Live Video or Pre-Recorded video – which is better?

When you are making business video – how should you record it? Is live streamed video better and how are they different?
This question popped up yesterday in a Facebook group that I’m in and it wasn’t until I started answering it that I’d ever really consciously thought about it.
First and foremost to my mind live-streaming and a recorded piece to camera are like chalk and cheese -although to a novice eye they might look just the same.
Also, what so many people forget is that this “vlogging” style is just one aspect of video and in fact all businesses are better served by creating a range of different videos which can be just as easy to create.
But I digress…..
So what is the difference?


Facebook Live first made an appearance in 2016 and it’s become so ubiquitious that people just talk about about doing a “live” and the assumption is that it will be on Facebook.
The reality is that you can also stream live video on:
🔹 YouTube
🔹 Twitch


At first glance doing a live is quick and easy peasy – you push a button and start talking to your captive audience and hope the algorithm does its magic, notifies your friends and followers and everyone tunes in to hear your pearls of wisdom.
Of course if you have an important announcement you can always notify everyone that you’ll be online in advance.

Along the way people can ask questions and interact – which in business terms is probably the most important part of doing a live.

But maybe it’s not as simple as it seems.
You can also employ a lot of external apps and software to add easy “studio production” features – things like BeLive**, **Streamyard, OBS Studio.
Switcher Go – gives you the option to stream seamlessly from more than one distant mobile device for those covering events or breaking news.
PLUS – don’t forget Zoom with all it’s various features allows you to stream directly into Facebook too.


Of course to some extent the quality of your stream depends not just on your kit but on how good you are at talking, whether you’ve got your messaging together and your ability to think quickly and roll with the interaction without losing the thrust of your message.
It’s a skill that requires practice and personality.
Some lucky people seem to have a “God Given” gift while others have to really work at overcoming their fear and confidence.
Never fear though – if you struggle you are not alone – I’ve encountered many marketing and communications managers who have laughed in my face at the suggestion that their CEO or MD be ever allowed in front of a live camera!

How to get a better stream

 In addition to the normal advice about background, lighting and using a seperate microphone don’t rely on the camera built into your laptop.

So invest in a decent webcam that will stream 4K, use your phone or if you have a DSLR you can set it up a feed from the camera to the computer.
Don’t forget to get a good stream you also need a decent broadband/4G signal.
Now once your live has finished the work begins – you can download the video file and get captions with an .srt file to load up so that people on the #replay can watch with the sound off if they prefer.
If it’s good enough you can also load it to wherever you host your videos and embed it on your website and search engines like Pinterest and YouTube or other social platforms – Instagram, Linkedin etc.


While a live can have the feel of being spontaneous and casual – which can sometimes be either to its advantage or detriment – pre-recorded video offers the option of perfection and quality control.
🔹You can shoot it on your phone or on a DSLR in 4K
🔹You can use can external mic
🔹You can use an autocue or an autocue app to ensure smooth deliver and that you stay on message
🔹There’s the option to do reshoot – as many times as you want
🔹With a DSLR you can get a professional bokeh effect (blurry background)
🔹You can edit adding custom titles, effects etc and add captions before upload
This involves a time investment – which can be as long as a piece of string!
Obviously you can load these videos to your website, social media, use them in presentations etc. They are also likely to be the cornerstone content of your online courses etc.


You also need to be aware some platforms just prefer live video – so maybe think about running some tests to see how pre-recorded video interacts with various algorithms.
On Facebook for instance you need to be aware that your posts and videos won’t always show up in the news feeds of all your followers.
If it gets lots of likes and starts being shared though the number of feeds it will show up in will increase.
To get your native videos seen by more people do post straight from your phone or computer and don’t use links, especially from YouTube.
If you are on Instagram though be aware that IGTV and Live Video posted to IGTV currently seems to be much in favour as far as the algorithm is concerned.
My IGTV metrics show a x3 or x4 boost for likes and comments over a normal feed post.
Which do I prefer to make and watch? – pre-recorded video without a doubt.
However live video certainly has it’s place and the ability to stream is a skill that business owners should seek to develop.


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