Stop what you are doing! If you haven’t already read Part 1, make sure you go back and do so. It covers the end user mind-set as well as many of the core technical aspects of the streaming software we will be using in this article.

For the second part and final in this series, we are going to go over why you should transition to OBS studio and a rundown of that process, as well as some extra tools to help you achieve that extra level of personalization.

OBS Studio

This first part of the guide introduced you to the streaming software, Open Broadcast Software (OBS) Classic. Rather than jumping straight into OBS Studio, the Classic version is a great piece of software that provides a straight forward look at the options available to you. This allows you to better understand what’s going on and makes the transition to OBS Studio more smoothly.

Once you have a strong grasp of what’s going on, you will definitely want to move over to OBS Studio. Not only has all development been swapped over to it, it’s being built up from the ground up with the experience gained from the Classic version in order to create the best streaming program available and improve overall performance, all while remaining free. Please note that at this guide was written using OBS Studio version 18.0.0.

As we did with Part 1, we will cover the changes to the core settings to start with, followed by any changes made to the process of setting up your overlay. Don’t panic at first glance, while the overall interface may look different, many things are handled very similarly to OBS Classic. The majority of the options we will cover have been explained in the first part, and if they haven’t, we got you covered with a solid explanation.

If you are just looking for the most crucial recommended settings, you’ll find a recap of them at the bottom of the next section, Settings.

Settings

Before we dive into this, there are some key changes that twitch have made in terms of accessibility and quality. In a recent twitch blog they announced that they are increasing ingest bitrates up to a maximum of 6 megabits/s, or 6,000 kb/s. In the same article they also announced that they are rolling out a new set of quality options (otherwise known as transcoding) so viewers have more quality choices. This means that the bitrate you set (which is covered a bit further down) has less of an impact on your viewers as they can tailor their viewing experience to the connection speed they have.

This is great news! It means you are able to stream at a higher maximum bitrate, while not negatively impacting the viewer’s experience as they can adjust quality more freely on their side if necessary. We’ll reflect these changes in our bitrate recommendations in the settings below!

Profile and General

Setting up and managing different profiles has been moved out of the General section of the settings. Instead you will find it at the top of the main window of OBS. Here you can setup a new profile, duplicate, rename, remove (only when you have one selected), import and export. This is also the place you swap between different profiles.

With the General tab of the settings you’ll very quickly notice a few additions. Not only do you have the ability to swap between a wide variety of languages, you also have the option of using a Dark Theme if you prefer. A lovely additional for us night-owls!

Further down, the output area allows you to enable confirmation dialog when starting and stopping streams to help you avoid some unfortunate miss clicks, automatically record while stream (make sure you have enough hard drive space as a 30 minute recording with the recommended settings will be around 2gb) or continue recording when the stream starts, and starting a reply buffer when streaming.

The next part related to Source Alignment Snapping is an awesome little addition. Snapping the edges of your different sources can make your life easier in some cases, but also a complete pain in others. Now you have the option to enable it, adjust the sensitivity, snap sources to other sources, and snap on both horizontal and vertical axis if you want!

We don’t need to worry about the projectors section and at the very bottom you’ll find the System Tray area that allows you to add that extra level of comfort in regards to how OBS studio behaves with the system tray. Yes, they have gone to that level of customization.

Stream

The stream section is very similar to the “Broadcast Settings” section in OBS Classic. All you need to do is have Streaming Services selected as the “Stream Type” in the drop down menu at the top, select the appropriate service, choose the best server based on your location, and then enter your unique stream key for your channel. To get your stream key from Twitch, follow the link to the dashboard at the top of this page.

Output

The output section of the settings is a combination of some of the options you will find in the “Broadcast Settings” and “Advanced” settings in OBS Classic.

For the basic overview of options, you can leave the Output Mode dropdown on Simple. Putting it on advanced splits up the options into three sections, automatically shows the options available by checking the “Enable Advanced Encoder Settings”, and allows you to change the audio bitrates for different tracks.

