Mobile Streaming on Twitch
Introduction to Mobile Streaming
Mobile live streaming on Twitch has been popularized by the launch of Twitch IRL. Twitch IRL goes beyond video games, and gives content creators the opportunity to interact with their community while doing anything, including mobile streaming from anywhere. The popularity of Twitch IRL has been exploding, and Twitch is allowing content creators to innovate their stream while on-the-go!
How to Mobile Live Stream on Twitch
Twitch IRL is relatively new, but mobile live streaming is nothing new. However, it has become MUCH easier due to the explosion of mobile live stream apps, the accessibility of mobile data plans, and other technologies that help you go live. Now streamers can mobile stream directly from their phone’s camera! You can download many of these apps for free (with pro upgrades possible). There are a wide range of options for mobile live streamers in terms of software and gear. Other equipment for mobile streaming can also be used. We have seen a rise in popularity of high-end dSLR cameras along with wireless hotspots for mobile streaming. However, this requires a tremendous about of additional, and expensive, equipment. You can do it (pretty much the same, and MUCH simpler) with a nice mobile phone! This article will outline some of the things you can do. You can also use a pre-configured system (Psynaps Super Stream System, Downloadable Edition or Cloud Edition) to get your mobile stream up and running, more about that later.
Mobile Live Stream Software
- BitStream (Android; Awesome RTMP and overlay support)
- Live:Air Solo (iOS RTMP Support)
- There are others, like StreamLabs Mobile. However, this one and many don’t support custom RTMP, which is needed to get your mobile stream into OBS (See “Stream Directly to OBS” below).
Mobile Live Stream Gear and Hardware
A smart Phone with a data plan is the key. This is the easiest and fastest way to do it. Smart phones have the resolution and bandwidth to create a great quality stream. Wait, don’t you need a PC or laptop with more power to manage a stream? Yes, and no. If you don’t need advanced overlays and alerts, you can stream directly to Twitch with your phone. However, if you want more power you can use your OBS at home (requires a RTMP server. See “Stream Directly to OBS” below).
Use a mobile stabilizer. I use a “Cam Caddie Scorpion” to mount and stabilize the phone/camera. This helps with camera shake, and allows you to set the Cam Caddie down on a surface while still holding the phone upright. People also use selfie sticks and gimbals to mount and stabilize the phone.
More advanced gear? Why not use a high end lens on a cutting edge dSLR outputting HDMI into a backpack laptop tethered to a mobile data Hotspot? Knock yourself out. The funny (or depressing) fact is that it won’t look much different (to the audience) compared to a Galaxy S7 smart phone mounted on a 10$ selfie stick. Remember, streaming is more about the content, not the speed of your lens or depth of field in the shot. Save a few thousand dollars, and use your savings to do things that add value to your stream!
What Gear Do You Really Need to Mobile Stream?
A mobile phone with a data plan. It’s far simpler than people make it seem. Additional equipment may be preferable, but its totally optional. The bottom line is, use what you have. If you have a tablet, use it. Laptop? Use it! We have cameras built into almost every mobile device. There are two major challenges to consider:
- Encoding the video. It takes a newer smart phone/tablet with enough power to encode the video. Especially if you want to run chat on the same device. Luckily, newer smart phones have video encoders built in!
- Internet connection. You need a data plan (with plenty of bandwidth, eg. 4G). Smartphones (should) have 4G and WiFi built-in, or you can use a mobile hotspot. Of course you can always get your internet from WiFi if you are near an access point.
What about audio? New smartphones have astonishing audio quality, but they lack directionality (they pick up EVERYTHING) and other features found in external mics. There are external mics designed for mobile, but it’s totally optional.
