Live Streaming for Artists / by J. Logan Carey

Lately I've been playing with live streaming some drawing sessions. I've enjoyed sharing the process and have experimented over a few different apps and thought I would give my review of the streaming services available. 

Facebook Live

Streaming on Facebook Live for artists goes kind of like this...you start streaming, a random assortment of friends and family that have notifications enabled or are on the site get alerted that you're streaming and some trickle in to see what you're doing. About thirty seconds later they leave to get back to watching reality tv.

Using Facebook Live for artists will probably not gain you any new followers or fans because the people that would be able to see it already are friends with you. If you want to show people you already know your work, then there you go. If you are trying to find a new audience to share your work with, it's probably not going to do much for you.

Instagram Stories Live

Streaming live on Instagram will probably get you better traction then on Facebook. Chances are that you have a lot more followers on Instagram that are fans of the art you're posting rather than people you actually know in real life. That will help you interact with an audience that's more interested in your work. Once your stream ends, your video will get prominent placement in Instagram Stories for 24 hours.

If you have your Facebook account linked from Instagram, go to the Story Setting in Instagram called "Share Your Story to Facebook", your video will then also appear as a Facebook Story in the app as well as in Facebook Messenger. For what it's worth.

Twitter Live

Within the Twitter app, inside the Tweet window is a button called "Live". Pressing this will start the live stream window. Before the stream goes live you'll be able to title the stream for viewers to give them an idea of what you're working on. Pressing "Go LIVE" will start the stream. The feed will be posted like a tweet and show viewers that it is live.

Now, if you have this connected to your Periscope account, a live streaming only app owned by Twitter, then your live stream will also appear live on Periscope. By this method, your stream will be publicly (depending on your privacy settings) available to all users of both Twitter and Periscope at the same time. From my experience, while these services have a smaller user base than Instagram, that user base is more engaged and I've seen significantly higher viewer numbers on Twitter and Periscope than any other services I've used. 

Find me on Periscope here!

After your video ends it is available to replay on your Twitter feed and your Periscope account. On your Twitter feed, the video will auto-delete after 24 hours, although you can click on the video and change this to not delete. On Periscope, your video will be available permanently to anyone who looks through your archived broadcasts.

Twitter Live also has a couple of benefits absent from Instagram. One is the ability to hide the chat from viewers or even turn it off completely. Also, when your video is posted on your feed, you can view your "Broadcast Details." This will show you detailed information such as how many viewers you had, who they were, the ability to view the profiles of your viewers and averages of time watched.

All in all, Twitter Live with Periscope integration seems to garner a larger audience of new viewers with more features such as sharable links and statistics. Periscope can also be viewed in app and via website as well, so for me, it's probably the best option.

Twitch

Not just for gamers, there's a section of Twitch called "Creative" for artists of all kinds even cooks, crafters, and really anything you could think of. Admittedly, I haven't used streaming on Twitch. This is mainly because you have to have a computer setup to run it (annoying), people have to be Twitch users to view your stream (that's a hard sell), and frankly I find the video graphics people have customized for their streams to be so much visual barf (see for yourself). Also, since most people on Twitch are hoping to make money out of streaming, they tend to be nonstop shilling for donations, subs, or whatever the hell. It's like watching a telethon from a high school kid's basement. Not a fan. Moving on.

YouTube Live

Here's another one I haven't really played with much. It's possible this could be very cool, YouTube having such a large user base. It could also lend well as an addition to those artists who post videos to YouTube. There certainly are some very high profile artists on there that seem to have made significant headway in their artistic careers by teaching and sharing art there. But having not played with it much, I couldn't really say. Perhaps I'll give it some more attention in the future as eventually I am planning on uploading more content to YouTube.

Camera Setup

I'm a big advocate for using what you already have and keeping technical setups very simple. With that in mind, the easiest way to stream your work is from your cell phone. The best method for this is to get a mount that is made specifically for holding a cell phone over a desk or work area.

The mount that I chose is the Aduro Solid-Grip 360 Adjustable Universal Gooseneck Smartphone Stand. WHAT A NAME. It's a highly adjustable mount that easily secures to a desk and stays out of the way. There are lots of other options out there so I may find a better one in the future, but that's my top pick for right now.

I'll you guys out there on the live stream!