One of the most important elements of any game stream is the video. With millions of gamers streaming popular titles like World of Warcraft, League of Legends and Fortnite, a lot of livestreams tend to look pretty similar. A high-quality video feed is a great way to personalize your stream and connect with your audience.
Setting up a video rig for live streaming can be a bit intimidating for some gamers. Professional cameras can be expensive and complex. Not to mention how difficult it can be to properly light someone sitting at a gaming computer.
In this blog, we’ll break down everything you need to know about how to shoot professional-looking videos for game streaming on sites like Twitch, YouTube and Facebook.
The Blue Yeti X USB microphone and Logitech C922 HD webcam deliver professional audio and video quality for Twitch streams.
What Equipment Do You Need?
There are five basic elements to any streaming setup:
When it comes to cameras for game streaming, there are two basic options: a webcam or a DSLR camera. Both offer high-definition video as well as a number of useful features.
Using a Webcam for Twitch
Webcams like the Logitech StreamCam and BRIO plug directly into your computer, making them quick and easy to use. DSLR cameras offer a little more flexibility, but are more expensive and require more understanding to set up.
If you choose to use a webcam, make sure you select a model capable of capturing 1080p video at 60fps to match the quality of your game. Otherwise, the video feed will look like a blemish on an otherwise gorgeous screen.
Game graphics are better than ever now, and your video quality needs to keep up. For a list of our favorite webcams for livestreaming, check out our article on How to Stream on Twitch.
Using a DSLR Camera for Twitch
If you choose to use a DSLR camera for streaming, there are two main features you need: unlimited runtime and clean HDMI output.
Most DSLR cameras are designed for videographers, and in order to preserve battery power on remote shoots, they often feature an automatic shut off. Obviously, this would be disastrous mid-stream. Make sure your DSLR camera has an unlimited runtime option, meaning the automatic shut-off can be disabled.
Secondly, some of the more budget-conscious DSLR cameras do not allow you to remove the camera data HUD from the video image, which tarnishes your beautiful video. Make sure your DSLR has an option to output a clean HDMI signal with no overlay.
With a DSLR camera, you’ll also need to purchase a tripod to mount the camera, an external power supply to keep it running during long streaming sessions, and a capture card to get the video off of the camera and onto your computer.
Some capture cards are simple HDMI to USB or Thunderbolt converters. Others are comprehensive media hubs capable of 4K UHD capture at 60fps. Expect to spend between $75 and $200 for a quality capture card.
Regardless of which type of camera you use, you’re going to need some video lighting. A simple search on Amazon will reveal an array of popular lighting kits, most of which include “softbox” fixtures to provide diffused light for a softer, more natural look.
Another popular option is the “ring light”; an affordable, compact circular LED light designed for modern content creators. Ring lights are great for filming in smaller spaces, as they can be placed much closer to the subject than traditional lights.
OK, you’ve got the lights; you’ve got the camera. You know what comes next right? Setting it all up!
Blue Yeti USB microphone and Logitech C922 HD webcam, available in the Pro Streamer Pack.
How To Set Up The Camera
Whether you’re using a high-quality webcam or a professional DSLR camera, the first step is connecting to your computer, either via USB or capture card. Open up your streaming software and select the camera or card as your video source.
Next, start framing your shot. The most important thing is that your camera is at eye-level. It makes people feel uncomfortable looking down at your forehead from the top of the monitor.
If you’re using a webcam, you may need to purchase an external clamp to mount the camera to the side of the monitor instead. Some webcams like the Logitech C920 can be mounted directly on a tripod or microphone stand, just like a DSLR camera.
Some streamers prefer a close-up, zoomed-in look, while others prefer to capture a wider shot with more of their room in the background. You may need to rearrange your furniture to put enough distance between yourself and the camera in order to capture the look you want.
A few simple LED lights can greatly improve the production value of your stream.
How To Set Up The Lights
Lights are absolutely vital to any streaming setup. Streaming sessions are typically too long to rely on steady natural light, and overhead lights are often harsh and unflattering. Thankfully, video lighting doesn't have to be expensive or elaborate. With a single ring light or softbox, you can significantly improve the video quality of your stream.
Start by turning off the overhead lights and placing a light directly behind the camera. Try to get as much light on the subject as possible. Placing an additional light source to the side or even behind the subject can help add definition. Just make sure that the foreground is always brighter than the background.
For more information on how to start a Twitch stream, including our favorite streaming software, the best Twitch extensions and how to make money on Twitch, check out our step- by-step guide to streaming on Twitch.