Getting Started with OBS in 2023

Your Ultimate Guide to Broadcasting and Live Streaming

We’re going to walk you through getting started with OBS (Open Broadcaster Software), a powerful and versatile tool that simplifies the art of live streaming. Whether you’re a budding content creator, a gamer, or a business professional.

OBS is your go-to solution.

What Is OBS?

At its core. OBS, short for Open Broadcaster Software, is a free and open-source piece of software designed to capturing and stream audio/video content.

For anyone looking to create a high-quality broadcast it going to be the first piece of software you need to learn. Without the steep learning curve that often comes with video production, OBS takes all your audio and video inputs and helps you to create a fully customised video output. 

That suits all your needs from a online broadcast, video game tournament to local recordings of your own podcast, OBS does it all.

The Basic Setup

Before we dive deeper into the wonderful world of OBS, let’s start with the basics. To get started, you’ll need to download and install OBS, which is available for Windows, macOS, and Linux. Once you’ve installed OBS, open the program, and you’ll be greeted by a user-friendly interface.

Screenshot of the default layout of OBS

Adding Sources in OBS

Now that you’ve got OBS installed and running, it’s time to set up your sources. Think of sources as the building blocks of your broadcast. They are the audio and video inputs that OBS uses to create your final stream.

Screenshot of where to find the sources in OBS

For adding a visual source you’ll see In the middle of your screen, the “Sources” section, represented by a plus symbol. Click on the plus symbol to add your sources. This is where you can integrate various elements like camera, screens, images, and more to your liking.

For audio you need to go into the settings section of OBS > Settings > Audio. This will allow you to separate your audio inputs, for example if you were broadcasting a live podcast. You would have you mic input as one channel. The audio output of your voice chat as a secondary and your desktop audio as a third. This keeps all your audio separate during recording and when you come to editing it out. You have all the tracks separate to then tweak as you want

Screenshot of audio menu in OBS

Customising Your Broadcast in OBS

OBS offers a wide range of options for customizing your broadcast. You can resize and reposition sources, add filters, and even create complex scenes by layering multiple sources together. Want to overlay a browser window with a blue box? OBS makes it easy!

Screenshot of main display in OBS

Scenes and Transitions in OBS

Scenes in OBS are like presets for your sources. They allow you to switch between different setups seamlessly during your live stream. Want to transition from your webcam feed to a screen capture or an image overlay? OBS provides a straightforward way to do just that.

Screenshot of different scenes in OBS

Stream Settings

When you’ve set up your sources and scenes, it’s time to configure your stream settings. OBS supports popular streaming platforms like Twitch, YouTube, and Facebook Live.

Just got to OBS > Settings > Stream > click the platform of your choice, and sign in or use a stream key.

My settings are above (Based on a high-speed connection)

OBS Output Settings – Reference – October 2023

Here you’ll find a reference table that shows the resolutions and bandwidth(bitrate) you’ll need to have a stable broadcast.

NameUltra-Low DefinitionLow DefinitionStandard DefinitionHigh DefinitionFull High Definition
Video Bitrate (kbps)350350 – 800800 – 12001200 – 19001900 – 4500
Resolution Width (px)42664085412801920
Resolution Height (px)2403604807201080
H.264 ProfileMainMainHighHighHigh
Audio Bitrate (kbps)6464128256256

Going Live

With everything set up, you’re almost ready to go live! Preview your stream to ensure everything looks and sounds the way you want it to. When ready, hit the “Start Streaming” button, and you’ll be live in no time. (If you want to record as well as stream, make sure you also hit Start recording)

Advanced Features the tip of the Iceberg

Everything i’ve just gone over is very top level, with a bit of trial and error and good old YouTube. You’ll be creating high quality broadcasts in no time.

Always remember, OBS is incredibly versatile, offering advanced features like scene transitions, video encoding, audio mixing, and more. As you become more comfortable, you can explore these advanced features to take your broadcasts to the next level.

Want expert advice on getting your broadcasts to the next level?

Then get in touch!

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