So i’m back again playing Pokemon Go like a madman. Here i was couple days ago thinking about starting to stream some game play in the cold Finnish snowy world. Then suddenly! Pete just released a video about a new IRL Live Streaming Guide with gear and software recommendations.
I thought this might interest you also! In the video he covers the gear and data plans needed . He also covers the Gunrun backpacks that you can use also and get the best quality for your IRL livestreams. Funny thing actually! Let’s take a little memento tour when IRL streaming, blew up! 🙂
The Gunrun backpacks and IRL live streaming guide that he created back in the days was when Pokemon Go started. At that time there was only two guides for IRL live streaming. Other one was the Pokemon GO livestreaming guide that i created and other one was Gunrun’s guide. Btw did you play when it launched? Share your stories in the comment section!
After the Pokemon Go launched everyone was going outside and streaming content in real life. I think Pokemon GO had an enormous affect for the whole streaming genre. Before that, i hadn’t seen any IRL livestreamers. But let’s get going with the IRL Live Streaming Guide with Gaming Careers! 🙂
IRL Live Streaming -- Everything you need to know
-- What’s up guys? Welcome back once again to the Gaming Careers YouTube channel. Now on this channel, we have done countless videos about how to setup and manage your livestream from your PC. Be that for gaming, for podcasting, or for just chatting with your audience, but what about if you want to do livestream away from your PC?
IRL and outdoor streaming has absolutely blown up on Twitch over the last couple of years, with streamers wanting to break up their usual gaming content with some real life content as well. Some streamers like JakenbakeLIVE, and theRealShooKon3, are actually traveling round the world, living in different countries, and sharing that experience with their viewers.
Now there’s obviously quite a few technical challenges involved with running an IRL or outdoor stream. Firstly you don’t have a computer to be able to run streaming software from. Secondly you don’t have any power to be able to power things like cameras, and thirdly, and probably most importantly, is you don’t have a stable internet connection.
So in this video, we’re gonna be talking about how you can get setup with your own IRL streaming kit. All the way from the basic free things that you can run from your phone, up to the professional Gunrun backpacks that the people that are doing this as a profession on Twitch, running an IRL stream constantly, the kit that they are using to power their streams too.
Why should you IRL Stream?
So let’s talk about why would you want to livestream IRL aspects of your life, and the main reason is to be able to share more of the behind the scenes with your audience. The more that they see of you in your real life, the more they’re gonna feel a real connection to you as a creator. It’s a similar reason to why I suggest you start a Twitter and an Instagram for your stream, because you’re sharing aspects of behind the curtain, behind the scenes with your audience, and therefore building a deeper connection with them.
If you look at any of the big creators on Twitch, or on YouTube, they’re often sharing aspects of their life with their audience, and building that really tight knit community. Also stay tuned towards the end of this video, as I will be sharing my plans for some IRL streams over the next couple of months. Something that I don’t think has been done before on Twitch.
How to IRL Live Stream for Free
By far the most basic way that you can get setup with some IRL livestreaming, is to use your phone as the camera. Now both Streamlabs, as well as StreamElements, they have these mobile apps for iOS and Android that allow you to use your mobile phone, and stream to Twitch from that mobile phone using the camera, using the microphone. You can display some things on screen like alerts, and your chat, and things like that, and they’ve made the whole setup process super simple.
I would suggest using something like a selfie stick, or one of those mini little tripods that you can get to hold your phone, just to make things a little bit more smooth and stable whilst you’re out there IRL streaming. You can pick some up for super cheap on Amazon.
Disadvantages of Using Your Phone
Now the main disadvantage as to using an app, and using your mobile phone to run an IRL stream, is that you are only using one connection, so, your mobile phone is paired with a network. In America, the popular ones are Verizon, AT&T. Around the rest of Europe you’ve got Vodafone and other carriers like that, but you only have a connection to one carrier, which means that you probably aren’t gonna be able to get the best data rates, and stream the highest quality video.
You also run into issues where you might be, if you’re moving around whilst you’re doing your IRL stream, you might run into an occasion where there isn’t the great service from your provider in that location, and then the stream can cut out, it can buffer for your viewers, or worst case scenario, it can completely stop working, and then you’ve lost all the hard work of building up that audience that you have. In my opinion, it’s really important to prioritize the stability of your IRL stream over the quality.