Since we will keep it in simple mode, you’ll quickly notice a few very similar options. Video and audio bitrate are the same options that were present in the “Encoding” section in OBS Classic. With the announcement of higher bitrate support that we covered earlier, we’ll follow the official twitch recommendation of setting the Video Bitrate value between 3,000 – 6,000, and an audio bitrate no higher than 128. Keep in mind that the video bitrate you set also greatly depends on your upload speed. To reiterate what we said in part 1 of this stream guide, do not set your bitrate value higher than 75% of your connection’s upload speed.

From here, make sure the “Encoder” option is set to Software (x264) and tick the “Enable Advanced Encoder Settings”. If you want to leave the “Enforce streaming server bitrate limits” checked you can, our recommendations remain within the predetermined limits. Ticking this box will remove the warnings and allows you to set higher values. Finally, we recommend setting your Encoder Preset to “veryfast”. A more detailed explanation about this setting can be found in the advanced settings section in first part of the guide.

Under the recording section make sure you have your recording path set to an area that has an appropriate amount of space to save the large files and adjust the quality and format if you would like to.

Finally, if you want to use the Replay Buffer feature, tick the box and adjust the replay time. As you will notice, you need to set a hotkey for it in the hotkey section.

Audio

There are a few extra options bundled into the Audio settings. Set your Sample Rate and keep the “Channels” option on Stereo, similar to how it was setup with OBS Classic. Below those options you will quickly notice that you have the option to add multiple Desktop Audio and Mic/Auxiliary Audio devices. You’ll most likely only have use for a single Desktop Audio Device and Mic/Auxiliary Audio, so many sure you add your correct devices in the dropdown options. Each different source of audio you add will have its own adjustable volume that we will cover later on!

Right below the different device options you will see different options for Push-to-mute and Push-to-talk. As in OBS Classic, you can enable Push-to-talk for both your Mic and Desktop audio with your preferred delay amount. OBS Studio also gives you the option to Push-to-mute, allowing you to stop audio from going through to the stream for short periods, or however long you decide to keep the button pressed! Note that you will need to set the hotkey for these two options in the Hotkeys settings.

Video

The video sections is extremely similar to the options available in OBS Classic. Set your “Base Resolution” to be the same as your screen’s resolution and the “Output Resolution” that you want the stream to receive. We recommend that the Output Resolution be set to 1280×720 and your FPS to 60 for a smooth stream.

The new option OBS Studio has added is the “Downscale Filter”. This is an extra quality option that will impact how sharp the image is that you output. The best option is Lanczos, but is also the more demanding in terms of your hardware. The performance differences should be minimal, but important to keep them in mind. We recommend going with the Bicubic option and only using the Lanczos if you have the hardware for it.

Hotkeys

This section is nice and simple because it behaves exactly the same as it does in OBS Classic. You can set different hotkeys for different actions within OBS for the ultimate “mouse free” experience.

The only major change to these settings is that you can add multiple keybindings for the same action!

Advanced

Similar to OBS Classic, don’t be overwhelmed with what you see! A lot of it is pretty straight forward or options you won’t need to mess with it.

Process Priority behaves the same way as it does with OBS Classic. It gives you the option to tell your computer that OBS should be given a higher or lower priority in terms of processing power (CPU). Note that setting it to a higher priority can negatively impact the games you are running.

Within the Video section, we recommend you leave everything at default.

“Audio Monitoring Device” allows you to select the device that the monitoring sound will be output to. We will cover how to use the Monitoring option later when we cover adjusting your sound levels.

Below that, the Recording section lets you adjust the naming format for the recording file that is created.

Continuing on, Stream delay is well, a delay you can put on your stream for a given amount of time. On most streaming platform there will be an inherit delay of anywhere between 5-30 seconds, but through this you can add to that delay if you would like.

Finally, you can setup an auto reconnect should your stream cut out at any moment.

To recap, here’s a list of the most important setting recommendations:

Stream

  • Select the server located nearest to you.

