Facebook Live Streaming came out just before I attended the RNC National Convention this year. It was perfect timing because Facebook Live is a fantastic way to share with your friends any event you are experiencing.
Here are some of the things I’ve learned that can let you jump straight to great event Live Stream results:
- If your video is going to last more than a couple of minutes, use a tripod. Your viewers (and your arms) will thank you. When I can, I use a full size tripod since that gives more height and placement options. When I cannot use a full size tripod, a mini tabletop one still makes a huge difference. The Neewer Adjustable mini tripod I use sells on Amazon for around $6. No matter what tripod you use you’ll want a clamp to hold your phone on the tripod. I really like the Gosky Rotatable Tripod Adapter for Smartphone, available for around $10. It offers multiple ways to mount your camera, allows for changing from vertical to horizontal without messing with the tripod, and can hold phones as big as the iPhone 6s Plus. The Neewer/Gosky combo is great to have available because even with the clip, when fully collapsed it can easily fit into most bags and be carried in most pockets.
- Even if you use a tripod, be sure to keep the phone near you. I’ve had videos interrupted by phone calls coming in for too long. It doesn’t seem to be a problem if I quickly decline the call though. Of course, make sure your phone is in silent mode, or the even better “do not disturb” mode before you begin broadcasting so you’re not embarrassed by incoming text or call sounds.
- Use your camera in vertical mode unless you must absolutely do otherwise. Because of how Facebook displays the videos, you’re better off panning the room with the camera vertical than you are filming the entire thing with the camera horizontal. If you film with the camera in vertical mode, the picture will fill the entire frame of your friends’ news feeds while they scroll through on their phones. Studies have shown the difference between vertical and horizontal video can result in as much as a 900% difference in interaction (views, comments, likes, etc.).
- Do what you can to make the audio as loud as possible. Ideally have the phone fairly close to either the person being featured on the video, or one of the speakers broadcasting the sound for the event. Sometimes for whatever reason you can’t do anything to improve it, but the quality of the sound makes a huge difference in people’s enjoyment of a video. It seems to help if I put the phone upside down on the tripod so that the phone’s microphone is facing upward toward the overhead speakers. The Facebook app rotates in response, so there’s no downside to doing so. Just be careful that you dot place the phone so that the clamp presses down on the volume or power-off buttons on your phone.
- Start a post in the Facebook application on the phone by clicking in the “what’s on your mind?” field at the top of your news feed – NOT by clicking on the Live video icon.
- Click on the button at the top of the page and set the audience you want for the video. Except in rare cases you’ll want the audience to be Public so that people can see and share your videos. One great tip while you’re first learning is to change the audience to “Only me” so you can practice without the world seeing your first couple of tries.
- Type in a good description of the event in the “What’s on your mind?” field so people can decide whether to watch the video and can find it when they search for related items. If your video is related to a trending hashtag that people will search for, use that in your description to increase the number of people who will find and watch your video.
- Click on the “Add to your post” line at the bottom of the screen.
- Use the “Tag friends” button to tag everyone you know who is at the same event with you. This will make it easier for your friends to find the video of the event they attended – and for them to share it if they would like (assuming you set the audience to Public). It will also increase the number of other people who will find and watch your video.
- Use the “Check in” button to add the name of the location where the event is being held. This will often get the location itself to share your video, and will make it so people searching Facebook for information about that venue will see your video as well.
- Now you’re ready to click on the “Live Video” button! It defaults to bringing up a selfie video (the app assumes you want to use the front facing camera on the phone). Click on the double arrow icon in the top right of the screen to change the app to using the rear facing camera (it will record a much higher quality video).
- Put the phone in the clip on the tripod and make sure the video picture is framed as you’d like, then click “Go Live”. The app will do a countdown and begin broadcasting live. You’ll see your friends comment and like your video as they find it and respond. (See great suggestions below about things you can do during the filming to increase viewership even more.)
- When you’re ready to stop broadcasting, click on the “Finish” button in the bottom right, then click not he little “save to phone” icon if you want to keep a copy of the video you made (which I recommend unless you just don’t have room on your phone’s memory to do so), and click on “Post”.
That’s it! Follow these simple steps and you’ll have a high quality video that dozens, hundreds, or thousands of people will see. Happy filming!
A friend and Facebook Live broadcaster extraordinaire added these suggestions, all of which are great ideas to keep in mind also:
I try to place my phone on the tripod in such a way that I can still type in the comments section to respond to questions asked during the broadcast (when wifi isn’t available for my computer).
There have been a few times I went “live” too fast to label anything. Thankfully, fb lets us edit the posts. When that happens, I try to explain in the comments what is going on.
Try to pan the room [slowly] at the beginning of the video to give the viewers a sense of the atmosphere.
I also learned that you can zoom in/out by using your fingers to pinch out/in. That may vary depending on your phone, though.
You can greatly increase views by adding a comment under the video asking people to share it while you’re broadcasting.
I have noticed that if someone messages me on fb messenger, I can respond to the message on my phone w/o interrupting the stream.