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Back to School (From Home)

By Scott Robertson

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With physical contact limited due to COVID-19 since the spring, teachers have been looking for new ways to keep lessons going strong and stay connected with their students. As the fall semester approaches – but for many (most?) as a remote, rather than in-person experience – the need to find solutions is greater than ever.

Live streaming represents an answer.

Live streaming refers to online streaming media simultaneously recorded and broadcast in real time. It is often referred to simply as streaming, but this abbreviated term is ambiguous because “streaming” may refer to any media delivered and played back simultaneously without requiring a completely downloaded file.

The whole category is really booming. In 2016, live streaming was already a more than $30 billion industry and it’s just getting started. Even before COVID-19, live streaming was on track to more than double in growth by 2021 to become a more than $70 billion industry.

Okay, you’re sold, but you probably want to know how you can actually do it because good intentions are only half the battle here. Here’s a great way to set up your very own home live streaming studio that isn’t very expensive and very easy to do.

You’re going to need a few key pieces to get this going. They are:

  1. Your mobile phone or computer
  2. Audio interface
  3. Good microphone
  4. Mic stand with phone holder
  5. Lighting
  6. Cables

While there are a number of brands creating the items above – both individually and as packages – for the purposes of this article, I’m going to focus on one bundle. Most of these pieces come in a new set from audio leader VocoPro called the Streamer-Live package. But first let’s review those six key pieces.

Mobile Phone or Computer

Yes, you can just use your phone and/or computer to do this, but as Stephen Covey reminds us, it’s best to begin with the end in mins – so you need to decide where you want to live stream: YouTube, Facebook Live, Zoom, Google Hangout, Skype? Then just make sure you have that app downloaded, an account created, et cetera, and you’re ready to stream and post great content on behalf of your business.

Audio interface

You need something to bring your high quality audio into your phone or computer while you stream. Included in the recommended Streamer-Live package is VocoPro’s Streamer USB audio interface. This cool little red box has tons of features including Bluetooth wireless input, 16 onboard sound effects, both chat and singing mode with features like pitch correction, pitch bend, and vocal eliminator for accompanying music tracks. This makes it one of the most flexible and affordable audio interface packages on the market. Also, this audio interface is rechargeable to eliminate the need for a constant power supply while you’re shooting. The interface also shows you the battery life left so you always know.  

Good Microphone

The sound isn’t going to be amplified by itself, so you’re going to need a good mic. I recommend the VocoPro condenser mic included with the VocoPro Streamer-Live package. This mic definitely gets the job done and works seamlessly with the rest of the VocoPro package.

Mic Stand with Phone Holder

This is very important because you need a stand that holds both your phone and the mic. As a bonus, the stand included with the VocoPro Streamer-Live package has a small shelf to hold the audio interface too! 

Lighting

When live streaming or shooting any video, lighting is critically important. Luckily the VocoPro Streamer-Live package comes with a nice white light ring that also mounts to the stand and gives you the perfect lighting for your live stream shoot.

Cables

This may seem kind of boring, but cables are extremely necessary. You need a mic cable as well as a cable to connect the audio interface to your phone. These cables are included in the VocoPro Streamer-Live package. But you will also need the little adapter to get the audio interface’s 1/8” cable plug into your iPhone or Android phone. 

And there you have it. Now just set it up at home and you’re ready to join the live streaming party! Your audio will sound great, you have sound effects should the mood strike you, and your video will be lit well and look fantastic.

Now that’s a great way to create some interesting lessons and content and get back to jazz scholarship in the new normal of the post-COVID-19 world.

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