After having massive success in live streaming video games, Twitch decided to launch another streaming category called IRL (In Real Life) streaming. This world-famous streaming category was established in 2016, and it has been used by millions of streamers and viewers ever since.
In this article I will go over what exactly IRL streaming is, what equipment is needed for IRL streaming, what platforms are good for IRL streaming and lastly some tips for if you do decide to do some IRL streaming of your own.
What is IRL Streaming?
IRL stands for In Real Life and IRL streaming deals with streamers who stream real life events. These events can range from travel, to cooking, to protesting, etc; however, the most common form of IRL streaming is called “Just Chatting” where streamers sit in front of their cameras and talk to their viewers.
In recent years IRL streaming has exploded in popularity. One reason is that IRL streaming allows viewers to feel like they are present at a particular event, without having to physically be at that event.
For example, if you wanted to check out a concert, but don’t want to buy tickets, there is a good chance there is someone IRL streaming the concert. Many big events such as protests or breaking news are also frequently visited by IRL streamers.
Another reason that IRL streaming has become so popular is because it gives the viewer a chance to connect with the streamer in a way that is different from watching someone sit there and play video games.
Like I mentioned, “Just Chatting” has become very popular across all streaming platforms and it is literally just the streamer sitting there and engaging with their viewers.
The reason it has become increasingly popular is because people are interested in building connections with streamers and being part of a community.
IRL streams are much more personal and engaging and so this is the reason behind massive growth over the years.
Lastly, IRL streams can be a great way to teach someone how to do something; cooking, wood working, painting, etc. But I’ll touch on that more down below.
Video game streaming is awesome, don’t get me wrong, but for those looking to be part of a community who aren’t necessarily gamers then IRL streams are fantastic.
What Equipment Is Needed For IRL Streaming?
In order to IRL stream you will need the following:
- A camera
- A device to stream from
- Microphone (recommended)
- HDMI Cables and USB Cables
- Extra Batteries
You may be able to get away with not purchasing all of the equipment listed above. For example, if you have a good smartphone, your smartphone could act as the camera, streaming device and microphone. However, I strongly advise against this.
If you want to have a high quality, professional looking IRL streaming setup then you will most definitely need the equipment listed above. A phone can work yes, but your quality will be nowhere near as good and it will be much harder to grow if you have a poor quality stream.
Now let me break down each item in greater detail:
Best Camera for IRL Streaming
When it comes to IRL streaming, you are going to want a nice camera. The video quality you will get from a nice camera compared to the video quality you will get streaming from your phone is night and day.
The camera that I recommend for IRL streaming is the Sony Alpha A6600 Mirrorless Camera (click here to see it on Amazon). This camera has the world’s fastest auto focus which is perfect when you are shooting constantly moving pieces all around you.
Not only is the auto focus of this camera perfect for streaming, but the video quality is great as well. This camera can shoot in 4k and has amazing built-in image stabilization. When it comes to live streaming, or just shooting videos in general, I feel like the Sony 6600 is the best camera out there.
I personally use the Sony 6500 which is the camera just before the 6600 and I love it. I think the quality is awesome and the amazing autofocus is great for shooting videos. I love it and I know that you will too.
Now that you have a good camera picked out, you will want to get a good lens to go with it. If you plan to stream and shoot videos, you will want to get a wide angle lens because these lenses will help you capture more of the scene around you.
The lens that I use, and personally recommend, is the Sigma 16mm f/1.4 DC DN Contemporary Lens (click here to view on Amazon). This lens is a great price for all that it offers and pairs nicely with the camera listed above.
Having a nice camera with a nice lens is a must for any serious IRL streamer.
The 6600 is great, but if you plan on staying in and IRL streaming art or anything else where you will be near your computer, then you could just stream using a webcam.
The webcam that I recommend using if you will be IRL streaming with your computer is the Logitech BRIO (click here to see it on Amazon). This webcam shoots in 4k, has a great auto focus and has 5x zoom. All these features are perfect for live streamers who won’t be able to constantly adjust their webcams, especially if they are in the middle of something.
This webcam is the best out there and will make your live streams look incredible. Not to mention it is much much cheaper than getting a professional camera.
A Device to Stream From for IRL Streaming
Once you have your camera, you will now need to decide what device you will use to stream from. The three most common devices that IRL streamers use in order to stream from are video streaming encoders, a PC or laptop and lastly a smartphone.
Video Streaming Decoder
The streaming device most commonly used by IRL streamers who go out and stream different events happening around them is a video streaming encoder. This device allows you to add sim cards from different mobile networks so you can stream from anywhere.
Many big time streamers use sim cards from multiple networks to ensure that no matter where they are, they will have a quality connection.
