Below are some of my favorite products to help fellow livestreamers connect with the tools they need to succeed. As you build your broadcast, you need products that will enable you to look and sound your best without breaking the bank. And you need an eco-system to support your broadcast made up of hardware, software, web services, backup and more. Here are my top recommendations!
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There isn't a better decision I made for our livestreams than the purchase of Wirecast 7 Studio. At $495, it isn't inexpensive. However, if you want to improve the quality of your broadcasts, stand out from the crowd, brand your livestreams with your own colors and logos, and have total control of the content you are creating, this is the best option. I use it almost daily and not only for livestreaming. The exceptional scene/shot creation, switching and recording capabilities enable me to produce high-quality recorded videos and cut down on post-production time in the process.
Do you want to move beyond iMovie, but aren't ready to spend for Adobe Premier or Final Cut Pro? ScreenFlow could be the answer for you. From Telestream, the makers of Wirecast, ScreenFlow is not only a great screencasting and screen recording solution, it is also a video editor that can more than handle everyday editing needs. I know a lot of people who use Adobe Premier and Final Cut Pro for professional-level productions who also use ScreenFlow to edit their YouTube videos, which look great. At only $99, this will take your editing to the next level without spending for more product than you need. Test out the free trial version.
Need B-roll and graphics for your video productions? VideoHive offers royalty free video files to help you produce slick videos & motion graphics. Starting as inexpensively as $2 and with some freebies each month for members. VideoHive has a library of 443,111 video effects, templates and stock footage created by video professionals from all over the world. Their website also offers free video editing and shooting tutorials covering subjects such as customizing an After Effects template, using Apple Motion like a pro and adding audio to your video stock footage. Part of the Envato Market that includes ThemeForest and CodeCanyon.
Livestreaming & Podcasting Gear
I can't put into words how much I love this dynamic microphone. I haven't seen a better piece of livestreaming or podcasting gear at such a low price point. While working in radio, I used the Shure SM7B and the Electro Voice RE-20 and I'm not saying this is a better mic than those powerhouses, nor is it as good as the Heil PR 40. But for my voice, this is close enough that I haven't felt the need to spend the extra $250-500 for an upgrade. And the value is there even if, like me, you never touch the headphones or mic stand that come with it. The Samson Q2u is very similar to the ATR2100, but I find its sound is both warmer and more powerful. Get an inexpensive boom arm and foam windscreen and get ready to sound like a pro.
There is a striking difference in video quality between using a built-in laptop webcam and one of Logitech's outstanding external webcams. Not only is the video clarity and picture so much sharper, the camera performs well in different lighting situations including in low light. Rather than sitting the c922 on my laptop (which I do from time to time), I prefer to secure it on a tripod. This gives me the freedom to move my computer around without changing the camera location and bring the computer closer to me when needed without the camera getting too close to my face. The camera also has a much wider field of view than a built-in webcam, so you see more of the person and the background. If you want a more inexpensive alternative, there are some good deals to be had on the Logitech c920, which will give you many of the same advantages as the c922x.
Arkon Mounts (Code: ROSSBRAND to Save 20%)
I use Arkon Mounts tripods to hold my cameras, including my external webcam as it gives me the freedom to move my laptop around while the video remains stable. I also use Arkon Mounts tripods for mobile livestreams. Arkon sells the outstanding LED Ring Light, which is great for both selfies and mobile livestreaming. With 3 settings, you can also use it to get better lighting when livestreaming from your laptop. The LED Ring Light was the hit of Summit.Live and sold out quickly before I could grab one at the event, but I'm excited to have received my order shortly thereafter. In addition to making great products at affordable prices, Arkon VP Aaron Roth, a recent #LivestreamStars guest, broadcasts daily on Periscope and Busker.
Web Hosting & Domains
I LOVE my .LIVE domains and have used RossBrand.LIVE to brand (no pun intended) my livestream interviews and shows. It's also easier and more memorable than giving out a Facebook page web address. Whether you use your .LIVE domain as the home for your website or as a redirect to your favorite livestreaming platform, people will know instantly that you are someone into live video and to expect live content from you. In addition, .LIVE supports many events in the livestreaming community, including Summit.Live, and .LIVE evangelist Marc Gawith is an active livestreamer who recently appeared on our #LivestreamNews shows. You can register .LIVE domains at GoDaddy, BlueHost, NameCheap and 1&1.
BlueHost is highly-recommended for hosting WordPress blogs and websites. At $5.95/Month for unlimited hosting, I have several websites hosted on my BlueHost account and all of them run smoothly without any troubles. And you can purchase up to 60 months (which I did) to lock in the pricing for 5 years. Not only do they offer 24/7 phone support, they have WordPress specialists who are happy to answer your questions about setting up and hosting a WordPress website. When I first joined BlueHost, they walked me through the process of pointing my domains to BlueHost and adding WordPress. All done in 5 to 10 minutes.
NameCheap has become a new favorite of mine for registering domains. The pricing is straight-forward and tends to be less than competitors when you factor in the cost of owning the domain for multiple years. Even better, WhoIsGuard is included with your domain for free for the first year, meaning your personal information is masked in the Whois directory from spammers and scammers. Most registrars charge for this service. At $2.98 per year after the first year, the cost of confidentiality remains inexpensive with NameCheap. Also, the NameCheap website is beautifully designed and user-friendly as is the mobile app.
You can't help but like a company that produces its own weekly livestream show, "Beyond the Domain," every Thursday at 2pm ET, on Facebook Live, hosted by Heather Dopson. I host several websites at GoDaddy, including this one, and I've registered domains with the company for more than a decade. GoDaddy has some great deals:
***$1/Month Hosting for first year for new customers
***99 cents for .COM Domain
***30% off purchases
1&1 has a reputation as a web host for reliability and security at an affordable price. They get high marks for their 24/7 customer service via phone and also provide extensive FAQs and user forums for those serious about going deeper into the process of website building and design. All 1&1 hosting plans include SSL certificates indicating information exchanged is encrypted to prevent intercept by third parties, helping users, especially customers, feel secure when entering personal data at your website. 1&1 also provides daily backups and has a variety of products for those in need of business, ecommerce and marketing solutions.
WordPress & Websites
ThemeForest is one of the premier sellers of premium WordPress themes and templates as well as high-quality Joomla and e-commerce templates for WooCommerce, Shopify and more. They also provide free web design and WordPress tutorials and videos to help you select the right theme and set it up. Part of the Envato Market, ThemeForest has some of the best and most popular WordPress themes. Not sure where to start? Check out Impreza, X Theme, Salient, Avada, Enfold, Bridge, Uncode, The7, Total, Stockholm, Infinite, Podcaster and many more beautiful, multipurpose and modern themes to give your website a great look.
Elegant Themes is a great option when you are building your first website, need to get one done in a hurry or hate the idea of ever touching a line of code. Their annual membership includes Divi, their flagship product and the world's most popular WordPress theme. It comes with the Divi Builder enabling you to build pages and posts in drag-and-drop fashion. Divi also contains page templates that you can quickly import, change some text and images and within no time you have a website ready to go live. Even if you don't use their themes, the Elegant Themes package is worth it for the excellent social sharing and email opt-in plugins.