Facebook Live from your Laptop – How To

Social media is playing key role in connecting with people. Day by Day World is narrowing down with more connectivity. Video, Audio, Images and Text messages can be sent to large group of people in seconds. Information sharing is much more convenient with different social media tools. Social media tools and network bandwidth together open options for more and more facilities. Now it is possible to organize a live event on Facebook. You can stream live video to Facebook servers which publish your content to your Facebook page.

How to do Facebook Live

First look at the requirements for live streaming to Facebook servers.

  1. Facebook account
  2. Good quality network connection
  3. Video source – Laptop inbuilt camera or use external camera or video capture
  4. Video encoding and streaming application

Lets discuss above points to understand the process better.

  • You can stream video to your Facebook page. So you must have an account on Facebook.
  • Good quality network connection is essential for video streaming. In case of video streaming , video content is uploaded to Facebook server so demand for upload speed matters a lot. How much upload speed you need? This depends upon the quality of video you want to upload. Quality of video depends upon video encoding parameters.If you compress more, quality will be lower. So understand the encoding parameters for maintaining good quality for your captured video. Generally 2 Mbps stream is good for general purpose but professional broadcast require more bandwidth which depends upon video resolution and compression parameters.
  • You can get video from single camera or multi-camera setup. Your laptop can capture video from inbuilt camera or you can use external USB camera also. In case of multi camera setup, collect the final output of multi camera setup ( produced output) and capture the video through some capture device. Multiple video capture devices are available in market. Blackmagic Intensity shuttle can be a good choice to capture external video.Its drives are supported by most of the applications.
  • Finally you need some application to encode video and encapsulate for streaming. In my last article about Video streaming applications, I discussed some of widely used application. My choice here is Open Broadcaster Studio (OBS) as this is completely free for usage.

Facebook Live – In few Steps

  • Connect your Laptop with internet.For safe side, test your network speed also so that video stream goes smoothly to Facebook server.You video data upload limits should be less than the average upload speed of network otherwise frames will be dropped and freezing will be observed in live video.
  • Open video streaming application. I am giving example here with Open Broadcaster Studio (OBS). Add video source to your OBS. Click on + button in Sources, then select Video Capture device->Create New. A pop up window will emerge which will show capture devices.From the drop down window, select your video capture device.Your video will be visible in preview window. You can then cut it for final output.
  • Now you need to configure video stream.Click on Settings button on right side. The settings window has option for Stream settings.Following settings need to be done.
    • Stream Type – Streaming Services
    • Service – Facebook Live
    • Server – Default
    • Stream Key – You will get this stream key from Facebook configuration page.After necessary configuration on Facebook page, collect the stream key and paste that here.

OBS Facebook live stream settings

  • Now login to your Facebook account and go to Facebook page where you want to do Live video streaming.
    • In Top menu option, Click on Publishing Tools
    • Publishing tools page will open. In left side menu, click on Videos
    • In this Videos section,click on +Live button to create a Facebook Live
    • A popup window will emerge showing the stream url. Stream Url consist of two parts. First part is Facebook server url and other is stream key. You copy this URL and stream key because this will be required for configuration in your streaming application.
    • Facebook live stream
  • Now go back to OBS and paste this stream key into OBS stream settings. Click apply and then OK.
  • Your system is now ready for Live video stream to Facebook. You can now click on Start Streaming in OBS. Without live stream signal, Facebook page shows Offline status which changes to Live after server receives live stream.

Facebook Live configuration is just for getting the unique streaming URL. Some other settings on Facebook page is like Title, description of live event which you can apply as per your requirement. The video streaming applications requires Facebook streaming URL ( complete URL or just stream key) which you may apply as per your application.

I hope, you would have got a broader idea of Facebook Live Event.

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