Facebook Live Djing - Extend Your Reach

Since it launched in August of 2015 there can be no doubt that Facebook Live has brought broadcasting to the masses. If your timeline is anything like mine you'll be seeing plenty of live streams from DJs keen to share their sets with their friends and beyond - indeed thanks to the power of virality a simple share here and there can quickly place a set in the feed of thousands with some DJs achieving audiences in excess of 250,000 during one mixing session.

Using Facebook Live as a promotional tool

The biggest problem so far is that in order to broadcast you need to use your phone or tablet and the microphone simply doesn't perform well when it comes to most forms of music played at loud volume, in addition to this every fader movement and indeed noise the DJ makes is recorded. This combined with some questionable camera angles has led many to question the viability of Facebook Live for effective promotion due to lack of professionalism.

While improving camera positioning is reasonably easy, it won't help your audio quality, in some cases it'll potentially worsen the situation, so how do you get the audio and video quality to an acceptable level?

Improve Facebook Live Audio Quality

There are essentially two solutions to the audio quality problem faced by many when DJing over Facebook Live, one method is to connect directly to the phone or tablet mic socket while the other involves the use of an audio interface, I've provided a couple of options below.

Option 1 - Direct Connection with the Rode SC4

The Rode SC4 is a simple TRRS adaptor that connects to your tablet or phone headphone/microphone socket - this adaptor also converts the stereo signal to mono to eliminate any phasing issues that might otherwise occur. The adaptor can be used with any iOS device and is also compatible with most Android devices, it suffers from only one drawback - possible over modulation!

Over modulation is a phenomenon from the bygone days of pirate radio - essentially if your levels are too hot the signal over modulates and distorts badly. It's possible to drive the amp stage of your phone or tablet too hard if you don't keep your levels in check, but with a test broadcast and careful attention paid to levelling you'll achieve a good quality broadcast.

Simply combine the SC4 with a RCA to mini jack lead, connect to your mixer or DJ controller and stream!

Option 2 - Broadcast with the Novation Audiohub

The Novation Audiohub is iOS compatible, it can be connected using the apple camera connection kit and unlike the SC4 doesn't suffer from the possibility of over modulation. It's audio handling means that connection to your audio source (whether a mixer or Dj controller) is via a simple RCA lead.

The Audiohub can also be powered from a PSU - minimising battery drain and thanks to the recent camera kit upgrade you can still charge your phone using the lightning cable for those longer sessions.

While more expensive than the SC4 option the audiohub will deliver a better audio quality when you're Facebook Live DJing.

Improve Facebook Live Camera Quality

You might be thinking that it'd be both difficult and expensive to improve camera quality when using a phone or tablet and that an upgrade might be more hassle than it's worth but thanks to the kit from iOgrapher improving the quality of your video for Facebook Live streaming with iOS devices is actually simple and cost effective.

iOgrapher manufacture a range of cases that feature handy mounting points for tripods and stands - allowing you to simply clip in your iPhone or iPad thanks to a unique easy in easy out system. This makes positioning your phone or tablet a breeze but in addition to getting placement correct you might want to include more of your room or get closer to the action and the boffins at iOgrapher have you covered here as well, with their range of lenses.

Thanks to the 37mm thread on the iOgrapher Filmmaker cases you can connect either a 2x zoom lens to bring your viewers closer to the action or a wide lense to feature more of your broadcast space - this later option will be preferred by those who broadcast back to back or have other guests such as MCs going live with them.

Facebook Live DJing Tips

  1. Virality is the key to extending your reach - sharing is caring and in the case of virality it's essential, make sure you hammer home the message that anybody watching should hit share.
  2. Broadcast longer to reach further - virality increases the longer you broadcast as more people have the chance to see your shared stream, the minimum time to aim for is an hour but push for longer if you can.
  3. Hype your set - make sure that you let everybody on your timeline know you're getting ready to broadcast by dropping timely reminders leading up to go live. If you have a page with a blue tick use Facebook ads to promote your go live time.
  4. Fail to prepare, prepare to fail - set your studio/broadcast space up properly, make sure the camera angle you choose let's people see what you're doing - if possible talk to the camera, your viewers are more likely to interact if you talk to them (there's a good reason much of DJ EZ's 24 Hour Set in aid of Cancer Research was shot facing him head on). When using a mic be professional - if needed get a swing boom arm to avoid the mic getting in the way when you're mixing.
  5. Interact with your viewers, when somebody begins to watch the video give them a shout - if you have too many viewers for this encourage viewers to drop shout requests in the video comments. If your shows have become popular invest in a device that allows you to monitor shout out requests - you don't want viewers to feel ignored.
  6. Gain subscribers - encourage your subscribers to "Live Subscribe". This will notify them whenever you go live and is a good way to ensure you achieve consistent audience sizes, on the subject of consistence - try to keep your boradcast times regular so that people will come to know when you're going to be live.

So there you have it - if you've sorted your audio quality, set your camera angle well and interact with your audience there's no reason you can't become a Facebook Live DJ success story!

Guide to Facebook Live DJing 2017 Alternatives To Rane DJ Products

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