A month into my personal COVID-19 lockdown, I received a call from a former collaborator seeking consultations for her Facebook Live broadcasts. She focused on three specific areas– background, lighting, and equipment. She had already done a Facebook Live broadcast that I checked into briefly and told her that I saw no real issues other than the audio echoed a bit. Turns out she is only using the microphone on her phone or her computer because she wasn’t sure what to purchase for better audio.
She was disappointed to hear that it would be near impossible to determine all her needs without doing an on-site visit because of all the various factors including existing lighting in her home that would change through out the day. Given that I’m asthmatic, I wasn’t able to do that so I gave her a few recommendations. As far as lighting, she had a ring light she felt burned her face off, but without seeing they type of light, it was difficult to know how she had it set up. I did give her my preference for a full phone setup, which you can find HERE. She then explained that she didn’t want to use her phone because she needed to be closer to read comments from participants. I recommended simultaneously using a tablet since I’m not sure the reasons she couldn’t read comments with her current setup.
When I finished my recommendations, I reminded her that Facebook Live broadcasts weren’t intended to be the prettiest things on earth. Not even it’s cousin the webinar shared the same top quality as say YouTube videos where production is more high-functioning. This disappointed her, which I could understand. She and I both grew up in a time when any kind of broadcast required the best background, lighting, audio (though I will argue that still counts), and perfect editing. What hasn’t changed over the years is the amount of planning that is required before going live. Anyone who is going to broadcast should do research on their topic of discussion and have talking points in hand.
Okay, let’s show how pretty Facebook Live IS NOT!
Here is the the Altra Daily Dose with Ian Sharman, ultarunner & coach, dressed as Elvis in his workout room. A few things to note. This background is appropriate to the topic, in this case working out. The lighting is ho-hum, but the audio is impeccable so people can hear what he’s saying, and he has his talking points. But is it pretty video? Absolutely not!
Now compare this to a Pagesculptor Studios Facebook Live Feed. I’ll even show you a particularly terrible one that happened the day my basement was flooding. I wanted to talk about promoting businesses from our closets. Note the bad lighting. I have on no makeup and hadn’t done much with my hair. I am wearing headphones so I could walk around while keeping good audio. And though I didn’t keep to my talking points as well as Ian (no surprise there), I did have a topic of conversation.
Now I have not doubt my former collaborator will want to invest in the equipment and setup for higher quality broadcasts because she has goals to create videos for YouTube. However, I think the low-key feel of Facebook Live is a great place to get comfortable experiment with audio, delivery, and topic exploration. Now is even a great time to research the type of equipment needed for YouTube production and live streaming. However, unless you are tech savvy and want to dedicate a lot of time, it might be best to wait until you can get someone to help you with setup.