To stream live video in up to 1080p HD using Vimeo, all you need is a camera, microphone, and a Vimeo Premium or Vimeo Enterprise membership. This article will take you through setting up an event and going live on Vimeo.
Vimeo Premium allows you to stream up to three events concurrently. If you need more than three concurrent streams, please contact our sales team.
In this article:
- Create your event on Vimeo
- The Live Settings Page
- The Live Preview Page
- Going live
- Managing your stream
- Ending your stream
Create your event on Vimeo
The first step to going live is creating your event on Vimeo. From your browser, go to Vimeo.com and click New Video, then select Create live event.
By default, Recurring will be selected, although you can also choose to make this a one-time event. You’ll be prompted to enter the name, date, time, and privacy of your event. You will have the opportunity to edit all these components in a later step if needed.
⚠️Note: Scheduling your live event for a specific date and time is optional and meant to be informational for your viewers; there is currently no way to automatically start your stream at a scheduled time.
A countdown will automatically appear on the player 90 minutes prior to the scheduled start time you select here.
Click Next to continue configuring your event.
The Live Settings Page
The live settings page is where you can configure and customize your stream as well as grab the event’s URL and embed code.
Along the top of the live settings page, you’ll see a pencil icon next to your stream's title, which allows you to edit it. Also on this page, you’ll find the option to add a thumbnail (on the bottom left of the player window), which viewers will see in the player when you are not live. There are three tabs on this page: Event, Embed, and Destinations.
This tab contains the shareable link for your stream on Vimeo, the toggle switch to enable/disable live chat, a menu to change your event's privacy settings, and the description box for you to edit. If this is a recurring event, you can also adjust the schedule here.
Appearance & Embed Tab
The middle tab varies slightly depending on whether your event is one-time or recurring. For one-time events, this tab is where you can grab the embed code for your live player and live chat as well as configure privacy settings for the embedded player. For recurring events, the embed code can be found under the Event tab.
This menu also contains customization options for your live video's embedded player. There are some differences between what options are available for a recurring event and a one-time event (e.g. interaction tools such as email capture and end screens are currently only available for one-time events). The settings configured here do not apply to your event player on vimeo.com except for recurring events set to private.
Once you’ve finished customizing your embed, be sure to click Event embed code and copy the iframe code and paste it into your website’s HTML editor. You can separately embed the audience chat as well.
In this tab, you can access your simulcast settings. This feature allows you to relay your stream to other social platforms, or anywhere with the manual RTMP destination. For more information on simulcasting your stream, check out the guides in our Simulcast section.
Once your event settings are configured, click the Next button in the upper right corner to provision your event.
The Live Preview Page
In the Live Preview page, you can view a low-resolution, low-latency preview of your stream, go live, and manage other various features for your event. Once you go live, you can continue to monitor your stream and manage these components. Here’s an overview of what you’ll find on the left side of this page, all of which are accessible before and during your stream.
Similar to the live settings page, this tab is available here as well, allowing you to connect, add, and remove destinations during your event.
The Chat tab is where you can enable, disable, and monitor your event's live chat. You can also click the More Options icon (•••) above the chat to disable it or export a transcript as a .txt file. Chat transcripts are available to download for 30 days.
The Auto CC tab allows you to enable automatic closed captioning for your event, making it more accessible to a wider audience. You can also input custom words such as people's names or technical jargon to ensure they are captioned correctly.
From this tab you can create a poll for your viewers to vote on with the option of a correct answer.
In addition to Chat and Polls, you can host a Q&A on your event when viewers can post questions and vote for questions they like. Note that moderating questions–that is, approving which questions get displayed for your audience–is available with an Enterprise plan.
Create basic graphics overlays for your stream directly from the live preview page including lower-thirds, fullscreens, and logos.
Once you’re broadcasting, you can check this tab to monitor the stability of your stream.
On the right side of the Live Preview page, you will see two tabs, Webcam and Connect (RTMP).
The Webcam tab shows our Browser-Based Encoder preview. Clicking Webcam Settings allows you to connect your webcam and microphone as inputs and begin streaming directly from your desktop browser, provided it supports WebRTC protocol (we recommend Chrome 28+, but both Firefox 22+ and Safari 11+ support WebRTC as well).
If you have any other connected inputs, such as USB microphones and webcams, these should show up in the dropdown menus as well. Some more advanced inputs may require an external encoder to work on Vimeo.
In addition, when you use a Webcam to go live via the browser, you have the option to share your screen, a specific application, or an open tab in Chrome, which is great for presentations or software demonstrations. This feature only works on Google Chrome.
