Findings from the Streamer's Winnebago: What I've Learned Becoming a Gaming Video Creator on FaceBook
If you didn't know, my schtick, when it comes to streaming, is constant testing of the things that streamers need to practice and hone their craft. Hardware. Software. And services. You can hit up my YouTube channel, Rounding Off Infinity (linked at the top), to see uploads of hardware impressions and reviews, livestreams and captures of hardware under review, and other content. One other element of that schema is that I do not set up shop on any one streaming service. I rotate every month, and park the Rounding Off Infinity Winnebago at a different service and operate from there until the start of the next month. I do this to do close observation of the service offerings, its mechanics, and its community. This is something I do not think you get if you just use Restream. For October 2018, I've been operating from FaceBook. And I've recently decided that I need some additional time with it, and so I'll be livestreaming from there for the month of November as well. Here are some of the things I've experienced so far.
Discoverability: FaceBook has a marketing problem in that its livestreaming capabilities and service are not easily recognizable as a discrete feature from all the other functionality it offers. I did not readily find out how to livestream a game directly within FaceBook itself, which you would think you could do. I'm not even sure how, as a viewer, you find out that there is livestream content and video content creators on FaceBook. Once I became a streamer and obtained the Gaming Video Creator designation from FaceBook, now stuff appears in my feed all the time. But before that, I was an avid gamer, frequently posting about gaming news and my own written commentary within my FaceBook Timeline and I never got clued in by FaceBook itself about being a streamer or game livestream content. It was only by and because of my research into everything that supports Streamers that I found out and then figured out the technical aspects of livestreaming to FaceBook.
Platform and Service Integration – Pages: The best way to establish a recognizable presence as a streamer is to create a page that is separate from your timeline. Now, that is assuming that your FaceBook Timeline is a personal one for you to interact with friends and family. In my case, I only use FaceBook to convey and converse on topics related to my online media presence, so maybe I really did not need to set up a separate page for Rounding Off Infinity. But I figured I needed to test it anyways. Now once you create a page, it is its own specific kind of hell. The page does not unify with your timeline persona, so when I go to post on this page that I own, FaceBook sends me nuisance alerts (sometimes several spread out over time) that I have a new comment or post or share on my page. Ya know. From myself. On the page that I own. Get my point?
PS – to set up a livestream, you go to this URL - https://www.facebook.com/live/create
· One neat thing is that the stream presents as a new post for you to draft, so you can enter your introductory exposition right there
· If you do have a Page, make sure you hit the drop-down at the top of the draft post on this create page, as it is default set to stream to your timeline, and the stream to your page will generate a different unique stream key
· A bad is that, unlike the Periscope Producer page for Twitter, the Facebook Live Create page does not put the OBS parameter limits for resolution, bitrate, and frames per second, as well as recommended keyframe interval right on the page. You’ll need to Google around for that. What I’ve found is 1280 X 720 resolution, 4 Mbps max bitrate (so set OBS at something like 3.5 Mbps), 30fps, Audio Bitrate set to 128 kbps (so it probably supports 160 kbps max), and I would highly recommend putting all your audio outputs in one track
· You can create a title for your livestream and as far as I can tell the length of that string is either unlimited or just long; longer than YouTube permits, is the main point
· There is an option under the settings tabs, Live Video, to permit viewers to rewind, but this does not seem to enable them to scrub backwards in and during the livestream. I guess it’s for doing so after the fact, which just seems a silly checkbox to have
· Best thing ever is that, just as is the case on Periscope Producer for Twitter, this page is an additional curtain for your livestream. You can set everything up, check it, and in fact start your livestream up, allowing you to do some audio checks and visually verify stream integrity, without sending the stream live. Once you are satisfied that everything is good to go, you hit GO LIVE and the stream is presented on your timeline or dedicated page. It’s one of the most effective live recording / live audience prep tools in the whole mix
· Final negative is that the link I gave you above to go to the FaceBook Live Create page…not sure that is provided anywhere on FaceBook itself, or at least it’s not easily found, and certainly not once you are logged in to your timeline and bombarded by everything else FaceBook wants you to see
If you have a FaceBook account, you can view my most recent livestream here