Output

  • Video Bitrate set between 3,000-6,000 kb/s
  • Audio Bitrate set to 128
  • Enable Advanced Encoder Settings checked
  • Encoder Preset set to “veryfast”

Audio

  • Your main audio device as Desktop Audio Device
  • Your main Microphone input as the Mic/Auxiliary Audio Device

Video

  • Base resolution set to your screen resolution
  • Output resolution set to 1280×720
  • Downscale filter set to Bicubic
  • Common FPS value set to 60

Advanced

  • Process Priorty set to Normal

Scenes and Overlays

The process overall is very similar to OBS Classic when it comes to setting up scenes and adding things to your sources. In fact, the process of adding a new Scene or Source is exactly the same, simply right click in the area or hit the + icon! You’ll also notice that as you add new scenes and sources that they are instantly available to preview, rather than needing to “Preview Stream” as you did with OBS Classic. Quickly hiding or showing different sources can be done by clicking the little eye icon to the left of the source’s name!

OBS Studio has also added an abundance of additional sources you can chose from. We’ll briefly go through each one of them below.

Audio Input Capture

You can select and add a specific Audio Input Device, for example a microphone, which will be active within this scene.

Audio Output Capture

Similar to the source above, this allows you to select a specific output device that will be active on the selected scene.

Browser Source

The Browser source is essentially taking the browser link that you enter and placing it on the stream. There are a lot of really cool things you can do with this that we will cover a bit later on in the article!

Display Capture

A nice a simple capture of a specific display/screen you have. Note that everything on that screen will be shown on stream if you use this source.

Game Capture

As it was with OBS Classic, you can specifically capture a game through this source. There are a few extra options that have been added with OBS Studio, namely the “Mode”.

Capture any fullscreen application: Anything that you are running at fullscreen (most likely the game you are playing) will be captured.
Capture a specific window: You will be most familiar with this option if you used Game Capture in OBS Classic. You can select a specific window to capture in the drop down right below Mode and it will only show that one to the stream.
Capture foreground window with hotkey: Set a hotkey (in the hotkeys setting) to display your most foreground window. This can allow you to quickly swap between different windows without changing scenes!

Image

The same option that was present in OBS Classic and you will most likely use this source to setup an overlay.

Image Slide Show

A neat little source that allows you to add multiple images that change at a pace you set and with your preferred transition effects. This is awesome for rotating between different social media or information you want displayed.

Media Source

This allows you to capture different media, for example a video or audio clip that you want to show off to the stream.

Scene

Ever wanted to add an entire Scene inside of another Scene? Now you can because that is what this Source will do!
Text (GDI+)

As with OBS Classic, this allows you to add text to your stream. The option “Read from file” is something we will cover later on when we go through some different personalization options!

Video Capture Device

The most likely use you will have for this source is to show off your beautiful face to your stream through a webcam!

Window Capture

Similar to how it was with OBS Classic, you can select a specific window you want to display to your stream.

Making Adjustments and Using Filters

With all those out of the way, adjusting the order the sources on a scene can be done by simply dragging them around or by using the arrows at the bottom of the source window. Remember that similar to OBS Studio, the order of the sources will decide which ones are “on top” of others.

Making adjustments in terms of sizes and cropping in OBS Studio is just as easy as it was in Classic. If you want to automatically fit a source to the screen, that wonderful “Control + F” hotkey will do that quickly, or you can right click on the Source, head down to transform, and manually click on “Fit to Screen”. If you want to move a source around, make sure it’s highlighted in the source list and simply drag it to where you want it to be placed. Similarly, if you want to adjust the overall size, select it in the source list, drag the corners, and adjust accordingly. Cropping can be done by holding down ALT and dragging the side that you want to crop.

Filters are a new addition to OBS Studio and allow you to do some cool things. To access the Filters, right click on your source and head down to filters. A new window will pop up and to access the list of filters, simply click on the + in the bottom.

Some sources, such as the media source displayed above, will have both Audio/Video filters as well as the effect filters. Simply click on the + icon to see the list and add a new filter, or press the – to remove one. Filters include more customization options such as enabling a Noise Gate (similar to OBS Classic), adjusting the Gain, setting up a video delay, adding a sharpening effect, crop/pad, and more. Explore the different options! Once you have them added, highlight them in the filter list and you will see the filter adjustment options appear to the right. OBS Studio has an awesome live preview section right next to the filter list so you can see what you are adjusting in real time.

Audio

There have been a few stellar audio changes made between OBS Classic and Studio. The one that you will quickly notice is the “Mixer” area with your different audio sources. OBS Studio has really streamlined the process of adjusting volumes for different outputs. If you have a media source for example, you can adjust that completely separately to all other audio right in the mixer without having to go into the source.

