Live streaming on YouTube: how to guarantee it will work

“Live” was until recently only possible via TV networks with a large infrastructure, but this has changed dramatically recently. It has now become easy to do live streaming on YouTube for any channel that has at least 100 subscribers.
Many vloggers already use this opportunity with a very simple set up: from their bedroom / office, with their computer camera and their home internet connection.
Below we are looking at the minimum requirements for live streaming on YouTube in a professional environment.

If you are in a rush and just want to know the cost of setting up a live stream jump here.

The output: what is the minimum acceptable image resolution?

You need to know what is the resolution or picture quality you require, this depends on the type of visuals and the way the video is consumed by your audience. For example: If the content is mainly you facing camera then visuals may not be as important as sound quality but if you are showing something with a lot of colours, movement and close ups like a recipe then you need to be careful about your output. 720p and above is High Definition (1080p is full HD) and will be visually pleasing on every device except a large cinema screen, but it also requires larger resources.
Most will not immediately notice a resolution of 480p which therefore seems like a good compromise but anything below that will start to affect negatively the good impression you are trying to make.
This has a direct consequence on the bandwidth requirements. A given video resolution corresponds to a bit rate, this is the bandwidth of your internet connection. To stream a video of 480p or above you should have a minimum connection of 2Mbps, which is also a good minimum threshold for being able to stream live.

Equipment: Minimum requirements

Your audience should be able to watch you as long as they can log on to YouTube. The amount of people that are logging in shouldn’t apparently be a worry (although it was not put the test) as YouTube being YouTube the capacity to broadcast is nearly infinite. What you need to think about is how you will feed into your YouTube account.

You probably already own everything you need to get started for live streaming.

An HDMI camera

You may not be familiar with the term but if your camera is fairly new, it is probably is HDMI compatible.

A computer

You must check that it matches the minimum technical requirements for your encoder.

An encoder

This can be hardware or a software like Wirecast that you can download for free.

An internet connection

In the UK the average broadband speed is 14.7Mb/s which means that most of us can live stream in HD from home in theory at least. Make sure you check inbound and outbound speed as they often differ.

Equipment: Safe requirements

If you are filming a professional event then you should have a backup for everything as any interruption would be very distracting to your audience. In a world that is used to the uninterrupted TV a hiccup in internet streaming might be excused but it will not create a positive impression.

Dedicated resources

– Computer and encoder: do not use it for anything else and use a powerful laptop which exceeds the minimum technical requirements
– Dedicated hard-wire connectivity: your internet connection should not be used for anything else during the live streaming, and as you should use a backup encoder your internet capacity should be the double as the one you plan to actually use.


You should have two encoders installed on two separate computers. If you can use also two different and independent broadband sources (different suppliers for example).

Test! Test! Test!

No matter how backed up and safe your set up appears it is imperative that you test everything in the exact same conditions of the day.
A few weeks before the event go through all the video and audio feed and test out the streaming works for the length of your event.
A few days before the shoot test out the same set up in the actual shoot location using the same ISP and broadband networks you will be using.
Before the shoot it is recommended to do a full rehearsal.

Going further

The set up above should guarantee a smooth streaming. To make sure that your streaming looks good you should also prepare the scene.


Obviously you need to film in a quiet environment and if it is in the City Center be prepared for that siren or alarm that may go through the thickest of walls. You should also pay attention to the lip sync and overall sync if you are using a multiple camera set up.


If you are not in a studio then you won’t be able to change the light during the event. Use lighting that works in every situation and if there is a lot of activity in front of the camera make sure that there is no situation where shadows are created by moving objects.
Also make sure that the background contrasts with the subject and prefer solid colours than stripes.

Using multiple cameras

It is very likely that you need to use multiple cameras, YouTube offers a multiple camera setup which is in fact the possibility to do multiple streams at once. If you opt for this make sure you also have multiple encoders and networks.
This won’t give you however the smooth switch between cameras that you see on TV. For that you will need a dedicated video mixer as well as dedicated cameramen. If yo use that route then the amount of sophistication in filming can be increased considerably but for streaming the bottom line will remain the same, a cable that connects the whole setup to YouTube Live.

What is the cost?

The cost can very greatly depending on the setup you choose and the quality you consider suitable.
Fill in this a handy form to get a free estimate from our streaming experts, it works even if you don’t use YouTube to stream.

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