Live streaming an event can be as affordable or as expensive as you want.
I’m sure it’s not the answer you were looking for, but it’s true.
Unless you have very specific requirements such as making it available for thousands of people or running a broadcast with multiple angles and cameras, you’re in luck.
Streaming an event is cheaper than ever, and, with the right tools, you can create an outstanding experience for anyone at home on any budget.
What’s the most affordable way to live stream an event?
Let’s use what you already have.
You already own a fantastic live streaming device. One that’s always connected, that is easy to charge, available at all times, and that features a great camera.
A wedding, conference, funeral, a workshop, online class, or even a theatre play, can all be streamed live using your smartphone and a streaming app. The service can either be free, by using Facebook or YouTube, or premium, by using EventLive or another private live streaming app.
In case you decide to avoid all sorts of problems that come with using social media platforms, the live streaming app will set you back about 50 USD.
You will need a small tripod, and maybe you have one too. If you don’t, this will add about $25 to your budget. $75 so far and you’re good to go.
To boost the quality of your live stream, you can decide to throw in a wireless microphone to the kit. This is optional but strongly recommended, as it will vastly improve the viewing experience for anyone watching the virtual event. Wireless microphones come in all price ranges, but the ones you need for this particular setup can be found for about 60-80 USD.
Lower budget options:
- $0 for the very basic: Smartphone + Free Social Media Platform
- $50 for the basic kit: Smartphone + Premium Live Streaming Platform
- $145 for the full experience: Smartphone + Tripod + Premium App + Wireless Microphone
What does this include?
Unless you go for the $0 option, you will get a private live streaming page, the ability to customize it, a guest list with automatic reminders, a guestbook or chat, access to unlimited free tests prior to the event, an automatic backup recording, available replay for a year, and a few more things.
After the live stream, you’ll still have the tripod and wireless microphone, so the next live stream should be much cheaper than the initial one.
This isn’t only the most affordable way, but it’s also the best value for your money. Anything else from here, it’s just optional.
How much would it cost me to improve my live stream?
Once the basics are all covered, you can start focusing on the “nice-to-have” tools.
The first one that comes to mind is a gimbal. It allows you to walk around the venue or event without making the viewers dizzy. It stabilizes the image and creates a very smooth video as a result.
Smartphone gimbals are relatively inexpensive, in the $99 to $159 range. The one I’d recommend at the moment is the DJI OM5, but you can get any of the previous models and save some money. They are all pretty similar in features and viewers won’t notice the difference in the video if you save a few bucks.
The second tool that could improve your live stream is getting a better set of wireless microphones.
You can either get a single transmitter or two transmitters. Think of each transmitter as a microphone that sends audio to your smartphone.
One transmitter is usually attached to a speaker or set on a table if there are multiple speakers. Two transmitters are best for interviews and conversations such as panel discussions, but they are particularly useful at weddings and similar events when you must capture the audio from multiple sources.
Rode Wireless Go II are the most common ones, and you can even find them used. I like them quite a bit, but I prefer the DJI Mic instead. Which usually sells for an extra $100.
You can expect to pay anywhere from 200 to 350 USD for a set of two transmitters and one receiver. These include a backup recording inside each unit, better transmission than the more affordable units, and more configuration options.
The last thing I can recommend to improve your live stream is to bring a power bank. This item will not affect the quality of the video or the audio, but it will give you an enormous peace of mind when you see your battery draining during the event.
There are multiple options to choose from, but you can spend as little as 20 USD and you’ll be glad that you did.
How much should you budget to live stream a professional-quality event?
This is a difficult question to answer, since every event is different.
To give you some ballpark figures, a one-camera live stream can range from $700 to $2500 USD, while a multi-camera live stream with a live stream producer and camera operators should start at around $1800 to $6000 USD or even more, depending on the complexity of the event.
Professional live streaming tools can be really expensive, so hiring a studio that owns all this equipment will definitely be on the pricier end… but that’s not all you’re paying for. Being a professional live streamer requires extensive knowledge and experience of any little detail that can go wrong.
Some professional videographers who use EventLive to live streaming funerals, intimate weddings, and smaller events have mentioned that they charge 850 USD and upwards, so that’s probably the minimum you should budget for.
Is hiring a professional videographer to live stream your event worth it?
The answer is almost always yes, but… (and this is an important “but”) does your event need it?
If your goal is to produce a top-quality video as the outcome of the event, then 100% yes. You should hire a pro. They will take care of everything but most importantly, they are professional problem-solvers. Pay big money and they will get it done
On the other hand, if your goal is to give people at home the opportunity to experience the event as if they were there, then a more affordable solution will serve the same purpose. You’ll be giving them access to all the information and the ability to be present even when they can’t be there in person. This is priceless for most people looking to live stream an event and for all the ones who can tune in from the comfort of their home.