Tutorial on Live Streaming and VR Shows
DISCLAIMER: I am not an expert on any of the below topics, these are my opinions and research into them. This is also an open document. Please feel free to contribute your methods, patches and resources to the article and tutorial. Please email those to firstname.lastname@example.org.
- You can do this all for free.
- You can do this with just a laptop.
- If you DON’T have any external gear, you’re OKAY. You can still do this. If you do, you just have more options.
- You DON’T need a camera. But I would suggest making some animated visuals to keep the eyes entertained. There’s also VJ programs like VVVV and Resolume.
- It’s possible to monetize it.
- I’m going to focus this tutorial on Twitch, rather than YouTube or Instagram because Twitch currently has the best program in place to help musicians, it is possible to have followers start subscribing to your channel after 30 days, and they can “tip” you with Bits (more info below). On YouTube, it’s 12 months, and Instagram doesn’t even offer any type of program like that. To be frank, neither of the latter options work for us musicians in our current situation. Having said that, I have talked to affiliates over at Twitch who have assured me that Twitch’s music team is moving full speed to bring you in-depth tutorials, and possibly new and faster ways to monetize your stream and music. On top of that it’s already possible to embed your Bandcamp onto your Twitch for you followers to directly purchase your music and merch.
- Despite Instagram’s lack of a way to monetize your hard work, I will go through a way to stream from your Mac or PC to Instagram. But seriously, if music livestreaming is going to work, we need to adopt Twitch. It’s easier if fans/followers feel like they have a common place to go to view their favorite artists. So just use Instagram for sneak peaks or alerting your followers. /OPINION
Streaming to Twitch/YouTube/Instagram (Mac)
- To livestream on a Mac, it’s a couple extra steps compared to PC, due to the closed Apple ecosystem for developers. To start, you need to download two main programs:
- Install OBS Studio
- This video can guide you, but just make sure you choose ‘Optimize for Streaming’ during the installation process.
- Make sure you have accounts for the platforms you want to stream to.
- For the remaining setup I would suggest watching this video.
- When you begin streaming to either platform, don’t forget to have the website or desktop app open, so that you can see who’s viewing your stream and communicate with them.
Streaming to Instagram (Mac)
At the moment, this can be done in two ways but in my opinion, neither are really convenient nor effective.
- YellowDuck allows you to stream from OBS Studio to Instagram, however you can not directly interact or send messages to the people viewing the stream. Instead you have to create another Instagram account to view your live stream and see people’s comments on your phone.
Bootcamp Windows Method
- This method installs the Windows operating system on your MAC and allows you to use OBS Studio and Loola.tv to stream to Instagram (and other platforms simultaneously). With Loola.tv you will be to communicate and see messages from viewers from all platforms. It’s pretty cool, actually.
- It requires that you have enough disk space on your hard drive to create a partition (basically, separate it) so that the Windows operating system can be installed and booted on a Mac.
- Follow this video to set up Windows using BootCamp Assistant
- Go down to the PC Users section and follow the instructions from there.
Streaming to Twitch/YouTube/Facebook (PC)
This is super straight forward. No other software is required besides OBS Studio and one of their plug-ins.
- Download and Install OBS Studio
- Make sure you have accounts for the platforms you want to stream to
- Download and Install OBS VirtualCam
- Run OBS Studio and run the automated set up
- Further set up instructions can be found here
Streaming to Instagram (PC)
The method I found best was using Loola.tv, with Loola.tv you connect all your social accounts, and then you can simultaneously stream to multiple social platforms. You can even respond and communicate to every one of your followers on each of the platforms. Super helpful.
- Follow all the instructions above for Streaming to Twitch (PC)
- You have already downloaded Virtual Cam, but for this to work you will need to additionally install Virtual Cable
- Here are the instructions to set up the two plug-ins for Loola.tv
- Once you have everything installed and all your socials connected with Loola.tv, go into OBS Studio, click Tools > VirtualCam
- Refresh your browser in Loola.tv and select OBS Camera as your source and you should now see your OBS capture in your Loola.tv preview port
- Click Go Live in the top right of Loola.tv when you’re ready to stream, also make sure you’re not monitoring the audio from Loola.tv otherwise you will get some cool feedback loops.
VR Shows and Streaming
For those of you who know me, you know I have been talking about and trying to push for the concept of VR shows for quite some time. I’m really excited and inspired by virtual reality. And as of now, I can only find one company who is combining music and VR: The Wave XR. It has a strong community and amazing staff that are willing to help in any way they can. Shout out to Natti and TOTC for showing me the ropes, taking me on a VR tour of the program, and showing me how to create your own ‘venues,’ worlds, and stages.
So at this moment VR and VR shows are in its infancy stages, or as TOTC eloquently put it, “we’re in the Atari days of VR.”
What’s Possible in VR at the Moment?
- People with VR headsets and PCs can participate, interact and communicate in the actual VR space that your show is taking place. Mac users and peeps with phones can stream it. Only VR users can throw parties and use the DJ equipment.
- You can see, talk, gesture, dance and interact with other people who are at the concert in the VR space. You appear as an avatar within the VR space (avatars that WaveXR has pre-approved and optimized.)
- You can only “DJ” your music currently, but you are able to model all your actual instruments and place them on your VR stage. So for example, if you’re a knob jockey, you can model all your synths on a table and have them there in VR space but you can’t actually perform on them. Still it will probably look the same ; )
- One of my favorite aspects of WaveXR and VR shows is that you can build and create the environments in which your shows take place. For example, you and your audience could be experiencing your performance on Jupiter, or a recreation of CBGB’s… or your bedroom! It’s literally only limited by your personal creativity.
- You need an actual “lighting” person at the concert with you while you perform. All light flashes and hue changes have to be done manually. Like an analog show, you will have to have someone there to be controlling the lights while you perform. There are audio reactive capabilities, but it helps to have a second person to do the more sophisticated lighting and scene changes.
How To Get Started With Wave
There’s a few different ways you can get involved, but honestly, how much you get involved depends on the gear you have and what you’re willing to teach yourself. I am personally still figuring this out myself. So I’ll be updating this portion of the guide with more information as I find it.
- Download Discord, if you don’t have it already (it’s like a 2020 IRC):
- Join the Wave community on Discord, they are the best resource for the know how.
- Here you can find people who can help you build stages and worlds or teach you how to create them.
- Wave can be downloaded from Steam (VR/non-VR) or Oculus (Oculus headsets only). Both store links are available on Wave’s website.
Creating Your Own Stages and VFX
Most people are using Blender 2.8 to create the VR stages and assets. Blender 2.8 is a free open source 3D modeling/animation program with its own built in render engine.
With this program you will be able to create anything you need to custom build your VR concert/stage/world.
From here you will need a VR headset or someone with a VR headset and PC to be able to place your objects/assets within the VR space.
Think of it as: placing the floor over here, this speaker over there and this weird statue thing as the centerpiece. So all the separate assets need to be placed after creating in Blender. I’ll be writing a section that goes into this process more in depth as I learn more.
Once you have finalized your VR “venue” you can schedule a time with Wave’s Community Manager, Natti_Lin to host the concert on their server (all free, at the moment) and there you go! Your first VR concert. People dancing with each other, interacting with each other on Jupiter, listening to your music… with you.
Twitch offers several guides for musicians, such as Twitch Music: Getting Started guide along with their dedicated resource page.
We also invite everyone to visit our discord to ask questions and help each other.