How to Create a Virtual Concert With Minimum Cost – Complete Technical Guide
I’ve covered the ways on how to generate revenue from online concerts and events. So, now let’s look at how to run a professional virtual concert for virtually free and not using a live stream from Instagram of that sort. Below is the list of things you need.
List of Items
- OBS Studio Streaming Software – Free
- Android smartphone – Not free but you should have it already or borrow one from your friend.
- IP Webcam Android app (or Droidcam app) – Free
- YouTube, Facebook or Twitch account – Free
- Audio Interface – hardware to connect your mic and instruments to the streaming PC – Not free
- Internet connection (min 1MBps upload speed) with WiFi – Not free but you should have it already
- OBS-ASIO plugin for OBS Studio – Free
- GoFundMe account – Free
- Sound mixer – Not free but your crew might already have it
- Additional PC to split the streaming workload – Not free but you might already have it too!
- Check if you have an Internet connection with at least 1MBps upload speed. You can check by doing a simple speed test using nPerf.
- Download and install OBS Studio on your Windows PC or Mac. Please ensure your PC has sufficient power (CPU, RAM, free disk space) to do proper streaming. We could test before going live.
- Download and install the IP Webcam app on your Android smartphone. Make sure your mobile phone has adequate hardware capacity. This guide was tested using Samsung Galaxy S8. If you only have an iPhone, try this camera app from App Store (not tested).
- I’m assuming you already have a YouTube or Twitch account.
Configure YouTube Live With OBS Studio
Below is a quick video to show you how it’s done. Or continue reading if you prefer a text tutorial.
To set up a live stream on YouTube, logged in to the site and click on the camcorder icon on the top right corner and select Go live. Then, you can just allow the use of mic and webcam requested by YouTube but we’re not going to use those.
Next, click on the Stream tab on top and enter your stream title, description, etc. Then, click on Create Stream button below (view the image below).
By now, you should be able to see the screen asking you to paste the stream key into your OBS software. Go ahead and click on Copy.
Return to OBS Studio, click on Settings at the bottom right side of the main screen. You will see a pop-up as shown below. Click on the Stream tab and set the configuration as below.
- Service: YouTube / YouTube Gaming
- Server: Primary YouTube ingest server
- Stream Key: Paste the YouTube key you previously copied right here
Then, click on OK.
To test your configuration, on OBS Studio main screen, click on Start Streaming at the bottom right side (don’t worry, no one can view your stream yet!).
Then, return to YouTube’s previous stream page and wait for more or less 10 seconds. Soon, you should see a page such as below with your PC stream on the left screen on the page. You can hit the GO LIVE button on the top right corner to start streaming, but you don’t have to do that for now.
Configure Facebook Live With OBS Studio
While you’re logged-in on Facebook, on the Create post (the “What’s on your mind” box), click on the three dots and choose Live Video.
Under the Stream Setup tab, find the Camera menu and select Use stream keys, as shown below.
Copy the stream key by clicking on the Copy button.
Then, go to OBS Studio and click on Settings at the bottom right. Select the Stream tab and choose Facebook Live as the Service. And paste the stream key as shown below.
Return to Facebook and wait. Give it like 10 seconds or more and you should see a page like below where the live stream from your PC is shown on the Facebook page.
You should give your live stream a title and description. Here’s a note. Do not click on Go live now unless you’re ready.
To test your live stream, under Public privacy setting, choose Only Me so that only you could view the stream by yourself.
Other than the usual live chat/comment function, Facebook offers some cool features like adding polls and asking your viewers questions.
The question feature is for the host (streamer) to ask questions to the online audience, not the other way around. For viewers to ask, they can use the live comment function.
The image below shows how the host’s question would appear on the viewer’s screen.
You could embed your Facebook Live stream on a separate website by copying the embed code and paste it on your webpage. Facebook also has another neat feature which is casting – viewers could send the live stream to another device such as an LED TV (that is sharing the same WiFi network) to have a better viewing experience.
Configure Twitch With OBS Studio
If you prefer to use Twitch to stream, you can follow the video below. It’s as quick and simple too!
Setting Up The Camera Using Your Smartphone (Not Webcam)
By now, you should know how to stream from your PC on YouTube, Facebook or Twitch. I don’t plan to teach you how to use a webcam to stream because it just looks so unprofessional for an online concert. We want a more cinematic experience with the camera freely roaming around when shooting the live virtual event. So, we’re going to use the best and cheapest option available – via your own mobile phone camera with WiFi.
Please make sure that your PC and mobile phone are connected to the same WiFi network. Otherwise, it won’t work.
We need an app that records your virtual concert video feed on your smartphone and sends it to your PC that is doing the streaming. By now, I assume you already downloaded and installed the IP Webcam app. You could also try Droidcam but it requires you to install a separate desktop software.
Run the IP Webcam app on your phone and you will see the screen below. Scroll all the way down and tap on Start Server.
