Once upon a time, nobody ever thought you could make money from streaming. It was a small niche, with only a few creators sitting in front of a camera and broadcasting their gameplay. Today, streaming is a multi-billion-dollar business, and it is a legitimate full-time career choice for many people from all walks of life. However, it can be quite a tough journey to get there, and if you want to succeed, you’ll need a top-tier streaming setup.
Fortunately, we’ve taken the time to compile this guide, assembling a breakdown of exactly what you need to build the best streaming setup. It’s worth bearing in mind that it isn’t just the equipment that makes the best streamer a popular, capable creator, but it’s the best starting point imaginable. With the right components at hand, you can build a streaming setup that’ll get you on the road to gaming fame within no time at all.
Read on to learn everything you could possibly need to know about building a streaming setup.
Why Should You Become a Content Creator?
There are few industries out there growing quite as fast as gaming, esports, and content creation. If you were to look back just a few years, you’d see a developing market, with people just starting to explore the value of uploading videos and putting out streams on YouTube and Twitch. Now, there are millions of creators, all of whom are jostling for a place at the table that consists of the most profitable, high-performing streamers in the world.
It’s a dense market to be sure, but it’s ripe with opportunities to make a name for yourself and get your face out there. Today, streamers and content creators are becoming superstars, signing brand deals and securing sponsors as though they were world-class athletes. For the most popular streamers, an audience of millions follows their every move, watching their streams, buying their merchandise, and in some cases, using them as the inspiration to kick-start their own career.
If you want to take a look at some of the best examples, consider checking out some of the best streamers in the business:
- Dr Disrespect
There’s more to it than just signing up on the best live-streaming apps and throwing out some content, though. It’s a lengthy journey, and it’s one that is densely packed with struggles, huge amounts of effort, and some expensive purchases. There are countless things you need for streaming, in terms of both your own personality and your streaming room setup.
That’s why we’ve assembled this guide – to teach you how to build a streaming setup and get started on that road.
What Are The Hardest Things About Streaming?
Before you start assembling your streaming starter kit, you’ll need to make sure that you’re in the right frame of mind about content creation. It’s a hefty task and it can make for an unimaginably stressful career choice, even if you manage to pull it off and pull in millions of followers. It can be lucrative, but it requires far more work than a traditional career, and for some, it’s a round-the-clock role that never lets up.
Once you become a streamer, you’re in the public eye – and you have to accept everything that comes with that. Firstly, you’re opening yourself up to the many critics that call the internet their home. It’s impossible to please everyone, and even spending several thousand dollars or pounds on a streaming setup doesn’t guarantee you can keep the wolves at bay. There’s also the fact that you’re making yourself a target on social media, for better or worse.
There are high expenditures when it comes to streaming – time, money, and effort:
- Firstly, you’ll need a lot of cash to build your setup for streaming, and you’ll need to maintain it.
- Then, you’ll need plenty of free time to put out your streams and create other content on the various platforms that creators use.
- And of course, you need to spend a lot of effort working on yourself, creating the best content you possibly can.
It’s a self-confidence and self-esteem game and starting out as a new streamer can bring people to their lowest point. As one of the best tips for streaming, we’d say to make sure that your mind is in the right place long before you decide to start streaming.
How to Create a Popular Stream
Next, we’ll discuss the components of a world-class streaming setup, but for now, let’s look at what makes a popular stream. It isn’t just having the sharpest camera or the most expensive microphone – most of what makes a stream great comes from the streamer themself. For instance, when a content creator engages with their chat, it instantly creates a much more personable vibe in the stream.
Here are some of the best tips for creating a popular stream:
- Engage with your chat, both asking and answering questions, and trying to create thoughtful topics of conversation.
- Make your content entertaining by being good at a game, naturally funny, or so bad at a game that it’s hilarious.
- Try to be original – don’t copy another creator, or it’ll shine through immediately and it’ll be all you’re known for.
- Use high-quality equipment and accessories – this is where your streaming setup comes in.
- Take advantage of the best live streaming software and use widgets, sounds, viewer rewards, polls and more to make a stream as fun and interactive as possible.
Outside of the stream, it’s a fantastic idea to start building a community from the moment your first stream goes live. If you’re trying to learn how to make money from streaming, it’s important to have a community that finds your content valuable and tunes in on a regular basis. They’re more likely to become your paid subscribers, and in return for the content you produce for them, they’ll pay a monthly fee to enjoy benefits on your channel.
