How To Get Started With OBS
Welcome! Congratulations on taking the first step towards optimizing your virtual presence. This is a comprehensive guide on how to get started with OBS.
What is OBS and why do you need it?
Open Broadcaster Software also referred to as OBS is a free open source software suite that is used for recording and live streaming. OBS is used to capture and record your screen while also capturing audio. This can be extremely helpful for anyone who is wanting to live-stream or record video. For a long time, this technology has been adopted mainly by gamers who stream on Twitch and other platforms. Now, many in the business community are starting to realize that it's benefits can be used to help create more engaging, memorable meetings and presentations.
The first step to doing video calls and presentations that set you apart is to use OBS, and that's what we are here to help you to today. This guide is going to help you download, and setup, everything you need in OBS in order to start streaming or recording. You will be able to start making custom Scenes that allow you to amplify your virtual presence. If you ever have any questions or need any help, someone at DeskRig would be glad to help!
Download and Install
Go to to https://obsproject.com/ and download OBS for Free! Just choose your operating system and then download the corresponding file. Once it is downloaded, click on the file and give it permission to install. After that, you will see the OBS Studio Setup. Select Next, choose your install location, and click install. It's always a good idea to remember where you install your files. Once OBS Studio is finished installing, you will have an option to Finish the setup and launch OBS. Now you should have OBS launched and ready to get started!
The auto-configuration wizard should appear the first time you launch OBS. If you are new to OBS, or are looking to get started as quickly as possible, then this is an easy way to get you going. The wizard helps configure settings based upon your use case as well as your computer's capabilities. Whether you want to stream, or record, you can set OBS up to fit your needs. Don't worry, you can always change these settings later. If you don't see the wizard, you can find it in the Tools menu.
Video Settings for Streaming or Recording
The first option when you select to run the wizard will be whether you want to configure OBS for streaming or for recording. If you select streaming, then OBS will configure your settings to optimize your streaming and will make recording secondary. If you select recording, OBS will assume you aren't going to be doing too much streaming. If you plan on doing both, then you may have to dive in and learn a little bit more about what settings work best for you and your setup. Hopefully our guide can help you out a little bit. If you ever feel stuck, please reach out and we will be glad to help!
Whether you choose streaming or recording, your next option will be your video settings. Here you can specify the Base (Canvas) Resolution as well as the FPS. The Base Resolution is the amount of space you have to fit your sources, so you usually want this to match your monitor display resolution. If you have the ability to record in 1080p (default and recommended), then you can leave the base resolution at 1920x1080. If you have subpar video quality, then you can try to downscale the resolution to 1280x720.
FPS stands for Frames Per Second and the higher the frames, the smoother the image. It is safe to choose the option to use 30 or 60, but 60 when possible. If you chose streaming, then you will be sent to a screen where you can select your streaming service and connect your account. After that, you will be sent to a screen where you can apply the settings the wizard has configured for you. If you chose the recording option, then you will be taken straight to apply the settings after selecting your Base Resolution and FPS.
Set Up Audio Devices
OBS comes preset to use your systems default audio and microphone. At the bottom of your OBS studio, you will notice two bars. The top one is your Desktop Audio and will reflect any audio that is playing. The second bar is the Mic/Aux bar, and it will show your vocal input. If you don't see the microphone bar activating when you speak, then you may have to adjust your settings. You can access your settings by selecting the Settings option above Exit in the bottom right corner of OBS.
Mac users: You will have to download an extra app to capture desktop audio. You can find out how to install and learn more about it on this forum.
Once you click on your the Settings option, then you will see the main OBS settings menu. You can find Audio on the left and there you have a lot of different options regarding your speakers and microphone. It is recommended you use both an external microphone and speakers for optimal performance.
If you don't have external speakers, then you shouldn't have to adjust these settings. If you do, then you should be able to simply select the Desktop Audio settings and then choose your speakers.
Like the speaker option, if you are using your computer mic, then you shouldn't have to change anything. If you are, simply select the right mic output option on Mic/Auxiliary Audio.
Sources and Scenes
Adding Your Video Source
You will notice that the main screen is black. This is your Scene that will be used to display your video, graphics, images, and much more. You can create multiple Scenes that you can use so that you can have different configurations of sources readily available. Multiple scenes can allow you to give dynamic presentations. OBS makes it easy to rotate between slides and there is also external hardware available that gives you buttons you can press to rotate between scenes along with much more.
OBS does not automatically capture video by default such as a Zoom or Hangouts. You need to add the camera as a source in order to start capturing video to display on your Scenes. At the bottom of the OBS window, next to the audio bars, you will see the Sources box. If you click on the + icon in the Source box, or right click and select add, you can see the list of sources you can add to the scene. You will notice you have options to display websites, windows, images, game capture, and much more.
We want to set up our video, so select Video Capture Device. If you are new, you won't have any existing devices. Once you set one up, it will be available to select again as an option the next time you go to add one. Name your video source and select OK. Now you can select your device as well as choose your Resolution and FPS. Your device has a default, but select the highest resolution and FPS you can. Once you configure your settings, choose OK, and then you will be taken back to the main screen and should see your smiling face! If you are a laptop user who still sees a black screen, check out this awesome resource that serves as a troubleshooting guide. If you are still having trouble, please feel free to reach out to us today and we would be glad to help!
OBS is great because it allows you use your creativity in crafting unique digital displays. The combinations of Scenes and Sources can help professionals create amazing virtual presentations. It can also help educators create more effective online lessons. There are an infinite amount of use cases for how OBS can help anyone who does video calls, classes, or presentations.
You can click on the + buttons in each box to add a Source or a Scene. Every time you create a scene, it will be blank by default, but you can duplicate Scenes if it makes it easier to just remove or add a few Sources to get your desired result.
Adding Images and Other Sources
If you select the + icon in the Sources box, you have your full list of sources. If you go ahead and click the Image Source, you will see a blank screen along with a place for you to browse for an image file. Once you select the file, select OK, and you should see the image on your scene. You can resize the image by clicking on it and dragging the red outline. The same can be down for any other visual Sources you place on the Scene.
Want to learn more about how to use Scenes and Sources?
Before you go live, it doesn't hurt to look back over all of your settings to make sure they are set-up properly. You can click on the Settings button toward the bottom right of the OBS window, and then select Output. This allows you to view both your streaming and recording settings. After checking all of your settings, it is time to do a test!
Streaming or Recording
In your main OBS window you will find both the Start Streaming and Start Recording buttons over in the bottom right, above the Settings. If you select Streaming, you need to make sure you have connected your accounts you want to stream on. If you select record, then OBS will go ahead and start recording your video.
Are you interested in learning how to stream your OBS on video calls? Click here to learn how to stream your Scenes on Zoom, along with other platforms, to take your virtual calls, meetings, or meetings to the next level.