My Streaming Studio Tour: 2021 Edition


Stream setups come in all shapes and sizes. Some streamers work with multiple DSLR cameras, a high-end microphone, and a computer that could power a space station. Others make it happen by leveraging the built-in streaming functionality on their consoles. Some excel by broadcasting with only their phone.

Will be the first to admit that it’s a ton of fun talking about streaming tech and adding more tools to my setup. Even so, the value of one’s content isn’t defined by the equipment they have, but what they do with it. People make amazing things happen with lesser gear all the time.

As I continue to develop my streaming setup, I try to remind myself of this truth. My setup has gotten much better in the last year or so but none of this stuff matters if my content isn’t fulfilling to make and isn’t adding value to your life. Here’s what I use to create!

Studio Space

My streaming space saw a major overhaul in 2020. Years after moving into this house, Steff and I finally made good on on our plans to renovate the basement. We tore down the illegal wall that divided our basement and painted the walls.

On the side of the basement where I used to stream is now a living space with a couch, coffee table, TV, and media storage. On the other side is my streaming studio. Though I’m technically in a smaller space, it’s a better fit for what I need right now. The brighter walls that don’t match my skin tone make it easier to colour balance my camera. Also, being closer to the walls makes it easier for me to display smaller objects in my backdrop that are still visible on camera.

The one thing I would love to figure out in the future is how to implement a green screen into this space. Having the ability to add my full body to digital spaces like Dr. Disrespect would open up a ton of creative possibilities. This idea may have to wait until we move to a new house someday, but it’s something that would be nice to add in the future.

Lights

I use a set of studio lights that Steff gave to me as a Christmas present. With the way that my space is currently configured, I mount two above my desk to light up my front side and one multi-purpose light on the side that acts as a fill light when I’m looking at my main camera while acting as my main light when I look at the room camera.

Placed behind me are a pair of RGB floodlights. They’re a cost-effective way to add colour to my space. I’m actually looking to upgrade these with more powerful floodlights, as the area of affect is pretty small, especially with the big studio lights neutralizing a lot of the colour.

Most recently, I added a ring light to my setup. Though I’ve done very little with the ring light itself, I make prominent use of the stand to hold my phone as a roaming camera. Looking forward to finding new ways to implement this into my setup!

Decor

I take great pride in decorating my studio space. It’s a celebration of video games, board games, and other nerdy pursuits! It goes a long way towards making all of us feel at home.

Every month, the space is decorated with different pieces of art, toys, comics, and plushies among an assortment of other geeky things. Last Christmas, Steff and I set up a tree with lights, ornaments, and other geeky decorations. Of course, we can’t forget Snorlax, whose been with me on stream since the very beginning.

One of the newest innovations to my backdrop came in the form of a frame with green Bristol board. In real life, there isn’t much to look at. On stream, it’s an image slideshow that also displays emotes from the chat.

It’s a really cool way to blend the digital and physical worlds together! Here’s a guide I wrote on how you can achieve this effect as well!

PC

Strictly for the purposes of streaming, you do not need a high-end PC. If you’re willing to make sacrifices to your resolution and frame rate, you can probably get by with whatever computer you have handy. If Ian from Adventure Rules and Switch to Decaf can hit Twitch Affiliate by running their console streams off of a tablet PC, you can probably make due with whatever computer you have handy.

I streamed on underpowered hardware for years. Couldn’t justify the steep upfront costs for a long time so I made the best content I could with the equipment I had while saving up for a better one someday. By virtue of a global pandemic that has forced many to work from home, I used the money I saved from not taking the train and buying lunch everyday to finally buy and build a great PC.

In case you’re interested, here’s the part list (with Amazon Affiliate links in case you’re interested in purchasing the same parts).

Having a PC of this caliber makes a few key things possible:

  • Stream in 1080p 60FPS
  • Record while streaming console games at 1080p, 60FPS at double the bitrate
  • Play and stream PC games with only one PC
  • Edit and export video files much faster
  • Horsepower to drive all of the effects I use

Having this PC raises the ceiling for what’s possible with my content. Though my shows don’t necessarily need to be stunning technological displays every time, it’s good to have the room to explore. At least for the time being, I’m excited to continue pushing the technical boundaries of what’s possible on stream!

Cameras

Streaming is a medium where its primary value comes from being able to engage with the streamer. Cameras are an integral part of that connection. They bring you into my space. They allow you to see my facial expressions as I react to different things. It allows us to look “eye-to-eye” and directly interact with one another. I believe in the value of cameras so much that I don’t intend on streaming without one.

In fact, I usually stream with multiple cameras. The main webcam is a Logitech Brio that’s aimed at my face.

The Logitech C920 is perched on a shelf and provides you with a bird’s eye view of the space.

In recent months, I’ve incorporated my phone as a third camera, giving me a free-roaming camera I can leverage for just about anything. Sometimes it’s simply a third view of me. Other times it’s a vlog cam. I’ve even aimed it downwards at my desk for unboxings.

Keyboard and Mouse

During the holidays, my family upgraded my keyboard and mouse! Goodbye $8 keyboard from work. Hello Corsair K55 keyboard! Really enjoy this one for having RGB lights and six macro keys along the left that can be programmed to act as Stream Deck buttons. I can never have enough!

