Sometimes technology can be so frustrating. We’ve all been there, from printers not working to your favourite App not doing what it should.
Then, one day you find this magical app or this magical piece of technology that makes your day/week/year better!
Well, hopefully, this blog post will be like that magical piece of technology. I think because it’s such a long topic I’m going to split this into a few separate parts but hopefully, by the end of the series, you’ll have a firm grasp on what it takes to create both visually, and sonically high-quality classes.
So you can go from this:
This guide might be a little ‘jargon’ heavy, and while I consider this to be a ‘deep-dive’ on the technology, I’ll be including a section where you can just click a link and go without worrying about what a ‘CPU’ is or how much memory you should have.
First of all, let me just say it’s perfectly fine to just ignore this entire blog post and go download our amazing app for the iPhone here:
It works REALLY well, the quality of cameras on the latest iPhone is super high-quality, there are ways of getting higher quality microphones and even background music onto your stream using our App, all of which will be explained. If you want something simple with no hassle, I think our App is the way to go!
Using the App feels like this:
Now to get onto the meat of the subject.
You will need the following to get out there to the world:
- Either an Apple MacBook Pro / iMac / Mac Mini or Windows-based desktop or laptop.
- A microphone
- A webcam
- An internet connection (preferably a fast one — more on that later!)
- Streaming Software
The age old debate
Q. Which is better? Mac or Windows?
Honestly, in my humble opinion, and coming from somebody with 10 years in the audiovisual industry, streaming on a Mac is still a frustrating experience.
I cannot recommend going with Windows strongly enough. From a software perspective, there are numerous free tools (who doesn’t like free stuff) on Windows which are amazing and have no issues. Hardware just seems to work, and best of all, it’s cheaper!
On a Mac, however, most of the free tools are incomplete and recently Apple love to change things up. So software that runs on one device, might not work on another. To solve for this we need to use expensive applications or workarounds to get most things working correctly.
Great if you’re an established studio or teacher who can afford these things, but if you’re only just starting we need to be cost-conscious.
That’s not to say Apple products aren’t great. They are. I use Apple products every day for work and leisure. But they are NOT good for streaming.
What if I REALLY want to use a Mac?
Okay, you’ve twisted my arm. If you absolutely must use a Mac, here is what I would recommend.
You will notice I haven’t included a 13 inch MacBook Pro or other cheaper, smaller devices that are portable. The honest answer is you will not have a good experience with those devices. There are ways to make them work but you will be making a lot of sacrifices and you’ll have a load of headaches. In the end, you’d be better of going with the iPhone app.
Okay, maybe this Windows PC idea doesn’t sound so bad.
Okay, now I’ve sung the praises of Windows so much, let me pepper that with a bunch of caveats. The disadvantage of Windows is that there is a LOT of different hardware out there, and they can all behave differently. At least with a Mac, you know roughly what is inside the machine.
So this initial guide will cover only the machines I recommend.
Laptops versus Desktops
Most people prefer laptops over desktops because you can take it anywhere, it’s flexible. You can work on your sofa, your bed or your desk. You can connect them up to monitors. They do everything! However, let’s consider a class. You’re teaching your class and then you forget to plug in the Laptop to charge, but you’ve got a class in 5 minutes?! What do you do?
Also, many people don’t know that when your battery is low it goes into power-saving mode. Which means the performance slows down by about 90% so that you can save your documents and have just a few more minutes before the battery is dead. This is NOT ideal for streaming. Alternatively, I’ve seen many cases where a teacher is in the middle of a class and suddenly it goes dead and it’s because they forgot to plug in the charger.
This post isn’t only about showing you what hardware to go with. It’s about making sure we’re set up for great, stress-free streams.
Having said that, just so we’re as comprehensive as possible, I have listed a few laptops that I recommend.
All in One / Desktop:
That’s all for part 1, I’ll be following up with part 2 shortly!