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  • Writer's pictureBlaze Fyre

OBS Guide for Beginners

Updated: May 22, 2023

OBS stands for Open Broadcaster Software. It is free open-source software used for video recording and live streaming. OBS allows users to capture and broadcast their computer screen or external sources such as cameras and microphones. It is commonly used by content creators, gamers, and live streamers to create high-quality videos and live streams for platforms like Twitch, YouTube, and Facebook. OBS provides a range of features and customization options to enhance the streaming experience, including scene composition, audio mixing, video transitions, and real-time source capture.


Here are the steps to download and install OBS:


1. Visit the official OBS website and click on the "Download" button.


2. Choose the version of OBS that is compatible with your operating system (Windows, Mac, or Linux).


3. Once the download is complete, open the installation file and follow the on-screen instructions to install OBS on your computer.


4. Launch OBS to continue setup.


Connecting to a Streaming Server


  • In the upper left-hand corner, go to file > settings and navigate to the "Stream" tab.


  • Use the dropdown menu to select a service. Choose your preferred service platform from the list. If you don't see it listed you can click on "show all" to see more or "custom" for services not listed.


  • Now, you will need to enter the server address. This address is typically provided by the site you want to live stream on. You may find it somewhere in your user settings. Copy the server address and paste it into the server input field.


  • Next, you will find your stream key and do the same.


Important Notes About Stream Keys


Your stream key is a unique combination of numbers and letters that is provided by the streaming platform. It is used to authenticate your stream and allows you to broadcast to that platform.


Your stream key should be treated with the same level of security as a password. Sharing it exposes your streaming account to privacy risks and can compromise the personal information associated with the account. If you suspect your stream key has been compromised, it is recommended to generate a new key through your streaming platform and update it in your streaming software.


Stream keys can be abused by malicious individuals in order to gain unauthorized access to your account. Anyone with access to your stream key has the ability to stream content to your channel without your knowledge or permission. This can lead to inappropriate or offensive content, compromising your brand's reputation, or violating platform guidelines.


Output Settings Menu


Click on "Output" in the side menu. Navigate to the advanced version of this menu by clicking the dropdown menu at the top of the window and selecting "Advanced".


Streaming Tab


  • Encoder: If your computer is capable of NVENC, H.264 there will be less strain on your CPU, resulting in improved performance.


  • Bitrate: 4,500 - 6,000 Kbps is commonly used. Higher bitrates result in better video quality but require a stronger internet connection for smooth streaming. Bitrates are entirely determined by your internet speed. You might be tempted to set the bitrate as high as possible for the best quality, but this is actually counterintuitive. Streaming services can reject your video mid-stream, or struggle to transcode it which causes the video to appear laggy.


  • Keyframe Interval: Set the keyframe interval to 2 seconds or 1 second. This determines how often a complete frame is sent as a keyframe. A shorter keyframe interval provides better seeking and scrubbing capabilities for viewers.


  • Preset: The preset determines the trade-off between CPU usage and video quality. Choose a preset that balances these factors. For x264, the "faster" or "veryfast" presets offer good performance, while "medium" or "slow" presets provide better video quality at the expense of higher CPU usage.


  • Audio Bitrate: A bitrate of 128 Kbps is usually sufficient for live streaming. This provides good audio quality while keeping the overall bandwidth usage in check.


  • Audio Codec: AAC is widely supported and a recommended audio codec for live streaming. It offers good audio quality and compatibility across different platforms.

Discover the user-friendly OBS interface and streamline your live streaming experience with ease

Remember, these settings can vary depending on factors such as your internet speeds, the complexity of your content, and the capabilities of your computer. It's always a good idea to test different settings and monitor the stream's performance to find the right balance between video quality and smooth streaming.


If you have an Nvidia graphics card it's usually best to choose NVENC. Users with AMD graphics cards and a mid-range CPU should choose AMF. Faster CPUs, such as AMD Ryzen 9 or Intel i9, work best with x264.


Recording Tab


Here are some important settings to consider if you want to record a video or if you want to record while you are live streaming.

  • Recording Path: click on "browse" and select the location where you want to save your recorded videos.


  • Recording Format: OBS supports MP4, FLV, MKV, and MOV formats. MP4 is widely supported and generally recommended for compatibility purposes.

Explore the comprehensive menu options in OBS (Open Broadcaster Software) with our detailed photo guide, making it effortless to navigate and optimize your live streaming setup

Video Settings Menu


Match the settings below in your own OBS window.

  • Base (Canvas) Resolution: 1920 x 1080

  • Output (Scaled) Resolution: 1920 x 1080

  • Downscale Filter: Resolutions match, no downscaling required

  • Common FPS Values: 60


General Settings Menu


It may be helpful to look over some of the Output settings in the general tab. You can choose to have automatic confirmation dialogs sent before stopping and starting streams or recording. This extra step means you will need to confirm your intentions in the dialog box. This is such a great feature that could prevent you from accidentally starting or stopping a stream or recording.

Unlock the full potential of your live streaming with our comprehensive guide to OBS settings menu, covering everything from video bitrate to encoder presets. Optimize your OBS setup for flawless streaming performance

That's all you need to do for the initial setup! You may want to go back into your settings and make some adjustments after you've done a few test runs. For now, we can ignore the other menus and move onto the next step.


