Open Broadcaster Software (OBS) 101

Open Broadcaster Software (OBS) is a free open-source software which has steadily become one of the most popular broadcasting softwares for streamers. It offers a fully customizable experience with the use of plugins as well as a full suite of  built in features for streamers to use.
You can download Open Broadcaster Software here: https://obsproject.com/

Index:
Getting Started & Configuration

Scenes & Source Types

Getting Started & Configuration

The first thing you need to do after downloading and installing OBS is to configure the programs settings to suit you and your computer. To do this click on ‘settings’ at the top of the window then select ‘settings again’ (settings > settings). Use the provided image for a demonstration:

 

General Settings:
Under General Settings there are two things you can do under general which are change the language of the program and set a profile name. If you’re reading this guide I presume you understand English so you can leave it but if you have a different language preference then change it now before we get to the more complex settings.

Encoding Settings:

  1. If you can then select your encoder but we highly recommended sticking to x264 for the best quality. However, if you have an Nvidia graphics card you or Intel processor you might have other options too
  2. It’s important to Check ‘Use CBR’
  3. Also check  ‘Enable CBR padding’
  4. Max bitrate depends on your upload speed but 2000 – 2500kbps is recommended if you’re not partnered with Twitch.
  5. Buffer Size should match the bitrate you settle on. DO NOT change this unless you know what you’re doing.

Audio Encoding:

  1. It’s highly recommended to keep the Codec as ‘AAC’
  2. Audio bitrate should be set to 128. No reason to change it.
  3. Format doesn’t matter just keep it as 44.1khz

Bitrate guideline:

To work out what bitrates you can utilize head on over to the website http://testmy.net/. Run the upload test to find out your upload speed. Now using the guide below match it to your upload speed to find the maximum bitrate you can use (1 Mbps = 1024).

  • Recommended bitrate for 1080p: 2800 – 3500 (ONLY use if partnered and have access to quality controls)
  • Recommended bitrate for 720p: 1500 – 2500 * Recommended standard
  • Recommended bitrate for 480p: 900 – 1500
  • Recommended bitrate for 360p: 600 – 800
  • Recommended bitrate for 240p: 0 – 500

Broadcast settings:

  1. Mode: LiveStream.
  2. Streaming Service: Select the service which applies for you but for this guide we will set it to Twitch.
  3. Server / FMS URL: It’s important to select the closest server to your current location. The closer to you the better!
  4. Play Path/Stream Key: Find out what your Stream Key is by going here and clicking show key (NEVER show this key to anyone else).
  5. Auto-Reconnect: Uncheck.
  6. Set Auto-Reconnect time: We use 10 seconds.
  7. Delay: 0
  8. Minimize Network Impact: Check.
  9. Automatically save Stream to file: Check if you want to save your streams on your pc (this requires a lot of memory).
  10. Keep Recording if live stream stops: Check if you checked #9
  11. File Path: If you want to save your stream to your pc select the destination of the save here.
  12. Replay Buffer: Ignore this
  13. Replay Buffer Path: Ignore this also


Video Settings:

  1. Video Adaptor: This should be set by default however if you have multiple graphics cards make sure the right one is selected.
  2. Base Resolution: Custom should be set to your monitor resolution. If you choose monitor it will set it for you.
  3. Resolution Downscale: This has to match the bitrate guide from above. For Example if your using a 720p bitrate range then set this to 1280 x 720.
  4. Filter: Keep at Bilinear unless you are having blurring issue then select one of the other options.
  5. FPS: If you’re not partnered then stick to 30fps. However, you can use 60fps as well but it’s more resource heavy.
  6. Aero: Should be Enabled. If you’re using windows 8 and you’re having layer issues with your captures then disable this (this will come into play later).


