In our second installment of our three part interview with Sevadus (you can read part one here) we learn the tricks of the trade for building up a successful following, how to gradually build the perfect streaming set-up and the common pitfalls new broadcasters make.
Looking back to when you first started streaming on Justin.tv and Twitch, what would you say were your technical or creative obstacles that you had to overcome?
Sevadus: I think my first obstacle was sort of everybody's obstacle which was “how do I even make this appear on somebody else’s computer?” Just trying to figure out “how do i get my screen to go through this Twitch service and just appear for somebody else?” I had no idea what i was doing and I basically just googled “broadcasting software” and that’s how I figured it out. There was a little guide, i think it was on Team Liquid’s forum about how to use XSplit and i was like “ah, ok that’s what I’ll do!” I use XSplit and then I push the button and it lets me do it and that’s as technical as I got back then.
So given that a lot of your channel is focused on playing Minecraft, how do you think a streamer can distinguish themselves in this kind of niche? What do you think makes a great Minecraft stream?
Sevadus: Having fun is really what sets the Minecraft streams that are at the top apart. It’s pretty obvious when you go into a stream if the broadcaster is really loving what they’re doing. It’s not hard to find something you love doing in Minecraft and if that person is really in love with what they’re doing, people will tend to stick around. People want to be around people that are positive and happy and love what they’re doing, not people that are just trying to play a video game to get viewers.
What are some tips you can give to casters looking on generating content for daily schedules? Are there any resources that you use to help you with your daily content?
Sevadus: The biggest thing to becoming a successful broadcaster, and i think everybody across the line can agree with this, is to be consistent. Consistency is key, not just in your schedule but in what you're doing. Even if your stream is not the highest bit-rate, as long as it’s a consistent quality that you are temporarily happy with. Being consistent is by far the number one most important thing you can do as a broadcaster in all regards. Absolutely, be consistent.
What is your streaming output in resolution and FPS?
Sevadus: I used to go back and forth between 720p and 1080p but am now set on 720p at 60fps. For me 720p at 60fps looks better than 1080p at 30fps, that’s just a visual thing for me. This is a split topic as some people think that 1080p at 30fps looks better, whereas some people think 720p at 60fps looks better. It’s just a personal preference. For me, 720/60 is the way to go and my bit rate is output at about 4500, which is massive, but I'm using up every bit of my bandwidth that I can possibly squeeze out of it, just for that quality factor, as quality for me is one of the absolutely important things and any tiny bit of quality I can increase is great.
If I didn't have transcoders on my show and the ability to do high medium and low, and this is what I recommend to all new broadcasters, if you don’t have those; do not broadcast at 4500 kbps. You should instead broadcast at what most people are going to be able to watch, which is more like 2000kbps. Even if Twitch has a terrible connection to your computer, you can still get out most of the data without buffering.
What common mistakes do you feel people make when purchasing new stream equipment?
Sevadus: I think one of the more common mistakes is for a small caster to feel like they need the absolute best of the best. For me I happen to have a lot of really good equipment, but it didn't just appear overnight. I make very slow and progressive and noticeable upgrades. It’s actually a very interesting thing to do for a growing stream as rather than just instantly coming out with all of the absolute best equipment, if you just sort of slowly upgrade then your audience feels like they are taking part in this upgrading process with you and they see the stream get better and better and better. You can turn the process into a very interactive experience. Thats something i always do.
I always find ways to try to make literally everything i do an interactive experience somehow. Right now I’m talking to you guys, but I’m also live on Justin.TV with a webcam. They can’t hear us but there is music playing and they can watch and see me moving my hands right now, but it’s just making things more and more interactive. So for example with gear upgrades I started off with no mixer and I was using just a headset microphone, and it was probably one of the worst headset microphones I’ve ever used. I literally sounded like I was talking into a coconut, it was horrible. I used to work from a single computer, I had one monitor and I would actually broadcast the video game still with the top bar and it was just complete noobism. Then slowly I started to upgrade the computer and then I decided to get a second computer and then I upgraded my audio. It was a whole learning experience for me as well, which was awesome.
For a streamer who is no longer a novice, and is looking to make the first big step in improving their production, what are some techniques/items you could recommend?
Sevadus: It really depends on what your stream is focused on. Obviously If your stream is focused on competitive Counter-Strike or something then your focus should probably be on playing better (laughs).
You need to learn to network and connect with other major influencers in whatever realm you're in. If you're in the eSports realm like I was saying, you should connect with other broadcasters and try to play matches with them and have them appear on your show and vice-versa. That’s really important. One of the biggest things that a lot of broadcasters miss out on is they think they have to do everything alone and that is so completely untrue.
This is the reason why Twitch has such a fantastic community, because there are always people out there that are willing to go up with you and grow up with you and I think one of the best things you can do as a broadcaster who is looking to actually get into serious broadcasting is knowing that the community is not going to come find you. You have to learn to put yourself into the community. So learning to get out there and trying to meet other broadcasters does a world of good and networking networking networking. That is one of the things that you absolutely have to have if you want to be really successful in the long term, and if you want to be a long term success on Twitch. You need to know other people on Twitch and have a connection with them because there will be times where you will get completely burned out of just playing games but being able to just step in and just say “hey friends, lets just go and play Battle Royale right now and chill ” and just being able to do things like that with the people I’ve already connected with and be able to broadcast that and still provide valuable entertainment is pretty awesome.
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.