At the heart of many live-streaming setups is the software OBS, or “Open Broadcaster Software”. OBS is the most commonly used free and open-source software for video recording and live streaming.
This article explains everything you need to know to start using OBS to live stream. From the basic setup, to nailing audio inputs and outputs, and getting creative with your live stream experience. But for a simpler option, you can also go live straight from your web browser via Live studio, without the need for OBS or any third-party software at all. You can read about how to do that in this article.
Requirements for OBS
OBS Studio requires the following hardware and operating systems to function. Having a compatible system does not guarantee that it is capable of streaming or recording using OBS. The CPU requirements vary considerably depending on the settings of your device, resolution, FPS, and scene complexity. Try the Tools > Auto-Configuration Wizard in OBS itself to find appropriate settings for your specs.
- DirectX 10.1 compatible GPU
- Windows 8 / 8.1 / 10
- Intel CPU (PPC is not supported)
- OpenGL 3.3 compatible GPU
- macOS High Sierra (10.13) or later
- OpenGL 3.3 compatible GPU
- X window system
Having a separate PC or Mac to run OBS gets the best results. That’s not to say you can’t run it on your DJ/production system, but you might run into issues as your computer struggles to keep up.
For the set up, a good rule of thumb for OBS is: if you don’t know what that tool is, leave it at its default setting. Setting up OBS can be as easy or as complex as you want it to be. We could write a whole series of articles just on setting it up properly. Luckily, if you just want to stream quickly through OBS provided a quick start guide here.
The key takeaway is to tweak OBS as you find the best settings for your computer and specifically your internet connection.
The sources are all of your different audio and video inputs. You can use your in-built webcam, saved images, GIFS, videos, and many more options. It’s best to play around in the menu highlighted below to get an idea of what’s available.
Your stream is only as good as the material used to build it. But beware, copyright laws apply here just as they would anywhere else. Luckily, we’ve scoured the net for all of the best free stock audio, images, and VJ loops for you to use in your stream. Sometimes you have to think outside of the box to make them work together.
Check out some of our favorites sources here:
Scenes are the different ways you might want to group all of your different inputs. You can get creative coming up with different looks and angles you can switch to at any point during your stream.
Here’s a scene made up of my webcam output plus a PNG of a TV with a transparent background. It's possible to layer sources to create interesting and dynamic scenes. It’s fun to play around to see what you can come up with.
The audio mixer is an important section to control the audio levels of your stream. It works just like any normal DJ mixer would.
The next section controls how OBS moves between different scenes. You can cut, fade, swipe, and even make up your own transitions (pictured below.)
Plugins / add ons
OBS is incredibly versatile. This is due to the huge amount of plugins available to extend the functionality of the software. We’d recommend taking a look at what’s available here. There’s a whole community of people consistently developing plugins for OBS.
Some plugins we suggest are:
Spectraliser - A cool audio visualizer
DVD Screen Saver - Another fun old school looking plugin
Advanced Scene Switcher - You can use this to automate your scene switches Move Transition - For making your transitions look way fancier
Shader Filter - Adds a tonne of functionality for changing the look of your sources
That’s it for now!
We hope this gives you a great overview of what you can do with OBS and where you can find resources to get you up and running.