I just performed on my first solo saxophone livestream on the FB platform earlier today (24th June), and it's been quite an experience. It's definitely a lot more stressful than performing on stage, I can honestly tell you. The playing is definitely the most fun part (although there's the different stress of making sure I can play my best!) of the entire experience. Nevertheless, there were still a bunch of technical issues that came up, and nothing can really be done about it at the time. I can only save it and learn to do better for the next livestream.
What's stressful is trying to manage all the little things, and making sure that everything is running as smoothly as it can without much of a glitch (hopefully). I can list down on the top of my head some of the things that a musician livestreamer would have to manage each time one has to go live, and this is by no means an exhaustive list - I'm not even mentioning the pre-production work that goes into it; the exhaustive testing and reconfiguring of settings, ad nauseum:
Instrument and gears are working fine (making sure we have at least a decent if not a good reed)
Audio setup is where is working right - microphones are working fine (my clip mic is buggy with old wiring now), positioning is optimal
Music playlist is working right (even looking for the right media player software is a task and a half) and the songs are all there
OBS (the broadcasting software) is already configured to the right settings for the stream - scene changes, audio syncing issues worked out, right output balance
The streaming settings are alright
Camera is working fine
Getting on the stream and making sure the stream is working properly
Reading and responding to comments during the stream
Is my video going to get flagged by the platform for copyright infringement? NOTE: The replay of the video already has some tunes muted out due to copyright match. I'd just like to convince myself that I sounded killing (LOL!)
The end result of a livestream (or any production, for that matter) is like a giant piece of puzzle machine with different variables that is meant to create the same result (more or less). Every time there's a new element that gets introduced in the process, the testing that has to happen is akin to starting from scratch. It's like programming - adding a new command or code means having to test it many times to see if it works. So far, I've experimented with:
- different cameras such as a cheap webcam and a Zoom video recorded; ended up using my mobile phone since it has the best camera resolution of all the cameras I have. Can't afford a good one yet.
- different audio software for media playback - different DAWs, different media players (VLC, Groove Music, iTunes, Sony Music Centre, ended up using this one called MusicBee)
- different audio routing software - EVO Loopback, VoiceMeeter Banana, Blackhole (for MacOS)
Of course, those who are already experts at this would already know how to work it in a lot less time, it goes without saying. And it's more likely than not, they would already have the best gear for it. But if you're a small fry like me, or like those of us who are starting out, we would have to use what we have (and can afford) and make the best of it.
Nevertheless, it's been an interesting and educational experience. I must admit that even if it was roughly an hour show, it felt like a 2-long set workout! I know if I keep doing this, I will get better at it, and the workflow will become a lot easier. I know this is going to be a new norm for a lot of us, and doing livestreaming like this will be something that will stay for a while, especially looking at how things are going in Malaysia, at least.
So, I'm going to put it out there - I'll be putting in a little more focus on livestreaming as part of my creative work activities (I've got my teaching studio to work on as well), so I am aiming to upgrade my gear over time - hopefully sooner or later. If you are interested to help expedite that process, I would be REALLY extremely grateful for that! Every little bit of support helps! *(I'll leave some links to support channels at the bottom of this post if you'd like to help me with my efforts)
I'm still in the middle of finding out which platform I would stick to for streaming, I think I will be phasing out FB in the long run simply because, well, it's not a great platform for my use. I will be looking into YouTube soon, which I know most people would use. It's just sometimes disappointing and discouraging that there are many things that stop one from being able to create or do creative stuff online.
In any case, it's time to move on to the next livestream!
Before I end this post, I would like to give a BIG shout-out of thanks to those of you who have generously given their support during the livestream earlier today - THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU! I'm extremely grateful from the bottom of my heart - you've really made my day!
If you have seen the livestream I did, and have suggestions or ideas, please feel free to leave them in the comments section of this blog! If not, I would love to hear from you anyway!
Thanks for reading, and stay safe!
*If you would like to support me in helping me to improve my livestreams or content creation efforts, you could do so through the following channels:
From within Malaysia: DuitNow: 002767504A (MAYBANK - Julian Chan Music Productions) MYB: 514271634468
Thank you very much, I'm truly grateful for the support!