How To Live Stream A Wedding
Let’s unpack it together in this photography tutorial.
How To Live Stream A Wedding
Livestreaming a wedding for total beginners
So you want to livestream a wedding? You’re not alone! With weddings being smaller than ever before it’s becoming more and more common to livestream your outdoor or indoor event so that friends and family can watch from around the world.
Whether you’re a professional photographer or videographer looking to help your couples , or a bride or groom to be, this tutorial is going to cover 3 easy ways to livestream a wedding or live event.
Matt Johnson put together a fantastic video run-through explaining the options when it comes to livestreaming a wedding:
How to livestream a wedding: The Basics
If you want to livestream a wedding ceremony, reception or live event, you’re going to need to cover 3 basic things that make up a livestream:
- Your video source
- Your audio source
- Your livestreaming device
There are many different ways to set up a livestream, but all of them come down to these 3 basic things. We’ll run through 3 different livestream setups you can use. Depending on your desire for quality, your budget and your technical know how, you can choose the wedding & event live streaming setup that fits you best.
One thing to keep in mind while deciding on your streaming setup: Once you use this gear, you can always sell it afterwards! For that reason, I’d recommend considering spending a little extra to get a better stream vs the cheapest possible option. You’ll wind up with a much better experience, and be able to recover a good portion of your investment when you sell the gear… or keep it as a wedding gift to yourself 😉
The easiest, cheapest livestream wedding setup: Use your phone
Hands down the most common way people livestream their weddings is using a phone on a tripod (or even held by one of the guests!) The beauty of this method is how simple it is to set up and make happen. No need to buy fancy gear, no training required – Just take out your phone, open up facebook and click “go live”. Livestreaming to facebook live is easy and free too, which is great. And if you’re confused how to livestream a wedding on your phone, there are lots of facebook live streaming tutorials on youtube!
This live streaming method does come with a few cons however:
- Having no external mic means your phone uses it’s internal mic, which needs to be close up to the speaker in order to give you good sound. This means that unless your phone is only 1-2 feet away, it will be VERY hard to hear what the officiant, bride & groom are saying. If you’re outdoors and it’s a windy day, you might wind up watching the bride and groom get married, but you probably won’t be able to hear anything at all. Fortunately, this problem is actually pretty easy and cheap to fix, as we’ll discuss in a second.
- Although phone cameras are getting better, the auto settings for phone video means you don’t have much control over how the picture looks. If the sky in the background is bright, the bride and groom might wind up so dark you can’t even see their faces.
The next easiest (but much better quality) livestream setup: Use your phone AND add a mic!
The easiest way to livestream can also have good quality audio! Fortunately wireless mics have gotten WAY cheaper and better over the years, and now you can buy a decent wireless mic set for $50-100. This one on amazon is all you really need, plus a lightning to aux cable adapter if you happen to be using an iphone. Simply place the mic on the officiant, then plug the receiver into your phone! There is no need to mic all 3 people up front – The officiant does most of the talking during a wedding, and the bride and groom normally stand right in front of them so their audio will be picked up by the same mic.
If you’re wondering how to stream a wedding reception or some kind of other event, simply tape the mic to the podium or mic stand being used at the event. Or if you want to get real fancy, you can ask the DJ for an output from his soundboard and use the appropriate cable to plug into your wireless transmitter. Most of the time this is the cable you’ll need: an RCA to Aux cable, although occasionally at a wedding you’ll need a 1/4 inch to aux cable, or even (RARELY) an XLR to aux cable. If this is the route you decide to take, I’d recommend buying all three just in case! Also make sure to bring the lapel mic as well in case the sound from the soundboard isn’t good and you can use it as a backup.
LIFEHACK: Don’t have the budget or time to buy a special mic for your phone? Use your apple earbuds! If you don’t mind the look of earbuds, get the officiant to wear the ones connected to your livestream for free wireless mic substitute… Of course, make sure to test this setup in advance!
The medium budget (but much, much better quality) livestream setup: GoPro or DJI osmo + wireless mic set
Phone livestreams can be decent (as long as you have good audio) but don’t give you much control over the video quality. If it doesn’t look good, there isn’t much you can do. If you want to make sure your livestream quality is good and you have a little money to spend, I would highly recommend purchasing a camera with built in streaming capability like the new GoPro 8 or DJI osmo pocket – Both will give you VASTLY superior video to your phone, and will also let you record the stream at the same time, just in case the internet connection cuts out etc and you need to reupload later! The DJI Osmo Pocket is the best bang for buck option as it’s less than the gopro, and features a handheld gimbal to make the footage extremely stable, even while walking around and moving, BUT you will need an extra osmo pocket audio adapter to get it working with your mic.