The video streaming decoder that I recommend is the LiveU Solo Wireless Live Video Streaming Encoder (click here to check it out on Amazon). This video streaming decoder is the industry standard and used by many IRL streamers.
This device allows you to connect up to four networks while also having Wi-Fi and ethernet capabilities. The battery life on this device is also fantastic which may come in handy if you are live streaming a big time event.
If you plan on doing IRL streaming then the LiveU is a piece of hardware that you can’t pass up.
PC or Laptop
Like I touched on earlier, if your IRL streams consist of something that you do inside or close to a computer, then you could just stream from your PC or laptop.
The PC that I recommend for streaming is the Legion i7 Gaming PC (which you can view here on Amazon). This PC will give you the best bang for your buck and is the PC that I currently use to stream on. If you want more reasons why I think this PC rocks, then check out my review of this PC here.
If you already have a PC or laptop, then set up your stream like you usually would and you are ready to rock your IRL stream. Oh yeah!
Can you stream from your smartphone? Yes. Should you though? No.
The reason is that your phone just does not have the power or the resources to provide you with a quality IRL stream.
Now look I get it; if a phone is your only option then yes streaming from a phone is better than nothing, but just understand you will not have the same camera, audio or connection quality that you would using the devices I mentioned above.
If you plan on IRL streaming from your phone then check out this article that I wrote about IRL streaming from your phone. I also list some of the phones I recommend using if you decide to go this route.
Best Microphone for IRL Streaming
A microphone is not required as most cameras and webcams have built in microphones; however, it is highly HIGHLY recommended that you stream using a microphone, especially if you will be IRL streaming outside.
If you plan on IRL streaming outdoors then you will want a good microphone. But why? Well like I mentioned the microphone on your camera will not provide nearly the same level of quality like that of a stand alone microphone. Not even close.
If you plan on IRL streaming outside, the microphone that I would recommend is the Rode Video Mic (click here to see it on Amazon).
I like this mic because it is simple to set up and the quality is great. I also like that it comes with a windjammer that helps to cut out any noises from the wind while you are outside.
If you will be doing your IRL streaming inside, then I recommend using the Blue Yeti X (click here to view it on Amazon). This mic is considered by many to be the best microphone for streaming.
I like it for IRL streaming because it has 4 condensers allowing you to capture sound from all around you. I also like the LED meter on the front which helps you measure how loud or how quiet you are being on the mic.
Depending on what kind of IRL streaming you plan on doing will determine which type of mic you should use.
HDMI Cables and USB Cables for IRL Streaming
If you want to connect your camera to your LiveU for IRL streaming, you will need an HDMI cable, something like these cables on Amazon will do. You may also need HDMI cables if you will be using a capture card.
Another thing you may need, especially if you will be using a webcam or a microphone, are some USB cables like these on Amazon. If your setup requires USB to USB type C, then these cables from Amazon will work.
Again, when it comes to your cables, a lot of what you need will depend on your setup so make sure to do your research as to what cables you will require before making any purchases.
But honestly, can you ever have too many USB or HDMI cables? I think not.
Batteries for IRL Streaming
When it comes to batteries be advised that you will need several. One battery will not cut it. I recommend getting at least three batteries for your IRL streams, or maybe more depending on how long your battery life is and how long you plan on streaming for.
Different cameras will be compatible with different batteries and so you will have to do your own research and find which batteries will work for your setup. But just know, if you are serious about IRL streaming, you WILL need multiple batteries.
What are the Best Platforms for IRL Streaming?
The best platforms for IRL streaming are:
Let’s dive into each of these platforms a little bit more below.
IRL Streaming on Twitch
As I am sure you already know, Twitch is the king of live streaming. There are millions of Twitch users each month and it is by far the most used live streaming platform.
Although video game streaming is the most popular thing on the platform, IRL streaming is growing rapidly.
If you are interested in IRL streaming, I recommend that you start with Twitch since it is the most used platform and will allow you to get a feel for streaming.
Since Twitch is so popular there is a ton of support out there and which is helpful in answering any questions you may have when you are just beginning.
After you feel comfortable streaming, and if you feel like a platform shift is the right move for you, then you will be able to take everything with you to that new platform.
Twitch is great, but it is easy to feel like a small fish in a big pond on this platform.
IRL Streaming on YouTube
Youtube is the second largest live streaming platform behind Twitch and it has seen major growth over the last few years.
However, even with the recent growth, I still feel like Twitch has the edge when it comes to live streaming. The reason being is that Twitch has a dedicated section for IRL streamers on their platform. Youtube does not.
For Youtube what happens is your favorite Youtuber will go live and do an IRL stream, I am sure you have seen that before, but there is not a section dedicated to IRL streamers on Youtube. There is a section for gamers (Youtube Gaming), but not IRL streamers.
