Setting Up A Twitch Studio - The Big Idea from hairylarry's blog

It's all Megan's fault. When she set up https://www.twitch.tv/megantopia Vivian and I started watching. Before that I knew it was a popular site for live gaming but twitch flew under my radar. Once I saw what Megan was doing and I started to understand how twitch worked, and how it can be used for videos that are not about gaming, I became interested.


The problem with video production is post production. Post production is a lot of work. It takes a long time. There's always a few more tweaks that can make it a little bit better. It can wear you out.


Live streaming takes post production out of the equation. Like the evening news it happens in real time, it's as good as it is, and it's done when it's done. There's no post production and even when videos are excerpted from the stream post production is minimal.


The tradeoff for no post production is the setup. Sure, you can stream with just a laptop, phone, tablet, or game machine. But since it goes out live with no post that can be dull. The goal is a live show that's entertaining. It can be high energy or chill but it can't be boring. So you have to put a lot of thought into the desired look of your stream and then figure out the hardware and software to achieve that look.


The key element is OBS, Open Broadcaster Software.


https://obsproject.com/


I have used OBS for recording podcasts on Discord but I didn't realize it's real power until I started using it for twitch videos. OBS is free and open source. The good thing about that is that it's legal for others to build on it. For my stream I chose Streamlabs OBS because of the ease of setup and features like the onscreen chatbox and the ability to include running programs in the stream. You can do these things with OBS too and there are other options to explore but my most direct route was Streamlabs OBS.


https://streamlabs.com/


I watched several videos on Youtube about setting up streaming for DIY streams and other streams that use live video instead of gaming screens as their primary focus. This opened my eyes to what is possible and led me to dream about what I actually wanted to do and how I wanted to setup my screen to be helpful and interesting.


So here's my big idea.


The name of my stream is Hairy Larry Practicing Piano. A big part of why I wanted to do the stream is to add discipline to my piano practice. I practice every day and sometimes for several hours a day. But what I was missing in my practice was scheduled rehearsal of a specific repertoire. My twitch stream provides that.


And choosing my repertoire I decided to practice all songs that I wrote. This avoids copyright issues and it allows me to tailor the repertoire to the stream. Practicing improvisation is easiest with short changes that have one or two interest points. Baby steps.


And so once I decided what I wanted to do on my stream I began to visualize the screen. I wanted the central focus to be me, practicing. I wanted to be able to pull a microphone over to talk to the audience and sing but I also wanted to be able to push it off shot for instrumental numbers. I wanted an angle shot that would show my hands on the keys. And I wanted it to feel like a live jazz show.


There are many musicians teaching jazz piano on the internet and they almost always have a top down view of the piano keyboard across the bottom of the screen. I like that, it's helpful and visually appealing. So I decided to include that in my screen layout.


I am using iReal Pro for my backing tracks providing bass and drums. The iReal Pro screen shows the chord symbols and highlights the chord being played. I wanted to include that screen as part of my display.


Twitch uses text chat for the audience and voice chat for the performer as it's standard chat format. The performer can also type but it's easier just to talk and shout outs from the performer to viewers in the chat box are the way it's done. So I wanted to include the text chat on the screen to provide context for my shout outs and other responses to the ongoing text chat.


And I wanted to be chill. Many people use twitch as background noise while they go about their business. I wanted it to be easy for people to just let my stream play in the background, enjoying the music, without having to be fully engaged. Kind of like Bob Ross or Mr. Rogers but practicing piano instead of painting or telling stories.


So that's my big idea. In future posts I will discuss equipment, both purchased and DIY, software setup, extracting videos from the stream, bandwidth issues, and even home renovation.


In the meantime you can enjoy my stream here.


https://www.twitch.tv/hairylarryland


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