Now an integral part of modern video production, livestreaming takes many forms – from a simple single-camera vlogging setup to a more complex multi-cam livestream for a university lecture or house of worship event. There are a number of livestreaming workflows that can be adopted too, but the basic setup requires a camera, a microphone, a computer and a hardware or software encoder to convert the video into a format that can be streamed. For the distribution side of things, you'll need a streaming platform that allows you to broadcast your video, as well as a stable internet connection.
All types of cameras can be used for livestreaming, but a professional camcorder is a great all-in-one solution as it offers the flexibility of a built-in optical zoom, XLR terminals for professional audio, mains power and a range of connectivity options. As well as having HDMI Out, camcorders such as the Canon XA75 and XA70 are equipped with a more robust SDI Out connection, plus a USB video class (UVC) compliant USB-C connection that enables the camera to work with most popular streaming software without the need for extra drivers.
Cameras such as the Canon XF605 camcorder and Canon CR-N500 PTZ camera also feature a built-in Ethernet port for Internet Protocol (IP) streaming. Connecting the camera to a Local Area Network (LAN) and using an IP-based livestreaming software solution enables high-quality video to be streamed more efficiently over longer distances using a greater number of cameras and fewer cables. Ultimately, the streaming bitrate – how many bits of information are sent to the streaming platform each second, usually expressed in megabits per second (Mbps) for video – will determine the quality of your livestream. The video resolution, frame rate and internet upload speed have an impact on the bitrate, and streaming platforms can have different bitrate recommendations too.
There are various delivery methods for an encoded livestream, including Real-Time Messaging Protocol (RTMP) and Secure Reliable Transport (SRT) Protocol. RTMP is an established protocol that enables high-quality, low latency streaming. Latency is the lag between the camera capturing the video and the stream being displayed to viewers. A higher latency can be a problem if you're interacting with viewers, but a low latency can result in increased playback buffering. SRT is a popular new streaming protocol that provides stable, high quality connectivity while requiring less data transmission than RTMP.