For the entry level live streamer, the thought of making basic live streaming errors, or facing awkward technical problems during a live event is enough to scare you off from the prospect of going live. The good news is that live streaming is not as daunting as it sounds. Thanks to advances in modern technology, live streaming is accessible for the average individual with a smart phone.
To make it even more accessible, we’ve created a list of frequently encountered live streaming errors or issues you can use as a practical reference guide. With a little planning and care, you can avoid these common mistakes and fix those pesky live streaming errors.
So without further ado, let’s dive into the most common live streaming errors to avoid.
Live Streaming Errors You Can Avoid Before a Broadcast
Careful planning and attention to detail can go a long way before your event begins.
1) Event Scheduling Errors
While scheduling a live stream event, attention to detail is crucial to avoid embarrassing retractions and resends. Be careful that the event details are in order before you announce your event. Double check event timings, description, attendee list and any other information before sending out any invitations.
2) The Stream Key Error
To start, you need to decide where you will broadcast the live stream. Platforms like YouTube and Facebook have made going live pretty simple, but it’s good to understand what can go wrong. For every live stream event, these platforms generate a stream key that you will need to enter into your live streaming software. We recommend that you double check this stream key link is working before announcing the event.
Live streaming solutions like Faith Online manage this process in one place. By simplifying this in one platform, you don’t have to worry about stream key issues or privacy compliance. You can also keep track of responses, send updates, and manage multiple streaming destinations.
3) Equipment Failure: Running out of Battery Life or Storage
Having a camera or phone run out of battery life or disk space during the live stream is one mishap you’ll want to avoid. If you’re planning on streaming an event that lasts over an hour or even an all-day event, make sure all cameras and devices are plugged in or have enough battery life, and enough storage space to capture and stream the duration of the event.
A professional live streaming camera like the Mevo can last up to 5-6 hours on a single battery charge. These cameras come equipped with a micro SD card storage slot that can store hundreds of hours of HD quality live streaming footage so you can operate wirelessly anywhere without worrying about battery life or disk space.
4) Signal Testing Failure
This may seem obvious, but it’s incredible how often streamers forget to check that the stream is receiving the audio and video signal before going live. It’s essential to make sure you’ve connected all of your cameras, microphones, and other gear correctly and run tests to ensure that everything looks fine.
Monitor the live stream video and audio advance of the scheduled event so you can confirm that you are ready to go.
5) Poor Camera Positioning
Appearance is a key to engagement. Therefore, it’s very important to monitor the video image you are projecting. Before going live, check if the camera position you have selected fully covers the area you want to display. Make sure the speaker is in the centre of the frame and there is adequate light with no glare and unwanted objects in the frame. Test the picture from all cameras if you are using a multi-camera setup.
6) Unstable Image
Ensure the camera is in a stable position so that the captured image does not shake or display on an angle. There is nothing as discomforting to watch as a shaky video, so take the trouble to install the camera in as stable a position as possible. Using a camera stabiliser, tripod or table stand dramatically improves stability.
7) Audio Echo and Feedback
Quality audio is essential to delivering a professional sounding live stream. A buzz, hissing, or audio noise can come from a lot of places. Causes range from loose cables to an improperly configured audio mixer. It could also be the audio source, like a microphone or recorded sound source. It could be an issue with audio balancing or mixing audio signals from different sources.
To avoid this issue during your live stream, make sure you have enough time to troubleshoot audio quality issues. To do this, minimise room noise, test your acoustics, configure your audio settings, and fix any potential issues.
8) Loss of Audio Signal
When troubleshooting why there’s no sound, the rule of thumb is to try to figure out where the sound stops.
Option 1: You have plugged in audio from an outside audio source, like a PA system
Try turning the levels up or down from the external sound system. Check to see if there is anything in the path of your audio that could affect the audio signal.
Option 2: You can hear the sound coming from the speaker’s mic in-person
The mic and the signal are probably fine. Check if the audio from the mic is routed to the system that is sending sound to the capture device or encoder.
Option 3: No sound in an in-camera mic or phone mic setup
Check to see if the mic is muted/switched on, or if there are any problems with audio hardware or settings.
Option 4: You are using an external mic, like a clip-on lavalier mic or wireless mic
Check all cables and see if the mic is communicating with your capture device. If it is a wireless mic, check if the transmitter/receiver are functioning.
9) Audio / Video Sync Error
Out of sync audio and video is a highly common live streaming issue. This usually happens because the software can process audio a lot faster than video before sending it to the internet server and the CPU is maxed out trying to process both.
You can test a local recording so you know what the encoder is doing before the audio reaches the internet server. If the encoder is fine, test out a live stream to check if audio is in sync. If you are getting a sync issue, try to limit the CPU load by configuring settings on the streaming destination platform.
Live Stream Errors to Watch for During Your Broadcast
With your event up and running here are a few ways to quickly troubleshoot errors as they happen.
10) Not making eye contact with the camera
Monitoring your video stream is a great idea so you can see how it’s looking at all times. Often this can lead to another common live streaming mistake – looking at the video monitor feed longer than necessary instead of the camera lens.