So I would recommend, if you’re gonna be streaming from your mobile phone, to stream at no higher than 720p, 30fps, and then the bitrate somewhere between 1000 and 2000 kilobits per second, just depending on what you can maintain, and what is not gonna cause any buffering issues for your stream.
I know that doesn’t sound like it’s super high quality, but it’s actually very, very watchable in terms of IRL content, because you’ve got a lot of colors and contrast going on in the real world, so it doesn’t need to be quite as high a bitrate as it does when you’re playing video games, and you have a much more stable connection.
But as I said at the beginning, I really think you need to prioritize the stability of your IRL stream over the quality, because if you have great quality, but it keeps cutting out, and buffering for your viewers every minute, or every two minutes, that isn’t a great viewing experience. So let’s say that you have run a few mobile IRL streams, they’ve gone down really well with your audience, but you want to invest a little bit now, to be able to up the quality, and be a lot more stable.
The Gunrun / IRL Backpack
Unfortunately it’s quite a big jump to get to what these professional IRL streamers are running, these IRL backpacks, or Gunrun backpacks, which they’re often referred to. The reason that they’re called Gunrun backpacks, is because the person that started putting these kind of kits together, is called Justin Gunrun Ignacio, probably butchered the second name there, but he is the second ever employee at Twitch. So he joined all the way back in 2011.
Was literally the second ever person to join Twitch, and although he no longer works at Twitch, him and his community are still dedicated to helping IRL streamers setup these awesome backpacks that they can run for hours, with really high quality, as well as super stable stream. Gunrun actually hosted a panel about IRL streaming at the TwitchCon that I just went to, towards the end of 2018, and it’s a super interesting talk.
I’ll leave a link to the VOD down below, as well as a link to his Discord, where all of his IRL livestreaming community resides, and they discuss new builds and things like that. So a quick disclaimer, before we actually get into the gear that is inside of this backpack. This kit is expensive.
It’s not only expensive to originally purchase, but also the ongoing costs of subscribing to these mobile data plans, so that you can keep streaming an unlimited amount. That’s also an expense. So, this really is for people that have tested out some IRL content with their audience, using the mobile stream, something that’s absolutely free to run, and really wanting to invest into this as a content type for your livestreams.
I really would only recommend you purchase this kind of kit if you are serious about making a proper investment for your channel, and improving the quality and stability of your IRL streams. Okay, so I have all the pieces of kit here around me that you need to build one of these Gunrun, or IRL backpacks. I’m gonna go through each piece of the kit, explain exactly what it does, why it is needed to be able to run a successful and stable livestream outdoors, completely remote from any other internet connection. So, let’s get going.
So first up we have the LiveU Solo, and this is basically the brains behind the whole operation. This is where all the smart stuff happens. This little box allows you to plug in an HDMI source, which is your camera, and then it can take four internet connections, two via USB modem, one ethernet, and one wifi, and then it can combine all of that bandwidth together to send a super strong and stable stream up into the cloud.
So this box does all of the encoding, as well as the actual streaming, sending that video data across the cloud so that you can stream to platforms like Twitch, Facebook, YouTube. Any platform that has an RTMP service. So to understand why this is so essential, first of all, think about what happens when you’re just streaming with your mobile phone. You have a 4G, or an LTE connection to your carrier, which helps you connect to the internet, but you’re not getting a super stable, 5000 kilobits per second stream there.
It’s gonna vary depending on how many other people are on the network, what the surrounding environment looks like, and your signal strength. One of the clever things that the LiveU Solo does, is that it constantly analyzes how much available bandwidth there is across all the different connections. Remember you can have four different internet connections connected to this, and the reason that you want that is because if you go into a location where one provider doesn’t have a particularly strong signal, you don’t want your stream to die.
The LiveU will constantly analyze that, and then send the video data across the other three, or a combination of the other three connections, so that your stream quality doesn’t dip, or the stream doesn’t die altogether. This thing really is super smart. It’s constantly analyzing the four connections that are plugged into it, to make sure that you have a super stable, and as high quality as possible, stream whilst you’re out there IRL streaming.