What Do You Need For a Streaming Setup?
Welcome to the core of our all-important streaming guide – this is where you start building your setup for streaming!
For this portion of our guide, we’re going to assume that you’ve already saved up a lot of money, or you’re willing to get your hands on some. It’s by no means a cheap feat to become a content creator, and building your streaming setup can be a very expensive venture.
Here’s what you’ll need to get started:
📸 A Camera (or two)
There are few things more important for a good stream than a camera. It allows viewers to see you, offering them a more personable sense of immersion and interaction, and if you’ve got an attractive backdrop (we’ll talk about that in a second), then it’ll allow you to show off what you have. If you have more than one camera, you can switch between angles and show different things.
🎙️ A Microphone (or a headset)
Traditionally most of the top streamers will use a high-quality microphone to capture their voice. There are almost no successful streamers that don’t use a microphone of some kind, as it’s the foundational building block upon which you communicate with your viewers. There are some brands that manufacture what’s advertised as the best headphones for streamers, boasting top-notch cardioid microphones and crisp speakers.
🖥️ A PC, Laptop, or Console
If you’re going to stream games, you’ll need something to play them on. Typically, the best setup for streaming will be a PC – or two – as there is some extra equipment you may need if you want to produce a great quality stream using a console like an Xbox Series X|S or a PlayStation 5, for example. However, it’s worth bearing in mind that, to produce a clean stream, you’ll need a powerful rig – and if you want fancy graphics, transitions, layouts, and effects, you will need some kind of computer.
⚙️ Streaming Software
For most streamers, there are two pieces of streaming software that are up for grabs – Streamlabs and OBS. They mostly perform the same tasks, but Streamlabs is more advanced. However, that means it’s more resource-intensive, and if you’re streaming from a single PC setup, you’ll need better hardware to be able to run it effectively. There’s other software that you can use, but it depends on the equipment that you’re using.
For instance, if you’re using Razer hardware, then you can use Razer Synapse to control it.
🎮 Furniture and Peripherals
This really is one of the first things you should be considering, as without furniture, you don’t have a setup. It may just be a case of taking a trip to IKEA and buying a desk and a chair, but you can of course go above and beyond, buying a large gaming desk and an ergonomic chair. In terms of peripherals, it’s advised to have at least two monitors when streaming, and on one monitor, you’ll ideally have your streaming software and a chat interface.
If you’re streaming from an Xbox, PlayStation, or Nintendo Switch, you’ll typically need a computer of some kind and a device called a capture card. There are several on the market, but most streamers opt for the Elgato technology, which is owned and manufactured by Corsair.
🎎 Added Extras
When you’re learning how to setup a streaming room, you’ll come to find out that there’s much more to buy than just the base equipment. For example, you may want some nice RGB lights to use as a backdrop – some streamers go so far as to use lasers and smoke machines. There’s a whole host of things that typically appear in a streamer’s backdrop, such as:
- Collectable items (from games, anime, and movies)
- Lightboards or backlit letterboards
- Cushions or plush toys
Read Also: Streaming Room Setup Ideas
Which Creators Have The Best Streaming Setup?
Some of the most famous streamers boast a streaming setup worth tens of thousands of dollars. From expensive cameras to the latest technology in PC gaming, they’re constantly refreshing and updating their streaming setup to pour as much value as possible into the content they produce.
For instance, Dr Disrespect’s streaming setup makes use of extensive green screen technology to make it look as though he’s in a ‘gaming arena’. Out of every streamer online today, Dr Disrespect is known for having the highest production value, using nothing but the best technology, equipment, and even a production team to create streams that are almost unbeatable in terms of quality.
With that being said, some streamers manage to override the requirement to spend thousands on a setup, instead relying on their own charisma, gaming ability, or personality to draw in the viewers. One of the most recognisable streamers on Earth, xQc, is one of the most subscribed to Twitch streamers, and his setup is little more than a camera, a microphone, and a PC – sometimes he won’t even use a second monitor!
It’s a learning process, at the end of the day, and what works well for one streamer might not work well for you. What we’ve recommended in this guide is the bare minimum you should consider using in your streaming setup, though.
What Free Software Can You Use In Your Streaming Setup?
When you’re trying to figure out how to start streaming, it’s important to bear in mind that not everything costs something. There’s plenty of software that you can download on your computer or phone that will enable you to reach a bigger audience in a more impactful way, without spending so much as a penny!
