suggests trying multistreaming to find where your audience is. A big part of it might prefer YouTube, while the others use Facebook or Twitch. With Restream Studio, you can stream to all of them at the same time without any additional hardware. All you need is your browser and a little bit of your time to set everything up. Go live on multiple platforms to benefit from all of them. With Restream Events, you can add titles, change descriptions, or create short links to your live streams in one place. You can also schedule them for different times to find the best platform and the best time to live stream. With Restream Chat, you don’t need to worry about handling other chats on separate platforms. All the chats are united in one, and you can get in touch with all the viewers wherever they are.
💬 Introducing YouTube Events
Apart from YouTube Live, YouTube recently introduced Events. What’s the difference?
The first is scheduling. If you have a sequence of events, such as a music festival, or want to build a consistent streaming plan and broadcast every Friday, you can schedule them in advance. It will help your audience to set a reminder and actually join your live stream.
The second is the archive. Once your live stream is finished, your viewers can easily find them on your player page without scrolling through all of your videos.
The next benefit is promotion. You can promote each of your scheduled live streams separately and in advance, not just during the broadcast.
And last but not least is the new control room. Not only does it look better, but it also has introduced new features. For example, you can see and track metrics both for VOD and live streams. The management tools are available in this room too.
🧐 Copyright issues and how to avoid them
As we all know, YouTube has stringent rules regarding copyright infringements. Of course, there are fair-use policies, but it is not always easy to understand whether you’re breaking the rules or not. To avoid possible strikes, Warren suggests some tips:
- Check everything in advance. If you are not sure about a recording you want to play, create an additional test channel. There you can ensure everything is ok and prevent possible strikes on your main channel.
- Create playlists on different platforms and share the link in the description. Warren told us about a case of a workout channel that created an exercise playlist and shared it separately so that they weren’t broadcasting it over the airwaves.
- Get permission from the content owner. If you have permission from the content owner, they should whitelist your channel against the takedown. Once they add you to the allowlist, your channel won’t get flagged for this content.
- Consult your advisor. If you’re a DJ and use other tracks to create your content, ensure that it’s original enough and consult in advance.
- Pay attention to the live control room. If you experience some copyright issues (for example, you have a song playing in the background, and it is considered copyright infringement), you will get notifications. YouTube gives you some time to fix the problem, so don’t forget to monitor your live control room.
🙌 Wrapping up
Nowadays, YouTube does a lot to become a better and more comfortable platform for live streaming. With YouTube Events, you can now schedule sequences of live streams and promote them beforehand.
Warren encourages people to start live streaming. All you need is a device and an account (and content, of course). Later you will understand what to do to upgrade your broadcasts.
He also shared some tips for live streamers based on his experience. There’s nothing too hard. Just remind yourself to test everything in advance, communicate with the audience, be consistent, and keep calm no matter what.
Warren and Anya discussed copyright issues and how to save your channel from being flagged. To avoid any troubles, you can check your live streams on a different channel, ask content owners to allowlist your channel, or create playlists on other platforms.
Thanks to Warren for sharing all his insights about live streaming on YouTube!