Now just on its own, this thing has roughly two hours of battery life. Of course you can plug it in for some extra power. We’ll talk about that a little bit later when we talk about the battery, and it also comes with a little pouch which you can use to attach some of the modems, and it has a belt clip on the back to make things super easy. If you’re not using a backpack, you can just attach it to your belt.
Modems and Mobile connections
So as I mentioned before, the LiveU Solo can take four different internet connections. Two via USB, one via ethernet, and one via wifi. So, what that basically means is that for the USB ones, you can get these little USB modems that take a sim card inside. They connect to that network via LTE, or 4G, depending on where you live in the world, and then you can use that bandwidth to stream. The ethernet and wifi connections are a little bit more complex.
First of all, if you’re in an area where there is good wifi, then you can absolutely connect to that using the Solo, and then that becomes part of the data that you can use in combination with your mobile networks, to get the best quality stream possible. But if you’re gonna be out and about, there isn’t particularly reliable wifi, you can pick up some little mobile routers that are powered by USB, or sometimes they have their own battery life, and then you can connect to the wifi from that for your LiveU Solo, or you can also get routers that have an ethernet connection, which again, plug into the Solo.
So if you want to use all four connections, you would need to use two USB, one ethernet, and one wifi, but there’s absolutely no requirement, as I said, to use all four, and I would probably recommend just getting started with two, and seeing how that works for your bandwidth around the area that you’re gonna be streaming.
Live streaming cameras
Okay, so you have the LiveU Solo. You have the data plans to be able to livestream. The only other thing you really need to be able to run an IRL stream, one of these Gunrun style backpacks, is a camera. And of course the LiveU Solo takes any camera input over HDMI. But there is one that is preferred in the community, and that is the Sony AS300 bullet action cam, really.
It’s kind of like a GoPro, but has a lot of benefits over the GoPro. You can see I’ve got a little mini dead cat over the microphone on mine, and that is one of the reasons that this camera is so widely approved. The audio is really good for an action cam. It does have an external mic input, if you would like to use one, but compared to the GoPros, this has much, much better sound, both for you, if you’re wearing the camera, as well as people that you’re talking to in front of the camera.
The other thing that is awesome about this Sony camera, is the image stabilization. So most people are livestreaming, either have this attached to some sort of mini tripod, or selfie stick that they’re holding, or they wear it attached to their bag, or attached to their head or something like that, and the image stabilization inside this is really good.
It makes it a lot less jerky to watch, if you’re watching somebody walk around with this attached to their body. But as I mentioned, you can use absolutely any camera with the LiveU Solo. So there are plenty of examples of people using really professional grade cameras. One of my favorite streamers, The Kerbal Space Academy, they go to rocket launches, and they livestream the launches on Twitch, using the LiveU Solo, alongside a professional grade camera, so that they can zoom all the way in from their safe viewing zone.
So the few things that you need to be thinking about when you’re choosing a camera for this kit, is can it output clean HDMI, so without any of the overlays over the camera, because I know a lot of the Canon cameras, it’s really difficult to get rid of that. Is the output over HDMI also high quality? Is it 1080p? 60fps, those kind of things?
And finally, if you’re gonna be doing some long streams, can the camera charge over USB whilst still outputting over HDMI? The Sony AS300 outputs clean HDMI, 1080p, 60fps, and it can be charged via a micro-USB. So all the ports come out the back here. There’s a good reason why this is so widely used by IRL streamers on Twitch. It really is a fantastic camera. A reasonable price, and the image stabilization, and the microphone quality really do separate it from the competition.
How to Extend Your IRL Stream to 9 Hours
As I mentioned, the LiveU Solo has roughly two hours of streaming battery life, and this camera has roughly 90 minutes of internal battery, if you’re starting fully charged. So you could go out and run an hour and a half of livestream with your new kit as it is, but if you wanna do something a little bit longer, you’re gonna need an external battery pack.
The most common one that is recommended in the Gunrun and IRL streaming packs is the PowerOak 50,000 milliamp hour battery. Now this is heavy, it is big, but it is also probably one of the best batteries if you’re wanting to do a long livestream, and especially if you’re using a backpack. Put this in the backpack. You shouldn’t really have any issues. The main features obviously that you need, you need to have a 12 volt out, to be able to power the LiveU Solo.