I like Youtube because you can easily create and upload videos and your subs will be notified when you do a live stream, but not having a dedicated IRL section would make it tough to grow as an IRL streamer on this platform.
IRL Streaming on DLive
If you are interested in IRL streaming then DLive is a platform that you must check out. The reason being is that this platform is made up of majority IRL streamers, unlike the other major platforms (Twitch, Youtube Gaming and Facebook Gaming) which focus primarily on gaming.
The biggest streamers on DLive are IRL streamers and it is where Pewdie Pie began live streaming before he moved over to Youtube.
Don’t get me wrong, there are several gaming channels on this platform, but they are far less popular than the IRL streams are.
If you are in search of a platform to do your IRL streams on then I highly recommend that you at least give DLive and see how you like it. I streamed on the platform a few times and I found it easier to get people into my chat than it is on other platforms.
The only downside to this platform is that although it is rapidly growing, it is nowhere near the size of these other platforms. But who knows, maybe that could change somewhere down the road. Only time will tell.
IRL Streaming on Facebook or Instagram
Facebook Gaming is the third fastest growing live streaming platform out there. And like Youtube Gaming, it has also seen major growth in the last few years.
However, similar to Youtube, there is not a dedicated IRL section on Facebook Gaming. Facebook Gaming is primarily used for gaming (maybe that was obvious) and so it is hard to grow an IRL stream when there is no section for people to find you in.
However, Facebook itself does have a go live feature where you can go live for up to 90 minutes. Instagram also allows you to go live for up to 4 hours.
But, you will need to build your community on these platforms and I do not know of any IRL streamers who IRL stream on these platforms by solely using the “Go Live” feature.
That’s not really what it is meant to be. So although you could IRL stream on these platforms, I think you are better suited live streaming on platforms that have better live streaming capabilities.
IRL Streaming on Periscope
Periscope is owned by Twitter, but is separate from the Twitter platform itself. It is available on both desktop and mobile and has been around for about 7 years now.
The cool thing about Periscope is that the platform was built specifically for IRL streams. You won’t find many gamers here as Periscope is meant to give a real life look at things that are happening around you (sporting events, concerts, etc.).
This platform is not as big as the other platforms I have mentioned, but that’s not to say it is not worth a look.
How Do IRL Streamers Make Money?
The goal of many streamers is to make money doing what you love. If this is your goal, or you are just curious as to how IRL streamers make money, then I have listed below a few ways that IRL streamers make money.
IRL streamers can earn money from a variety of sources, which include:
- Sale Of Merchandise
One way that IRL streamers make money is through ads. Depending on which platform you are on will determine how much ad revenue you generate. Generally for live streamers you have to generate a lot of traffic to make any kind of decent money through ads.
On several live streaming platforms, like Twitch for example, you have to hit a certain level (subs, followers, viewers, etc.) to be able to make money from ads.
If you are still in the beginning stages of your streaming career then you should not worry about trying to make money from ads any time soon.
However, for many IRL streamers, ads are a source of income for them.
Sponsorships & Affiliates
Another, more common (and likely) way for IRL streamers to make money is through sponsorships. I am sure you have seen streamers talk about how they are now partnered with “x brand” or “y brand”.
These sponsorships can earn money for streamers in multiple ways whether through a flat payment to the streamer for promoting the sponsor’s brand or through an affiliate program in which the streamer gets paid a percentage each time they are responsible for a sale.
Sponsorships may not be as difficult to obtain as you might think. Companies are eager to push their brand and if they like what you have to offer they may be willing to offer you a sponsorship.
When it comes to sponsorships, don’t be afraid to reach out and network. It never hurts to ask.
Just like a regular streamer, IRL streamers can also receive tips and donations from their viewers.
How much you will receive from the money donated will depend on your platform as different platforms take different cuts from your donations. Donations are a simple way to earn some money and any IRL streamer can earn money this way.
Sale of Merchandise
Selling merch is another thing that any IRL streamer can do to earn money. How much merch you sell will depend on the size of your community, but anybody can do it. Merch can include T-shirts, sweat shirts, posters, etc. Anything you want to sell that people will be willing to buy can be merch.
If you are a streamer, and you want to sell merch, I recommend waiting until you have a decent sized following first. There’s no point in making a bunch of cool gear just to have it lying around your house because nobody bought it.
One of the easiest ways to make money as an IRL streamer is through affiliate programs. In streaming, many companies have affiliate programs that you can easily be accepted to that will pay you a percentage each time you sell one of their products.
Affiliate programs are all over the internet and many companies have affiliate programs for things like cameras, PCs and other equipment that might be used by a live streamer.
Put some of these affiliate links on your stream and each time a sale is made you get a small cut. It’s easy to do and could provide a little extra money for you and your stream.
