This is my guide – partly for myself so I don’t forget how to do things – to getting a Facebook Live performance setup. I’m doing a handful of gigs in this virtual world, and must admit that I am quite enjoying the hassle free nature of it!
First of all, you’ll need a Facebook account. The Live item works on your stream, you band page or an event page. This post isn’t going to detail the how to set these up.
Google Chrome browser – Facebook Live seems to prompt for Google Chrome and this is the only way I’ve successfully had it working. My norm is to use Vivaldi, Opera, or Edge, browsers (which share the same engine as Google Chrome) but that’s the one I had to install on my system. This may change over time.
Video – a webcam in the PC should suffice, or an external webcam will give better.
Audio will vary according to your musical setup. This will vary from using an in-built microphone to capture room acoustics, external microphone capturing room acoustics, or the more complicated way of having several channels mixed through an external soundcard.
At time of writing I have tried the in-built webcam and microphone and tested out an external webcam with it’s microphone. Both had reasonable success (video much improved by the webcam), but want to give the other techniques a go as well. For this post I want to use an external webcam and it’s in-built microphone.
For reference, my own hardware here is a Surface Pro 7 with Windows 10. I have had good success with the in-built webcam here and an external Logitech Web Cam.
Basic Facebook Live
Should become redundant over 2020: At time of writing (2020-05) there is an olde way of doing the Live performance, or a new way. I’m only detailing the new way. You should be prompted to try the new way when you hit Connect. If you are on the new way there will be a ‘Switch to previous version’ option in the top left corner.
If you want to test your setup there is a column on the left that is independently scrollable. There is a test option at the bottom. Click this first if required, as your options will all be reset if you do it later! Testing is recommended, and some masking tape can also be worthwhile to record where things are placed, where you are standing etc.
There is a live tab in pages, which I have set to https://www.facebook.com/KarmadilloBand/live/
Get started offers a range of options for connecting.
I currently haven’t tried out (OK, I don’t understand) the ‘Use stream key’ and ‘Use Paired encoder’ options, so I am going for the ‘Use camera’ option which then lets you set your microphone and video sources.
There are settings in the main window and the left hand column for audience participation and behaviour which is useful to have a look through.
Use the preview window to check things are visually as desired and give it a go! If testing it’s a good idea to move around and see how sound/mix works out as you do this. Once you are comfortable stop the feed and have a watch and listen back. I’ve found the following when singing with an acoustic guitar type instrument using the web cam microphone: the voice always sounds good, but there is sometimes an attempt at noise cancellation going on with the instrument.
Then comes the tricky bit – plan to play live! I’ve found having a phone or tablet etc with you on silent mode can help read comments which gives a nice interaction with the audience.
Good luck with your show!