In an era of neverending notifications and constant content overload, livestreaming has emerged as an unparalleled platform for capturing viewer attention.
The statistics speak for themselves. For starters, on social media alone, videos are shared 1,200% more often than posts containing text and images combined.
Live-streamed video offers even stronger opportunities for engaging viewers: Users today watch Facebook Live videos for three times longer than they do regular videos, and engage with comments over 10 times more often.
The numbers are pretty persuasive — which is why, at Bunker Labs, we started producing a weekly livestream of our own! The Breakdown has generated a ton of unique marketing value for Bunker Labs, so we’re sharing an exclusive “behind-the-camera” look into producing an effective multi-camera live show — to teach veteran entrepreneurs like you to do the same for your own marketing.
Why we chose to stream The Breakdown on Facebook Live
The Breakdown is a 30-minute live show that’s streamed on Facebook every Monday at 4:30pm CST. Created for veterans by veterans, the show offers viewers a first-hand peek into the world of entrepreneurs who have successfully launched their own businesses.
We decided to host The Breakdown on Facebook Live for a couple of reasons.
1. Our audience is on Facebook
From an audience perspective, we wanted to maximize our reach, and Facebook is the most popular social media platform out there today. Facebook Live is also well-optimized for audience participation, thanks to its defining features of real-time commenting and live reactions.
The video is also available on our Facebook page for viewers to watch on their own time after the livestream — a benefit to those working on a different schedule.
2. The interface is user-friendly
Facebook Live is intuitive and affordable. Going live can be as straightforward as opening the app and pressing a button. And afterwards, you can easily track your video’s metrics via Page Insights.
To sweeten the deal, Facebook Live is available free of charge to all Facebook users. Because you don’t have to pay for bandwidth usage, you can focus your marketing dollars on the things that really count: producing stronger content, learning better production techniques, and investing in professional-grade recording equipment.
How far we’ve come in producing The Breakdown
Our very first stab at the format, in August 2017, involved a single-cam setup attracting about 2,000 views per episode…
You may have noticed that the video framing is even tilted. (I mean, everyone has to start somewhere, right?!)
But by our 28th week, we’d stepped up our game to a fancy multi-camera setup, complete with customized elements to convey critical information at a glance. (Look familiar? We were inspired by ESPN’s Pardon the Interruption!)
Each episode of The Breakdown now gets between 10,000 and 15,000 views. That’s a viewership increase of more than 400%!
Check out the multiple angles! The improved video quality! The straight framing!
That’s why they always say learning is a process.
What we’ve learned from producing The Breakdown
When brainstorming your livestream campaign, first identify a compelling idea — then start getting down to the nitty-gritty, like the gear you want to use.
Step 1: Find the right idea
At the heart of every successful live show is a great idea that’s well-suited to the format. The live element should add value to your video by creating authentic connections among participants.
Effective examples include shows that require live participation (like Q&As), or events with unknown outcomes (like sports games or award shows).
Step 2 (and beyond): Make your idea happen
When we first decided to do The Breakdown, we had to bite the bullet and commit to doing something, even though we knew it wouldn’t be perfect the first (or even the 10th) time.
You can always refine as you go — just as your startup may go through multiple pivots and iterations. Chances are you’ll learn so much from simply putting yourself out there that you’ll inevitably find something that needs tweaking anyway. But you’ll never have something to refine if you don’t overcome the inertia of starting, or the fear of failing.
What you’ll need: Hardware and software requirements
When it comes to Facebook livestreaming, the top difficulty users face is setup and integration (44%), followed by equipment (32%).
Facebook has fairly stringent requirements for livestreams to perform properly on the platform. As such, you need to use hardware and software that will configure your streams to the correct bitrate, resolution, and so forth.
With that in mind, here’s a list of basic equipment you’ll need to get started:
- Stabilization device (such as a tripod)
- USB capture card
- A good camera/camcorder
- If you want to incorporate multiple camera angles, you’ll need at least two of these!
- Video switcher
- If you plan to use multiple cameras, this will combine the multiple feeds into a single, integrated stream.
- Connections to link up the signals from your equipment (such as USB cords)
- Facebook account — obviously!
- Basic production software
- If you want to include special effects, custom graphics, and the like, you’ll need to use production software that supports those functions.
- If you plan to use multiple cameras, you’ll need a program that will allow you to switch between the different feeds.
Looking for specific recommendations to meet Facebook’s requirements? At Bunker Labs, we use the following:
- USB capture card: Magewell Capture Card
- Video switcher: Roland v-1HD Video Switcher
- Connections: HDMI cords (x4)
- Production software: Open Broadcaster Software
How much does it cost to produce a multi-camera live show?
If you’re totally new to Facebook Live, you’re probably wondering: Does video quality matter? After all, the more high-end gear you use, the higher your costs are going to run!
For example, using exactly the same equipment as Bunker Labs is going to cost you a cool $23,000 or so. (Full disclosure: We got a grant specifically to make The Breakdown happen.)
But don’t let that number scare you off! Producing an effective multi-camera live show can be achieved over a range of budgets.
If you’re strapped for cash, using the tools you already have on hand — like your phone or laptop cameras — is a great way to get your foot in the door.
On the other end of the spectrum, some businesses will have the resources to put together a super fancy setup (yes, way fancier than Bunker’s!). This is especially important for high-profile organizations where public image is key: just imagine if Apple’s iPhone release livestream was low quality or cut out abruptly!
Generally speaking, if you want to develop a polished brand image that stands out in the increasingly competitive livestreaming landscape, you’ll need to invest in the right gear at some point. This means using professional equipment that can deliver a seamless experience to your viewers.
But don’t let your budget (or lack of it) stop you from including livestreaming in your marketing strategy. At the end of the day, the core of your livestream’s appeal will depend on whether your content itself is actually great.
Setting up your multi-camera feed
Planning to use a similar setup to ours, but feeling totally lost navigating the tech involved? Will Crane, Bunker’s CTO and host of The Breakdown, will walk you through the process we use to film The Breakdown in the video below!
Gain more entrepreneurial tips and tricks from The Breakdown
Want more “insider insights” like this? In our weekly show The Breakdown, we ask successful entrepreneurs to share their personal insights into how you can take your business to the next level.
The show goes live every Monday at 4:30pm CST — follow us on Facebook to join us for our next episode!