Resources and tutorials

An introduction to live streaming with OBS

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This article explains everything you need to know about using OBS to live stream. From the basic setup, to nailing audio inputs and outputs, here’s how to become familiar with this platform so you can get creative with your live streams.

What is OBS?

OBS (Open Broadcaster Software) refers to OBS Studio, a free, cross-platform software for video recording and live streaming across a host of channels including Mixcloud.

It’s popular with streamers because it’s free and straightforward. OBS is also open-source, which means it can be customised for enhancements including visual and audio effects.

After something simpler? You can now live stream from your browser with Mixcloud

We launched “Mixcloud Live Studio” to make live streaming more accessible for beginner creators who are unfamiliar with the process. With Mixcloud Live studio, you can stream with one click, with all the settings ready to go, directly from your web browser.

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What do I need to install OBS?

To install and run OBS Studio, your computer should first have enough memory — at least 4GB of RAM/2GB free disk space. It is also vital to have a steady, reliable internet connection.

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What are the system requirements for OBS?

Mac OS:
✓ Intel CPU (PPC is not supported)
✓ OpenGL 3.3 compatible GPU
✓ macOS High Sierra (10.13) or later
Windows:
✓ DirectX 10.1 compatible GPU
✓ Windows 8 / 8.1 / 10
Linux/Unix:
✓ OpenGL 3.3 compatible GPU
✓ X window system

While you may have a compatible system, this does not guarantee that it will support your OBS stream or recording. The central processing unit (CPU) requirements vary considerably depending on the settings of your device, resolution, frame rate (FPS), and scene complexity. You can try the Tools > Auto-Configuration Wizard in OBS itself to find appropriate settings for your specs.What may help with performance issues is running OBS from a separate computer. That’s not to say you can’t use it on your DJ or production PC, but you may encounter issues if your device struggles to keep up.

🔧  For the installation setup, a good rule of thumb is:

If you’re not sure what the tool is, leave it as is. Setting up OBS can be as easy or as complex as you want it to be. However, keeping unfamiliar settings at default mode is perfectly fine for most users.

What are the sources

Your sources encompass your various audio and video inputs, which together are the crux of your live stream. OBS uses the computer’s default input and output audio, which you can check in the Audio Mixer section next to the Sources box.

Video sources or inputs are vital for ensuring your audiences can engage with your content, with exciting, high-quality visuals offering a chance for greater interaction.

Sources box - How to add new visuals

When using OBS, there is no automatic connected video input, so you’ll need to add one. By right-clicking the Sources box, you will see the option to add new visuals. whether it’s an in-built webcam, saved images, GIFs, videos, or numerous other options. It’s best to play around in the menu highlighted below to get an idea of what’s available.

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Licensed streaming

Many budding DJs and producers are disappointed to discover that OBS does not let them stream other people’s copyrighted music.

With Mixcloud Pro, your live streaming will be fully licensed, so you won’t have to worry about any video or audio content getting taken down due to copyright. Your membership subscription fee pays royalties on your behalf, which are then distributed to your favourite artists.  You can also get other perks, like engagement stats and the option to customise and even monetise your channel — take a look at Mixcloud Pro’s features here.

10 free footage, loop and overlay sources for enhancing your live stream:

We’ve scoured the net for all of the best free stock audio, images, and VJ loops for you to upgrade the elements of your OBS stream.

Our society thrives on visual stimulation, and live streaming is no different. With dynamic and vibrant visual sources, you can set the tone for your brand and hone your virtual experience, all while standing out from the rest of the live content that users are scrolling through.