Adjust your volumes accordingly and make sure that your Mic/Aux audio volume is not drowned out by anything else!

Similar to how there were Filters for Sources, you will find Filters for the different audio sources by clicking on the cogwheel and going to Filters. In here you will find options for Gain, Noise Suppression, Noise Gate, and Compression that you can tweak to your liking.

In addition, you can press the cogwheel next to Mixer in order to open the Advanced Audio Properties window.

In here you can make more precise volume adjustments, pan your audio (which we do not recommend that you adjust), adjust the Sync Offset to add more or less delay to your audio, and turn on Audio Monitoring. Remember that setting in the Advanced tab that we said we would come back to? Well here it is! Audio Monitoring allows you to listen to the audio of a source and output that sound to the device you selected in the advanced tab. The three drop down items are explained below:

Monitor Off: Nothing is being monitored.
Monitor Only (mute output): Monitor the sound without outputting anything
Monitor and Output: Monitor the sound and output at the same time.

The Main Window

Now it’s time to wrap up the transition to OBS Studio with a look back at the main window. To start with, you’ll see a familiar list of options on the lower right such as Start Streaming, Start Recording, Start Replay Buffer, Settings, and Exit. The one that you haven’t seen before is Studio Mode!

Enabling studio mode will split the main stream output area into two areas. The window on the right will be what is currently being output to the stream, while the left one is the preview of the scene you have selected.

This allows you to see what you are transitioning over to before you actually do it. In order to transition, all you need to do is hit the “Transition” button right in between the two windows. The preview window on the left will now become the live window on the right.

You’ll also notice the “Quick Transitions” option. Through this you can select a transition type when swapping scenes. By default only Fade and Cut will be enabled. If you want to have a few other options, go to the + icon in Scene Transitions and you can add a few more!

Play around with them and find one that you enjoy!

Moving into the toolbar at the top, you’ll find the quick navigation to your recordings folder under “File” and then going to “Show Recordings”. Similarly you will find a few of the option settings under Edit, most of which are covered above or are pretty straight forward!

Finally, under “Tools” you will find a few interesting options.

Automatic Scene Switcher

Referred to as Scene Switcher in OBS Classic, this tool functions in the same way. It allows you to automatically swap to a scene based on the window you have selected for a more “hands free” experience. To learn more about it, make sure you check out the first part of the guide!

Captions (Experimental)

As the tool itself mentions, this is currently an experimental feature. It automatically detects what you are saying through the Audio Source you have selected and outputs it as subtitles to your Current System Language.

Output Timer

These timer options allow you to set an automatic timer that stops your stream or a recording after a certain amount of time. Setup the desired amount and it will display the time left until the stream/recording is stopped below.

Extra Level of Customization

As an Open Source tool there are a lot of really smart and awesome people developing features for OBS Studio based on their own experience as streamers or requests from the streaming community. In fact, you can see different pull requests right here! Additionally, if you are looking for a bit more than what we cover below, visit the OBS forums and check out what people are talking about.

We are going to cover three different extras you can add to your stream. Timers/now playing using Snaz, new followers list, and setting up different alerts!

Snaz Timers and Now Playing

Snaz is a neat little program that allows you to display a variety of different text on your stream. Everything from showing current time, date, countdowns to specific times, countdowns, traditional timer, and playing now! In this guide we are going to show you how to use the tools available in the “Time, date, and countdown”, “Chrono’s”, and “Playing Now” sections!

Time, Date, and Countdown

Kicking it off, we’ll start with the first tab. The process for setting up all three of the options is the same, you will only need to change the link to the text file itself in OBS studio and change the formatting/timing in Snaz.

Let’s start by setting up a “Countdown to a specific time” timer. Adjust the output format to your preference and select the time you want the timer to countdown to and you should be ready to go! Hit the “Copy Patch to Clipboard” button and you now have the link that we will input to OBS. If the file patch isn’t showing up, sometimes you need to hit start for it to show up.

