In our final installment of our three part interview with Sevadus (you can read part one and part two here) we geek out about choosing the right hardware for streaming, and learn his opinion on the future of live streaming.
One of the unique aspects of your stream is that you currently use two PCs for streaming, one for gameplay and one for broadcasting and aside for the extra processing power for encoding what are the other benefits you feel this setup offers?
Sevadus: Well, currently I have two capture cards and the current computer i am using already has it’s PCI slots filled, so having a second PC offers additional slots. The second computer also helps out with offloading a lot of extra stuff. I have to plug in two different HDMI cables; one for my camcorder and one for my computer and just the ability to offload everything I can over there. I use the second computer as my music player. It also acts as the server for my bot in my channel. I just offload as much as i can on to the second PC so that the gameplay is not hindered at all.
Looking through your streaming gear list www.sevadus.tv/gear one of the most interesting items is the Novation Launchpad. Can you describe how you use this with XSplit?
Sevadus: The Launchpad itself has software you can download with it, and i just have a button on my second computer where I double click it, and it just loads everything and moves all of the windows where it needs to go. It helps because I can’t be bothered to open ten things at once. Then i use a program that allows me to convert the signal from the launchpad into just keystrokes on my keyboard, and so I just have that running in the background and then I have XSplit setup with the different hotkeys. Basically Launchpad allows me to emulate pushing buttons on a keyboard but does it in a nice elegant way where things are lit up in colors and I can just look over and change what I need to change. It also controls my media player, my bot and a whole bunch of things that i have running on that computer. I think i have something like 87 different keybinds on that computer right now (laughs)
Are there any specific XSplit features you use it for despite changing scenes?
Sevadus: I used to use it to start and stop my broadcasts, then I got too scared that I would accidentally hit it. So just for safety's sake I pretty much only use it only for switching scenes. When I was on a single computer setup I did use it for mute and unmute functionality, but I don’t do that anymore, because everything is controlled by a mixer so I don’t worry about that. Right now, I just basically have the upper left hand quadrant dedicated to all the different scenes in XSplit and it works out really well. I would definitely recommend doing that for people because it’s one of the best and cheapest investments that I’ve made to make the flow of the cast easier, rather than having to fiddle around with my mouse and everything else. I just have to push a button and done. Easy.
You chose to use XSplit for your live streams, could you tell us why it is you settled on using this software?
Sevadus: So for me, when I started with XSplit but then found out there was other software out there which i didn’t even know about. I quickly ignored the idea of FFSplit just because it seemed too difficult and there was one for Mac at the time which I forget what it was called, but it’s still out there and very expensive though and then OBS popped up. You sort of look at these three softwares and the one that fits the bill for me is one that is easy to use. Second and probably more important than anything else is quality and stability. That is by far the most important thing in software. I clearly remember the beginning days of OBS when I tried that out and it just wasn't stable as expected with any new product.
For me it has always been quality quality quality and stability stability stability and then on top of that, if there is software that brings those things, which I think all of these software now have, then it is “which one has the feature set that I need to do everything i want to do in my show”, and for me XSplit has the features needed for me to put on my show. Something as simple as just making a video stream black and white is actually a very difficult thing to do, except in XSplit. In XSplit you just right click and drag the slider, done!
Can you tell us a few other XSplit features that you like?
Sevadus: Right now I have two capture cards sources and do screen capture and chroma keys. I used to use XSplit for the audio mixing the two channels, but I don’t do that anymore, as everything is offloaded on to my mixer and XSplit just listens to my mixer basically.
The audio is now less complicated on the XSplit side but much more complicated out here (laughs). Now I just have my system sounds muted and my microphone sounds unmuted and that’s it. Lately, I’ve been playing around with the chroma key and am very glad you guys added the old chroma key stuff back in, thank you! It’s very important just to have that ability to fine tune things, as allowing any more controls is a good thing. At this point I have everything so customized and set up the way I want it, that nothing really changes too often. I can throw in my GIFs if I want to and do a lot of fun things with that and do a lot of fun things with the 3D rotation features on elements, colors and clips which is all fun, and I do that from time to time. Really, I’m just so comfortable with XSplit that it’s just second nature now.