Lastly, there are subs. Most live streaming platforms have some kind of subscription program where you pay a monthly fee to support a streamer and get cool things like emotes or sub badges in return to show off your loyalty. They may not be called subs on other platforms, but you get the idea.
If you create a large enough following as an IRL streamer then people will want to sub or subscribe to your channel to help support you and your stream. This is not any different than a sub subscribing to a video game streamer.
Subs are one of the most common ways that streamers and IRL streamers alike make money.
How Much Do IRL Streamers Make?
In general, the average, full time-time IRL streamer will make somewhere between $3,000 and $5,000 a month. This money will generally come from subs and donations given to the streamer from those who support the stream. Although $3,000-$5,000 is the average, there is no limit to how much a streamer can make.
There are a few factors that can affect your income from IRL streaming:
- The amount of money that you will earn from advertising depends on your geographical location. Low CPM (Cost Per Mille) decides how much money you’ll get from every 1000 advertisement impressions shown. Many countries have a CPM as low as $0.5, while many countries have a CPM as high as $4.
- If you spend less time in streaming, that will affect your income badly. Full-time streamers can easily make more money than part-timers. So, if you decide to stick to being a part-timer, be ready to have a hard time making much money out of it.
- Lousy quality content is a significant blow to your income. Work hard to deliver great content, and it will pay off. Quality content, which has a lot of creativity, is interesting, informative, and definitely not dull.
- The output quality matters too. Crystal clear sound with high-resolution videos makes a great combination. If you can offer subtitles, that would be a huge plus.
Ideas For IRL Streaming
If you’re all fired up and want to get started with the IRL streaming, one thing you must consider is the category or the type of streams that you would like to make. Here is a short list of IRL streaming ideas.
Cooking on IRL Streams
If you’ve got some fantastic recipes that you would like to share with the world, go for it! The world loves tasty food, and if your audience finds your dishes and recipes delicious enough, they’ll get back to you for more stuff.
Not to mention, this category of IRL streaming is less competitive than you may think.
Electronics Repair Tutorials on IRL Streams
The entire world uses several electronic gadgets, and these items tend to break down often. If you know how to repair them at home, your audience will reach out to you.
Getting a gadget fixed in the market is never cheap, and if the viewers can save that money by merely following your tutorials, then they will love to connect with you on your stream.
A great combo would be to have an IRL channel on repairing older video game consoles. Everyone has an old console of one kind or another kicking around, which could be very popular.
It may even prove to be a success at crossing both the live game streaming and IRL genres.
Craft and Artwork on IRL Streams
You can show off your creativity, art, and craft ideas through IRL streaming. The world is crazy about that, and you can easily manage to connect with millions of those people if they find your creativity useful enough.
The artwork can also include music. If you have a band, perform live on your IRL streaming channel. Who knows; maybe some big record label might find your band interesting and reach out to you for a big deal.
Tutoring on IRL Streams
Tutoring is yet another evergreen topic since the world will never stop learning. If you have the brains, there is no doubt people who could use the help.
Just make sure you aren’t caught just doing other peoples’ homework. It has to be a win win.
Travel on IRL Streams
If you love traveling, make videos, stream live every time you go to an interesting spot. If you have the charisma to keep your viewers’ attention, then you should go for IRL streaming in the travel section.
Who wouldn’t love to see people live streaming different parts of the world?
Lifestyle and Fashion on IRL Streams
Stream about the latest fashion trends and ideas. Lifestyle streams are great if you are into hip new trends.
Let the world know about the new fashion ideas (it can be clothing, beauty, makeup, etc.) If people find your fashion sense interesting, they’ll love to come back to you whenever you stream live.
Similarly, lifestyle videos are watched a lot on the internet, and they’re never out of fashion. Again, this category best suits an energetic candidate, but anyone with a creative mind can try their luck.
As always, if you have any questions or just want to hang with me, stop by my Twitch channel here and say what’s up!
For even more streaming tips and how-to content check out my Youtube channel here. And if you want to check out my streams then stop by my Twitch channel here.
IRL streaming is a passion and profession for many people. If you believe that you have got some great streaming ideas, you should go for IRL streaming. Even if you don’t plan to work full time, IRL streaming is not a bad idea for a part-time or side business.
It requires some time to build your network, so be patient and work hard. Once everything’s set up, you can potentially start earning a lot of money from IRL streaming.
Good luck streaming my friends and may all your streams come true.
Eric streams 3 days a week on Twitch and uploads weekly to Youtube under the moniker, StreamersPlaybook. He loves gaming, PCs, and anything else related to tech. He’s the founder of the website StreamersPlaybook and loves helping people answer their streaming, gaming, and PC questions.