One of the best tools for streaming your games on YouTube or Twitch is Open Broadcast Studio. If you're looking to start streaming yourself to fans worldwide, OBS is a great place to start.
However, learning to use OBS is a journey in itself. You should be familiar with the broadcasting application before opening your life and gaming skills to the world. But don't worry, we've got you covered. Here's how to get started with OBS and some useful OBS tricks.
How to set up OBS
Before you can start streaming, you need to set up the OBS software. That means you have to download, install, and format the way you want. Fortunately, the software is completely free and, thanks to an explosion in usage in recent years, it is more user-friendly than ever.
Step 1: Download OBS from the official website. Install it like any other application. If you are feeling generous and feel like you use OSB a lot, consider donating to the open source developers.
Step 2: Right click the OBS shortcut and select Run as administrator.
Step 3: Before connecting OBS to the streaming platform of your choice, you want to select the parameters of your stream. To do this, click the Settings button at the bottom right and go to the Video tab in the menu on the left.
Step 4: Choose the resolution you want to capture and stream footage at and the frame rate you want to broadcast at. If you're not sure, YouTube, Twitch, and Facebook offer how-tos. You also need to make sure that your internet upload speed can handle it. If you are not sure, use an internet speed test to determine your upload rate.
Step 5: Access the Video tab from the menu on the left and select the video bitrate you want.
If you are unsure about this, the OBS configuration wizard can streamline the process a bit. It can be accessed from the Tools tab of the main OBS window. Alternatively, you can leave everything as it is first and then make adjustments to learn more about using the software and streaming in general.
If your streams are lagging, you'll want to lower the bit rate, resolution, or FPS. If your video footage is low and you have enough bandwidth, you can afford to increase the bit rate and resolution to improve the quality of your stream.
Link OBS to your streaming service
The next step is to link OBS to your chosen streaming platform. This guide features YouTube, Twitch, and Facebook, although the process is similar for some of the alternatives.
Step 1: Start OBS as an administrator.
Step 2: Click the Settings button in the lower right.
Step 3: Select Stream from the left menu.
Step 4: Make sure your Stream Type is set to Streaming Services. Then use the drop-down menu next to "Service" to select the streaming platform that you want to stream your footage to.
From this point on, you will need to enter your unique stream key. How you acquire this depends on the platform of your choice. Use the appropriate section below to find it.
Note: With your stream key, you can stream directly to your respective channels or services. Make sure to keep it a secret as someone could use it to stream on your behalf!
Step 1: Go to the Creator Studio page for your channel and sign in if necessary. If you don't have a YouTube channel yet, you can start one here.
Step 2: Use the menu on the left to select Other Features, followed by Live Streaming.
Step 3: On the live streaming page, scroll down until you see a section titled Encoder Setup. Click the View button and copy your stream key.
Step 4: Go back to OBS and paste it into the Stream Key section. Then click Apply and then OK.
Step 1: Go to your Twitch TV dashboard and sign in if necessary.
Step 2: Select the Settings tab at the top of the page followed by Stream Key. Click on "Show key" and copy the revealed key.
Step 3: Go back to OBS and enter your Twitch Stream Key in the appropriate field. Click Apply and then OK.
Step 1: Go to the Facebook Live creation page and sign in if needed.
Step 2: Click the Create Live Stream button. Don't worry about starting a stream just yet. This is just the term for setting up your ability to stream on Facebook Live.
Step 3: If you want to create a one-time stream, copy the stream key. If you'd like to stream regularly on Facebook Live, check the "Use persistent stream key" box and copy the resulting key.
Step 4: Go back to OBS and paste it into the Stream Key field. Click Apply, then click OK.
Set up your game, video, and audio
The two main components of a live stream are video and audio. Whether you're streaming a game, yourself, or both, you'll need audio and video to continue. Here's how to set up each component individually.
Note: We won't go into hardware selection here. We have other guides for great cameras.
If you plan to stream games to your viewers, you will need OBS to capture footage of this game in action. Find out how to do it.
Step 1: Open OBS if you haven't already. At the bottom of the Sources window, click the + icon and select Game Capture from the list. Call it something memorable to yourself.
Step 2: Choose the mode you want to use, regardless of whether it captures an application running in full screen mode, a specific window, or an application in the foreground that you designate with a hotkey. Which one you choose depends on your personal preferences and the game. Most games can be easily captured, but sometimes a game won't be captured when you select it as a specific window. In this case, capturing a full screen application can work.
Step 3: Decide if you want to limit the frame rates or change the resolution based on the stream quality and connection speed you want, and whether or not you want to capture the cursor. Simply tick the appropriate boxes.
When you're done, click OK. Your game can now be recorded.
Whether you're capturing your face for those cute jumpscare reactions or being the main attraction in a vlog-style video, a webcam can go a long way in personalizing your stream. Here's how to set it up.
Step 1: Make sure your webcam is connected to your PC (here are some of our favorites).
Step 2: In the Sources window, click the “+” icon and select Video Capture Device. Name it what suits you best.
Step 3: Use the Device drop-down menu to select your camera from the list of options.
Step 4: Use the configuration buttons and drop-down lists to configure your video quality and FPS.
When you're done, click the OK button.
It doesn't matter if you just record your voice, your in-game audio, or both. Your viewers need to hear from you. Here's how to set up your stream's audio.
Step 1: Click the Settings button in the lower right.
Step 2: Select the Audio tab in the left menu.
Step 3: OBS has several audio inputs that you can use. Configure each one you need separately to stream your PC's audio on one and your microphone on another – if you want your voice to be heard too.
There are also options for push-to-mute and push-to-talk if you only want certain audio sources to be used when needed.
When you have set up everything as required, click the "Apply" button and then click "OK".
When you've got everything set up and ready, we recommend that you hit the "Start Recording" button. This won't broadcast your stream live, but you can do a quick test to make sure everything is working properly. It's also not a terrible way to get over initial turmoil – a test run didn't hurt anyone.
If you'd like to dive right in instead, or they're all tested and ready to go, click "Start Streaming". If everything is fine, the video and audio should be sent straight to your fans' eyes and ears.