Teacher Tips for Great Mobile Livestreams
First, test your Internet connection using our speedtest instructions. CANNOT EMPHASIZE ENOUGH: You really must have more than 6Mbps upload speed or your livestreams will be choppy, disconnect, and generally be frustrating for participants.
Second, follow the mobile livestream setup to make sure you are sending a great, high quality stream, and then follow these tips:
Have great audio by using wireless headphones
Use wireless earbuds such as AirPods and Galaxy Buds to make sure you sound great for your students (or any other bluetooth headphones paired with your phone). We've found that audio is every bit as important as video for a great student experience. You may be tempted to just use your phone's built-in microphone (essentially like a speakerphone). Resist this temptation, it will probably sound echoey and grating to students. If you really want to go pro and mix music, follow our more extensive guide.
Mount your phone on a tripod
Here's an inexpensive one on Amazon.
Make sure your lens is clean
You want your halo to come from within, not from a dirty lends on your camera.
Turn down your volume
You don't want to be distracted by notifications while you teach.
Turn on Do Not Disturb
Make sure that you won't receive phone calls on your phone while streaming that will interrupt.
Give yourself time to set up your space
It's best to give yourself some time to setup the space, make sure you're in frame, and the image and audio look good. That way, when it's time to stream you can just turn on the camera and be ready to teach instead of getting flustered with setup.
Plug your phone in
Using the camera can use a lot of power, so make sure that your phone won't run out of battery.
Use the back camera
In most cases, the back camera (the non-selfie one) is higher quality than your front camera.
Don't have light behind you
Try to not sit in front a window or light source–it can make the video tougher to see for your students.
Frame your video properly
Try to make sure that your body will be in frame for the duration of your class (if you're a yoga teacher, try both child's pose and tadasana). You can test this by roping in an assistant, or just quickly taking a local video on your phone and reviewing it.
Film at student eye level
Film in the position a student about to start class would be in–we've found that the closer we can make it feel like you're in a class (versus watching one), the more compelling it is.
Light colors are better than dark colors
While all-black is pretty much my personal uniform, understand that on camera black clothing on a black mat may make it hard for students to pick you out. Try lighter colors and try to have different colors for your outfit and the mat.
Double-check your stream
The first few times you stream, make sure to check the stream to see how it would look for users and ensure your video and audio setup is good to go.
Use the Streamboard
Click on 'View Stream' in the admin backend to use the Streamboard so you can see who has joined and any chat messages they or Union support might have for you.
Start a little early
It's okay to start the stream and just sit a few minutes before class (viewers will be able to start watching 5 minutes before class starts if your stream is on)–again, this feels like a normal class. We've had teachers chant, play the harmonium, or just breathe. Do what you'd normally do before a class.
When around a class, assume you are live
Any time you start streaming around a scheduled class, assume that you are on camera. Any kind of preparation, chats with your partner, phone calls or texts should be wrapped up and assume you are entering the studio when you push that button.
Enroll local students
If you've got family members or people you live with, encourage them to be in the video with you as a student. Again, everything we can do to help our remote students feel like they are in class the better, and it frees you up to just teach versus teach and demo.
It's OK to be real
It's tough for everyone right now. Don't be afraid to embrace that, talk about it, have your cat walk in the frame, or your kid bother you for a snack. It's all our shared experience right now and it's comforting for us to be in it together.
Don't be afraid to make suggestions for students with props. A couple of hardback books make great blocks, a jumprope is a good strap.
And finally, thank you! People practice to feel a sense of normalcy, strength, relief, and connection and bless you for providing that in these most trying of times.
If you have any other suggestions for adding to this list please email us at: firstname.lastname@example.org.