With unemployment having decimated so many livelihoods, many people are looking for a sideline or even an entirely new career. Vlogging, streaming and even creating a DIY TV station seems to be the next big thing.
Technology, viewer tastes and advertising practices all seem to be going that way. The time to strike may be right now.
Of course, a whole lot of people are going to have the same idea, whatever programming niche you may be interested in. With so many vloggers earning six-figure incomes from filming their baby or just doing crazy stuff, everybody seems to want to get on the bandwagon. This means that you’ll be facing some pretty serious competition, not just in terms of content but also production values.
In the old days, producing professional-quality live video was really expensive. The control room for a traditional television station looked a lot like NASA’s flight operations center: walls of screens, dozens of sweating operators and mountains of electronic equipment.
Of course, digital technology has rendered all of that obsolete. You don’t need a dozen VCRs, or in fact a single one, if a little piece of software in your laptop can do the same job.
The trouble arises when streaming live. Editing video is easy when you have time to browse through various menus, but live streamers have to be able to trigger preset actions with the touch of a button. This is exactly what the Elgato lets you do:
Each button is actually a little LCD screen you can set to display whatever icon you want. When pressed, the Elgato interfaces with a wide array of software to produce sound and video effects, post pre-written messages to social media, switch to a different camera view or play a video clip.
Though there’s a great deal more you can do with it thanks to a range of plugins and integration with most streaming services, setting up the deck and its included software will be pretty easy for someone with basic computer skills.
The stand, which holds the 4½” x 3½” deck up at a slight angle, is also worth mentioning, as it seems pretty sturdy and doesn’t take up too much space on your desk.
Though it’s not cheap, the cost even for the 32-key model (you can also choose models with 15 or 6 customizable keys), is not exorbitant for a dedicated hobbyist. If, like most amateur producers, talking heads and directors, you are at least keeping an open mind about making money from streaming, this can easily be recouped with a single paid gig or a couple of thousand subscribers.