When people watch live video, they expect to see an excellent quality video. Great quality can attract and keep your audience involved.
There are ways in which we can take steps to improve our video quality. I have listed the major ones in this blog post.
If you follow these tips, your live video quality should improve.
The video bitrate determines the quality of a live broadcast. Video bitrate is the speed at which your video is transferred from your computer to BeLive. High internet speeds give high quality.
Full HD 1080p processes and transmits twice as many pixels as HD 720p!
If we were using OBS, Xsplit or Vmix, we would have to work out the broadcast’s optimum settings.
BeLive does all the optimizing for us, shielding us from the intricacies of live broadcasting.
We do have choices in terms of the screen’s resolution, which is the only selection we need to make.
There are also actions we can take outside the studio, which will affect the video quality.
Once you’re in the studio, you can select the resolution that you want for your camera.
Suppose you have an older PC or Mac and experience lagging problems, lower the resolution to 480p. While you can still choose to live stream in 720p, you may experience some issues including blurriness or freezing.
Newer PCs with 8 gigabytes of ram and fast processors can broadcast at 720p, the HD standard on Facebook. With 16 gigabytes of ram and an upload speed of over 12 Mbps, however, you can broadcast at 1080p on the BeLive Pro plan to Facebook and Youtube. Full HD is the best broadcasting quality available.
The higher the resolution, the more video data needs to be processed by your machine and transferred over the internet. The video quality improves when you have a more detailed resolution.
The system which allows transmission of video and audio is WebRTC. WebRTC was developed numerous years ago by Google. They then released the code to developers around the world to maintain. BeLive works best in a Chrome browser which is also a Google product.
Software houses have taken the WebRTC system and rewritten it for their use. But at its heart, it is still Google technology.
The state of your computer plays a huge role in your live streaming quality. There are several browser-related actions you can take to improve live stream quality.
1. Clear cache
Your browser cache collects items as you browse the internet, creating a history of the pages you have visited. It does so to speed up browser operation if you visit a site for a second time or more. If you clear your cache regularly, you can release memory and improve your video quality. I make a habit of emptying my cache weekly except for the cookies.
2. Limit opened tabs when live
Every tab you have open in your Chrome browser uses memory and resources. The more tabs you have open, the fewer the resources available for live streaming.
When I live stream, I have two tabs open. One is my BeLive studio, and the other is Facebook messenger. I always close other tabs that I don’t really need during the stream.
3. Do not watch yourself on Facebook or Youtube whilst you are broadcasting
The temptation is to watch yourself on Facebook and Youtube; we all love to see our live broadcast. We are putting an unnecessary strain on our computer system when you open a window to watch yourself.
In your broadcast studio, you are uploading your video feed to BeLive and downloading the composited video; You may have up to 4 assets on screen.
If you are watching the broadcast on Facebook, you are downloading the same combined screen from Facebook. Monitoring yourself uses a lot of your computer resources.
The same thing happens when you live and monitor yourself on YouTube.
It is better to use these resources in your studio.
The time lag is a problem. There is a lag between what is happening in the studio and the broadcast on Facebook and Youtube.
When you go live, one video signal and one audio signal are transmitted to Belive.If there are four people on screen, four video and four audio signals are transmitted. These are processed by BeLive and sent to Facebook, Facebook processes them and displays them on the destination you selected.
The processing and transmission lead to a delay between your studio and Facebook.
Watching a live feed which is 20 seconds behind your studio is not a good idea. It also wastes valuable computer resources and could degrade your video quality.
4. Browser extensions
Browser extensions are a great idea and add resources whilst we are surfing,
If an extension is active, it starts working as soon as you open your browser and finishes when you close it.
Browser extensions also use up resources. If there is an extension you rarely use – switch it off and switch it back on only when you need it. I am going to check my extensions right now!
5. Screen sharing
Screen sharing helps you to tell your stories, but it can consume a lot of your browser resources.
Best practice to preserve your resources is to share one screen at a time. Start the screen share, tell your story, then proceed to the next screen share. Experiment to see which ways suits you best.
One of the significant factors in video quality is your network at home or in your business.
Network quality is totally under your control, and there are many options.
- The best is ethernet cabling; your connection to the internet is hard wired to your router. It will give you a steady internet.
- The next best is using wifi. I am on wifi, and I use Deco to provide my wifi hardware. Keep in mind the WiFi signal isn’t as strong as a cabled connection.
I have one wifi box in my office; one in Angelika’s office and one downstairs. It is not as good as wired networks, but it works well. Angelika can teach online whilst I am broadcasting.
Your Internet Service Provider (ISP) determines the speed of your network. Speed can be strongly influenced by where you live. We should try and obtain the fastest connection we can from our ISP.
Generally speaking, the faster your internet, the better your video quality is. If you cannot access good speeds, then you can tether your mobile phone to your computer and use that signal to broadcast.
Other Users Online
We all experience the situation that everyone in the house is using the internet, forcing us to share our bandwidth whilst we are live.
Someone may be watching Netflix, Amazon Prime or playing games online. Other internet users reduce the resources available to your broadcast, and your video quality can fluctuate. I try to broadcast at a quiet time in the house.
Before we got Deco, I used to tell Angelika I was going live for an hour and could she help by not uploading/downloading videos. In return, when Angelika was teaching, I did not watch Amazon Prime.
BeLive Network Quality Meter
You will have noticed an icon top left of the broadcast screen in your Studio.
When it comes to troubleshooting, the biggest challenge begins. Broadcasting is a complex process influenced by many factors, so you never know where to start. However, experience shows that most of the time, what causes these problems is connection.
You can read all about the meter here.
When we start broadcasting, we use our machine’s internal camera,
The internal camera on your machine may broadcast at Full HD, depending on the specification.
The blog post Which Camera To Use For Full HD Live Streaming gives details of the options when we decide to upgrade to an external camera.
Test Thoroughly and Often
There is nothing more soul-destroying or reputation-damaging than low-quality video.
It is a bad experience for everyone, but we cannot prevent the tech gremlins causing the occasional bad broadcast.
I test my broadcasting setup at least once per week, and that prevents unexpected results. Test everything you are going to use in next weeks broadcasts.
Finally, REBOOT YOUR MACHINE BEFORE EVERY LIVE BROADCAST.
Steven is part of BeLive’s marketing team as a content writer. He lives in Wiltshire England close to Stonehenge, He broadcasts 6 times a week on BeLive and is an admin of the Belivers group on Facebook. He enjoys being out in the countryside and marathon walking.