Board Game Streaming Live Set-Up
This is something that I need to get scheduled again, doing more Malts and Meeples streaming. I’m trying to lock in a date, either Monday or Wednesday to try and do some sort of streaming for 30 minutes to an hour and a half depending on what I’m streaming each week. First thing will be my unboxing for Dice Throne Adventures, it’s sitting there teasing me. But I thought it would be good to talk about what I use for streaming. If you want another opinion on it, you can checkout a video that GloryHoundd did a while back.
Now, you can go with a lot of different types of computers. Some people do a laptop, personally I go with a desktop computer. Then there’s also the debate between Mac or PC. Personally, you can’t go wrong with either. I know some people will swear by one or the other, but I’ve used both in my video days, and the differences are so minimal it doesn’t matter. What you are looking for when streaming though is a fast processor and ram. Streaming shouldn’t be hitting the hard drive much at all, if you can help it, because that’s going to be the slowest part of your system. This is unfortunately an area that I’m less well versed in, but a solid gaming computer is going to have enough for a decent stream.
The camera can actually be one of the priciest items of the set-up. A lot of big streamers will use a nice $5,000 plus dollar camera for their streaming. And going up to 4k can push it well beyond that. But since people watch a lot of stuff on their phones, right now I don’t think you need to go nearly that fancy. In fact, you can probably get away with one $100 web cam if you want. That’ll be good enough to show off your game. I go with two cameras personally, I have a web cam, and compact video camera that I use for my overhead shot. The reason for this is that it gives me better zoom control, and I like to be on camera as I’m playing also. You can also use a DSLR, there are a few things to consider with that, though, you need to trick them into not shutting off while you are streaming because what is being shown is the display. Connecting a data cable can do that. You can use a cheap tripod with your camera to make it work.
So sound is an interesting one. When I first set mine up and did some tests, I tried using my sound board to be able to control it better, but the sound board was processing the sound too slowly so that by the time it got to the computer, it was out of sync. Right now, and for a beginner, just use the sound off of a web cam. As long as it’s not picking up too much background noise, you’re going to be fine.
This, again, can cost a lot, if you want it to. Personally, I’m using a fairly classic lighting style where I have three points of lighting, this helps cut down on shadows. I have one over my left shoulder, one in front of me and one to the right. This is overkill for what you need to start. A $50 ring light (or even cheaper) is what you need. You want to limit the amount of light that you have in the room as much as possible and be able to highlight it by putting the light on the game. The better lit the game is, the clearer it will show on camera. But don’t point the light directly at the board, doing that will cause glare off of the board and flood parts of the image with too much light so that it’s a white out. I think my full ight set-up cost me $250, which isn’t bad, but I was able to find some cheap LED lights a while ago.
This is where it can be really nice. You can just use a free piece of software like Streamlabs OBS. This will give you a nice free set-up to layer on different levels of video and text. You can also use overlays with it as well. But Streamlabs OBS is nice because it connects up really easily to either Twitch or YouTube. There are a lot of different versions of the OBS software, but I’m really liking Streamlabs and it’s working quite smoothly.
Is That All You Need?
No, that’s more than you need, at the start, if you want, you can simply go with a good computer and a web cam on a tripod pointed at the table with the Streamlabs OBS software. However, that is going to look a little bit rough, so I do really recommend the two cameras and a ring light, so not counting a computer, you can probably get started for $200-300.
But I didn’t mention one part of streaming that you have to think about. And that is talking on camera. I don’t have an issue talking on camera. But for some people that’s a big thing talking on camera. And no matter who you are, myself included, it does take some time to figure out what being on camera feels like. I might be pretty comfortable, but what makes an entertaining patter going throughout the streaming. It’s a lot of work to fill in dead time in a game. What do you chat about in Onirim when you’re shuffling cards for the 30th time in one game (might not be that much but still it’s a lot). How are you entertaining others. Now, you might be like myself where I started my channel, honestly, for myself, because at least streaming I have a pretend audience out there whom I could interact with in the moment, and now I’ve actually had some people join in which is great. But be yourself on camera and that’s going to be the hardest part to get the right amount of entertaining, but that is something that only comes with practice.
Would you consider streaming board games, do you now? Let me know your YouTube or Twitch channel in the comments below.