Audio Setting:

  1. Desktop Audio Device: Select the device you want your stream to get audio from. It’s important to have it set to your computer’s ‘default’ playback device. To find out what your default device is or to change it you have to right click the speaker icon in the bottom right of your monitor on the taskbar and select playback devices. This will open a new window which lists all your audio playback devices. Make the default what you plan to use for streaming in most cases people use headsets or earplugs. This step is confusing so please refer to the reference picture below:
  2. Microphone/Auxiliary device: Set this to the mic you plan to use for commentary.
  3. Push to Talk: This option lets you only broadcast mic audio if you push a button first. It’s optional and up to your preference.
  4. Force Microphone/Auxiliary to Mono: Uncheck.
  5. Show only connected devices: Leave this checked.
  6. Push to talk delay: Leave as default value.
  7. Desktop boost (multiple): Leave as default value.
  8. Mic/Aux Boost (multiple): If your mic is too quiet even at max volume then you can boost it here.
  9. Mic Sync Offset (milliseconds): Do not touch this unless your mic and webcam are out of sync. If out of sync adjust the offset to sync up the mic and webcam.


Hotkey Settings:
This section is very straightforward and I don’t think I need to explain. Just set the keys you desire for the mentioned functions. Remember to check the box at the top also if you plan to use this.

Advanced Settings:
This section is very complex so I won’t be going too in-depth as to not confuse you. Warning: DON’T change any of these settings if you don’t know what you’re doing!

  1. Use Multithreaded Optimizations: Checked.
  2. Process Priority Class: Normal. Making this higher will allow OBS priority of your CPU over other programs. Having this too high can cause lag on many systems.
  3. Scene Buffering Time (ms): 700
  4. Disable encoding while previewing: Unchecked unless you experience lag while previewing your stream.
  5. Allow other modifiers on hotkeys: Checked.
  6. x264 CPU Preset: This will set the encoding level. It’s highly recommended to use “veryfast” unless you have a beast of a computer. If you do have a beast of a computer then, set it to a slower setting. Be warned however setting your stream to a lower setting when at a high resolution is very CPU intensive.
  7. x264 Encoding profile: This setting should stay as ‘main’.
  8. Use CFR: Checked.
  9. Custom x264 Encoder Settings: Default (blank).
  10. Keyframe Interval: It’s important this is set to 2.
  11. Allow 61-120 FPS entry in video settings: Unchecked. There is no point exceeding    your video fps of 30 or 60 fps.
  12. Anything after 10 should be left as is.


Microphone Noise Gate:

The Microphone Noise Gate allows you to set an automatic threshold for your mic. You can select the decibel level of the Close and Open thresholds here. This section will require a lot of fiddling to get right as it depends on your equipment.

  1. Attack Time: This is the time it takes for your mic to reach a hold to output. You generally don’t need to modify this.
  2. Hold time(ms): how long the gate will stay open after it falls below threshold. You generally don’t need to modify this.
  3. Release time: The opposite of attack time. You generally don’t need to modify this. The recommended “off” settings are found below:

Your settings are finally configured and you’re ready to start setting up your streams scenes & sources.

Scene & Source Types

Scenes and sources are the bread and butter to your stream. They allow you to capture multiple types of media; windows, games, monitor etc. You can also change the look of your stream to make it more appealing to viewers. Scenes and sources are very easy to add and are easily customized.

Scenes:

  1. You can add a scene by right clicking the blank space under “Scenes” in the main OBS window, then select ‘Add Scene’.
  2. Enter a descriptive name such as “16:9 Gaming”

You can add as many scenes as you like and I highly recommend doing this otherwise you will end up changing most things in your scene too much. I usually recommend the following scenes: Intro, 16:9 Gaming, 4:3 Gaming, No Overlay, BRB screen.

Sources:

Window Capture:

  1. Make sure that aero is enabled, as this will not capture a specific layered window if not enabled.
  2. Add a descriptive name like “Steam”.
  3. Window: open the drop-down list, select the correct program. In our example, it will be Steam.
  4. Inner/Outer Window: This should be set to “inner” most of the time. However if you select Outer it will capture the border and header of the window as well.
  5. Capture Mouse Pointer: Keep this unchecked unless you want your mouse to be captured. If you’re playing a game it’s recommended to keep this unchecked.
  6. Compatibility mode: Leave this unchecked.
  7. Gamma: You can adjust the gamma of the source. Should be left at the default of 1.
  8. Use point filtering: Leave this unchecked.
  9. Opacity: This setting lets you make the source as transparent as you like.

