To stream live video in up to 1080p HD using Vimeo, you need 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
- Stream with Vimeo
- Stream via RTMP
- Live features
- What is the expected latency?
- Sharing archives of recurring events
Create your event on Vimeo
The first step to going live is creating your event on Vimeo. From your browser, go to your video manager, 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, including what appears in the player before going live. 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 will apply to your event player on vimeo.com even for recurring events set to Unlisted.
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 from here the experience varies depending on if you chose a Recurring event or One Time event.
If you created a Recurring event (or a Webinar), open the Manage production dropdown in the upper right corner, where you can choose either Stream with Vimeo if you prefer to use our browser-based broadcasting tools, or Stream via RTMP if you are using an external encoder.
Note: A One Time event will show the Next button where you will enter the preview page, using our single-webcam browser encoder and screen sharing option; click the Connect tab to stream via RTMP. The layout of the page is nearly identical to the Stream via RTMP option for recurring events detailed further below.
Stream with Vimeo
When you select Stream with Vimeo, your camera will be activated and automatically added to a scene, allowing you to begin streaming directly from your desktop browser provided it supports WebRTC protocol (we recommend Chrome 58+, but both Firefox 56+ and Safari 12+ support WebRTC as well).
When streaming via this method, you can also invite guests to join with their webcams and share their screens, playback videos from your account in your stream, and create and switch to other scenes, among most other features available with RTMP with some exceptions:
- While you can monitor your connection, more specific real-time stream metrics are currently only available when streaming via RTMP.
- Live analytics are currently not shown while streaming.
- Simulcast destinations can only be configured before your event goes live.
- Learn more about navigating our browser-based broadcaster suite.
When you’re ready to go live, click Start event in the upper right corner. Your stream will be live.
Stream via RTMP
If you are using an external encoder, you’ll be brought to the live preview page, where you can get the stream URL and key for your encoder and monitor your stream on Vimeo.
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.
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.
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.
This page 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.
If you are streaming with Livestream Studio directly to Vimeo, you would still select Stream via RTMP from the Live Settings page rather than Stream with Vimeo. 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.
Here’s an overview of what you’ll be able to manage before and during your stream, regardless of your streaming method.
The Chat tab is where you can enable, disable, and monitor your event's live chat. You can post messages and emojis during the stream from the Chat option. You can also disable it or export a transcript as a .txt file. Chat transcripts are available to download for 30 days.
If you are streaming via the browser to a recurring event or webinar, there is also a Speakers chat panel where you can interact with your guest speakers internally.
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.
Note: Auto CC is currently only supported when streaming via an external encoder.
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.
Once you’re broadcasting, you can monitor the stability of your stream.
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 unless you enable low-latency streaming.
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 on the top right corner of the Live Preview or Broadcaster 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.
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.
- Ending stream via external encoder: If you’re streaming via an external encoder and 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.
- 4K video in archive: 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.
- Ending recurring events: 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.
Sharing archives of recurring events
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: