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  1. Design & Illustration
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Design

How to Go Live! Why Artists Should Create Live Streams and Screencasts

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Some artists seem so fearless. Their confidence in putting themselves out there means that they take every opportunity that comes their way. And whether that requires putting themselves in front of a camera or recording their work, they seemingly jump on it every time.

But does that feel like you?

If it doesn't, you're not alone. Many artists, including myself, struggle with our version of online stage fright. From general shyness to language barriers and extreme introversion, some artists would just rather be left alone.

Why You Should Absolutely Live Stream/Screencast

Digital artist woman

But... do I really have to?

Of course not, but being a creator, in itself, means that you're always pushing yourself. So why not make a little room to tackle some of your fears?

I'm a firm believer that with a little practice and a bunch of planning, you can overcome most situations when self-promoting online.

Besides, with live streaming/screencasting, you'll finally be able to:

  • Connect to your audience.
  • Teach a specific style, technique, or experience.
  • Share and collaborate ideas with others.
  • Get feedback on your work.

So here are the best tips I know for creating, producing, and editing your live stream/screencasting videos. You can also check out my 21-Day Periscope Challenge where I tried out some of these tips myself!

Before You Hit Record

Periscope live
A desktop view of Periscope live.

First, let's learn the basics.

Step 1: Live Streaming vs. Screencasting

So what's the difference between these two, and which one will you ultimately prefer?

Live streaming means that you're recording in real time. Right now, at this very moment, you could broadcast a live painting show or just kill time drawing with a few friends.

Screencasting means that you're only recording your computer screen. As you paint, draw, or create, you'll get a seamless video of each step and the viewer will see each movement your cursor makes.

Many platforms allow you to combine the two for live screencasting. That way you can record your screen right now for fans, friends, and family.

Step 2: Choose Your Platform

Now that you know the difference, it's time to figure out which platform to choose.

Start by figuring out what you need. What's your budget? How much time will you have available to broadcast?

Top Live Streaming Sites & Apps

Luckily, many popular streaming sites and apps are free. If live streaming is up your alley, consider these places to get started.

Not all live streaming sites are equal. There are many advantages and disadvantages to each. Most apps don't allow for multiple camera angles, for instance, while online sites can. Consider trying out a few to feel out the differences before deciding for yourself.

Popular Screencasting Tools

If you're leaning more towards screencasting, then check out these amazing pro tools.

Many of these tools are created by the same company, TechSmith. You can find everything from free software to pricey screen-capture programs, but screencasting tools should at least cover the basics.

And as long as you can capture the screen clearly, you can later edit it with any reliable video editing software. So go for it!

Step 3: Get Your Equipment Together

Next, you need equipment.

First, decide what kind of art or creation you're broadcasting. Are you making an oil painting, or a digital one on a tablet? Gather all your artistic equipment ahead of time so you won't have to leave your seat mid-demo.

Now set up your camera shot to highlight your work. Smartphones or webcams are perfect for live streaming. Use a small area within your home or office. A simple setup is all you need, but you can also push the style for more savvy setups.

Check out these DIY studio tips you can easily apply to live streaming/screencasting videos:

When in doubt, always make sure there's:

  • great wifi!
  • enough light
  • not too much clutter in the shot
  • a clear view of what you're creating
  • reliable microphones or other audio equipment

Step 4: Practice Makes Progress

Let's just remove the word "perfect" from this scenario. Naturally, you'll stumble a few times before mastering your broadcasting habits. But it can't ever hurt to do a little extra planning.

Grab a notebook and make a brief outline of your broadcast. Apart from the actual art, what would you like your audience to know about you? Is there a story you could tell about your style or artistic influences? Jot them down to remember later.

Live streaming events can easily turn into opportunities for public speaking or sponsorships. Master talking about yourself so that the transition is easier. You'll be grateful you did.

If you're still too nervous to hit record, then practice by recording a quick video on your phone first. Set up the shot the same the way, and then give yourself a few minutes to settle into your skin. After all, no one's watching yet!