Sub-Region:

  1.  Sub-Region: This allows users to capture certain sections of a window capture. Check this if you only want to capture part of a window; it’s a good way to hide menus. Leave this unchecked if you want to capture the whole window.
  2. Proportion & Size: This is the dimensions of your captured sub-region.

Color Key:
Use Color Key: Check this to select parts of windows based on their color you’ll then be able to remove the selected color using the similarity and blend options

  1. Color: Select the color you want to remove
  2. Similarity 1-100: Select the similarity to the chosen color. e.g blue to sky blue, royal blue, turquoise, etc.
  3. Blend: This determines the sharpness of the color key edges.

Let’s Preview our window capture:

  1. Click ‘Ok’
  2. Click ‘Preview stream’ on the bottom right button menu in the main OBS screen. Note that the window is not taking up the entire screen.
  3. Click “Edit Scene” on the bottom right button menu. Then in the main OBS preview screen you can transform your capture.

Here’s an example of our Steam Window Capture:

Monitor Capture:
Monitor capture does what it says. It allows you to capture everything on your monitor. It’s ideal for setting up a quick stream or when you’re doing creative works and want to show viewers your process. It should be noted however that monitor capture is the most resource heavy capture mode and does not play well with certain programs mainly games so this mode should be used as a last resort for gaming.

  1. Monitor: If you have more than one monitor you can select it here.
  2. Capture Mouse Cursor: Like stated above allows you to capture mouse. This is preference.
  3. Gamma: This is gamma of the capture.
  4. Use Point Filtering: unchecked.
  5. Sub-region: Same as the above explanation.
  6. Color Key: Same as the above explanation.

Here is an example of our Steam monitor capture:


Image:
Images are generally used to make overlays for streams; for backgrounds, fancy text, logos or mascots. It’s a quick and easy way to add to your stream, however we recommend you don’t go too crazy as a cluttered stream is a bad stream.

  1. Browse: Browse your pc for the file you want to use then select it.
  2. Color: Leave as default.
  3. Opacity: Changes the Opacity of the image.
  4. Check file for changes: If it’s an image you are constantly changing select this and it will automatically detect your changes.
  5. Color Key: Same as explanation above.

Here is an example of a picture on top of our window capture :


Image Slideshow:
An image slideshow works similar to image where you can browse your computer for images however the great thing about this version is that you can set up a automatic slideshow that changes images to a specified time.

  1. Time between images: Your preference. If the image has a lot to take in make it longer.
  2. Disable Fading: Disables the fade in and out of the selected images.
  3. Fade In Only: Removes Fade Out but keeps Fade In.
  4. Randomize: Changes the fade randomly as the slideshow is played.
  5. Opacity: How opaque the images are.

Here is an example of a slideshow:


Global Sources:
Global sources allow you to set up a saved source that is reusable and have it act independently across all scenes. What this means is when you add the saved global source to your scene it will remember all your saved settings for the source. This is especially useful for people who have many different scenes such as us who need to be able to quickly set up scenes. Another useful thing you can do with global sources is it allows for smoother transitions to other scenes.

  1. Start by  clicking the “Global Sources” button in the bottom right button menu of the main OBS window.
  2. Then, click “Add” and select the source type you want to use.
  3. Add the name of your global source
  4. Then begin to set it up how you would normal set up any other source.
  5. Finish editing, and then click ok.
  6. Now that we have saved a global source we can add it to our scene. Right click under the Sources and click “Add>Global Source>Source_Name” ‘Source_Name’ is the name of your global source you setup in steps 1-4.​

These will look like normal sources so it’s hard to show so I don’t think an example is needed here.


Text:
Text sources are very straightforward it allows you to apply text with manipulation.