- Twitter – Twitter allows you to connect with fans and other streamers, but you can also use it to post ‘go live’ links.
- Instagram – If you’re a keen photographer or if you take amazing screenshots, consider using Instagram to share your content.
- TikTok – TikTok is arguably the best platform for sharing short-form gaming clips, like those that you can capture whilst streaming.
- YouTube Shorts – If you’re not a fan of TikTok, then you can use YouTube Shorts to upload short-form videos that are under sixty seconds.
- CapCut- Used for short-form content primarily, CapCut offers a powerful app for a grand cost of absolutely nothing.
- DaVinci Resolve / VideoPad- Both DaVinci Resolve and VideoPad do roughly the same things, acting as free video editing software that’s great if you’re just starting out.
- GIMP – GIMP is free photo editing software that lacks fewer features than PhotoShop, but still boasts a remarkably similar experience overall.
- Canva – Canva is a photo editing and creation app that is used quite heavily in marketing. It’s a great platform to make professional graphics for a low price.
- VoiceMod – With VoiceMod, you can manipulate your voice into something funny, perhaps going as far as to give your viewers control over what voice changer you use.
- BitBot – When you’re an affiliate, viewers can donate bits to mess with your game, which works particularly well in high-stakes competitive games.
- StreamRaiders – With StreamRaiders, viewers can take part in a minigame that’s tied into the stream, buying units that fight for them on a virtual battlefield.
Does The Type of Game You Play Impact Your Streaming Setup?
In some ways, the game that you’re playing will have a bearing on your stream setup. If you’re looking to become a ‘cosy streamer’, then you’ll be interested in making your setup resonate with that vibe. For example, you might have soft furnishings, dimmer lighting, and a nice, comfy chair. If you’re eager to be an action-oriented battle royale player, you might have less of a focus on your backdrop, camera, and lighting, and more on the gaming portion of the stream itself.
There are plenty of streamers that don’t even play games. On Twitch, one of the most popular categories is ‘Just Chatting’, and it’s full of top-tier creators who might just sit in front of a camera discussing their day – and it’s super successful! There are IRL streams, cooking streams, and art and music streams – all of which may require slightly different hardware or software to be delivered. For instance, if you were doing a cooking stream, you may need a WiFi-compatible camera and a tripod to mount it on.
Read Also: How to Grow on Twitch
How to Use Your Streaming Setup to Make Money (Maybe)
If there’s one reason many people become content creators, it’s because it can be quite lucrative. There’s a lot of money in the world of streaming, and if one knows how to access it properly, then they stand to make a lot – even if they’re just a part-time streamer supplementing a full-time income.
But how do you make money by streaming? There are a few avenues of revenue, and once you’ve got your streaming setup sorted, you should be able to start looking at them:
- With a sponsorship, brands will pay you to shout out their product – or use their product – during streams and videos. Typically, sponsorships will only come when you’re at least somewhat successful.
- Donations, often in the form of real money or ‘bits’ on Twitch, are given by the viewers who most appreciate your streams. To get them, you’ll need to be a Twitch affiliate or have a link to a platform like PayPal.
- When you become an affiliate with a brand, they’ll typically provide you with a code that your fans and viewers can use to purchase things. It’s a mutually beneficial arrangement: the brand gets a sale, the viewer gets a discount, and you may earn back a portion of that sale as an added bonus.
- Ad Revenue
- Platforms like Twitch and YouTube allow you to run ads and monetise your content. When you reach the Partner level on Twitch, you’ll unlock the ability to earn ‘incentives’ that reward you with more money for running more ads in a given time period. It’s anti-viewer, but pro-earnings.
- If you have a strong streaming setup and perhaps some extra skills, you can use what you’ve got to make more serious cash on the side. Are you good at video editing? Do you perhaps have a voice that’s perfect for radio? Are you a graphic designer with skills just waiting to be used? Don’t let that streaming setup stagnate – use it to pay back your investment!
Read Also: What is a good upload speed for streaming?
It All Begins With You
So, that’s essentially everything we could possibly teach you about putting together and using the best streaming setup possible. Admittedly, it’s a mostly subjective thing, and that’s true when it comes to styles, positioning, brands, and how you use the setup you’re building. For instance, you may prefer Logitech equipment while your friend rates Razer hardware a little higher. It’s a learning process, and with time, you’ll discover what you need to build the best streaming setup.
We hope that this guide will help you kick off your path to streaming stardom. Feel free to hang around and check out our many guides to being a streamer.