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Supplies some astounding images and videos from space and other planets to help transport your listeners into the otherworldly soundscape you’ve created.
2. Unsplash
Features plenty of freely-sourced images across nature, architecture, fashion, film and popular culture.
3. Pexels
A creator-driven database of stock images and videos, royalty-free. You can search for anything you choose, and the results are arranged in a mood-board like selection.
4. Pixabay
Has over 2.5 million stock photographs freely available, along with videos and music (as well as sound effects), graphics and illustrations.
5. Beeple
Provides numerous VJ loops, which are there to help you combine your audio with some
dazzling visuals to hypnotise your audience.
6. Visual Don
Helps to create customised and highly cinematic visuals that could take inspiration from video games like Grand Theft Auto or seminal space flicks like 2001: A Space Odyssey.
7. Resolume
Offers a number of audio-visual interface softwares. With its Avenue add-on, you can combine audio and video effects to intensify
your live OBS stream. You are also able to
convert videos from different formats, and preview them before you beam them onto the dancefloor.
8. Musicvid
Helps you create your own visualiser from any image or video of your choice, free of charge. In a nutshell, it allows you to build your own music video to perfectly accompany whichever track you want to mix.
9. Serato
One of the most popular DJ applications. By using it as your mixing platform, you can use the digital deck interface as a video source, which lets you show viewers exactly what you’re up to when you’re working your magic.
10. PNG Tree
This free database of PNG images, which are perfect for texts and screenshots, allows you to choose from millions of designs, whether that’s established logos or something you want for part of your brand image.

What are scenes?

Think of them as a visual environment for your OBS stream — a template for creating the mood and ambience. You can arrange different visual inputs, and switch them up at any point.

Scenes are core advanced features of OBS because they are what you’ll be showing to your audience, giving your live stream a strong production value by seamlessly integrating audio and visual content. OBS also lets you customise your scenes to make smooth transitions between different visuals.

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Join the creator community that genuinely cares about music

Mixcloud is one of the only communities that cares about building a fair and equitable future for music. If you care about music, you're already one of us.

TRY MIXCLOUD LIVE FOR FREE
£9.00/month after 30 days. Cancel anytime.

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Many budding DJs and producers are disappointed to discover that OBS does not let them stream other people’s copyrighted music.

With Mixcloud Pro, your live streaming will be fully licensed, so you won’t have to worry about any video or audio content getting taken down due to copyright. Your membership subscription fee pays royalties on your behalf, which are then distributed to your favourite artists.  You can also get other perks, like engagement stats and the option to customise and even monetise your channel — take a look at Mixcloud Pro’s features here.

10 free footage, loop and overlay sources for enhancing your live stream:

We’ve scoured the net for all of the best free stock audio, images, and VJ loops for you to upgrade the elements of your OBS stream.

Our society thrives on visual stimulation, and live streaming is no different. With dynamic and vibrant visual sources, you can set the tone for your brand and hone your virtual experience, all while standing out from the rest of the live content that users are scrolling through.

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How do I create a scene?

A scene should be automatically created for you, but if it isn’t, you can add one by clicking the plus button at the bottom of the Scenes box. You can also give them a name — you may want to call it something like “My Mixcloud Live Stream”.

For instance, here’s a scene made from a webcam output, plus a PNG image of a TV with a transparent background. It's possible to layer sources to create vibrant and dynamic scenes. There are endless variations and unique ideas to be found from playing around with these. See what you can come up with that suits your personal style.

Scene example: Made from a webcam output

You can create as many scenes as you want or need, adjusting the order using the arrow buttons below. Once you have finished making your scene, right-click in the sources box to add the target input that you want to capture, such as video from your webcam if you want your audience to watch you mixing it up.

Scene example: Multiple scenes

How does the audio mixer work?

The audio mixer is there for you to control the sound levels of your stream, and cut out any distortions or lags that can affect its production quality.

It lays out all your input sources — such as Spotify or YouTube — that are routed to Desktop Audio. This works similarly to standard DJ mixers, with five key user interfaces: a fader slider, mute button, volume level and metre, and an options button for filters or advanced audio features.  

💡 Your aim: Eliminate any inconsistencies across your audio inputs, which you can find by reading the volume metre.

🔊 Audio sources: The audio mixer lets you organise your specific audio sources and control each one.

We recommend keeping your audio sources to a minimum. As more visual inputs and audio devices are added to your stream, the layout becomes cluttered and complicated, making it harder to tell which needs adjusting.

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