facebook live
Facebook Live is a super-popular way to live stream, giving users a quick way to broadcast what’s happening right now, raw and uncut. Facebook Live is perfect for live streaming to friends, groups, or even the general public. The platform is set up to allow you to go live on Facebook quickly, and you have rich options like starting a live video with a friend streaming as well, raise money, or try a mask (also known as a filter) for fun streaming, too.

Streaming live is possible from your Android or iOS mobile device, along with desktop, a more recently added feature. And there are tools available to help you get the most out of your videos, too.

What you need to know before you start a live stream

First, starting a Facebook Live stream can all happen very quickly so be prepared to be live streaming fast, within seconds of tapping the right buttons. There’s not a lot of prep time from thinking about it to lights, camera, action.

Second, you can only be on Facebook Live from a mobile device for a maximum of four hours. That may seem like forever if you just want a short stream of what the weather is like back to your family, but if you’re running an event, it’s something to check on.

Finally, you’ll want to consider the details. Which camera will you use? Most likely, your phone’s rear camera is much quality better than the selfie camera. But if you’re talking to the camera throughout a live stream, you’ll almost certainly want to see how you look, and check for reactions and comments, so using the selfie camera might be better when you’re speaking with people.

How to live stream on Facebook in four steps:

  1. Open the Facebook app or go to facebook.com.
  2. On your home screen, you’ll see the “What’s on your mind” section at the top. Under it, tap the “Live Video” option (with a red camera icon 🎦).
  3. review settings, and tap the “Start Live Video” button to start live streaming.
  4. To stop, press the “Finish” button to stop streaming, after which you can share the recording on your timeline or delete it.

That’s it in five steps, from start to finish. But there are many optional steps to consider, some more essential than others. Here are the key ones, some obvious, some less so. We do also

  • Select which camera you’ll use for the live stream — switch between the selfie camera and rear shooter with the switch camera icon.
  • Consider adding a live stream title and location, if you want. You can throw in emoji as well, or by tapping the magic wand, add an effect or filter for your face, like adding a beard or a dog’s nose.
  • You can invite your Facebook friends to join the live stream by taping the “Bring a Friend” option. The friends selected will get notified once you go live.
  • Limits: You can select exactly who can (or who can’t) view your live stream by tapping the “To: …” section in the upper-left.

Read next: 20 Facebook Messenger tips and tricks you may not know

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