You don't know how to start the OBS setup? Is your stream lagging? Your viewers always type in chat that they don't see or hear you properly? Time to learn the basics of OBS and set it up professionally to start a better stream today!
New to streaming? Check out how to start in 2020 here.
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Get to know to OBS
This is the main window of OBS.
The main black screen is the preview of you what your viewers see if you are streaming. If you are not live streaming, this shows what OBS would record.
In the bottom left corner, you have a 'Scenes' window. Streamers usually have a couple of different Scenes and they are changing them from time to time depending on what activity they are currently doing during their live stream. For example, if a gamer is not in-game (maybe waiting for the next round) they usually have a visually attractive background or a bigger webcam picture to connect with their community more. Once they get into the game, they change to another scene with the game being the main window and a smaller webcam picture, so the viewers can focus the game more. You can change the scenes by manually clicking on them, with a keyboard shortcut, or with Streaming Decks.
At the 'Sources' window, by clicking the '+' icon you can add different sources from your computer that you want to show your viewers. You can add your window's capture, a game capture, images (e.g. for background) and many more. The collection of sources will create your scene.
The next window to the right is the 'Audio Mixer' where you can set up your microphone and your desktop's voice. On this panel, by right-clicking on the selected source you can add filters for example to decrease noise.
With 'Scene transitions' you can set the way you scenes change, by choosing an animation method and its duration. Once you set it up, you can preview your scene transition effect any time you change your scenes.
At the bottom right corner, there are a couple of handy buttons, called 'Controls'. You can go live by just pushing one button, and at the same time you can start recording what you are doing (this will record what is implemented in your current scene. You can change scenes during the recording.) This feature is very handy if you are willing to record your gameplay for instance if you are collecting footage for YouTube videos or IGTV content. You can set where OBS saves your recorded footage in Settings -> Output -> Recording Path -> Browse.
Step 1: Adding scenes to OBS
With clicking on the '+' (Add) in the bottom left corner I created a new scene called 'In Game' and after right-clicking my default existing scene I renamed that 'Not in game'.
With the 'Not in game' scene my plan is to add a background image and my webcam so the viewers can see my face while we are waiting for my game to start.
In this particular case, I know I'm going to stream Valorant, so in 'In Game' scene I want my viewers to see my gameplay and my face. In this scene, I'm going to add a Game Capture and my webcam as default layout.
You can add as many scenes as you want. If you are playing various games on your live stream, I highly recommend creating a scene for each game. This gives a more polished and professional look to your stream than just adding on scene with one source, the Display Capture which makes your viewers see everything you do in Windows.
You can always remove your selected scene by clicking on the '-' (Remove) button.
Step 2: Adding content to your scenes: Sources
Select the scene you want to edit in the Scenes window. Click on the '+' icon (Add) in the Sources window.
First, I'm going to create the 'Not in game' scene. Here is a list of what I want my community to see:
Small window of Valorant (so my audience can see that I'm going to play Valorant)
my webcam's picture,
social media handles.
If you are willing to add widgets (such as alerts, cats, and other crazy stuff) or your chat to your live stream, I recommend switching over to Streamlabs OBS.
Adding the wallpaper:
Click on '+' (Add), select 'Image'. If it is your first time adding an image to one of your scenes, click on create new. I will name mine 'wallpaper' so I'll know that this source is my background image.
Click ok 'OK' and browse your computer's directory for your desired image. Once selected, click on 'OK'. Now your background image has a red-lined border, so you can resize it to your liking.
By clicking on the eye icon next to a source, you can hide or make it visible. This would come handy if you - for example - want to hide your webcam's image during your live stream or if you want to hide your game capture because you are typing in your account details.
With the lock icon, you can lock or unlock your source. By locking your source, you can no longer drag it around. This is very useful if you have multiple sources on top of each other. You can prevent accidentally dragging one of the sources.
Adding a game capture:
First, start the game you want to add to your selected scene. In the 'Sources' window in OBS, click on '+' (Add) and select 'Game Capture'. I recommend naming this source as your preferred game; I will name this source 'Valorant'.
At Mode, choose 'Capture specific window'. From Window, select the game's program's name. Click on 'OK'. Changing other settings are only recommended if you are more experienced with using OBS.
Now, I will select the borders of my game and resize it to a smaller size, so I can add more sources around it.
This is how my preview looks like now:
Adding webcam's picture:
Click on Add and select 'Video Capture Device'. Select your webcam next to Device And click OK.
You can drag the picture of your webcam around and/or change its size (the keyboard shortcuts for resizing are listed below).
(To keep my privacy, this time I'm going to add a picture of a Rare Pepe instead of my webcam's picture.)
Adding social media handles:
I previously created an image of my social handles in Canva and downloaded it with a transparent background.
I'm going to add this source to the bottom left corner of my scene, giving my watchers the possibility to connect with me on these platforms.
Now my scene looks like this:
I think my first scene is finished because I want to keep my live stream as clean as possible. In this scene, my viewers can focus on me, but at the same time, they see that I'm in a queue or if I'm just clicking around in Valorant's client.
You can repeat these steps in the 'In Game' scene, but I recommend to keep your game capture fullscreen. If you want to add custom overlays, you can buy/create your own and add them piece by piece as images. You will be more organized if you put those overlay images in one folder over the top of all your sources to be sure it never gets overlapped.
To move your source, just click it and you can drag it around.
To crop the source, hold the ALT button and drag the borders of the source.
To stretch your source, hold down SHIFT while dragging the borders.
To nudge the source, you can use the arrow keys on your keyboard.
To center your source horizontally, select the source and push Ctrl + Alt + C.
To center the source vertically, select the source and push Ctrl + Shift + C.
