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How to Stream to Facebook Live and YouTube From Your DJI Phantom

Clear Online Video's Stjepan Alaupovic provides tips on how to increase audience engagement through streaming to social media from your DJI Phantom drone.
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In this tutorial, I’ll provide some tips for live streaming with your DJI Phantom Drone. One of the ways we like to use this live streaming feature is for behind-the-scenes material. Honestly, the quality is not great after the compression. There are times where the stream can be choppy even with good upload speeds. We like to use the feature to give our fans a sneak peek of the places and projects we get to capture during drone shoots.

General Tips

Before we get started, here's a few general things I recommend. Make sure you have the latest firmware update from the official DJI website. Charge your batteries and dust off your lens. Reset your settings to the factory default if you've been shooting in RAW or C-Log modes. Also, I recommend using Vivid mode, as your video will go through layers of compression with channels like Facebook and YouTube.

Optimizing Audio Quality

For optimal audio quality, you should use an external mic. Something like the RØDE smartLav (Figure 1, below) is a good choice that works with iPhones. At minimum you should use the headphones and mic that came with your phone.

Figure 1. The RODE smartLav

Keep in mind that at the time of this recording, the Facebook Live streaming feature is available to iOS users only on the DJI GO app, although Google Play does list YouTube live streaming as an available feature for Android devices. Remember that your phone uses its cellular signal to live stream, so remote areas may be a challenge.

For Safety

Finally, for safety, we like to have, at minimum, a two-person crew. Dedicate one person to handle social interaction during the stream. This frees up the pilot to focus on flying the drone.

Getting Started

To get started, both YouTube and Facebook accounts can be enabled under the General Settings panel in the DJI GO app (Figure 2, below). You can choose the setup either live or private stream for Facebook and YouTube. You should also keep in mind that you don't have to go live from the drone takeoff. You can decide when to go live through the interface.

Figure 2. The DJI GO app

The Enable Hardware Decode option uses the device's GPU to decode the video stream versus a software decode. We've been told that this provides a consistently smoother overall video quality.

Going Live

Once you have your settings set it's as easy as pressing the Go Live button to start your stream (Figure 3, below).

Figure 3. To start streaming, press Go Live.

When you're live on Facebook, you can enable the audio option by pressing this button. This also gives you the option of allowing comments to appear during your broadcast (Figure 4, below).

Figure 4. Comments will appear during the broadcast.

As I mentioned earlier, we like to use the live streaming feature in a social way to engage with our audience (Figure 5, below). Giving them these unique perspectives from drones has been a powerful way to showcase what we can do.

Figure 5. Increasing audience engagement through streaming to social media

Working With Remote Clients

One other way we've found this feature useful is through working with remote clients. We've been able to give them previews and even get approvals on shots by sharing private broadcasts with them. Give it a try in your next project.

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