Mobility

How to go pro with your iPhone livestream by adding text and graphics

Mobile users streaming to YouTube Live with Wirecast Go can add text, graphics, and replay on the go. Here's how.

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Image: Andy Wolber/TechRepublic

Mobile livestreams are mainstream. Facebook Live put live video streaming into the hands of millions of people. Twitter and Periscope brought live video and short comments together. Google promises livestreaming from YouTube, too. If you have a phone, an app, and an account, you can share whatever you see with the world.

Most streaming apps broadcast exactly what you see. Point your phone, tap, and your viewers see the video as you do. Missy Longshore discusses databases and Salesforce. Apigee streams tech talks and training sessions. Educator Lisa Nielsen livestreamed a professional development talk by Alan November.

Wirecast Go, from Telestream, lets you add a bit of professional production polish to your livestream on your phone. You can add graphics or switch to another shot with a tap. The app is iPhone only, as of August 2016, and is on the YouTube Live Verified Devices & Software list.

After you install the app from the App Store, open it and tap the red button. Sign in with your YouTube account. You can select an existing stream to share to, or "Start a new broadcast."

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In Wirecast Go on your iPhone, sign in with your YouTube account to livestream.

Image: Andy Wolber/TechRepublic

Next, add graphics. You can add images to one of three layers in Wirecast Go. Add a foreground graphic to display a person's title, add a logo to one corner of your video, or show an inset-image. You can also change the size and position of each graphic. Use full-screen video with a small image inset to make your stream look like a traditional news anchor with an over-the-shoulder graphic. Another option is to display a full-screen image with a small video, as you might see with a software training tutorial. Or, omit the video entirely and just show a static image.

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Add, position, and resize graphics to your livestream on up to three different layers.

Image: Andy Wolber/TechRepublic

The paid version of Wirecast Go lets you set up as many shots as you want, while the free version limits you to two. (As of August 2016, the paid version costs a one-time fee of $5.99.) Multiple shots let you set up many different arrangements of video and graphics. For example, with a bit of planning, you can appear to stream video from different locations. To do this, open with a live video shot of a speaker (maybe with a title of the event), then switch to a static shot that shows an image only. While the static image is broadcasting, walk to a new location in the room, then switch back to a shot with live video. Viewers will see an uninterrupted stream. The static image gives you time to move to a new location.

Wirecast Go supports streaming from both horizontal and vertical orientation. So, you can show a landscape shot to set a scene, then rotate your phone to focus in on a single person in portrait mode. (And, yes, it is entirely permissible to record vertical video.)

The paid version also allows you to make your stream public, private, or unlisted. Unlisted means that anyone with the link to your video may view it, but it won't be indexed for search and won't be displayed on your YouTube page. Unlike public livestream apps, Wirecast Go lets you livestream from your phone to a limited audience of your choosing.

Wirecast Go also supports in-app chat with your viewers. However, I suggest that if you anticipate a lot of viewer interaction, you might be better off setting up a laptop. It can be a bit of a challenge to hold the phone steady and type on the screen at the same time.

SEE: Streaming media policy (Tech Pro Research)

When you livestream, all the usual smart video production tips apply. Use appropriate lighting and minimize glare. Choose colors and patterns for your subjects and backgrounds that work well together. Where possible, stream your signal over a high-speed, uncongested network with fast upload speeds. Use a tripod to keep your phone steady, and a microphone to capture audio clearly.

With the iPhone app, you won't be able to reproduce all the complexities of a professional broadcast. You can't add animation. You can't draw on the screen. You can't pair lots of phones together, then switch between them for different shots. High-quality, professional video cameras and sound recording equipment may produce better results than your phone, but that's beside the point.

Wirecast Go lets you add a little professional polish and production value as you livestream video from your iPhone. That's something many business people on a budget will appreciate.

What about you?

What have you livestreamed from your phone for work? What has your experience been with Wirecast Go, Facebook Live, or Periscope?

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About Andy Wolber

Andy Wolber helps people understand and leverage technology for social impact. He resides in Ann Arbor, MI with his wife, Liz, and daughter, Katie.

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