Do you want to know how your favorite streamers are coming up with high-quality streams using software like OBS? In this article, you’ll learn the basics of setting up your Twitch, Facebook Gaming, or YouTube Gaming live stream using Open Broadcaster Software or OBS Studio.
What is OBS?
OBS is an open-source video recording and live streaming software with builds for Windows, macOS, and Linux. It was a project started by Hugh Bailey. Over time, this project grew with the help of collaborators on the Internet.
OBS can stream videos to platforms that support real-time messaging protocol (RTMP), such as Twitch, Facebook Gaming, YouTube Gaming, and Instagram. But for gamers, it’s more common to stream on Twitch, Facebook, and YouTube.
How to Download and Install OBS
OBS is an open-source tool for creators and hobbyists. You can download it by navigating to OBS Studio’s official website. If you’re on Windows 11, you shouldn’t be worried about compatibility, as OBS is fully optimized to work with it.
Once you’re through downloading and installing OBS, launch it. You should be greeted by a window with a black screen and items below it.
If you haven’t tried a similar software in the past, the number of selections and how straightforward OBS is could be overwhelming. Within the user interface, you can hover over the functions and get a small text box telling you what it does.
Fortunately, the simple layout makes OBS easy to learn. The tabs are also fully customizable, which means all modifications will remain for your future streaming sessions.
Now that you have successfully installed OBS, it’s time to prepare your broadcast.
How to Broadcast a Game on OBS
First things first: you need to know what content you want to stream. It doesn’t have to be a video game. With OBS, you can stream anything that’s on your screen.
Technically, you can stream any game installed on your computer. But if you’re aware that the game you want to stream is hardware-demanding, you should change the in-game video and other settings to allow OBS and other programs to run smoothly – unless you have a beefy computer.
Aside from hardware concerns, you should also consider the content you’ll be showing with the game you want to stream.
Platforms such as Twitch have very stringent rules when it comes to content being streamed on the platform, and you could get banned permanently if you go against the rules. Pick a game that fulfills your chosen platform’s terms and stick to your hardware’s capability.
1. Setting Up Your Game Broadcast
- Go to the “Sources” tab and click on the plus (+) sign.
- Select “Display Capture” or “Game Capture.”
- Click on “Create new” and click “OK.”
- Adjust the following settings, then click “OK:”
- Mode: capture specific window
- Window: choose your game’s title
- Window Match Priority: window title must match
- Set these “Display Capture” settings, then click “OK:”
- Capture Method: automatic
- Display: select the monitor you want to broadcast
Note: “Display Capture” will broadcast everything on your selected display. “Game Capture” will only broadcast a selected program.
- You should see your new source listed under “Sources.”
2. Setting Up Your Microphone
If you play with friends, you probably have a headset with a mic. Streaming with OBS allows you to use a microphone. It can be a separate condenser microphone, the one on your gaming headset, or any microphone that can be plugged into your computer.
You’re not required to have a mic while streaming, especially if you don’t plan on talking to your viewers or don’t want to be heard. But if you want an engaging experience for people watching your content, it’s good to have a mic handy and turned on in OBS so that you can communicate with them.
In the Audio Mixer tab, there should be “Desktop Audio” and “Mic/Aux.”
“Desktop Audio” is the controller for your game broadcast’s audio. You can turn the volume up and down with the slider or mute your game using the speaker icon.
“Mix/Aux” is where you control your mic’s settings. You can mute yourself with the speaker icon and adjust your mic’s volume using the slider.
You can also select your microphone by clicking the gear icon and selecting “Properties” under “Mic/Aux.”
Note: while streaming, you can easily adjust the volume for your game and microphone under “Audio Mixer.”
3. Setting Up Your Camera
Some streamers became famous due to their viral stream clips. It could be them reacting to something mid-game, looking funny to the Internet, or many other things. Most stream with cameras showing their faces, while some prefer to point the lens at their hands to showcase movement.
If streaming your game face isn’t your thing, that’s fine. You’re not required to show your face on stream. But if you want to try streaming with a face or hand cam on, the following instructions will show you how to set up your camera on OBS studio.
You can use a webcam, digital camera, or smartphone camera. Make sure to install a separate software if you’re going to use your smartphone.
- Click on the plus sign under “Sources.”
- Select “Video Capture Device” and click “OK” on the next window.
- Choose your camera from the “Device” drop-down.
