9 Tips to build a great Streaming Experience
Having a strong online presence is all the rage for a tournament nowadays. What people often call “production value” encompasses all your efforts to make your event shine online. Here are our tips to build a great stream experience:
1. Assemble talents
They are your audience companions. Here are the people you need, with the most important at the top:
- Casters: The absolute basic. You can start with casters only. If they’re talented enough, they can carry the other roles as well.
- Hosts: Great to hype the event, hosts will help smoothen the experience, process and discussions.
- Analysts: like casters with less hype and more thoughts. Great to end and start a match. And give the casters some rest.
- Field Reporter: Nice addition to get on th go feelings from the players, but they require some investment, like a dedicated cameraman and more complex production work.
2. Build a great production team
And by team, we mean a dedicated, experienced stream team. The unstable nature of streaming requires fast answers to the flood of issues you'll eventually run into: DDoS, overlays modifications, sound balance… All this Live in front of viewers.
Make sure your casters and hosts get some rest: don’t assume they can also handle production while smiling and talking. A skilled crew must come on top of your list for any streaming project.
3. Framerate or resolution?
Here’s a tough decision. Everybody loves the "1080p / 60fps" pick, but not everyone can afford it. High-end streaming gear can of course output both. But most of the time, your bandwidth or computer raw power won't sustain such a massive output. So which one should you prioritize?
We think you should definitely go for framerate. The difference between 30 and 60fps is huge, especially for FPS games, whereas 720p isn’t that huge of a downgrade from 1080p, as most of your audience will watch the stream on a computer monitor, a relatively small surface compared to a full-sized television.
4. Be on time
People are impatient, especially online. On-site audience have many things to do while waiting, whereas your online audience is basically sitting at their computer, with pretty much nothing else to do. You owe them punctuality or at least, nice in-between-matches content.
5. In-between-matches content
This point may be the most important. In a way, you’re not in the driver’s seat during a match. Of course, your team has to handle the casters, the stream quality etc. but at the end, the audience’s satisfaction will depend on the players. On the other hand, all the content between matches is your responsibility, 100%.
Prepare the post-match analysis, the pre-match hype, the raffles and contests, the interviews, the clips, the replays... Thoroughly prepare a routine so that viewers are not bored, or tempted to leave for another live stream.
6. Think about the time frames
If everyone is global nowadays, some good old constraints remain. Like people living on different parts of the planet. How many great tournaments across the globe made you endure sleepless nights, or wake up at dawn on a Sunday?
You can’t satisfy everyone and must think about your core audience, but set up smart times for your matches, especially the Finals: they’re the most important moment of your tournament and are more flexible time-wise (aka you don’t have to fit 8 matches in a single day). For example, if your tournament happens in California, plan your finals in the early afternoon, so that the East Coast and Europe can watch it.
7. Be reactive
Thousands of things happen during a tournament. Results from other matches, VIP paying a visit… Your stream is the central hub for your audience, so always stay in contact with the host or the production crew leader, so that you can get or pass information asap. Also, keep an eye on the chat - but don't read it: in the middle of the flame and hype flood, you can find very useful feedbacks i.e. “omg we can see someone watching porn in the background” (true story).
8. Get VODs
Streams and live presence are very important, but think about all the audience who couldn’t be online during your broadcast. Most of the time, finding a VOD from a stream is a hassle, or another user will upload your tournament on their own channel and thus undermine your audience reach.
9. Stats and interactive content
This is advanced stuff, but good to keep in mind. Once you’ve mastered all the above points (congratulations!), you can aim for a more unique production value, although it will involve some serious investment. Valve did a great job with their “Watch Beta” for The International 5, bringing a real-time overlay (stats, graphs) on Steam Broadcast, Twitch and Youtube.Companies like PVP Live also bring innovative statistics intertwined with their own events. We can’t wait to see what you’ll come up with!