That requires a DC 12 volt connection. And then you need some USB power, to be able to keep the camera charged, as well as if you have the ethernet, or the wifi modems that require USB power too. Now you can certainly use batteries that are smaller, lighter, and less expensive than this, but you’re obviously just gonna get less time being able to livestream.
This 50,000 milliamp hour battery version will extend your livestream to roughly seven to nine hours.
How to Mount Your IRL Stream Camera
So we are nearly done, I promise. There’s just a couple of more things that you need to think about. The backpack, and secondly the way that you want to actually mount the camera, or hold the camera. So if we start with that, you need to think about what your IRL livestream’s really gonna look like. A lot of people mount the camera to a sort of selfie stick. That way they can have their mobile phone attached to the selfie stick as well, and be able to read chat, monitor chat, things like that.
You can also very easily turn the camera around, if you have it mounted on the selfie stick. The other popular option is to actually mount it to the backpack itself on the shoulder strap, using something like this. This is the Stuntman action camera mount for backpacks. This just sits on top of your shoulder strap. It attaches with some Velcro, and then you can have the camera attached on top of that.
So, completely up to you how you wanna mount it. You could also go with a gimbal, if you wanted some really, really smooth footage. You could attach the camera to a gimbal, but you have to think, and bear in mind that you have two cables coming out of the back of this camera, which is probably gonna upset the balance of a gimbal a little bit. So, that might be a bit more of a tricky option.
Which Backpack to Use
The final thing to think about is the actual backpack that you want to use. Obviously if you’re gonna be using one of the big external battery packs, as well as the LiveU Solo, then you probably want something fairly comfortable to be wearing, especially if you’re gonna be wearing it for seven, eight, nine hours. So, LiveU actually do sell the backpack themselves.
If you open it up, you can see there’s plenty of ventilation, as well as a big compartment inside to put the Solo, as well as a battery pack. There’s also loads and different holes to be able to route wires and things like that. But you can absolutely just use a standard backpack. The one I’ve been using a North Face Surge one, just a backpack I already had. Has a few different compartments, fairly well ventilated, and super comfortable to wear.
How the IRL Backpack Connects Together
So just to explain everything now that I have the kit all lying out on the table here. You have the battery pack, which has a connection going to the LiveU Solo to keep that powered. That’s DC 12 volt power. And you also have a USB connection to the camera to keep that powered. Then if you move across to the Solo, the Solo has two USB modems connected to it, to the USB ports on either side, as well as an HDMI input, which is coming from the camera.
How to Stream to Twitch with the LiveU Solo
So in terms of actually choosing where you’re gonna stream to from your LiveU Solo, Facebook, Twitter, Twitch is probably the one that most of you are wanting to stream to, that setup takes about five minutes, and you only need to do it once when you first receive your LiveU Solo. Once that’s actually setup, you can then go live from the Solo, with just one button press whenever you want to, so, this configuration only takes about five minutes.
You need to do it first time on setup, and if you ever need to change anything, you can actually access the dashboard, and control everything from a mobile phone as well, so it’s really been built with the idea that people are gonna be out an about, when they want to start their livestreams.
Prices for the IRL Backpack
So we have obviously covered a lot of kit that goes into this streaming backpack. And as I said at the beginning, it is an investment, it is expensive, but it’s the only real way to able to get that reliability, and that quality for somebody that wants to take their IRL streams much more seriously than just a single mobile phone setup.
I’m gonna break down the cost of the four main components to the setup, which are the LiveU Solo, the camera, the battery, and the data, the modems and connections to the internet. Those I think are the four main components to the backpack. Everything else is sort of customizable, and if you want to mount it in certain ways, so I don’t wanna break down the cost of all those, but as I said at the beginning, I do have links to everything in the description of this video, so you can go and check the prices at your local store, by clicking those links.