  1. Font: Font style.
  2. Color: Apply color to your text.
  3. Opacity: Opacity of text.
  4. Scroll Speed: Using this feature you can make your text scroll from right to left.             The faster it is however the harder it will be to read so don’t go crazy.
  5. Background color: You can set a background color for your text using this.
  6. Background opacity: Opacity of background color.
  7. Use Outline: Set a outline for the text (also known as a stroke).
  8. Outline Color: Color of the outline.
  9. Thickness: Thickness of the outline.
  10. Opacity: Opacity of outline.
  11. ​Font Size: Set size of the text.
  12. Bold/Italic/Underline: Pretty straight forward. Applies the effect.
  13. Vertical: Allows you to have your text vertical opposed to horizontal.
  14. Use custom text extents: Check this if you are using scrolling text. It will allows    you to change the dimensions of the scroll.
  15. Size: Changes the size of text extents.
  16. Wrap: Ignore this.
  17. Align: Align text to left/center/right.
  18. Use Text From File: Select this to have text come from a file.     Useful for chatting capture or other dynamic data.

​         This is an example (and properties) of a text source:



Video Capture Device:
Video Capture Device is for any device that deals with video. For Example webcams, DV cameras, and most importantly capture cards.

  1. Device: Choose your desired device here.
  2. Flip Image Vertically/horizontally: Flips the capture
  3. Deinterlacing: If your source has lines or computerized distortion in it, you can try fixing it using this option. The methods you use from the dropdown box are dependent on the video source, and vary widely so you will just have to try them all.
  4.  Top Field/Bottom Field first: Start deinterlacing from top or bottom.
  5. Custom Resolution: Change the resolution of your video device here. Warning this can lead to distortion of your video feed. “Don’t use this, use the device’s built-in settings!”
  6. FPS: It is recommended to use the native fps of the device. Changing it to an non supported fps could lead to problems. “Don’t use this, use the device’s built-in settings!”
  7. Use output formats: Change how the video source is output. Some cameras have additional functions if set to certain output formats. However there is no reason to touch this!
  8. Use Buffering (ms): Buffer video. We recommended not turning this on unless you have a reason too.
    Chroma Key: Use this to select parts of windows based on their color (same as color key).
  9. Color: Select the color
  10. Similarity: Select the similarity. IE blue to sky blue, royal blue, turquoise, etc.
  11. Blend: Select the sharpness of the chroma key
  12. Spill Reduction: Use this if you are getting reflections off of objects onto normally not color keyed objects such as a background tinting someone’s hair.
  13. Audio Input Device: It’s important to set your audio input of your device here if you require audio from it. Generally for capture cards as you will need to transmit the audio from the game via the capture card. You can use your audio for webcam too but if you have a mic you won’t need too.
  14. Output Audio to stream only: Recommended off
  15. Output audio to desktop: If you’re using a capture card turn this on. This will output to your pc and stream meaning you can also hear the captured audio as you play.
  16. Gamma: Set this to adjust gamma. Don’t use this, use the devices built-in settings!

This is an example of a video taken from a logitech c920 and it’s settings:


Game Capture:
Game Capture directly captures your game output. It is very efficient, and only captures the game itself not the monitor or window. The downside of this form of capture is that it will only capture games running DirectX or OpenGL.

  1. Select Application: Select the game you want to capture.
  2. Use/set hotkey: Use hotkey to capture to capture current game.
  3. Stretch image to screen: Always Check this to get the capture to fill whole screen
  4. Ignore aspect ratio: Always Check this to get the capture to fill whole screen (usually this would be bad but all games use 1280 x 720 or 1080 x 1920 which would be your stream video resolution so it won’t cause distortion)
  5. Capture mouse cursor: Some games won’t capture the mouse cursor in-game unless this is ticked.
  6. Invert cursor on click: Ignore this setting!

This is a screenshot of game capture in action:

Miscellaneous & Links

Author Profile

RamuneGaming
RamuneGaming
Hi, I'm RamuneGaming I'm dedicated to bringing out High-Quality streams on an almost daily basis over at: http://www.twitch.tv/ramunegaming

At RamuneGaming, we are friendly and talkative people who are willing to provide an entertaining environment for all of our viewers. We also consider ourselves helpful so if you have any questions don't be afraid to ask.

About the Author

RamuneGaming
Hi, I'm RamuneGaming I'm dedicated to bringing out High-Quality streams on an almost daily basis over at: http://www.twitch.tv/ramunegaming At RamuneGaming, we are friendly and talkative people who are willing to provide an entertaining environment for all of our viewers. We also consider ourselves helpful so if you have any questions don't be afraid to ask.

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