Live streaming MMA, or any sporting contest with music and a breakneck pace, as a member of the media seems as simple as “point and shoot,” but, in reality, the process is a little more involved than meets the eye—at least if you wish to have your coverage viewed with the best quality, without busting the bank or interruption, as possible.
I didn’t establish norcalmixedmartialarts.com with the intention of hosting a live stream; instead, the practice, as everything else has with NorCal MMA’s website and its social media, evolved from trial and error.
Before unloading your equipment and transforming your cage side seat into a mobile production studio, you should obtain permission from the promoter(s). As black-and-white as the subject may appear, I have encountered promoters, such as Jeremy Luchau, in a gray area with regards to manning a live stream; for instance, the owner and matchmaker of 559 Fights, California’s largest amateur promotion, told me during Episode 185 of the @norcalfightmma Podcast (link here), “I used to be anti cell phone streaming and stuff like that…We’ve done a little bit of live streaming, but I don’t want to live stream an entire event.”
If a show is being broadcasted as a pay-per-view, it’s understandable that the promoter wants to control what can be accessed by any outsiders trying desperately to sneak a peek. Since a high-quality, reliable stream slashes into profit margins, the majority of promoters at the regional ranks are eager to potentially net a new slough of patrons by opening the doors of their venue for one and all.
When a promoter gives me the green light to live stream each fight, I’ve settled on a particular set of equipment to pixelate the pugilism and a method to not seize the controls of the NorCal MMA Facebook page (link here) or YouTube channel (link here), whichever platform is preferable.
I streamed MMA, Submission-Only Grappling, Boxing, and any other form of martial arts that I could cram into the viewfinder of my iPhone 6, though I’m certain there are products comparable to those discussed here for your particular smart device.
Space is always at a premium along media row. A tripod I found to be ideal for a tabletop, due to its ability to stand firmly and reach toward the heavens—upwards of fifty-inches, is from a company called: Digital Visions (link here).
In order to attach your phone to the tripod, a mount, much like the Joby Grip Tight Mount (link here), is required. Although they’re fairly universal, it’s a wise idea to ensure the clip clamps firmly to your phone’s contours.
Nowadays, phones are outfitted with cameras that can record video with incredible resolution. To provide an added touch to the live stream, I accessorized my iPhone 6 with an Olloclip (link here). This nifty gadget easily latches over your phone’s already existent lens, turning an already beautiful day into a vantage that belongs on a postcard.
With the Olloclip Lens:
Whether your focus is on commentary, engaging with an active community of viewers in the comments section, or both, a microphone will mask much of the excess noise. The best mode of transportation I found for my voice to others’ speakers was a Motive Audio microphone (link here). Motiv Audio, an ingenious piece of technology, plugs into your phone’s power source portal and utilizes an app to modulate the settings.
Now that you have acquired the hardware I recommended, it’s invaluable to understand several ins-and-outs with your software—either Facebook and YouTube, since I’ve had some experience with both.
First, you can’t simply set and forget your live stream because, inevitably, the social media outlet you select to broadcast from will become a locked vault. Any lull in the action itself—walkouts, between rounds, or intermissions—is occupied with tunes at explosive decibels. For some reason or another, the platform you choose for your live stream will think you’re pirating the music, thereby revoking the option to stream.
The solution to such a problem: live stream every pairing as a single serving. Timing is everything before punching “Go Live.” Once the competitors fill their respective corners and the ring announcer readies himself to orate the introduction of each violent entertainer, that is your cue.
At this point, the stream should be free of any forks in your digital road. Although such a technological blockade creates a couple extra steps for those who wish to tap into the talent from your neck of the woods, curiosity will force them to set the necessary notifications to receive an alert when gladiators are about to clash in the center of a canvas—wherever you are.