So firstly, the LiveU Solo. This costs around $1,000, depending on whereabouts in the world you are, but LiveU have distributors and resellers all over the world, so make sure you go through their website, if you want to find somewhere where you can source it locally. It is expensive, but this is really the only piece of kit that exists on the market nowadays, that does exactly what it needs to do, which is combining all of that data, getting that reliability, getting that quality, and it is a really smart and clever piece of kit.
Absolutely an investment, but it’s essentially your computer. It’s doing all of the encoding, as well as the transmitting across the internet. So, $1,000 for the LiveU Solo. The camera I think you can get right now for just under $300. The Sony AS3000. There are more expensive models that do 4K and things like that, but this one is so popular with streamers, as I mentioned for the stabilization, and the excellent audio quality.
The battery that I was mentioning earlier, the 50,000 milliamp hour version that can power your stream for seven to nine hours, that retails for around $130 in the US. As I mentioned before, you can certainly get smaller ones, and it’s kind of a sliding scale, the bigger capacity battery, the more you’re gonna be spending. Finally, the mobile data. Probably the most annoying, and certainly the ongoing cost of IRL streaming.
It is really difficult to get truly unlimited data plans, and that’s why I would recommend going through a company called Unlimited IRL. Pretty much all of the big streamers use them. They have contracts with big providers all over the world. AT&T, Verizon, Vodafone, all of these companies to provide truly unlimited data, so that you can stream no matter where you are in the world, or no matter where you are in the United States, and you can actually rent the modems from Unlimited IRL.
So you pay a monthly fee for the unlimited data, as well as renting of the modems, and it’s a company that’s specifically been built for people that want to do IRL streams. The cost for the modem, as well as the data, is roughly $140 per month, so certainly expensive, especially if you’re gonna be stepping up to three or four of these modems. They do have kits for people that wanna do all four modems.
I think they’re around $600 a month, but you can certainly see why this is an expensive hobby, and one that you should really believe in, and have trialed out before investing. I realize that this video is probably pretty long by now. There is still more to cover on this topic. How to get cool overlays and alerts, and some of the things that you’re used to having in a normal OBS install, when you’re streaming from your computer. There are ways of doing that, but I’m gonna have to save them for a separate video, because this video’s just gone on so long.
Both LiveU, as well as some other external providers, provide the ability to be able to add these kind of overlays and cool graphics onto your stream.
What am I Using the IRL Backpack For?
Now at the beginning of this video, I did say I was gonna reveal what I have got all of this kit for. What am I going to be streaming, from an IRL perspective? And one of the ideas that I had, and you’re probably gonna think this is crazy, and the number of people that I’ve spoken to have said that’s a bad idea. I’m maybe starting to doubt it a little bit now, but I’m committing to you now, in a video. If you’re watching this, I haven’t cut it out of the video.
I’ve committed. I signed up to do a marathon in the UK, in a couple of months time, and I had the idea that maybe I would try and livestream it, actually running with the backpack, with a camera attached to me, being able to interact with Twitch chat, as I run this marathon. Obviously I’d be raising money for charity as well whilst running the marathon, so I’d hopefully have donation alerts, and text to speech, and things like that.
It might be a silly idea, running with that big battery, as well as the Solo and camera, but I think it’s an interesting technical challenge, as well as obviously the physical challenge of running 26 miles, or 42 kilometers I think it is. I’m certainly not in the greatest shape in terms of fitness, but I’m gonna be livestreaming both my training, as well as the actual marathon, so if you would like to watch, help support me, talk to me whilst I’m out on these grueling, long runs, I would really appreciate that.
You can give a follow over on my Twitch page, twitch.tv/GamingCareers, to be notified whenever I go live, and I would really appreciate if people come and motivate me, or just chat to me whilst I’m out on these horrible, three, four plus hour long runs. Speaking of thanking people, I would like to thank my Patreons this month.
These people here have helped me run the Gaming Careers YouTube channel this month, by pledging some small support to me across on Patreon, and helping me run this full time, and keep creating tutorials for you guys, so, thank you very much to you guys.
If you’re interested in becoming a Patreon, please do go and check out my Patreon page, and I will see you guys, well, I was gonna say I’ll see you in the next video. Hopefully I’ll see some of you in one of these livestreams. Please just come by and chat to me, I’d really appreciate that. And subscribers, I will see you in the next video. Peace.