Given that one of the most popular trends on Twitch is having subscriber/follower/donator notifications appear, do you feel these will continue to evolve or will there be another type of development that helps with streamer/audience interaction?
This is sort of a contentious issue on Twitch, though nobody really talks about it, but rather everyone is ok with each other doing their own thing. There are some broadcasters that want to share their donations and subscribers because it does generate hype and can also generate more donations and subscribers, which if you're trying to make this your job is sort of an end goal. For me, I don’t really play into that too much and have a different outlook on things.
I am one of the very few broadcasters that does not take donations at all which is incredibly rare, because for me it is just an uncomfortable thing to do, but for other people it is totally fine and i support everybody that does it, but it’s just not something I would do. I do think that notifications and showing your donations on stream and those sorts of things are going to become more and more popular. I would say 90% of Twitch channels already have it and the rest of the 10% is just a matter of time before it’s completely everywhere on Twitch.
Music is an important part of your show and you are very pro-active in promoting the artists. Given the pervasiveness of music on Twitch, how do you feel this could be developed in the future?
Sevadus: I am fortunate enough to be very good friends with some absolutely outstanding artists. This is just another community I have become a part of, and every time one of them comes out with a new album it absolutely stuns me. Zircon is about to drop a new album here in a couple of weeks. I’ve already heard it and it’s just absolutely fantastic. For me music is just a very big part of my show and that’s because this music is a very big part of my life. I think that’s what people should really get out of that. Obviously, I am not doing a skilled based broadcast here, ok! (laughs) Thats pretty obvious - I do a personality based broadcast and because of that I let whatever is important in my life shine through and music I really enjoy is very important to me and my life and so I make it important in my show.
I think, going forwards, a lot of these artists that I’ve brought on to Twitch, allow anybody to use their music, letting it spread like wild fire. It’s already spread throughout the Minecraft community. They’ve now started using a ton of music that I’ve brought into Twitch and it’s now starting to spread out into a whole bunch of communities. Just yesterday, I was watching a massive League of Legends streamer for the first time playing an artist that I am very good friends with, which was awesome to see. So now it’s starting to spread across Twitch, and this idea that music can be a very interesting backdrop to a personality is sort of picking up and catching on.
Five years from now, where do you see the gaming streams? Not necessarily eSports, but more general gaming streams.
Sevadus: It’s only going to grow as it’s nowhere near any sort of decline. I think right now, it’s almost growing exponentially and i don’t see that stopping any time soon as more and more people get involved. This community lends itself to entering it but not leaving it. It’s such a magnetic community that people are drawn here creating such a variety of broadcasters and shows. If you're into eSports, boy do we have a lot of that, if you're not into eSports we have a ton of everything else. We have such a variety that there will always be something to pull you in, and because of that it’s something that is very difficult to let go of for a lot of people.
You rarely hear about people saying “oh i’ve been at Twitch for 6 months, now I’m going to leave” - that just doesn’t happen because it’s such a different experience. It’s much more of an immersive experience than I think personally a YouTube experience. Whereas on YouTube you're watching a video, there will always be a slight disconnect there. It’s not live, it’s a pre-recorded and edited thing, but on Twitch it’s real and raw. On a video broadcast, what you see is what happens and what you get and that is much more of a powerful connection, and I think right now thats what the gaming community is looking for.
They’re looking to share their broadcast and gaming experiences even if they’re not the ones doing it. Way more people watch than broadcast, yet they can still share their gaming experiences through the interactivity of Twitch chat, and a lot of them do. Every day my chat is full of people who are discussing their own video games and what they are playing right now while they’re watching the show and I think that is what drives people to Twitch, and that the future of Twitch is a massive community rather than just passive entertainment.
Thanks to Sevadus for taking the time to speak with us. You can follow Sevadus on twitter @Sevadus. Make sure to also check out his stream via twitch.tv/sevadus and visit Sevadus.TV to keep track of any upcoming events he is involved in.