The one thing these cameras still need added is audio – Pretty much no matter what you do, if you want to know how to livestream a wedding without making a mess, I recommend buying some kind of wireless audio set. If you want high quality, the Rode Wireless Go is an awesome and easy option that will have great resale value. This alternate wireless audio system is about half the price… Just be aware that with audio gear, price often does make a big difference in quality and durability, so make sure to do your research and read reviews!
How To Livestream A Wedding With A GoPro or DJI osmo + wireless mic set:
Once you have your GoPro or DJI Osmo connected to your mic, simply sync it with either the GoPro or DJI streaming app, and connect to wifi via a cellphone hotspot or private network. Don’t use public shared networks during a live event as they can get VERY overrun with all the guests devices. After that it’s all pretty straight forward and the app will guide you with how to stream your wedding or event without a hitch.
The most complicated, most expensive, but nicest live stream setup: How to livestream a wedding with a DSLR
How to stream a wedding with a DSLR, Pro audio and computer via wifi hotspot:
So you’re a go-getter with a big budget and some fancy toys, and you want the rolls royce of live streaming setups for your wedding ceremony, reception or live event? This option is for you! It’s also the option with the largest amount of gear, which means it’s the most complicated and has more things that could go wrong… BUT if you’re the kind of person who is ready to prepare in advance and do some learning, it’s still very achievable.
Here’s how to livestream a wedding using a DSLR step by step:
Step 1: Get a camera with clean HDMI output.
Just because you have a fancy camera doesn’t mean it has this feature. You can check by plugging your camera into your TV, and seeing if there is an option to turn off all the info overlays. Nobody wants to see that during a livestream!
In general, Canon & Nikon cameras don’t have clean HDMI output (Although a few do). Panasonic cameras are all safe for streaming, as are all the newer sony cameras (Although you have to watch out for overheating on hot days with Sony cameras, so have a backup plan)
Step 2: Get a wireless mic setup and plug it into your camera.
Pretty straight forward. As before, you’ll want to mic up the officiant or tape the mic to the podium etc.
Step 3: Buy an Elgato Camlink or a different HDMI encoder
This little device turns the HDMI signal from your computer into a webcam style signal for your computer to recognize. Note that cost makes a HUGE difference in quality with this – Don’t cheap out, buy the elgato if at all possible. I have personally tested and researched all the cheap options and there is a massive different only to save $60-80, which for someone with this kind of streaming setup, is not worth ruining your stream over.
Step 4: Plug the camera into the HDMI device and plug that into a laptop.
It is important to have a fairly powerful laptop for this task. Slower older laptops will have less consistent streams, cut out for a few seconds or even crash altogether.
Step 5: Connect your laptop to a private wifi hotspot.
It is SUPER important you use a private wifi hotspot or network that noone else is on. Why? Because at a wedding or live event, EVERYONE is trying to use the free wifi all at once, which will ruin your stream. Much better to setup your own hotspot or connect to a private wired network if available.
Step 5: Check that the hdmi input is showing up as a webcam. Do this by opening up skype and going to the settings –> Cameras section. It should show up as an option. If not, you might need to troubleshoot. Perhaps there is a driver you need to download? Perhaps the device you bought (If not an elgato) requires additional software? Etc. Once you know the webcam is working, proceed.
Step 6: Setup a live event on facebook:
This facebook live streaming tutorial covers the basics for doing a livestream of your event:
And presto – Theoretically you have set up the perfect, high quality facebook livestream like a pro!
And there you have it – 4 ways to livestream on Facebook.
This tutorial uses the facebook livestream app as an example, but feel free to livestream on any livestream alternative of your choice.
Hopefully this step by step tutorial has given you an idea of the best facebook live streaming equipment to buy for your unique situation, and you now know what you need to pull off your next livestream 🙂
Have a question? Leave it in the comments!
A quick note: These setups will get you livestreaming, but if you really want to improve your livestream and get the best possible results, I highly recommend brushing up on our improve your photography series, or at least checking out the articles on improving your framing and composition. I’ve seen amazing photos and video taken with cheap cameras and gear, but I’ve also seen lots of amazing gear, photos and videos ruined with poor technique! Remember, the gear isn’t what makes the photo – It’s all the little things that go into it. Lighting, exposure, framing, color, sound etc.
Good luck, and enjoy your event 🙂
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