Stream Directly to OBS from your Phone Camera
The strongest way to stream while mobile is to stream with OBS, and pull your mobile stream into a OBS source. You will need a RTMP server to do this, and you have a few options. Quick note: I designed and pre-configured a RTMP server for my own stream that I have used and developed for over 4 years as a Partnered Twitch streamer. The truth is, I have been mobile streaming WAY before IRL was a category on Twitch, and I am super happy IRL is becoming more popular. The kinks have been worked out and the answer, in retrospect, is simple. You simply stream from your mobile device to an RTMP server, then pull that stream into a media source on your OBS. This way, you get the powerful overlays and transitions of OBS. It is a set-it-and-forget solution for streaming on the go! RTMP servers take up almost ZERO resources (very little memory and almost no CPU). There are two options:
- Run the RTMP server on the “Cloud”. This is the BEST option for mobile streaming. Using a RTMP server on the cloud allows you to have a high-speed data server available 24/7. It is nothing short of a dedicated, powerful, and personal ingest server for all of your RTMP needs. You simply stream to it, and the mobile stream appears on your OBS screen. Arrange your scenes in OBS how you like, then go mobile and take the stream with you anywhere. A cloud RTMP server also has advantages beyond mobile streaming. I use this during EVERY stream. A pre-configured RTMP Cloud server can be found HERE.
- Run the RTMP server at home. You can run an RTMP server on your home PC. For mobile streaming, you will need to open a port on your router to access your RTMP server. This has many advantages beyond just mobile streaming. You can actually build a dual-PC stream system using an RTMP server at home, and increase the overall quality of your stream by having the second PC do the encoding (no capture cart needed, save $$$). Plus, you have full control over your server, its configuration, and network environment. This is the method I have used for years, and it just gets better over time. Download a pre-configured RTMP server HERE.
Get the RTMP Server (Psynaps Super Stream System)
A pre-configured RTMP server can be used to allow you to get your mobile stream into OBS, so you can use your OBS overlays and transitions while you mobile stream. The Psynaps Super Stream System (Downloadable and Cloud Edition) is a pre-configured RTMP server for streamers, and comes with guides, videos, and screenshots. The purpose of the Super Stream System is to raise the quality and improve the delivery of online video content and live streaming for the entire streaming community. It is also perfect for Mobile streaming on Twitch (and/or YouTube) which has currently become very popular with the recent addition of the Twitch IRL category. This system is for pro streamers, eSports organizations, and designed to meet the needs and budget of the casual streamer as well! If you believe in raising the bar of quality for casual and professional streaming, lets go!
The Psynaps Super Stream System has been mobile-ready and used for Mobile streaming on Twitch since long before the Twitch IRL category existed. It was designed and optimized after years of full-time use on the Psynaps Stream (any many other full-time streams that use it). Now that Twitch launched Twitch IRL, streamers are looking for ways to maximize their mobile stream. However, many streamers still DON’T KNOW you can stream (from your phone) to your OBS at home, while using the overlays and alerts on your OBS. This has been standard with the Psynaps Super Stream system long before IRL was a thing!
This is going to be particularly popular with every day streamers because they need a cheaper and easier solution for streaming. Additionally, mobile streaming is rising in popularity but mobile streaming apps are limited. Streamers can now combine their mobile stream with OBS on their PC to powerhouse their mobile stream.
The Psynaps Super Stream System is a collection of extremely powerful streaming applications which are driven by a server platform used by the most sophisticated cloud servers in the internet (e.g. Amazon, Google, Microsoft, Facebook, and other major cloud server systems). The Psynaps Super Stream System “Downloadable Edition” can run on virtually any computer, cross platform, and takes up very little resources. The Psynaps Super Stream System “Downloadable Edition” is currently available for download here. The Psynaps Super Stream System “Cloud Edition” is a personal and powerful RTMP server on the cloud (located next to Twitch Headquarters, or region of your choice). The “Cloud Edition” is currently available here. You can find more info here.
Need More Help?
I can help you build it! I love Twitch and it’s community, and I want to see you succeed! Am I the right guy to help you? Based on my experience making educational content for YouTube and Twitch for years and because of the success of my stream (Psynaps Stream), I can offer you help with anything from building your mobile stream to growing your stream in general. Recently I am also working one-on-one with individuals to build, optimize, and test their stream. I help large streamers and small alike. Contact me anytime.