Scenes


Scenes are a way to organize and manage different layouts or setups for your live stream or recording. They what sources (such as video captures, images, text, etc.) are visible and how they are arranged. With a click of a button, you can seamlessly transition to a different combination of media and sources.


For example, you may have a scene for your starting soon screen, a scene for your main event, a scene for your facecam overlay, and a scene for your ending screen. Each scene can have its own unique combination of sources, positions, sizes, and effects. It's incredibly convenient to not have to manually adjust each source.


Click on the "Scenes" box and create a new scene by clicking the plus (+) button.

Elevate your live streaming with OBS scenes. Our step-by-step guide explains how to create and manage scenes in OBS, empowering you to design captivating layouts and effortlessly switch between different setups for a professional streaming experience

Sources


A source refers to any individual element that you add to your scene, such as video captures, images, text, webcams, browser windows, audio inputs, and more.

Enhance your live streaming content with OBS sources. Our in-depth guide covers how to add and customize sources in OBS, including video captures, images, text overlays, and more. Level up your stream with dynamic visuals and engaging multimedia elements

In the "Sources" box, click the plus (+) button to add different sources to your scene.


Add a Webcam or Camera


Click on video capture device > input the name of your device in the "create new" field > ok. A properties window with more settings will pop up. Make sure the correct device is selected.


Notes: If you're using a capture device, such as the Elgato Cam Link, you will select that as your input source.


Troubleshooting a Black Screen


If the screen is not currently showing you a live preview you may have to do additional troubleshooting. Try restarting the camera, your computer, and OBS or unplugging your capture device and plugging it back in.


Audio Sources


This is where you can see which audio sources are actively listening and their volume settings. You will want to click on the 3 dots to open the properties menu for each source.


Check that your Mic/Aux device is capturing sound from the correct microphone.


Make sure you are not capturing the same audio from 2 different devices as this will cause feedback. Click on the speaker icon to mute specific audio sources.


Notes: If you want to learn how to record your desktop audio separately from your microphone you can read about it in my other guide.

ou through adding and configuring audio sources in OBS, including microphones, desktop audio, and audio input capture. Elevate your stream's sound quality and create an immersive audio experience for your audience

Preview and Adjust


Use the preview window to check how your stream or recording will appear. You can rearrange and resize sources within your scenes to achieve the desired layout. OBS provides tools like transformation controls and filters to further modify your sources.



Start Recording or Streaming


Once you're satisfied with your setup, you can start recording or streaming your content. In the main OBS window, click on the "Start Recording" button to record locally to your computer. Alternatively, you can click on the "Start Streaming" button to stream your content to your selected platform.

Unlock the power of OBS for recording and streaming with our comprehensive guide. Learn how to configure OBS settings, create captivating scenes, and seamlessly transition between live streaming and high-quality recordings. Elevate your content and engage your audience with OBS

Profiles


In the top menu, you will see "Profile". Profiles allow you to create and save different configurations for different streaming or recording scenarios, making it easy to switch between them as needed.


If you want to save different settings for each platform or recording scenario you will need to create a new profile for each. Don't forget to always check which profile you are using before starting a stream or recording.

Optimize your streaming versatility with OBS profiles. Our comprehensive guide explains how to create and manage profiles in OBS, allowing you to effortlessly switch between different streaming configurations and adapt to various platforms. Streamline your workflow and customize OBS to your unique streaming needs

Monitor and Adjust


While recording or streaming, keep an eye on your stream's performance, audio levels, and any issues that may arise. OBS provides real-time monitoring tools and performance statistics to help you optimize your stream quality. Look in the bottom right corner to find this information.

"Monitor and enhance your stream quality with OBS interface. Our guide shows you how to utilize OBS tools for real-time monitoring, analyzing bitrate, frame rate, and audio levels. Improve your stream's performance and deliver a seamless viewing experience with OBS's powerful interface

Congratulations! You're now equipped with the knowledge to dive into the exciting world of live streaming using OBS. Embrace your creativity, engage your audience, and enjoy the journey as you bring your content to life. Happy streaming!


 

Settings Templates To Get You Started



1080p 60 fps (Full HD, high framerate)


Recommended upload speed: 6.5–8+ Mbps

Resolution: 1920 x 1080

Bitrate: 4500 to 6000 kbps

Framerate: 60 fps

 

720p 60 fps (HD, high framerate)


Recommended upload speed: 5.5–7 Mbps

Resolution: 1280 x 720

Bitrate: 3500 to 5000 kbps

Framerate: 60 fps

 

1080p 30 fps (Full HD, standard framerate)


Recommended upload: 5.5–7+ Mbps

Resolution: 1920 x 1080

Bitrate: 3500 to 5000 kbps

Framerate: 30 fps

 

720p 30fps (HD, standard framerate)


Recommended upload speed: 4.5–6 Mbps

Resolution: 1280 x 720

Bitrate: 2500 to 4000 kbps

Framerate: 30 fps

 

480p 60 fps (SD, high framerate)


Recommended upload speed: 3.5–5 Mbps

Resolution: 640 x 480

Bitrate: 1500 to 2500 kbps

Framerate: 60 fps

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