Open Broadcaster Software (OBS) is a free and open source application which can be used for live streaming and video recording. OBS is available for Windows, Mac and Linux operating systems. There are alternative free live streaming options such as SLOBS and StreamElements Live, but for my streams I’ve used OBS. This post will discuss how to set-up OBS for live streaming on Twitch.
Connecting your Twitch account to OBS
With recent versions of OBS, you can connect OBS directly to your Twitch channel which helps simplify the set-up. In order for OBS and Twitch to connect, OBS needs authorisation from Twitch, this can be achieved by:
- In OBS, go to File, click Settings>Stream, select Twitch then click connect account.
- Fill in your Twitch username, password and authenticator. OBS should now be connected to Twitch.
- Click Apply to save your credentials
- If docks such as Twitch Chat and Twitch Stream Information popped up, you can drag them down to the bottom area or side area to dock them in.
- If you would like to see the Twitch Activity Feed or Twitch Stats, go to View>Docks>Twitch Activity Feed or Twitch Stats and choose where you want it docked.
OBS Encoding Settings
This section may take some trial and error while streaming. For your encoder in OBS, there are two options, Software and Hardware. Generally, if your CPU is more powerful compared to your GPU, select Software. This will mean, OBS will be using CPU resources to do its encoding, which lets your GPU use all its resources on your games. On the other hand, if your CPU isn’t very powerful and your GPU can handle both gaming and encoding, select Hardware. It’s okay if you are not sure which one to select at this stage. When you do a test stream while playing games and you find your PC is struggling or your stream is laggy, try changing the encoder by going to: File>Settings>Output>Streaming>Encoder.
OBS Video: Base canvas
As a default, OBS will set the base canvas resolution to 1920×1080. If your screen resolution is different to this, change it to your screen resolution by:
- Going to File>Settings>Video>Base (Canvas) Resolution.
- Click on the arrow to bring up the drop down box and select your screen resolution.
How to create a gaming scene in OBS
Scenes make it possible for you to change what’s happening on your stream quickly and easily. You can use different Scenes to create unique streaming outputs such as, creating a gaming scene. This scene would generally show your PC display with your webcam overlaying it.
You can create a basic Gaming scene by:
- In the Scenes dock, click on the plus to add a new scene and give a name to your gaming scene.
- When you select your new Scene, you’ll need to add Sources to it by going to the Sources dock and clicking on the plus. Select Display Capture and give it a name, this will capture a full screen display, if you have multiple screens, you can choose which one to capture from the drop down box.
- Once the display capture source is added, you can change the size of the source by clicking on the edge of the box. For a Gaming scene, you would generally have the display capture covering the whole output canvas.
- Now we can add a webcam source. Add another source and select Video Capture Device, give a name to your Camera source and click ok.
- To resize and reposition your webcam, select it, then click on a corner and drag inwards until you have your desired size and click and drag anywhere on the source to move it around.
Once you’ve setup the video output for your stream you will have to set up the audio output. It’s a good Idea to check the audio settings to ensure that the correct devices are being used for your Mic and PC audio, this can be done by going to: File>Settings>Audio and checking the Desktop Audio Device and Mic/Aux Audio Device.
If you find your mic needs some adjusting, under Mixer dock, click on the cog wheel for settings under Mic/Aux. From there you can select Filters, common filters to apply are: Gain, Noise Gate and Noise Suppression. Some information and tips on how to set up these filters can be found here. Gain helps increase the volume output for your Mic, Noise Suppression helps reduce ambient background noise and Noise Gate makes it so the Mic only becomes active when it gets a loud enough input, this also helps reduce background noise. Add each one and adjust the settings until you have your desired mic sound. This may take a lot of trial and error.
Make sure the desired device is selected for desktop audio. Since you don’t want desktop audio to be louder than you speaking, this will be another one you have to play around with. You can move the dial and or turn down game audio from within the game you have chosen to play.
You should now be ready to start your first test stream. Common things you may need to adjust are the Mic settings, desktop audio and streaming encoder.
Which broadcasting software do you prefer to use and why?
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