Making improvements to your stream doesn’t always have to involve spending money. If anything, the best improvements one can make don’t involve money at all. But for streamers on a budget, knowing where to make adjustments without breaking the bank can truly take you farther than spending money on the latest equipment.
Here are a few thought-starters for ways you can improve your stream without spending big bucks on new equipment!
“Kelsey’s view of herself is…very large.”
I made this observation as my wife was watching KelseyDangerous stream Animal Crossing: New Horizons (she’s a great streamer by the way and you should check out her show!). Unlike the thumbnail-sized streamer views I’ve seen in the past when the streamer has overlaid themselves over-top of their gameplay, Kelsey’s view was a large square that covered up a sizable portion of the screen. It was also cropped in such a way where you could see more than just her face. In this view, you could everything from the torso up.
As I’ve continued to explore Twitch in recent months, it’s become apparent to me that Kelsey’s overlay strategy is not a one-off. Streamers of all sorts are making the view of themselves larger, even if that means you see less of the gameplay underneath.
Why should anyone watch your stream?
I know I might come off as a jerk for asking, but it’s a serious question all streamers with ambitions of growing have to answer. Myself included. Streaming is a highly-crowded, hyper-competitive, and top-heavy space where zero viewers is the norm for most.
Furthermore, there are inherent challenges that come with consuming live streaming content versus anything else online. Asking someone to carve out hours of their day to go to your channel and engage with you through the chat is way harder to do than to watch a much shorter YouTube video or view a social media posts that get propagated in other people’s feeds. All of this makes live streaming as a medium one of the most difficult forms of online content to consume.
If you want potential viewers to make that effort, you have to provide them with value equal to or exceeding the effort they put into watching you. Let’s talk about our value as live streamers and what we can do to make our streams more valuable.
You don’t need a high-end PC, top-of-the-line microphone, or DSLR camera to start streaming. If anything, avoiding those big ticket items if you don’t already have them for now is a wise decision.
Instead of focusing on having the best gear, now is the time to determine if this is a medium you want to pursue. Run a couple of test streams and determine whether you enjoy everything that streaming entails, from managing all of the equipment, to engaging in the chat, to handling all of the stress that comes with going live. If things don’t work out, at least you’re not sitting on thousands of dollars worth of equipment that will simply collect dust.
If you’re looking to get into streaming, here’s a quick guide on the stuff you’ll need right now – and the stuff you can get later!
“What if viewers could blow up my stream?”
Yes, this is a question I have legitimately batted around for some time. In fact, I know exactly how I would do it.
Starting with a free green screen explosion from YouTube, I would chroma key out the green so that the explosion appeared as transparent. Once the smoke cleared, viewers would only see a black screen. Finally, the stream would shut itself off. All of this would be controlled by an expensive Channel Points redemption and automated through LioranBoard.
Blowing up the stream sounds cool and all. But exactly how does that effect actually improve my stream and help me achieve my goals on Twitch?
Webcam or no cam? That is a question that I had to ask myself when I started making videos years ago. It’s a question I still see now on Reddit and other message boards. While it seems like using a webcam is the standard, I don’t blame anyone for wanting to opt out. Being in front of a camera changes the dynamic of gaming in a way that can feel invasive and unnatural.
It’s not impossible to succeed as a streamer webcam-free. Lirik is one of the biggest Twitch streamers and he doesn’t use a camera. There are other streamers like him who excel with a camera-free setup. During these discussions online, I’ve even seen viewers who state that they prefer streamers who don’t use a camera.
Does that mean you or any other camera-shy streamers will find the success you’re looking for? As a hobby streamer with a tiny-but-growing audience that I love with every fibre of my being, I’m not an authority figure on the matter. But I think it makes for an interesting discussion about why users would tune into a particular streamer watching video of the same game from any other source.
Since the release of Borderlands 2, my site has been slammed with traffic from users searching “Borderlands 2 third person” and all variations of that query. It seems like a lot of you want to know if/how to play Borderlands 2 from this particular camera angle, and coincidentally, my blog is called In Third Person. Though I appreciate all of the extra traffic to my site, I really hope Google isn’t driving people here that will ultimately be disappointed when my posts don’t answer the question. With that in mind, I’ll answer this seemingly burning question:
“Can you play Borderlands 2 from a third person perspective?