When your event is ready to start, click Go Live in the upper right corner. Your webcam will be live.
If you are using an external encoder, select the Connect tab. This contains the RTMPS URL and Stream Key for your event.
Copy and paste the RTMPS URL and Stream Key into the corresponding fields in your broadcast encoder.
Note: If your encoder does not support RTMPS, click Copy RTMP URL below the RTMPS field instead to copy the standard RTMP URL.
Note that there is also a Preview toggle; selecting this will send a low-latency stream to a preview player first allowing you to confirm your stream’s health prior to pushing your event live to your audience. This is off by default and would need to be configured for each individual event.
When your event is ready to start, begin streaming from your encoder (if you enabled preview, you will then need to click Go live on the live preview page). Your stream signal will be broadcast live to your viewers, regardless of the status of your webcam and the browser encoder. We recommend starting a local recording of your stream from within your encoder at this point as well, just in case of any problems with your internet connection.
The Connect tab also contains a link to download Livestream Studio, which is included with a Vimeo Premium or Enterprise membership. This multi-camera live encoder integrates directly with your Vimeo account, allowing you to select your event and go live without the need for the RTMP URL or Stream Key. Learn more about setting up your stream in Studio.
As an added bonus, Studio allows your team admins to log in, select the team account, and go live to your event as well.
Managing your stream
After your stream goes live, you’ll see your event title, a countdown of the maximum remaining time of your event (one event can be live for up to 12 hours), a notification that you are currently live, your stream health status, and a button to end your stream along the top of the page.
The stream preview window shows exactly how your stream appears for viewers, with your live analytics beneath.
What is the expected latency?
Stream latency varies greatly depending on network connection speed and stream health (bitrate, resolution, etc.) but the average real-time latency for streams on Vimeo Live is about 15 seconds.
When it comes to streaming latency, there are three factors to consider: quality, bandwidth, and CPU usage. Each of these aspects is directly related. For example, having higher quality means higher bandwidth and CPU usage is required in order to decode the data.
Achieving a high quality and low-latency stream would significantly increase the bandwidth and CPU usage for each of your viewers. In achieving a lower impact for audience members, and subsequently improving the average viewing experience, Vimeo makes a trade-off for slightly higher latency which allows for better compression of the data. Having more time to compress the data reduces the CPU usage and bandwidth requirements significantly.
In short, we make trade-offs in order to ensure viewers in all areas of the world—viewers who may have a wide range of devices and bandwidths—can view the content smoothly, even if it's a few seconds behind.
Ending your stream
To end a stream, click End event on the top right corner of the Live Preview page on Vimeo. Ending your stream will trigger the final stages of the video archiving process. You can then end the stream from your external encoder if you are using one.
⚠️Note: If you end the stream from your encoder first, this will trigger our 5-minute reconnection window which is meant to allow users to reconnect to the same event if the stream is interrupted. If you wish to start a new stream to the same recurring event, be sure to click that End event button before starting a new stream. Alternatively, wait 5 minutes before starting a new stream from your encoder.
When your stream ends, your live settings page also changes to the post-live version. The indicator at the top changes to Offline and your video preview will now link to your archived video’s settings page.
Once your video has gone through the archival process, it appears in your video manager like any other video.
💡Tip: While we do not ingest 4K video, you can replace the Vimeo archive of your broadcast with your higher-resolution version (e.g. 2K or 4K) once it's been archived. You can replace the video at any time without impacting your analytics, so feel free to edit the video file before replacing it on Vimeo.
⚠️Note: When you stream to a recurring event the first time, the next start date will automatically adjust to when the previous stream ended. Unfortunately, there is no way to manually change this at this time; consider editing your title to include your broadcast date instead.
When you end a recurring event, the URL of each archive from that event will include a unique video ID that is different from the general event ID. This allows for differentiating the individual videos within an event series after they are no longer live. Keep this in mind when sharing links of your event versus a specific archive from that event.
- When your recurring live event is streaming live, it will keep the same URL in the format of:
- The xxxx represents an event ID which is slightly different from a video ID.
- After a stream belonging to a recurring event series ends, it will archive and the archived video will then have its own unique URL with a unique video ID in the format of:
Here's a video about managing and ending your stream:
While you're setting up your broadcast, there is a support chat icon in the bottom right corner of the broadcast view. Clicking the chat support icon will prompt you to enter your name, account email address, and a short description of your problem.
If a live video support specialist is available, you can troubleshoot with them directly on your broadcaster view page. If a live video support specialist is not online, your message will be re-routed to our email support team, who will respond via email.