Believe it or not, people are streaming much more than just video games these days. No, really! If you haven’t checked out Twitch, YouTube, or even TikTok lately, you might have missed the number of streams that are anything but gaming. You can find people looking for work buddies, people doing ASMR, cooks inviting you into their kitchens, and more.
Saturday at 9am, a panel of non-gaming streamers gathered together in Hilton Galleria 6 to talk about their video feeds, why and how they choose to share their talents on live stream. The panelists speaking about “Streaming Beyond Video Games” included ChelseaBytes, Faydra Black, Josh Maltby, Wynton Bean, and Stephen Undesirable. They all shared their insights as to why they stream, what they stream, and how to get the best stream with your gear.
First, if they aren’t gamers, then what exactly are they streaming? ChelseaBytes streams computer builds, Faydra Black streams Lego builds and coloring, Wynton Bean is a blacksmith, Stephen Undesirable streams pinball IRL, and Josh Maltby hosts a book club on Twitch. Quite the diversity in subjects.
The first question the panelists tackled was why they chose to stream and not pre-recorded content. Overwhelmingly, the answer was the interaction with viewers. The panelists feel that streaming is the closest thing they can get to actually being there. Conversation with the viewers online during their streams has been welcome, especially since the pandemic. It has also been a great motivator. Another bonus when streaming is they don’t have to edit!
The next topic the panel discussed was how they find their audience. Because they each have wildly different subjects, how do people start watching them? Discord servers are a surprising contributor to the communities. Twitter is also a tool many streamers use for finding followers. For the most part, however, it seems people just seem to find them. The common denominator seems to be how often or how long they’ve been streaming. Twitch itself is not a good source for followers with every panelist agreeing that the discoverability sucks.
Moving on to gear setups, each of the panelists has such a unique situation that they have one-of-a-kind setups. From easily moveable to fire-proof, the streamers each need something different for their own special circumstances. Though they may have specific needs, they all mentioned that to start, people should use what they have. The difference between an amateur and professional-looking video comes down to knowing how your gear works. Read manuals and watch videos to learn how to correctly use your gear. In addition, learning how to set up a shot properly with correct camera angles will make a huge difference. And, they all cautioned to learn how to properly use lighting.
If you want to start streaming, using what you currently have will be just fine. You can always add to your setup as time goes on. When you do decide to purchase new components, make sure they can be upgraded. There’s nothing worse than buying parts that become obsolete in a couple of years.
Finally, figure out your online persona. Get comfortable talking to your audience. Don’t feel the need to constantly be talking to them, though. Try to learn to let the chat sit for a little bit until you’re in a position to answer. They’ll understand. They’re there to see you do what you do.