Step 3: Adding filters to your sources; setting up Green Screen in OBS
If you right-click on a source, you can add multiple Filters to it, which makes you able to modify the sources to your liking, making each source more personalized. Filters also make you available to add a "transparent background" to your webcam by setting up chroma key.
I recommend adding a Color Correction and Sharpening filter to your webcam's picture, which makes it more vivid and eye-catching.
Right-click on your webcam's source and select 'Filters'. In the bottom left corner click on '+' (Add) and select Color Correction. By using the sliders or adding it a custom color to overlay your picture, you can bring the color of it to perfection. Repeat the steps with Sharpening.
Be careful not to use too many filters/effects, because it could make your image become unrealistic-looking.
Adding a green screen to OBS (chroma key):
Chroma Key filter can be used to remove your chosen color of your selected source and make it transparent.
If you have a single-color background that you can put behind your chair while live streaming, you can add a chroma key filter to your webcam's image and it will make your selected color transparent permanently. I emphasize that this one-color background can be any color, but the following colors are recommended:
Neon green (chroma key green),
Since the chroma key filter would make everything transparent that is the exact or very close color you choose, I highly recommend choosing a green screen or a magenta screen as background (imagine using a blue screen and streaming in a blue hoodie - it would make your whole body "disappear"!).
To set up your chroma key select your webcam's source in OBS. Right-click on it and select Filters. On the bottom left corner of the Filters window, click on '+' (Add) choose Chroma Key and click OK.
Next to Key Color, you can choose the color of the background you are using. With choosing 'Custom' you can choose your own color (e.g. if you have a purple background) by adding the color's hex key to OBS.
Again, you can play around the sliders to personalize the effect.
Poor Pepe's just got transparent by adding a green chroma key.
Step 4: Set up your audio preferences
If you followed this tutorial's steps you probably have 3 sliders in the Audio Mixer window of OBS:
Video Capture Device.
Please note that OBS makes every sound you hear in your system audible to your viewers, not only the source's audio that you have in your scene (of course, there is a solution for this too, but I find that way too difficult to discuss it in this tutorial).
First, you should mute the Video Capture Device if you have a microphone connected to your PC. You can do this by clicking on the little speaker icon under it.
Next, open the game you previously added into your scene and see if the Desktop audio reaches the yellow area while your game is running. In this case, you should lower the voice of your game manually in Windows to save your audience's ears.
Also, check what zone it reaches if you get a notification sound in Windows. If it reaches the yellow or red area, consider turning the volume of your whole system.
If you want your viewers to hear you better, you can simply lower the Desktop audio volume on the slider. If you mute the Desktop audio, your viewers will only hear what your microphone records.
The next step is speaking with your microphone placed where you want it to be while you are live streaming. Check if you have the right device used as your microphone. Click on the cogwheel under the Microphone/Aux and select 'Properties'. Next to the 'Device' select the name of your external microphone and click OK.
Check the levels of your voice while speaking. It should remain in the green/yellow levels. You can adjust the volume with the slider under it.
You should consider adding a filter to your microphone to achieve a crisp sound and lower the noise from the background. If you are seeing the volume of your mic changing while you are not talking, you should definitely add a noise filter.
To do so, click on the cogwheel under the Microphone/Aux and select 'Filters'. Click on the '+' (Add) in the bottom left corner and select 'Noise Suppression'. Use the slider to select your desired level of noise to be suppressed.
Step 5: Adding your Stream key to OBS or connect your streaming account to OBS
Once you are done setting up your scenes, you should connect your streaming account or add your Stream Key to OBS in order to start streaming.
Go to Settings and select Stream. If you log in with your service's account you are all set up and you can jump right to running a stream test (Step 6).
If you are adding a Stream Key manually, you should look up your stream key in your platform.
To get your Twitch Stream Key:
1. Log in to your Twitch account.
2. Click on your profile in the top right corner.
3. Click on 'Settings'.
4. Click on the 'Channel and Videos' tab.
5. Use the 'Copy' button next to your Primary Stream key to copy it.
To get your YouTube Stream Key:
1. Log in to your Youtube account.
2. Verify you account if you haven't done that yet.
3. Go to 'Creator Studio'.
4. Go to 'Live Streaming' section.
5. Click on 'Encoder setup'.
6. Copy your Stream Key.
To get your Mixer Stream Key:
1. Log in to your Mixer account.
2. Go to Broadcast Dashboard.
3. Next to 'Stream Setup' click on the copy icon.
To get your Facebook Stream Key:
1. Log in to Facebook.
2. Go to: https://www.facebook.com/live/create
3. Click on 'Create Live Stream'.
4. On the popup select 'Use Stream Key'.
5. Scroll down and click on 'Copy' next to your Stream Key.
Once you got your Stream Key copied, select the Service provider you are willing to use ad click on 'Use Stream Key'. Paste it in the field next to 'Stream Key' and click 'Apply'.
Step 6: Run a stream test
Once you got your Stream Key in place you should run a stream test in order to troubleshoot your live stream before you first go online.
This feature help you diagnose issues with your broadcast, such as bandwidth issues or dropping frames.
You can run your stream test here:
Twitch: https://inspector.twitch.tv/ there is a built-in troubleshooting guide
Mixer: You have to enable Test Stream mode. For more info, check out this link: https://dev.mixer.com/guides/test-streams/introduction
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/gaming/streamer/ - Click on 'Test Broadcast'
Step 7: Everything seems fine? Go Live!
If you followed this tutorial's steps, you should be ready to go live! Tell your friends to come and see you on your first live stream and shout it out to the world on your social media platforms.
GL & HF!
If you have any questions feel free to contact me on the above-mentioned social media platforms.