It goes without saying — we are in unprecedented times during the Coronavirus pandemic. With most music venues being shut down, as well as bars and restaurants, musicians are flocking to live streaming for opportunities to play live and generate some income.
But, what do you do when you don’t have the set up to go live in a way you’re proud of or captures the performance you want to give? Insert the faux live stream! A faux live stream is a pre-recorded set that gets replayed to appear live on social media. This can be done on Facebook, Youtube, Twitch, and Instagram Live.
Here is an example of a faux stream set I made for Chris King. Want me to help you create a faux live stream? Let’s chat!
Why would you “fake” a live stream?
There are a lot of reasons why it can be really difficult to go live – both for artists and for show curators.
Not everyone has access to fast and reliable internet. Streaming live takes quite a bit of internet bandwidth, especially if you are trying to stream in high definition with high-quality sound. To stream, in standard definition, to Facebook you’ll need at least 5.7mbps upload (most internet providers lead with their download speeds but you need to dig up the upload speeds). This means if you have the cheapest internet option available you cannot really provide a decent live stream to Facebook and you can forget about Youtube or Twitch. (Not sure what your upload speeds are? Use this website to test your upload speeds.)
A faux stream is a great solution to low internet bandwidth because if you prerecord your video performance you can make arrangements to go to someone’s house or office, ask a friend, or hire someone to run your stream for you so you deliver a high-quality experience without buffering issues.
Audio and/or Video Quality
Streaming using a professional level microphone and camera can be complicated when you are going live. It’s not as simple as plugging it all into the computer and hitting go live. If you are trying to up your stream game it is much simpler to replay a prerecorded session than to make it all happen live.
If you are using a microphone through an interface, the audio lags behind the video by only milliseconds but it is extremely noticeable. If you are using a DSLR to record you performance that lag is even worse. If you want to be able to use more than your built-in microphone or a USB microphone it will be a lot simpler to prerecord your session.
Nerves & Performance Considerations
Performing to a camera is not the same experience and performing to an audience. This type of performance takes a little getting used, so if you find you are very nervous in front of the camera, it might benefit you to get a couple takes. You may also want to experiment with the performance itself. What you did on stage does not necessarily have to be what you do on your stream.
When you prerecord you give yourself an opportunity to watch yourself back and make adjustments. The faux live stream is supposed to simulate a live performance so it doesn’t have to go perfectly but if you can make it extra special, why not? Watch the interview above I did with Tayler Lynn of Vaudeville Etiquette where we discuss changes she is making to her performance and stage presence to accommodate the new streaming platform.
You’re Playing or submitting to a Live Stream Festival or Event
Many online music festivals and “venues” want your video prerecorded for all the same reasons we’ve already discussed. Also, it is simply easier to coordinate one person taking everyone live from one location verse trying to coordinate schedules across time zones, technology skills, and internet bandwidth. As a show curator myself (I am running a series of shows for The WXM Collective) using this technique and I can tell you first hand it is a lot easier to manage.