I’m now pointing and clicking with a Redragon M908 mouse. This one has a ton of buttons along the left-hand side, as well as buttons along the top that allow me to change mouse sensitivity on the fly. As I game more on PC, I’m sure that these features will come in handy.

Mic

I strongly believe that the single most important piece of equipment in one’s streaming setup is the microphone. It’s the device that transfers your most valuable asset: your voice. For the vast majority of streamers, what you say and how you say it will be the primary reason people tune into your stream.

At the end of 2019, I upgraded from a Blue Snowball Ice to a Blue Yeti Nano. It might not have been as big of a quality jump as I would have thought, but there are a few things I learned this year that make it so much better. When configured properly, the mic sounds awesome! Would highly recommend checking out my microphone settings guide to make any mic you use sound better. Also, I figured out how to leverage the built-in headphone jack on the microphone to act as a monitor. With this, I can hear my console audio, Discord chat, and stream alerts all in one! This functionality had dramatically improved my workflow and simply isn’t possible with a Blue Snowball Ice.

Headphones

After years of use, there simply wasn’t enough duct tape in the world to stop my old headphones from completely falling apart. By the end, one of the ear cups had completely fallen off and you could no longer hear audio from it.

Having never delved in the world of third-party headsets, it took a few days of research and asking for opinions from friends. Eventually, I opted for the HyperX Cloud Alpha S headset when it went on sale for Black Friday. They sound and feel great!

Capture Card

At the end of 2019, I also upgraded my capture card to the Elgato Game Capture HD60S. However, it took many months before I could actually use it, as it wasn’t compatible with my old PC. Now that I have one that can run it, I’m really happy with it!

Stream Controllers

Stream controllers give me a level of control for my stream that’s exceedingly difficult to duplicate with a mouse and keyboard. I can quickly flip between scenes, mute my mic, control my voice changer, blast my air horn, or have money drop from the sky without taking my eyes off the camera. Though they aren’t necessary to run a stream, having one has given me so much more control and creative freedom.

I love my original Elgato Stream Deck so much that I bought a Stream Deck XL to go with it. With dozens of buttons at my disposal, I have somehow managed to fill them all up and then some. Maybe it’s time for a third?

Gaming Chair

My previous chair fell apart in 2020. The butt cushion had completely given out and the backing was tearing off the bracket. Between my current chair being in dire straits and the pandemic forcing me to work from home, I decided to go for a higher-end chair.

I now use a DXRacer Racing series chair. Feels great to sit in and my lower back really appreciates the built-in lumbar support. Do you need a gaming chair for maximum comfort and swagger? No. Do I like having this particular chair? Absolutely!

OBS

OBS is still my go-to streaming software. Part of why I prefer it over the competition is that I can install third-party plugins to expand on its functionality. For example, I leverage Reaper plugins to add EQ to my microphone, and StreamFX filters to blur out my camera when naughty stuff happens.

The biggest innovation to OBS came from learning how to use scene nesting. This is a technique that allows you to embed scenes within scenes. Instead of having to manually add every element of my overlay onto every scene, I can create one overlay scene and embed it on every other scene. This way, when I make changes, I only have to make changes to the master overlay instead of every instance of it.

Scene nesting not only simplifies my workflow, but expands my possibilities. It’s much easier for me to manage global effects – such as having money fall from the sky – without having to program a money button for every instance of that effect. It also makes scene-specific variations of elements easier to manage. Though you only see about 10 main scenes during my streams, there are literally dozens of production-level scenes that are all pulled together to make my stream in its current form work the way it does.

LioranBoard

The most noticeable change to my stream within the last year was the inclusion of Channel Point effects. Whether you blurred out the screen, blasted the air horn, or summoned Snorlax for the billionth time, this relatively-new technology gives viewers an new level of interactivity.

All of these effects are powered by software called LioranBoard. Though it’s a pain to set up and its user experience is a nightmare, the creative possibilities that open up through this tool are absolutely insane. I’m just scratching the surface of what this thing can do and there’s so much more that can be done when users master the tool.

Whether its LioranBoard or someone else, I really hope that this technology continues to develop. It opens up a whole new level of interactivity that gives viewers more reasons to tune in live. In particular, I want the makers of this tech to really think about the user experience behind programming these effects to improve accessibility.

For example, here’s a look at the code that runs the Poke Flute. As someone with zero background in programming, I have no idea what the hell this is. The only reason I even got it to work was that I basically copied the code from this randomizer guide by Neverwho and made adjustments to the data file to make shiny Snorlax the way that it does. If there was a way to simplify this for those who don’t have a background in programming, it really could change the world of streaming as we know it.


For anyone that actually read all the way through, thank you for allowing me to indulge. Talking about streaming gear is a favourite pastime of mine. Partially cause of my fascination with the gear itself, but mostly for the ways it can help myself and others create engaging content.

At this point, I recognize that I’m in a privileged spot. I have more than enough to make things happen. I just need to continue focusing on what these tools allow me to create rather than acquiring gear for the sake of having cool gear. Not sure where the stream is headed going forward, but I know I’ll continue pushing myself to create the best and most engaging content I can with the resources I have.



Buy the Elgato Stream Deck Now From Amazon.com

[Purchasing through this Amazon affiliate link gives me a small commission without adding any extra cost or effort to you. Thanks for your support!]

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