Hello friends! Since my last post on livecoding tips I've gotten a lot of requests for more information on my streaming setup. This post is a quick overview of the software and hardware I use. Note that I'm not specifically endorsing any of these product or saying you have to do what I do: but I remember how difficult it was to find information specifically about live coding setups when I started so I figured it would be helpful.
First I should note that I stream on a Windows box (Windows 10 specifically), so this may not be as relelvent for Mac/Linux folks. I did consider streaming from Linux when I first started, but I've had so many AV problems in the past that I finally decided it wasn't worth the time investment.
- Streaming - Streamlabs OBS - Free and Open Source
- Streaming to two platforms at once - Restream.io - Free version, but if you're streaming to a lot of platforms you might want to upgrade
- Coding - VS Code and RStudio - both free
For my livecoding I have a scene with three sources:
- Display capture for my entire monitor (right now that's the easiest way to stream VS Code specifically)
- Video capture for my webcam, with a filter for chromakeying to my green screen
- Audio input capture for my microphone
I keep Streamlabs and the chats open on a second monitor, as well as a Chrome window to look things up in. I drag the relevant window over VS Code when I find something I want to share. This avoids accidentally sharing anything I don't want to, like a site that seemed helpful in the search results but looks spammy when I open it up.
This is the hardware I use, which I've added piece by piece over the last couple years of live-coding. You don't need to use exactly what I use, but I've gotten enough requests for specifics that I figured it was worthwhile sharing.
I've ranked these in order of how important they are.
- Microphone - Yeti Blue, aka the same mic as pretty much every other internet content creator - $129.99
You definitely don't need a camera to livecode: for the first year or so I only did voice over & it was completely fine. If you do decide you want a face cam, I'd do what I did at the start and just find a neutral background. (I used this pop up chair back think for probably six months--I lived in a pretty small apartment and didn't have space for a dedicated "YouTube wall" to sit in front of).
- Camera - C920 HD Pro webcam -$79.99
- Non-green screen background - Webaround - $60.00
- This is a little pop up circle you put on the back of your chair to hide the background. You can crop your video fairly close or use a circular effect filter so only you and the background are in frame.
If you decide you really want a green screen and you have the extra RAM to do real-time chromakeying in addition to whatever you need for your coding, then I'd strongly recommend getting lighting at the same time. Flat, soft lighting is really the only way to make the outline of your silhouette look crisp.
- Lighting - Neewer Bi-color Dimmable LED Softbox Lighting Kit with 20"x27" Softboxes - $119.99
- Green screen - Explorer 90 Professional Green Screen - $139.99
- Translucent face powder - LAURA MERCIER
Translucent Loose Setting Powder - $23.00
- Using a loose translucent powder appropriate for your skin tone will help you stop looking shiny on camera. I'd recommend using some even if you don't otherwise wear makeup. It's easiest to apply using a big fluffy powder brush.
So, for your total budget (assuming you have a computer already):
- Without face camera: $130
- Face camera without greenscreen: $270
- Face camera with greenscreen: $500
I understand this is a lot for most people to spend on starting up a new project, so I'd like to remind you again: you don't need any fancy equipment to get started beyond your computer and a microphone. And even the microphone doesn't need to be that fancy.