Place the reference video stream directly below the camera for easy access, but it’s imperative that you resist the urge to stare at the monitor too long. Always try to ensure your eyes are facing directly towards the camera lens!
11) The Awkward Silence
Be aware that the recorded video will live on your website or page. “Replay visitors” will watch the recorded stream later. Keeping this audience in mind, try to avoid too much silence, especially at the start. You should also remember these silences when you edit the recorded video.
As soon as you start the live broadcast, it’s a good practice to greet your viewers for the benefit of the recorded replay audience. Remember that it might take time for people to tune in so live viewers might not join straight away. Maybe use this time to introduce the topic/structure of your live stream.
As your first viewers come in, try to greet everyone by name as they join until you’ve given enough time to start. There’s a balance to this action of welcoming, but not taking too much time greeting people or folks watching the replay will get bored watching you greet everyone!
12) Unplanned Filler Moments
It’s possible you will encounter a few moments in your live stream when you need to fill time while waiting for the next speaker or performer. To avoid confusion, it’s best to address these pauses beforehand so you can make the broadcasted event flow as smoothly as possible. The best way to avoid lengthy gaps or confusion is to plan, plan, plan!
Thinking through in advance generally gets rid of these unseemly pauses and lets you get prepared with options for what you can do when the situation crops up. Possibly play a recorded audio or video during this time, or prepare announcements or requests to your audience.
13) Limited Audience Interaction
Keep in mind that one of the best things about live streaming is the ability to interact in real time. So encourage the audience to take part as much as you can. Replying to comments is great. Mention that you will follow up on any missed comments after the broadcast.
14) Buffering Video
All streamers have dealt with this issue. Those dreaded rotating circles and loading signs while the stream buffers, causing lag time between the live event and the broadcast. Lag in live streams usually have one of two causes:
- Your internet connection
- You’re overloading your computer
To help minimise your live streaming issues, here are a few useful fixes:
- Poor wi-fi or phone data connectivity is often behind this issue. When possible, connect the streaming device using a wired connection. There’s not too much you can do if your internet service is causing the buffering/lag problems.
- Check your internet speed. Most experts recommend minimum upload speeds of at least 4 Mbps if you want to stream live video in HD. Best practice recommends having an upload speed twice that of the bitrate.
- Check your encoding settings on your live streaming app. try to minimise bitrate and other stream quality settings to limit CPU load on your encoder.
We created a quick guide to testing and fixing common internet issues.
15) Video Pixelation Issues
Related to the above issue is pixelated streams, typically because of lack of bitrate. Depending on your upload speed you can try to increase bitrate. Stream quality also depends on video resolution and frames per second (FPS) settings of the video.
These are the recommended bitrates for different resolutions:
- 1920×1080 Full HD quality: suggested bitrate: 3000-3500 FPS Value: 30
- 1280×720 HD: suggested bitrate: 2500-3500 FPS Value: 60
Also, check to see if the encoding software requires an update. You should also make sure app permissions are up to date for your devices or streaming networks like Facebook or YouTube.
16) Dangling Wires and Trip Hazzards
Another potential problem that can kill a live video feed instantly is when someone knocks over a dangling device or trips on a cable which results in the video or audio getting cut off in the middle of a live stream.
Avoid this error by making sure you firmly secure all wired device connections using velcro and clips where appropriate. The best solution is to use wireless equipment as far as possible (especially cameras and mics). This will minimise the number of cables you need in your setup, and thus the chances of such a fatal mishap taking place.
Live Stream Errors to Assess Post Event
You can rule out many of the common streaming errors by making sure you plan your live stream, from setup to script, well in advance. If everything properly functioning during the live service, you should be in a good place for your asynchronous viewers. But, there are a few potential errors that can crop up after the live stream has ended.
17) Video length
While live streaming events can last as long as you want, keep in mind that editing and posting longer videos over one hour can be problematic. Streaming platforms like YouTube and Facebook often limit the options available to videos over an hour long. Processing, uploading, and enhancing longer videos will mean a lot of time and effort.
18) Licensing and Copyrights
Many people new to live streaming tend to ignore this pitfall. Be aware that you are not allowed to legally stream performances of copyrighted content, including music and third party videos. While it is possible to claim the Fair Use Doctrine, it is limited in the scope and protection it provides. Uploading videos containing copyrighted material to YouTube or Facebook will result in a copyright strike and possible suspension of your account.
The fix: use a royalty free library to add any music and video you need, or use a service that allows you to purchase copyrighted content.
Does the Perfect Live Streaming Setup Exist?
With so many variables (we’ve covered 18!) live streaming errors are difficult to completely prevent.
No live streaming solution is perfect. But planning and investing in the right tools will can help mitigate many of these errors.
Faith Online offers a live streaming kit which takes care of many live streaming errors. Its portable with an easy-to-use Mevo live streaming camera and broadcast grade mics from Rode. Plus, professional tripods and stabilisers, and all the cables, accessories and jacks you will need.
And it’s not just a kit. You also get complete technical support, including video training guides, virtual installation and personalised advice to improve your stream.
With the right equipment and proper planning and support, live streaming doesn’t have to be complicated!