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A few tips for novice streamers or What olds sometimes forget.

Today I decided to share my subjective experience and highlight some points that I noticed are often missed by novice streamers. Which, in general, is not surprising, since there is really so much new information that at first it is difficult to keep track of everything or learn about everything at once.
At the same time, I will try not to lead to any very subjective things: after all, each channel and stream is primarily an individual approach, its own vision and capabilities.

1. The resolution and bitrate of the broadcast.

As it is known for certain, Twitch, in order to save resources, does not give viewers the opportunity to change the quality of the stream until the streamer receives the status of an affiliate (at the same time, sometimes this option does not always work for companions — for example, when the streamer has little audience activity).
Despite the fact that the Internet is truly ubiquitous, in many regions and corners of the world, its speed leaves much to be desired. Plus, we add here the aspect that many people watch broadcasts from mobile devices and not all smartphones can cope with a resolution of 1920x 1080.
Therefore, at first, I recommend setting the output of your stream no higher than 1280×720, or even 854×480 (16:9). Thus, reaching a larger number of potential viewers.
In order not to redo your scene in OBS several times, in the video settings, in the Basic (base) resolution item, set your monitor resolution (for example, 1920×1080), and the Output (scaled) resolution — already substitute smaller values.
I would also like to add that if your webcam or game does not support showing 60 fps, then there is no point in setting such a number of frames. You will only load the stream, but no extra frames will appear from the void.
Recommendations and bitrate settings can be found here Unfortunately, the lowest resolution there is 720 (bitrate 3000 kbps at 30 fps), but I think for 854×480 the range of 1500-2500 kbps will be quite acceptable.

2. Tags

Many streamers neglect tags, do not believe in their effectiveness, or simply forget to set them (their list is periodically cleared if you do not edit the titleof the broadcast for some time). I can agree that for game streamers, they may not be so necessary (for the selected game from the categories, most of them are put down automatically), but for musicians it can be a great help.
Go to the Music section on Twitch and scroll down to the list of active broadcasts. Spoiler: it will take a very long time to scroll to the bottom. In the end, when you want to find something new and interesting, you will use the search bar and add tags for the search.
Therefore, a couple of tags will not be superfluous (maximum 5). Musician, Singing, and genre-defining tags (rock, metal, electronic music, etc.) seemed to me to be the most effective. It’s simple: it will be easier for the viewer to find you.
And to avoid their periodic reset, just make it a rule, before each stream, go to the window with editing the information of the stream and press the “Done” button there.

3. Web camera and lighting

Do not use the automatic settings of the webcam — as a rule, this leads to very “acidic” results. Configure everything manually. Reduce the exposure as much as your lighting allows, place a white sheet of paper in the frame and adjust the white balance on it, disable automatic focus (if available) – move the slider as far to the left as possible (focus to infinity). And then use the OBS image filters to make color correction to your taste (contrast, brightness, saturation, hue). This will give much better results.
About the light. I do not recommend buying professional lighting, especially if you have just started your streamer journey. In fact, at first, you can do with a couple of table lamps: two to direct at yourself, trying their different locations. And the third, if you can put it behind your back, also try to direct the light from below or from above-from the side — thereby arranging a kind of contour light, this will help to separate you from the background (but this is optional). The main point is that the lamps should be white light (5500 K) and the most powerful that you can find: do not forget to see how many maximum watts your lamp can withstand. This is exactly what I did in the first three months of my streams and the result was quite satisfactory.

4. RAIDs

Many beginners just forget (and so it was with me!) conduct a raid at the end of the stream or are embarrassed by a small number of viewers. Well, I think 3 people is already a raid.
Streamers react differently to raids — someone will ignore them, and someone will be more friendly. In any case, count on your strength at the end of the stream to sit and chat a little on the other person’s stream. It’s not very nice when a person makes a raid just to make it and immediately leaves. This can leave an unpleasant residue, especially if the streamer warmly greeted you. Sit down for a while, write a couple of messages, say goodbye.
At the same time, when the raiders come to you, pay attention to them. Thank them, introduce yourself, ask what the streamer does on their broadcasts, tell about yourself. Basic good manners on a new acquaintance. In the end, the person chose you from all the variety and brought their own people.
About the same thing can be said when communicating with new viewers who came to your stream. Tell themabout yourself, ask the person about something. Get acquainted, tell themwhat you do, try to develop a dialogue.

5. Highlights

This point, I think, is also more applicable to musicians. But it definitely doesn’t hurt to publish a highlight once a week — these videos are also included in the recommendations. Of course, they don’t get a lot of views, but they can attract someone. It is also convenient when a person comes to your channel for informational purposes, when you are offline and instead of flipping through the recording of the stream, it will be more convenient for themto watch one of the highlights.
Moreover, it is quite simple to do this: just go to the “Video Producer”  section on Twitch, cut out the desired fragment, add a name, description, category, and publish it. For those who perform songs without a looper and a long build-ups— this is an ideal option. No additional editing – two cuts and the video is ready.

6. Watch other streamers

If possible, then watch the broadcasts of other streamers. Naturally, those that you like and where you are comfortable to be. Perhaps this is the most effective way to meet interested people, and therefore find your potential audience, when there is no ready audience. The music community on Twitch is not so large and the same people can be found on different streams — people with similar tastes like similar things.
Plus, gain experience, notice how the streamer conducts his stream. What is remarkable is that everyone does it differently and this has its own charm. Borrow ideas-this is normal. Anyway, everyone looks at each other and everyone needs references at first. Take the ideas that you think will suit you and rework them for yourself. Copy one-to-one, of course, is not worth it.
Also, I can add that if you have an idea and you doubt its feasibility (what if I change the format, the audience will leave?) and it does not leave you for a while, it is better to try and do it once than to think about it a hundred times. If you like it/succeed, leave it, if not, cancel it and forget it. Experiments are part of the search and always a new experience.

7. Check your OBS settings offline

Not everyone, but many miss the point that it is not necessary to start a stream to check the capture of video, sound, or alerts. It is enough to duplicate the bitrate settings in the Output — Streaming section in the Output — Recording section. And instead of the “start broadcast” button, click “Record video” and watch what you got on the record. With alert widgets, it’s even easier: all services always have the option of test alerts for any event — the main thing is that OBS is enabled.

And yet a little bit very subjective in the end

Many novice streamers are so eager to get on the air as soon as possible that they forget about many things like design, commands for the bot, volume balance, and so on. And there’s probably nothing wrong with that, especially since I think most viewers are quite loyal to such things. I myself look at it easier when I see something like this, but for my channel, I thought it was unacceptable — kind of disrespectful to the viewer.
The lack of design and widgets (roughly speaking, everything superfluous on the screen) is also a design. Commands for the bot sometimes make life easier for the streamer and moderators, but when there are no viewers, are they really needed?
I agree that these points are still secondary, especially at first. And sometimes all this is really tedious to set up. I just want to advise you not to throw these tools in a long box: little by little, gradually, but regularly make new or edit old elements. If necessary, add commands for the bot during the week, once a week look for a gif for an alert or sound, learn how the equalizer or compressor works, and so on.
This can also include emoticons &badges on Twitch — many, even more or less large streamers do without them, but if there is a free hour, then why not spend it on giving the channel its own personality?I may have missed something as I wrote this article. But the text has turned out to be quite voluminous. I hope that these fabrications will be useful to someone in their endeavors. Also, if you have any suggestions about what to write the next article, then leave comments — I will be happy to try to write a comprehensive answer to your question.