The screen will change to a camera view with some overlay text on top (hope you don’t mind the ads). See the image below. Tap on the top left text saying How do I connect? It will instruct you on how to receive the video feed from the phone to your PC.
Once you tapped on the How do I connect button, you will see the screen below. Tap on Connect directly.
Then, select I’m using Wi-fi router, as shown below.
Next, you will see this screen below with the instruction on how to view the video feed on your PC. You need to open your browser such as Chrome and enter the URL depicted on the app screen. For the example below, the URL is http://192.168.43.1:8080 (no space).
You should then see a webpage on your browser like below. Click on the Browser button and finally, you should be able to view the video feed from your phone as shown below. You should also turn off the audio feed because we shall be using a better sound source (read the setting up sound section below).
If nothing happens when you clicked on the Browser button, refresh the page and try again. Ensure the IP Webcam app is running and shooting. For better results, try to stay near to the WiFi router with no wall or obstruction between the phone and your PC.
If all goes well, you should be able to view the video feed from your phone camera as depicted below.
If you still can’t see any video on your PC, try changing the video resolution in the camera app. Go back to the settings page on the app and select Video preferences > Video resolution. Reduce the video resolution to match with the video resolution of your PC. Reducing the resolution on the camera app also helps to create a smoother video feed with no delay (latency).
As the final step for this section, on the camera browser page, click on Fullscreen, as shown below. It will open a new browser tab to display a larger view of the video.
Remember, your online audience shall see whatever you see on your screen. So, you may want to “cut off” the things you don’t want them to see. Read on for some tips on that.
If you still notice significant latency in your video feed after reducing your video resolution and by staying close to the WiFi router, you might need to consider a wired solution by having a long USB cable connecting your phone and PC together. For this, you need the DroidCam Android app. Here’s the tutorial to set up USB connection (read section #2).
Connect The Phone Camera Video Feed to OBS Studio
Now, we need to configure a separate video source on OBS Studio. Under the Sources box on OBS main screen, click on the plus icon (+) below the box and select Window Capture. Then, a box will appear. Select Create new and enter a name for this source. Here I call it Chrome Video Feed.
In the next pop-up window, you need to choose the Chrome browser window that is displaying the video feed from the phone camera. Then, click OK. The image below shows how it should look like.
You could actually see a few chrome.exe selections on the screen above. This is because multiple Chrome windows are open. You must select the one that is displaying the phone camera video page.
Display The Video Feed in Fullscreen
To display the video feed in full, you can either crop the window capture on OBS Studio or set Chrome to full screen.
- Crop window capture on OBS: Follow this video tutorial.
- Display fullscreen on Chrome: On Chrome, click on the menu icon (three vertical dots) on the far top right corner and under Zoom menu item, click on the broken square box. To exit fullscreen, move your mouse pointer all the way to the top and an X button will appear. Click on it. Or hit F11 to toggle fullscreen.
Set Up The Sound
We’ve covered all the easy part of this entire tutorial, so now comes the difficult part – configuring the sound in your live stream. Obviously, if you want a good quality virtual event, you must have good quality audio. To achieve this, you need to use an audio interface which is a piece of hardware that connects your microphone and instruments to your PC via either a USB or Fire-Wire cable. You could always use a sound mixer if you already have one. Some audio interface options you could consider are,
It depends on how many instruments (or mics) you are using because each different device has a limited number of audio inputs. I’m not an audio engineer, so it’s better you ask your sound engineer regarding this.
You need to connect the USB output from the audio interface to your PC and OBS Studio should be able to pick up this audio device. Here’s a tutorial on how to set up Focusrite audio interface with OBS Studio.
If you need to separate each audio input into different channels on OBS, you need to install the ASIO plugin on OBS for Windows PC and here’s a video tutorial for that. For Mac, you need to use a virtual driver like Loopback.
Some Optional Ideas
Do a Fundraising Drive During Your Virtual Concert
Use Two PCs to Stream Your Virtual Event
If you want to produce a more spectacular online concert, you can consider using two computers. The idea is to divide the streaming workload between two PCs – one does the streaming work and the other does the video or audio recording. Here’s a tutorial on how online gamers produce their online stream with double CPUs but the concept is the same for virtual events. With more streaming power, you can add more cameras. Please read below.
Use Two Cameras or More
I would suggest doing this only if you have a fast WiFi router (Gigabit preferably). You could have a stationary camera on a tripod facing the entire studio or your band and another camera roaming around to offer close-up experience. And you also need a person who’s directing your OBS software to switch scenes between the two cameras.
Have Someone Interact With the Online Audience While You Stream
This could be the OBS director – the person who’s sitting at the PC controlling the OBS Studio software. Since the same PC is managing the stream on YouTube or Twitch, they could easily reply chat messages on the screen and post links to your fundraising page or upcoming album waiting list.