Live streaming sports is no longer the field of play for major TV channels. In fact, with tech gears and software for broadcasting becoming much more affordable, live sports streaming is now accessible for local and collegiate teams. We’ll show you how to live stream sports events without breaking the bank.
During the social distancing period in which a slew of sports games have been moved to online platforms, many small and medium sports organizations have found ways to reach their spectators without having to splurge on expensive equipment. Thanks to sports live sports streaming and the convenience of mobile devices, laptops, and smart TVs, you can now showcase to any fans in the world what your players can do.
In this blog, we will cover six steps you can take for live streaming a sports event, even when you’ve never done it before.
Step 1: Get Your Video Hardware Ready
Your cameras are one of the essential pieces of equipment to help produce crisp, vivid and professional live stream videos. Your crew should invest in more than one camera to capture as much footage and angles throughout the game.
You should aim at cameras that record at least Full High-Definition (FHD) videos, or 1920×1080 or 1080p. Better yet, use 4K cameras (or Ultra High-Definition). Most major televisions use 4K cameras for sports (and other types of filming). So if your budget allows, invest in 4K cameras so that your video appears in the clearest and most polished quality.
Frame rate is another element to consider when choosing a camera. Sports activities are all about motions. So the higher the frame rate your camera supports, the more dynamic your game will turn out on the screen. A 30fps rate could make fast actions blurry. So the best frame rate to aim at is 60 fps.
Zoom and Focus
Zoom and focus are also important. Sports games, like soccer, hockey or American football, are often filmed from afar. A camera with a good amount of zoom capacity will capture close-up shots without pixelating the objects. So when you pick a camera, make sure that you test its zoom level, or whether you can replace it with a different zoom lens. You should also look for cameras with auto-focus. Auto-focus can dynamically adjust the sharpness of your object, instead of controlling it manually.
Depends on the game you’re live streaming, a tripod is another hardware piece to consider. For sports with regular wide shots like soccer, volleyball, basketball, you’ll need a tripod since you’ll spend most of the time standing in one place. For other types of sports like golf, since you’ll be moving with the players, a tripod may be unnecessary. And for extreme sports such as snowboarding, you may need a stabilizer to handle the shaky shots.
Step 2: Audio Hardware
Audio is an indispensable part of any sports event. Sports microphones capture the space and atmosphere of the playing field, bringing the “live” feeling to the audience at home and hook them into the energy of the game even better.
Ambience microphones, or main microphones are usually placed in a centralized location or distributed across the field. This arrangement will help pick up what’s happening during the game as well as the spatial overtones of the venue.
If there is a sports commentator in your live stream, make sure you prepare the audio input for them. For professional sports streaming, commentators usually use a lip-ribbon microphone, which has a strong noise reduction ability and wind resistance. However, if you do not want to invest in this tool, a condenser microphone can still do a decent job.
Step 3: Software Mixer and Encoder
Video mixing gives your audience a zestful, vigorous stream-watching experience. Most video mixers nowadays are already integrated with the encoding feature. A mixer/encoder will do these tasks for your live sports streaming:
- Connect your video and audio sources to one control interface
- Switch between different cameras
- Add effects like slow motion, instant replay, transitions, tiles
- Add lower-thirds or live scoreboard
If you want to go a little more high-end, add a switcher like the ATEM to get more control of your camera sources.
Here are a few software mixers and encoders we suggest:
- Open Broadcaster Software (OBS)
- Streamlabs OBS
For more details on these live streaming software programs, read our comparison here.
Step 4: Choose Your Published Platforms
Now that you’ve had your video and audio sources ready, the next step is to decide where you’re going to show your sports live stream to your audience. You can stream to any social media channel of your choice, on a website, or through an over-the-top (OTT) service.
By incorporating Castr into your sports live stream, you can multistream your game to 30+ social media platforms at the same time. Our list of supported channels includes Facebook, YouTube, Twitch, Periscope, DLive, and many more. Castr also supports embeddable HTML5 player so that you can stream to your own website without having to go through any third-party player. You can connect Castr to an OTT device like Roku, Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV Stick, or Google Chromecast and distribute to any channel of your choice.
Step 5: Run a Few Test Rounds
So many unexpected incidents can happen to your stream when going live. So it’s best to run several test rounds to make sure your cameras function as planned, your audio sources are connected to the mixer/encoder properly, your resolution settings are suitable for your video quality and internet bandwidth. And most importantly, this step helps you familiarize yourself with the streaming procedure.
Step 6: Promote Your Live Stream and Engage With Your Audience
Any content creator would like to have as much as audience tuning into their stream as possible. You may send a teaser or announcement with the link to your live stream. If you live stream to social media channels, engage with your audience through the native chat section. And if you stream to your website using Castr’s embeddable HTML5 player, you can interact with your viewers through our chat integration.
Sports live streaming is becoming more affordable and accessible. You don’t have to be in a professional television crew to host a live stream sports event. With the appropriate tech gears, broadcasting software, and the right strategy, you can easily live stream your local or collegiate game to any channels of your choice, be in social media, on-demand video, or OTT, to any region of the world.
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