by Author Peter Shilton

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5 Tips For Successfully Streaming Online Content

Amidst the current restrictions resulting from the Coronavirus Pandemic the importance of streaming performances and developing skills in this area have became noticeably apparent. Recently, as part of our organisation's wider music development work, we have partnered with Liverpool Digital Music Festival to provide performance and audience engagement opportunities to talented young people in the Liverpool City Region. Through the planning and preparation of this event we have gleaned some examples of good practice to distill in '5 Tips For Successfully Streaming Online Content' which we would like to share, either for young people streaming direct to their own fans and audience or for practitioners supporting young people with these music-making activities.

1) Introduce yourself - As well as telling people who you are and how to follow you on social media, along with acknowledging any third parties such as event organisers or sponsors. It is recommended not to rush into your set and take a minute or two to make these introductions as this will allow audience members time to connect to the stream at the beginning of your performance.

2) Be mindful of the duration of your set – If taking part in an event be mindful of the time limit of your set. As with live physical events, where multiple performances are involved there is often a strict time limit with a tight schedule. In some instances streaming services automatically switch to a different performance stream so consider placing a clock out of shot or have a friend be a time keeper.

3) Keep it family friendly and respect social distancing – A wide demographic may make up your audience so do not offensive language as children may be watching. Additionally it is really important to follow the current government guidance when producing content. Keep social distancing measures in place and film remotely in order to protect friends, families and key workers who are protecting us all.

4) Quality is key – Taking some simple steps to ensure the quality of your performance can make a massive impact. For recording with a single camera and microphone set up such as a phone or inbuilt computer camera it is recommended to perform a stripped back acoustic set with singular instruments and vocals only. Deaden the sound of the room as much as possible using blankets and duvets, ideally in a room with carpet. The more you can isolate yourself the better as phone/computer microphones can pick up a fair bit of background noise. For full band performances it is recommended to pre-record your set and parts individually, and then mixing them together. This will also allow you to record your sets using better equipment such as an audio interface and multiple cameras. If this is the plan it is recommended getting started as soon as possible to allow time for editing.

5) Make it special – Go all out - this is a chance to impress a new audience! Think about how you can make this performance extra special. Dress your performance space, performing in front of a suitable backdrop or choose a nice setting which could even be outdoors (weather permitting)! Most smaller video cameras and phones are not built for low light environments, so the quality is much better in brightly lit rooms or outside in the daytime. Frame yourself and the instruments so the audience can see what’s happening and, perhaps most importantly, find a steady place where the camera is not going to fall over!