So, you want to start streaming your tabletop games but you don’t know where to start? Don’t worry, Roll20 has your back. This is a quick guide that will go over a few tips and tricks from our team to get you set up, get started, and ready to start streaming TTRPGs in no time!
Step 1: Choose a Game and Cast!
Picking a game might be one of the easiest (and funnest) part of getting started. Set yourself some guide rails though; ask yourself these questions:
- What game/system do you want to play?
- Does the GM/players need any prep time or learn the system?
- Is this a one shot or a long-term campaign?
- If this is a campaign, how long is the season (ie. how many “episodes”)?
- How long will each stream be?
- What is the schedule?
- How many people will be a part of the cast?
- Who is going to be the GM?
- Who is going to be a part of the cast?
- Is it a rotating cast?
- Do you have a plan if someone isn’t able to make it?
Pro Tip: Having a Session Zero is great to have everyone meet, talk about safety tools, and chat about the story you’d like to tell together. During this time, you can also make sure overlays, webcams, captions, and your players are set.
Step 2: How and Where Will You Stream?
There are a handful of different streaming software that are free to use including OBS, Stream Elements, and Streamlabs. Pick one that suits your experience and set up. This will be your bread and butter of streaming so take some time to learn how the software works and how it interacts with different overlays, graphics, and camera positioning.
- Where are you streaming: Twitch, YouTube, Facebook?
- Is it live or pre-recorded?
- What streaming software are you using?
Think about design, chat, and camera set up for the graphic overlay on the stream.
Pro Tip: Roll20 Ambassadors get access to some free overlays and assets to help you get started faster!
Step 3: Streaming Equipment
Now that you have your cast and you figured out the software, let’s go over a few options that can put some polish on your streams including video, audio, and lighting. For each of these three categories, we show a budget friendly entry tier, a middle tier and some equipment professional streamers use. Find out whatever works for you!
USB Webcams are most likely the best option for budget and as an introduction to streaming with video. These webcams are usually “plug and play” but don’t have as many options to customize things such as frame rate or quality. Micro 4/3rds or APSC cameras are a great option if you’re looking for that depth of field look but don’t want to completely invest in Full Frames. If you’re using the camera streaming and you will be primarily sitting in one spot, a manual lens is a great idea and will save you a lot of money. Full Frame cameras are a great option if you’re looking to expand into photography or videography.
Streaming with good audio quality can set your stream apart. Like webcams, USB microphones are readily available and affordable and give the ease of plugging it in and being ready to rock and roll. If you don’t have a very quiet space, Dynamic microphones are the way to go. While a digital mixer will save you the hassle of purchasing a physical one, it will take some time to set up, and aren’t as easy to control on the fly.
Lighting is what can give your set up that polished look. Above are a few different options ranging from utilizing what you already have to some professional lighting rigs. When choosing a bulb, read the color temperature: a 3200K bulb will be yellowish, while a 5600K-6000K bulb will feel more like daylight. Brighter isn’t always better. A bright light in front of you might wash out your face. Try placing lights in back of you. You can get a pack of colored outdoor LED lights for your background for pretty cheap. Placing a small light above and shining at the back of your head, will give you a more professional look and separate you from the background.
And there you have it! Three simple steps that can lead right into the world of streaming. If you have any questions feel free to reach out to the Roll20 Team!