When it comes to choosing how you want to power your next livestream event, Youtube livestreaming is a brilliant, quick and free option.

In the past livestreaming was seen as an extra cost, overly technical and not a priority. As we enter 2016, live streaming is becoming more accessible and easier than ever to set up.

If you’re looking to do a quick, simple and reliable livestream then YouTube Livestreaming is your answer.

Equipment you’ll need

You’ll need to download an encoder. Simply put, an encoder is software that optimises the video stream to be broadcast. It converts the video data into the stream that YouTube can use. YouTube allows any compatible encoder, but they have a list of YouTube ready encoders here.

Most encoders allow you to record video and sound directly off your computer. To record something that’s not on your computer, you’ll need a web­-connected camera of some kind. To keep this post short, here’s a link to a great article on Wired about different add ons you can use to livestream in HD from your camera with some good product comparisons to get you started.

You may want to experiment with your camera and encoder with some standard YouTube videos to see how much detail they can support. YouTube automatically adjusts the frame rate and encoding of your video for different viewers once they have a connection to your stream. So, you won’t have to worry about your viewers not being able to stream your video even if they have crap internet speed.

Getting Started

YouTube Live Events has two options for livestreaming: Stream Now and Event Mode. Stream Now is a great for personal streams and broadcasts. It’s quick and easy to set up and you can use your web cam. Event Mode is better for official and professional events (more of that later).

1. Stream Now

Stream Now is in beta testing (at time of writing). It allows you to broadcast live to the world using only your computer and webcam. And it only takes a few minutes to set up. Let’s take a closer look.


youtube livestreaming set up

How it works: 4 simple steps

  • Download encoder software – Before you can start streaming on YouTube, download and set up encoding software. Learn about Live Verified encoders in the official YouTube Guide to Encoding.
  • Stream info – Add basic set up information to your livestream – title, description, category, then upload a thumbnail image. To help people find your stream, remember to use the event hashtag and any other relevant information (e.g. start and end time, social channels where you’re promoting it, links to key speakers etc).
  • Optional YouTube livestreaming features – There are a few options and different features to enhance your streaming experience. This includes allowing for faster chat interaction with a poor connection, however, if your livestream is for professional purposes don’t rely solely on this. You can also set up and enable stream monetisation here, as well as some other social media sharing options to get more viewers. Be sure to enable DVR so people can search backwards through your stream up to 4 hours (handy for longer events). We’d recommend creating a YouTube card too. This relatively new feature allows annotations to work on mobile, which is pretty important. And you can link to further information (images, titles etc) from these cards.
  • GO LIVE – Once you’re happy with your set up, just go live. To start streaming, start your encoder. The status bar indicates when you’re live. To stop streaming, stop your encoder. When your stream is complete a public video will be automatically created and uploaded to be viewed later.

You can also check out the official Google Guide (but we like to think ours is pretty darn good)

2. Event Mode

This option is best for events as it allows you to set up a livestream in advance. Getting started is similar to Stream Now and also nice and easy!

  • Basic info – Select a time, date, title, description and tags for your livestream.

Screenshot 2016-01-20 09.41.00

  • Choose your YouTube streaming options: Quick or Custom. Quick uses Google Hangouts on air and is the same as Stream Now. For this example we want to use Custom.

Screenshot 2016-01-20 09.37.29

  • Pay attention to advanced settings for your audience needs! – Be sure to allow people to see your livestream as soon as it’s finished. People may want to re-watch immediately or catchup if they couldn’t tune in live. It’s also best to enable DVR so viewers to skip backwards and forwards through your stream as it broadcasts.

Screenshot 2016-01-20 09.44.58

  • Pick thumbnail – Design something really eye catching. Remember if you or anybody else is embedding the stream this will be the image on view before people click ‘play’, so make sure it’s good.
  • Pick encoder – there are 2 preset encoders for YouTube livestreaming with instructions on how to install for your operating system. Simply follow the instructions of your chosen encoder.

Screenshot 2016-01-20 09.51.56

  • GO LIVE: You can push your stream live at any time or allow the scheduler to push the stream live at the prescribed time.

That’s a wrap!

Whether you want a quick and easy YouTube livestreaming experience or a more polished set up, it couldn’t be easier to get going.

You can, of course, make it more technical with live editing, multiple cameras, mixed overlays etc. If you want to push the boat out then we recommend reaching out to a professional service (get in touch if you need a recommendation).

Now all that’s left to do is make sure everyone knows about your livestream and get people watching. Reframed is a simple add on that’s perfect to do just that. See how we can help here.

Join the conversation! 2 Comments

  1. […] A simple guide to setting up a YouTube livestreaming event  […]

  2. […] do you mean you’re not livestreaming your event? It’s 2016, so get on board the livestreaming train! Livestreaming used to be expensive, but with a new livestreaming app launching each month […]


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