Facebook Live - What You Need To Know Now
Facebook Live is the hottest video broadcast platform of the moment. It's very simple to get started, but to truly take advantage of the platform professionally there are some factors to consider beyond the content itself:
When Facebook Live first launched, broadcasts were limited to 90 minutes. Once that time was up, your broadcast would end and you would have to create a new stream. That limit has since been increased to 4 hours, although documentation on the Facebook Live portal still refers to the old 90-minute cap. 4 hours should be sufficient for most events unless your little league game hits a rain delay.
How To View?
You don't have to rely on your audience finding your live broadcast by visiting Facebook. Just as with YouTube Live, you can now embed the Facebook Live player on your own website. Facebook has a handy Code Configurator that will generate the code you need to copy and paste.
Who Can See It?
Reaching as many people as possible is usually a goal of most Facebook Live broadcasters, however, you can control the geographic locations of viewers via the API. There are many reasons you may want to consider this such as permissions, copyright or licenses for different regions or countries. If your event is local, it is possible to 'black out' the broadcast for those nearby to encourage physical attendance, but still give access to those too far away to attend.
Who's Paying For It?
Facebook Live is still experimenting with advertising, but their are already firm restrictions on what you cannot do. Before each broadcast you will receive this warning message: "Don't put third-party video ads in your live video. For example, don't include bumpers, pre-roll, mid-roll or post-roll." This is not just limited to video, as it has been reported that animated bugs and branded lower-thirds have been found to be in violation of this rule.
Facebook Live will be launching mid-video paid commercial breaks too (they opted against pre-roll as it deterred viewers) which you may or may not have much control over. This will be an issue for corporations and brands as competitors could target your broadcasts, although in the future you could receive a share of the advertising revenues (a payment system has yet to be rolled out and, as of the time of writing, no publisher has received any ad related revenue). The first rollout has video ads eligible to appear five minutes into a broadcast, lasting up to 15 seconds or shorter. If you are a Facebook advertiser, you can opt to not have your video ads on the platform be used in Live content.
What Happens Afterward?
Once your live broadcast is over, the completed video will be published to your Page or Profile for viewing at a later date. As the owner, you can remove this video just like any other content if you don't want it available afterward. If you are publishing to a Page, you can also apply control and customization settings to the video on the broadcast after it has ended.
How To Stream Reliably?
You can broadcast via Facebook Live from your smartphone and its tiny camera, but for a professional video production, you should use a dedicated encoder such as the AJA Helo or LiveU Solo. TriCaster users can upgrade to Advanced Edition which enables Facebook Live streaming directly from the system with one click. Contact us here at Key Code Media and we can consult with you on the best technology to meet your needs.
Facebook Live Video Specs
Maximum 720p (720 x 1280) resolution, at 30 frames per second. (or 1 key frame every 2 seconds).
You must send an I-frame (keyframe) at least once every two seconds throughout the stream.
Recommended max bit rate is 4000 Kbps.
Titles must be less than 255 characters otherwise the stream will fail.
The Live API accepts H264 encoded video and AAC encoded audio only.
Pixel Aspect Ratio: Square.
Frame Types: Progressive Scan.
Audio Sample Rate: 44.1 KHz.
Audio Bitrate: 128 Kbps stereo.
Bitrate Encoding: CBR.