How to Stream With Facebook Live

15-20 min read
by: Rockwell Nov 8th, 2016
Setting up OBS

Wee need to meet some prerequisites for streaming video through Facebook live.  These are outlined here.  The first thing we are going to do is make sure we have  encoding software installed on our computer that meets the requirements.  Facebook provides a list of options.

  • Livestream
  • OBS
  • Wirecast
  • Xsplit
  • ffmpeg

For this post we will be using OBS which can be downloaded for free here.  Once it is downloaded  open up a session.  The window should look like the image below.

Screen4

First thing we are going to do is select a source.  Click on the "+" sign, in the first image below.  Select  "video capture device" and then select "create new" and hit "ok."  You will then be presented with a pop up like the second below that allows you to select a source.  Select one of the options and hit "ok".

Screen5 Click the "+"
Screen6 Select video capture device
Screen7 Select a device
Bringing them together

Now, to finish things off we need to go back to our page in Facebook.  Above where the banner image is there should be an option called "publishing tools", click that link. 

Screen8

After click "publishing tools"  you are taken to a page that should look like the image below.

Screen9

In the left sidebar click the link "video library".  On the next page there is a button with "+ Live" in it, circled below. Make sure you do not have a pop up blocker on.  The pop ups that are presented can get blocked and you need to data they provide in order to connect your video player to the facebook API.

Screen10

After you click the "+ Live" button a modal window pops up, pictured below (your will have data in the empty fields below), that gives you the Server URL and Stream Key.  For OBS we will use the separate fields, some other programs take the data in one field.

Screen11

One important note about the server URL and stream key They can only be used for a single Live preview/post connection. You cannot preview, stop the stream and then start it back up again. The URL and Key also expire after 24 hours.  So for each streaming session the keys will change.

Now that we have the data we need from Facebook we need to open up OBS and click the "settings button in the bottom right.

Screen12

In the next window inside OBS select "Stream" from the left side navigation and then select "Custom Streaming Server" from the dropdown at the top.  You will enter in the Server URL in the url field and the Stream key into the stream Key field.  Once those have been entered in click "ok".

Go back to the Facebook modal window and click next.  You will should see, inside the window, it will say offline.  That is because we have not started streaming yet.  We need to click on the gear in the upper right corner of the window and get the embed code first to add to our site.  The embed code is simply an iframe or the video.  Take that code and paste it into the html where you want the video to show. Then go back into OBS and click the "Start Streaming" button in the lower right (above the "settings" button from the image above).  If the data has been entered in correctly you should see the streaming video load inside the window with a banner that says "preview" at the top.  Note, it may take a little bit to connect.  If it still says "offline" after you have started streaming in OBS you may have entered the url or stream key incorrectly.  

That's all there is to it.  You are now ready to "go live".  Happy sharing!

The best resource to take this further is provided by Facebook here. You will find explanations about the data you can get from your stream and how to get the most control over your sharing. 

About Rockwell

Rockwell joined the TheoryThree team in 2015.  He is passionate about the art of crafting quality code and loves satisfying his curiosity by learning about new technologies.

"Every child is an artist.  The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up." - Pablo Picasso


Author

Rockwell

Rockwell joined the TheoryThree team in 2015.  He is passionate about the art of crafting quality code and loves satisfying his curiosity by learning about new technologies.

"Every child is an artist.  The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up." - Pablo Picasso