Modern training and seminars are increasingly taking place in the form of live webinars via the Internet. With our Live Stream Hosting, we offer you an optimal basis for creating and offering your live webinars and show you what equipment you need beyond that.
Why offer live webinars?
The Internet plays a very central role in today’s modern world. More and more services and products are being used or purchased via the World Wide Web. Participation in training, seminars, courses or presentations via the Internet in the form of webinars is also on the rise. This is not surprising, because webinars offer participants the great advantage that no time-consuming and cost-intensive travel is necessary. In contrast to a face-to-face seminar, participation is not tied to a specific location.
As an organizer or provider of seminars and training courses, you also benefit from the use of webinars. Because they are not tied to a specific location, you can address a much larger group of participants. In addition, webinars often involve less on-site organization. Only the technical framework conditions have to ensure a smooth course of events and be geared to the expected number of participants.
What equipment is needed for live webinars?
In order to create and offer live webinars, you need a service to broadcast the livestream to viewers. In addition, you need a sufficiently fast Internet line and suitable streaming hardware.
Live Stream Hosting to broadcast your live webinar
Our streaming servers are the optimal link between your webinar leaders and the participants. You can easily integrate your live webinar into your website via our Video Live Stream Hosting or alternatively have us create an individual landing page with password protection. During the term of one month each, you can create and offer as many live webinars as you like. We will provide sufficient resources for your desired number of participants during this period. Via the optional chat room, your webinar participants can ask questions and interact with each other despite the physical distance. Our servers are hosted in the EU.
Before your live webinar reaches the attendees, it must be delivered to the streaming server through your internet line. A suitable upload speed of your internet line is essential for a smooth transmission. The higher the desired resolution of the video image, the higher the upload speed must be.
The actual upload speed of your internet line may differ from the one advertised by the internet provider. Therefore, before creating and hosting a live webinar, it is recommended to perform an internet speed test.
Streaming hardware on site
By means of a video encoder, image and sound of your live webinar are received and sent to our streaming server. The webinar is accessible to your viewers from there. You can use both software encoders and hardware encoders to transmit the image and sound. The only important thing is that the signal is sent to the streaming server in RTMP format. In addition, compatibility with the rest of your equipment (camera, microphone, etc.) is essential.
Software encoders: There are different and partly free video encoders as software that you can install on your computer. Since live streaming encoding is very computationally intensive, your hardware must be correspondingly powerful. A free software encoder is for example OBS Studio. This is ideal for creating and offering live webinars, as you can create multiple scenes with different image and sound sources and switch between them at any time during the webinar. This allows you to show a wide variety of content such as videos, presentation slides, images or the image from your own camera in different scenes or combine several of them in one scene. It is also possible to record the webinar via OBS Studio. Since working with the streaming software requires some practice, you should familiarize yourself with it in good time before holding your first webinar.
Hardware encoders: Hardware encoders are additional hardware that is responsible for encoding. Pure encoders, such as the LiveU Solo, do not require a computer or additional encoding software. If you want to create different scenes for the webinar, as with the software encoder, you will need additional image mixer software. Alternatively, you can also use OBS Studio to create the scenes here. Other hardware, such as the ATEM Mini Pro from Blackmagic Design, combines video mixer and video encoder and can be controlled via additional software on the computer.
For creating and offering a live webinar, we recommend using a sufficiently powerful computer in combination with streaming software like OBS Studio. The handling of a software encoder is usually easier compared to hardware encoders. In addition, the variant is cheaper to purchase if a computer with sufficient performance is already available.
Since the focus of a webinar is usually on the speaker’s speech, a microphone with good sound quality should definitely be selected. Integrated notebook, camera and webcam microphones usually do not offer high-quality sound and can only filter out background noise insufficiently. They are therefore not recommended for creating and hosting a webinar. An external microphone is better suited.
Basically, microphones can be divided into condenser and dynamic microphones. Condenser microphones have a high sensitivity and offer a greater degree of detail, especially in the high frequency range. They therefore reproduce the speaker’s voice in great detail, but also pick up a lot of background noise due to their sensitivity. Dynamic microphones are generally less sensitive and therefore noise, background noise and reverberation are less of a problem for them. For this reason, dynamic microphones tend to be the better choice unless the webinar room is designed for good recording quality.
The correct positioning of the microphone is also important for good sound quality. The closer it is to the source of the sound, the better the sound tends to be. Headset and lavalier microphones (clip-on microphones) offer the advantage that they can be positioned directly at the mouth. As a rule, these are condenser microphones. However, due to the positioning directly at the mouth, background noise is not as noticeable.
USB microphones already have an audio interface integrated and can therefore be connected directly to your computer. In contrast, XLR microphones require a separate audio interface. In principle, good sound quality can be achieved with both types. However, high-quality microphones usually have an XLR connector.
In principle, any camera is suitable for creating and offering a live webinar. You can use cameras in smartphones, tablets or notebooks in your webinar just as much as webcams, action cams, camcorders or professional film or SLR cameras. Ultimately, it depends on your individual requirements for image quality and the desired image detail which camera is best suited for creating and offering your live webinar.
However, it can generally be said that only poor image quality can usually be achieved with integrated cameras in notebooks. It is also more difficult to position integrated cameras optimally. Those who value a good picture and perfect positioning are better served with the other options. Smartphone and tablet cameras, for example, have become better and better over time and deliver an adequate picture, provided it is a fairly new model with a good camera. An inexpensive solution can also be an external webcam, because even with cheaper models, a quite good picture can be achieved in some cases. Due to big differences in the picture quality, this should be tested beforehand in any case. Action cams can also produce a high-quality image. If you have even higher demands and want to spend a bit more, you can also buy a camcorder or a professional film or SLR camera.
It is important to mention that even the best camera cannot produce a good image if the light is not sufficient or falls unfavorably. So before buying a new camera, if the current model does not deliver the desired image quality, always make sure that the lighting has been optimized as best as possible.
Webcams usually have a USB output and can be connected to a computer via the USB input. If your camera has an HDMI or SDI output, an HDMI/SDI to USB converter is also required for connection to the computer.
In addition to the camera, a tripod is recommended for optimal and stable positioning.
As mentioned earlier, proper lighting is important for creating and delivering a live webinar. This aspect is often neglected, but it is essential so that the camera can take a good picture at all. You should not only rely on existing lighting or daylight. Natural daylight is basically a good source of light, but depending on the time of day or season, the light varies greatly and is therefore difficult to control. Existing lighting such as ceiling lights or desk lamps also often cast unflattering shadows or only provide selective illumination.
Optimal lighting for your live webinar can be achieved with additional light sources (photo/video lights) that are positioned behind the camera and explicitly illuminate the presentation area. LED panels or ring lights are popular solutions here.
Mobile complete solution
As a complete mobile solution, we have designed a streaming backpack including hardware encoder, camera (with high-quality integrated microphone), LTE modems, tripod and battery for up to 12 hours of self-sufficient live streaming. This is ideal for creating and hosting your live webinars if you prefer a high-quality, mobile and ready-to-go solution.