We have learned a lot by livesteaming our montly event, including what gear makes the most sense to use. We have been hosting the monthly Social Media Breakfast of Houston for eight years. We are still learning every day about what equipment we need to best produce our live events.
For instance, a few years ago we started to livestream on Google+, with all of the videos going straight to YouTube. When that was discontinued in late 2016, we switched to livesteaming from Facebook. Currently we are using BlueJeans OnSocial to publish to the Facebook page. It allows us to add media, if we want, and record the sessions to use in other platforms.
When we started out, we borrowed a basic PA systems and sound equipment (thanks Marie Angell and the Snake Charmers), then slowly built up our own — staring with the Fender Passport system listed below. We now have quite a setup – and we probably aren’t done yet. We still need more direct audio (vs ambient with the Snowball) and we can make some video improvements as well with a taller tripod. I will keep this page updated once I decide on, and test, new equipment.
Without further ado, I give you a list of everything we presently are using for those of you who have asked. If you click on any of these links to purchase, we will get some credit for the sale. I am happy to answer any questions about our gear in the comments.
Thanks for supporting the Social Media Breakfast of Houston!
Manfrotto MTPIXI-B PIXI Mini Tripod, Black
This tripod is used to run secondary livestreams to Periscope on Twitter. We may even try Instagram in the future. In any case, this mini tripod is what we used to livestream on the fly at other events as well.
Vastar Universal Smartphone Tripod Adapter Cell Phone Holder Mount Adapter
We use this adapter with the mini tripod, but it can be used on any tripod to mount your phone. It works with any phone since the width is adjustable.
Logitech HD Pro Webcam C920, Widescreen Video Calling and Recording, 1080p Camera, Desktop or Laptop Webcam
We use this webcam to stream to the computer. We put it on a tripod.
GRIFITI Nootle Stand with Mini Ball Head and Travel Case, Black
We use this simple stand to hold the Logitech Webcam. We like that the bottom of the stand has a smaller footprint than a traditional tripod. Because this is a live event, floor space is precious.
Blue Snowball USB Microphone (Brushed Aluminum)
Right now we are using this Snowball mic to pick up the sound for the livestream. We put it on the floor, about 3 feet away from the Fender speaker. I would eventually like to replace this with direct audio in from the Fender soundboard to the computer, but this does nicely in the meanwhile. I also use this at my desk when I dial in as a guest to a podcast or on Skype.
Fancierstudio 2400 Watt Professional Lighting Kit With Three Softbox
I added this lighting kit a few years back because the light at Canopy Restaurant, where we hold our monthly event, is less than ideal. This was an affordable light kit. It was a bear to put the soft boxes together, so I don't break them down for transport. The stands are fully collapsible though and they come with a black canvas gear bag. I leave the Hairlight (the one with the big boom arm) at home since we really only need the two front lights to make a huge impact on the video quality. They aren't included in the gear list here, but I also bring two ankle weights to wrap around the base of each light to keep them from tipping over. And I tape all of the cords down with Gaffer tape for safety.
PylePro PDWM3375 Premier Series Professional 2-Channel UHF Wireless Handheld Microphone System
These mics are really great to use and easy on the budget. There are two mics and they both plug into one channel. You can change the frequency on either mic if there is any interference, and each mic can be adjusted on the back of the panel. There is a lapel version of this setup (similarly priced), but I like the handheld mics for our purposes. It keeps any one guest from taking over the conversation. I have also ordered some wind screens for my mics. My last guest really caused the mic to pop with his “p's” and the wind screens will help prevent that.
Fender Passport Conference PA System
This was the first thing we bought when we started to invest in our own equipment. This system has been a lifesaver and it is very easy to assemble, plus it connects together to make one carrying case and is very easy to haul around. It also fills up a medium sized room very well. I am not sure how well it would do in a ballroom, but for our purposes, a live event with about 100 people, it has done very well.
Lenovo Yoga 2 11.6-Inch 2-in-1 Convertible HD Touchscreen Premium Laptop
This is currently the computer that runs it all. It is also my workhorse computer for my business. I ordered mine direct from Lenovo and added some more RAM. Mine has 8MB RAM.