- You can modify your camera’s resolution and FPS or follow your camera’s default settings by selecting “Device Default” or “Custom” from the “Resolution/FPS Type” drop-down.
- If your camera has a microphone, you can choose between your separate headset microphone or your camera’s microphone. Make sure to mute what you’re not going to use under the “Audio Mixer” tab.
- Click “OK.”
Tip: make sure to layer items under “Sources” properly. Your camera source should be on top of your video game’s layer. Putting your camera source under your game’s layer in the “Sources” list will cover your whole camera broadcast.
With your game, microphone, and camera ready, it’s time to set up your live stream on your selected platform.
How to Set Up Your Live Stream on Twitch Using OBS
To stream on Twitch, you’ll need to sign up and connect your account to OBS on your PC or get a stream key from Twitch’s Creator Dashboard:
- Navigate to Twitch.
- Click on your profile menu at the top-right corner.
- Select “Creator Dashboard.”
- Once you’re in the dashboard, click on the “Settings” drop-down.
- Select “Stream.”
- Click “Copy” beside your “Primary Stream key.”
- Go back to OBS and go to “Settings” under the “Controls” tab.
- Go to the “Stream” tab and select Twitch from the “Service” drop-down.
- Paste the key after clicking on “Use Stream Key.”
- Click “Apply,” then “OK.”
All set? Click “Start Streaming” under OBS Studio’s “Controls,” and you’re live!
Note: make sure to wait a few seconds to accommodate live stream delays before you see your game and camera feed on Twitch.
How to Set Up a Facebook Gaming Live Stream with OBS
To stream on Facebook Gaming, you need to have a Facebook account and a Facebook page under the “Gaming Video Creator” category. This is the only page category that’ll qualify your streams for Facebook Gaming.
Once you have your page set up, here’s how to set up your live stream using OBS:
- Log in to your Facebook account and select “Pages” from the menu on the left.
- Under “Your Pages,” click on your streaming page.
- Once you’re in the “Home” tab, click “Live” under “Create Post.”
- Click “Select” under “Go live” to stream instantly.
- After you select “Go live” from the previous screen, you’ll be taken to “Live Produce.”
- Select “Streaming software” under “Select a video source.”
- Copy the “Stream Key.”
- Go to OBS and click on “Settings” under the “Controls” tab.
- Go to “Stream” and select Facebook from the “Service” drop-down menu.
- Select “Use Stream Key” and paste the key from the Facebook live dashboard.
- Click “OK” and click “Start Streaming” under the “Controls” tab on OBS.
- Go back to the Facebook live dashboard and click on the red “Go Live” button located on the menu on the left after you see the feed from OBS reflected on the Facebook live dashboard.
How to Use OBS to Live Stream on YouTube Gaming
You can also stream gaming content on YouTube. YouTube Gaming is a service dedicated to gaming content creators and their followers. Similar to Twitch and Facebook Gaming, it’s YouTube’s space for the gaming community.
Note: to access YouTube Creator Studio, you need to verify your phone number and wait 24 hours before you can go live.
After your account is granted full access to YouTube Creator Studio, follow these steps to set up your live stream using OBS:
- Navigate to YouTube or YouTube Gaming.
- Click on the camera icon located on the top right of YouTube’s home page.
- Select “Go live.”
- After setting up viewer restrictions, click “Start” under the “Right now” tab to set up an instant live stream.
- Click “Go” under “Streaming Software.”
- When you get to YouTube Studio’s “Stream” dashboard, copy the stream key under “Stream Settings.”
- Go back to OBS and click “Settings” under the “Controls” tab.
- Paste the stream key that was copied from YouTube Gaming, click “Apply,” then “OK.”
- Click “Start Streaming” under the “Controls” tab in OBS.
- Go back to YouTube Gaming, and the small screen should have a red “LIVE” on the top left.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. What should I do if Game Capture is not available for my game?
Some titles (e.g. Valorant) are known to have issues with Game Capture. The quickest fix is to switch over to Display Capture. If you don’t want to use that source, you’ll have to restart your game and your live stream.
2. What should I do if my stream key stopped working?
When you’re using stream keys to broadcast on Facebook, they can expire. Fortunately, you can easily get a new one when using Facebook Gaming to stream. It’s also possible to get a permanent stream key that won’t expire.
3. What should I do if my video capture broadcast isn’t showing?
You may have layered it below your game full-screen game capture. On the “Sources” list in OBS, make sure to put your camera broadcast on top of your display or game capture source.
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