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A lot of what makes a good streamer is its ability to help its audience immerse themselves into their content and be transported by the story the content creator tells them.
In order to create a compelling story, there are many important elements a streamer has to master. One of those elements is your background, whether it is the one on your screen, on your webcam, or even on audio elements.
Nowadays games are so well done, with incredible visual and audio backgrounds that one can stream them without much setup and they will already have a great stage to showcase their personality and streaming capacities.
In that regard, streaming has become a lot about the little details which create a cohesive story and set a streamer apart from the crowd. As games are getting so close to perfection, the best creators on Twitch are ones capable of enhancing their content through small details in the background.
The eye is one of the most sensitive of the five senses, and a powerful conveyor of messages. In order to deliver your content in the best possible way, having a coherent overall screen across your different elements is a crucial success factor for a streamer.
Eye contact is one of the most powerful transmissions when it comes to establishing a connection between 2 people.
Several studies have shown that being able to see a streamer’s eyes and facial expressions makes it much easier for a viewer to feel closer and more invested in that person’s content.
Your personal background tells a lot about you to your audience and people who might be interested in investing in your content.
While the classic white wall is already a better pick than a messy room behind you, using that space is. Trophies, pop culture items, and references to the content you are producing are all great ways to tell a story about you or your content inside of your webcam frame.
Unless you are an IRL streamer, your webcam shouldn’t overwhelm your screen, as it might block important elements of the game you are playing. Make it as big as possible without ever masking another key element.
As such, make sure your webcam either has its own story or blends in with the screen you are showing to your viewers.
A simple example would be to have a very bright webcam frame while playing a horror game for example, which would distract your audience’s attention and drag their eye away from the main content.
If you have any, you might be required to show them on the screen which can be a cause for distraction when looking at your screen.
Sponsors should be visible but not impair understanding of your story. A good way to include them is to have them close or integrated into other visual elements that aren’t key to the main story.
Around your webcam frameworks well, as well as finding a way to have them IRL with you, so they can be part of your personal story. Having a dedicated scene for them during loading screens, or when you take a break from gameplay is also a good workaround.
Showing those should be something reserved for your nightbot most of the time.
If you want to push people in that direction though, make sure to have these pieces of information as a subtext to your content rather than popping on your screen and creating a visible distraction with a huge bright white line for example.
It is very tough to promote an event without occupying a significant portion of your screen, meaning it usually is better to advertise those vocally during breaks and have a nightbot command for it.
Something doable is to show the command on screen, which will be much more discrete and eye-friendly for your viewers.
Just like sponsors, having a dedicated scene for those is usually the best course of action
The very important thing to consider when adding more information to your stream is to ask “how does it help the viewer get a better grasp of what is happening ?”. If you have a clear answer to this question and cannot convey that information another way, the add-on is probably worth it, otherwise, it might be better to leave it out.
At no point though, should an add-on overwrite the main content, limiting a lot the amount of these you can have showing up on stream.
In this example, we can see that add-ons and the subscriber’s count can take a large part of the screen, but it doesn’t impair the important information for a viewer. One could yet still ask about the need to have the white message that calls the eye rather than what is happening in the game.
Your voice is one of the most important elements in order to succeed as a streamer. Depending on your content, you should convey a different message through the tone and volume at which you speak.
Hearing is the easiest way to convey excitement for example, which is a key part of streaming.
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Most games are built to have all the audio backgrounds you should need to enjoy them completely. For repetitive games though like the most competitive ones, relying on queuing on a ladder repeatedly, or one where the story isn’t so important, Music can be a great asset.
2 main criteria should be taken into account when picking the music, the mood you are trying to convey to your audience and the kind of games you are playing. For example, you wouldn’t imagine watching a high-stakes game of chess with death metal music as a background.
Using audio effects has become a trend in the streaming industry, it usually serves to underline a special event (new sub, follow…) or to react to something happing in the game. Most of the time, these additions are better used in a fun way to accentuate the comic of a situation or create one in an otherwise flat one.
While very effective when done properly, abusing audio effects can transform your stream into a clown show, which reduces the impact of important messages later on.
This is probably one of the bigger No-Go of the streaming industry, and a lot of content creators would rather cancel their stream rather than do it with external noise they can’t control.
Make sure you are in charge of the sounds that are displayed on your stream.
Hearing and vision are 2 of the most powerful human sense when it comes to communicating with another person. As such, having a clear plan on how we want to use both of the vectors to appeal to our audience is a key component of succeeding as a streamer.
Our main content and personality will obviously always be the core of what gathers audiences to our channel. But once we mastered the basics, figuring out how to take the next step by exploiting our different backgrounds is the logical follow-up.
There are numerous audio and visual background elements you can use. Streamers often use sponsors, follower or/and subscription count, incoming events, or various audio effects.
The most common are follower and subscription counters and upcoming events.
By far the most popular are background music and audio effects when someone subscribes or donates to the stream.
As you always hear, the content itself is the most important streaming factor, but your results will significantly improve when you add at least some background elements to your stream.