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So you’re a streamer, but you don’t have the faintest idea on how to set up broadcasting software. Don’t worry the WGN is here to answer your prayers and lend assistance to your streaming needs in the form of an easy guide fo OBS Studio!

Firstly, you’ll need to download OBS Studio, to do this head to this address: https://obsproject.com/, click the green “download OBS Studio” green button and follow the prompts depending on your operating system!

For the purposes of this particular tutorial we will be using the Windows 10 version. For setup guides based on other OS’ you will need to google it.

Connecting your streaming account

For the purposes of this guide, I will be using Twitch as an example for OBS Studio setup. I will also be assuming you know where to go to grab your stream key. However this is located in https://www.twitch.tv/[USERNAME]/dashboard/settings > Stream Key.

Once you’ve installed OBS Studio, you’ll want to connect your stream account to it, this is done via your stream key which is specific to your account (note: Do NOT give anyone else your stream key!). Once you’ve found it, copy it to your clip board and go to OBS Studio > File > Settings > Stream and paste the key to the “Stream key” field (see below)

Be sure to set the server to the closest city to you (e.g.for me it’s London). Else you’ll suffer horrific amounts of LAG 😉

Output settings

Next up is the output settings, this is one of the most important things to have nailed down as if you mess this up, your streams won’t be smooth and will also look pretty terrible.

These will also be different based around certain variables like if your connection isn’t very strong or you’re partnered/affiliated with Twitch or not. For the purposes of this guide, it’ll be based around my own settings (fibre internet speed and non-partnered/affiliated).

Heres’ a screenshot of my settings but I’ll also put them in text below it incase it doesn’t load:

  • Output Mode: Simple
  • Video Bitrate: 2000kb/s
  • Encoder: Software x264 (others to be covered in a later article)
  • Audio Bitrate: 160 w/ advanced settings un-checked

So bitrate affects how much data is uploaded to the Twitch servers, the higher the rate, the more data gets transferred (duh), and this MASSIVELY depends on other settings like your video setup (covered later in this article). There is now no cap on bitrate on Twitch, so honestly go nuts with the bitrate as long as your connection can handle it! If you aren’t careful and use too much upload speed, your stream will start to get choppy, same as if you don’t have the bitrate set to enough, the software will not be able to upload the data fast enough and again, you’ll get a choppy stream aka Dropped (skipped) frames.

Note: Ignore recording for this guide, that’s more for YouTubers and I’m only covering streaming at present, I may do another quick guide later for this.

Video settings

Video settings will not only affect the quality of your stream, but also your PC performance as the higher the output resolution, the more stress you will cause the CPU and RAM. If you have a mental PC rig that cost £££££ then you won’t need to worry. But the golden settings for most people is 720p resolution @ 30fps. Here are my settings:

  • Base (canvas) resolution: 1920×1080
  • Output (Scaled) resolution: 1280×720
  • Downscale Filter: Bicubic
  • FPS: 60

I’ll just remind again that these settings will have a HUGE effect on your PC and internet performance, the larger the output resolution (what your stream channel sees), the more bitrate you will need. From what I’ve seen, for 720p resolution you need at least 1200kb/s. Anything less will cause your stream quality to be poor.

I believe to stream 1080p @ 60fps you actually need to be affiliated/partnered with Twitch to gain access to their transcode servers (gives you better quality). Not only that but you’ll need internet that can cope with uploads upwards of 4000-8000kb/s. So bear that in mind when setting up. Not having access to the transcode servers (non-partner/affiliate) will lower your viewers experience if you’re trying to stream at high speeds, as their own internet might not be able to cope with downloading your live feed.

You can stream 720p @ 60fps but again make sure you’re upload bitrate can cope with it, you may need to bump it to 2500+ but it depends on your system and internet.

Scenes and Sources

Ok now you have set up your OBS Studio for streaming, you’ll need to set up your scenes and sources which basically tells OBS what it’s looking at to upload to Twitch.

Scenes are basically “profiles” for your sources, whereas sources are…well the “source” of your stream, for example, Game capturing, images, etc.

remember, scenes are like “profiles” in which you add multiple sources, “sources” being the information for your stream feed like the game capture feed, webcam, etc

 

So you can see in the above picture, I have multiple scenes and multiple sources within each of those scenes. But for now, we will get you setup with simple game capture.  This is so easy I won’t need to give you screenshots:

Scenes

  • Press the “+” icon where “Scenes” is in the bottom-left of OBS
  • Give your scene a name, for example “livefeed”
  • Hit ok
  • DONE!

Sources

  • Press the “+” icon where “Sources” is located, just to the right of Scenes
  • A menu will appear, click “Game Capture”
  • Name your scene, or leave it as default “Game Capture”
  • Make sure “Make source visible” is ticked
  • OBS will automatically find games if you have it set to fullscreen, so leave “Mode” as “Capture any fullscreen application” and click ok.
  • DONE!

You should notice that when you open a game up and have OBS open in the background, that your games display will pop-up in the preview window. If it isn’t your preview is either disabled (highly unlikely if you just fresh installed OBS) or it’s not being captured, you can force capture the game by right-clicking on the Game Capture source and change “Mode” to “Capture specific window” then change “window” to the game/exe you are running. This should fix your issue, failing that…GOOGLE IS YOUR FRIEND :D.

With that, as long as you’ve followed what I’ve put down, you should be good to stream! To start your stream just hit the “Start Streaming” button to the right side of the OBS Studio window. You’ll notice along the bottom of the window “LIVE: 00:00:00” and this will be counting up, if it is…GRATZ YOU’RE NOW LIVE ON TWITCH.TV! Go to your channel and check to see if your feed is working, and have yourselves a blast streaming to potentially THOUSANDS of like-minded gamers!

Have a play around with your settings, scenes and sources too. once you’ve gotten to grips with OBS you can set things up like pre-stream, BRB and post-stream scenes/sources which will give your channel a much more professional vibe (if that’s what you’re going for!). I may cover this is later posts but for now, that it! GET STREAMING!