Remember, the worst case scenario is that you'll eventually stop recording. No matter what pushes you to that moment, it's perfectly fine to stop whenever you're ready.

How to Go Live Like a Pro

How to livestream

Now that you're ready to record, what should you remember to do? Let's find out.

Engage Your Audience

A simple hello goes a long way.

Your viewers want to feel that you care about them as much as they care for you. So start with a simple greeting and remember their names. Make them feel welcomed by addressing them individually and answering any questions.

It's completely up to you to utilize feedback and art critiques, but it isn't necessary. From my experience, the best live streams either have something to look at or something to listen to consistently.

Go With the Flow

Plans are like a GPS: it helps, no doubt, but you can still follow your own route. All in all, your best bet is to let things flow naturally during any live recording. From tech glitches to all kinds of mishaps, you'll need to mentally prepare for anything to happen.

Here's a tip: Feel like you say "um" too much? Take a quick pause before you speak and collect your thoughts. It'll help you get over this annoying little habit.

Go With Your Style

Not sure what to wear? Just be yourself. Creators often feel pressured to let go of their individuality to appeal to everyone. Don't do this to yourself!

Rocking out with your regular style can work wonders for your self-esteem and confidence. No one wants to be forced into a box. Wear something nice if you'd like, or just a casual outfit for a more laidback feel. It's okay if you aren't always "on" all the time.

Block the Haters

We're all familiar with trolls, but that doesn't make them any less annoying when they strike. From art lovers gone rogue to bored teenagers, haters come out of nowhere.

In this case, take advantage of how each platform handles this issue. Many apps allow you to block toxic people directly, while other sites like Twitch let you set up chat moderators.

Pause Your Broadcast

If things get too toxic, you're really tired, or you're just not feeling it, feel free to pause or end your live stream. Don't worry, your fans will understand.

You can also pause your broadcast when screencasting. This helps creators figure out which step they need to take next, without fumbling or making mistakes across the screen. It's an efficient way to shorten the overall recording time and lower the file size.

Post-Processing and More

Camtasia editing
Use built-in software from programs like Camtasia Studio to edit your screencasts.

Many people watch creative broadcasts to relax or help them learn more about art. You can help facilitate this by learning how to effectively organize and edit your recordings.

Most apps and websites allow you to save the live stream as a recording. Organize these into destinations on your profile or website for easy viewing. Instagram, for instance, lets you save live recordings to later add to your Instagram Stories.

Trim, Cut, and Crop

You can usually edit screencasts with the software they came with. Trim, cut, or even crop footage to fit the dimensions you need for any social account or course structure.

Use snippets of your live streams for fun trailers, quick how-to videos, and more. Incorporate professional video editing tools to market your live streams and screencasts.

Record the Audio Separately

Naturally, this option is only for screencasts.

I find it easier to write scripts for online courses after the screen recording is already done. When you review the footage, watch each step and take notes of their order. Recording your audio separately will ensure the best sound quality for crisp and clear explanations.

Want to hear it for yourself? Check out the sound for my latest Photoshop brush course:

Save Your Broadcasts

Like many people, I like to save my work. But live recordings always create massive file sizes. Take the heat off your devices by using built-in features in any app or website to save these videos.

For screencasts in particular, designate a separate storage device for your recordings. Any external hard drive with plenty of gigs will certainly do.

Conclusion

Many people are visual learners. They love seeing a process unfold to better understand each step. And I'll always be grateful to the artists who live stream. If it wasn't for them, so many of us would find it much harder to achieve many amazing art styles.

I hope you give both live streaming and screencasting a shot. Sharing your work with loyal fans can help bring incredible opportunities to your door and improve confidence.

Let your fans get to know you and why you create! Remember to practice for progression over perfection.

Need some inspiration? Check out these videos to see screencasting in action. Create inspiring videos using amazing art assets from Envato Market and Envato Elements.

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