The Source “Text (GDI+)” is what will be used for setting up anything that Snaz uses. Head into OBS and create this source. When the window is open, make sure you tick the box “Read from file” and in the “Text File (UTF-8)” box, put in that link to the countdown timer. It should look something like this:

From here, adjust the front, color, opacity, and any of the other options available to you. In order to activate the timer itself, you need to hit “Start” button on snaz under the timer you are using (in this case Countdown to specific timer). Note that Snaz needs to be running while the countdown is. If you close it, the timer will disappear. You’ll immediately see a countdown start both in Snaz and on your stream preview! The final result should look something like this:

Pretty simple right? That’s the basics of setting up anything involving a timer on OBS. As mentioned before, the only things that need to be changed is the formatting, link to the file OBS will read in the text source, and the placement on stream. For each new timer you want running simultaneously, you will need to add a new text source.

Chrono’s

Chrono’s timers allow you to set a timer length that counts down or up from a starting point, rather than an ending point as the example above does.

Chrono down is simply a countdown that starts at the time you specify in the “Down from” box that will end with the message you include in the “Msg when done” area. As we did before, grab the file path and put it into the text source in OBS!

Additionally, you can use the Chrono Up to, for example, show how long you have been live for! You can even have the Chrono Up timer begin when the Chrono Down timer ends by ticking the box “Auto Start when Chrono Down ends”. Below you will find an example with a Chrono Up timer showing how long you’ve been live for (subject to your own formatting preferences of course):

Playing Now

Like to listen to music while you stream and want to show everyone what song is currently playing? This is the place for you then!
Firstly, make sure the player you use is supported by Snaz by checking the “Player:” list. From there, all you need to do is as always, adjust the format to your preferences and add the path to the text source of OBS!

If everything works out, you should have something like the following on your preview:

Please keep in mind that some music is protected by copyright, which can lead to your VOD being muted/claimed on some streaming platforms.

List of New Followers

For both a list of new followers and alerts, we will be using tools provided by Streamlabs. All you need to do is link your twitch account when logging in and we are good to go!
To setup a new followers list, you want to visit the Event List Widget. From here, you will immediately see the Widget URL section that you will need to click in order to show. This is the link that you will add to a Browser Source within OBS.

For now, let’s talk about the customization available. There are a number of themes available and for those of you that are familiar with CSS, you can even create your own! Select your preferred theme and theme color to start with. Note that there is a live preview directly above so you can see what you are changing as we go!

Next you will see the Enable Events options where you have a number of options. For followers you will of course want to check the box next to Followers. Select the max amount of events (followers on the list) that you want to appear, which we recommend anywhere between 3-6 depending on the overall size.

The rest of the options are up to your own preference, set the background color, text color, font, font size, animation for when a new event appears and goes away, speed the animation plays, and even flipping them!

Once you have the layout you want, press save changes and copy your “Widget URL”. This is a unique link to this widget that is linked to your account. So for example, if you gave this link to someone else, they would actually have your followers appear on their stream.

Under your sources on OBS, add a BrowserSource. Enter the Widget URL into the “URL” section to start with. Then set the width, height, and FPS to match your stream output values. CSS can remain as default as it was handled by the customizations you did on streamlabs.

Once that is all done, hit OK and you should have the list now appearing in your OBS like below:

Adjust size and positioning accordingly!

Alerts

As mentioned above, we’ll continue to use streamlabs to setup alerts! Head over to the Alertbox in the Widget list to get started.

Start by selecting what alerts you want from the available options at the top. For now, this example will stick to follows.

Similarly to how you did for your followers, you’ll find the Widget URL right below that you will need for the BrowserSource. Next head down into the specific settings for the alerts you enabled at the start. For this example, that means we are headed into the follows tab. Make sure that it’s first of all enabled. Again, from this point is a lot of your personal preference. Select your layout, alert animation in and out, the message template, and text animation.

Below that, you have the option of adding a customized image/animation as well as sound for each time the alert appears. Adjust the sound volume, duration, and text delay to your preference and the only thing left to do is open up the font settings and play around with those!

Hit “Save Settings” at the bottom, grab that Widget URL and stick it into a browser source just like we did for the follower list. To make sure everything is up and running, hit the “TEST FOLLOW” button at the top see how it looks on OBS!

With that, we hope these two guides provided you with enough base knowledge of streaming so you can start your path to becoming internet famous! We want to take the opportunity to reiterate that the best way to build up a loyal viewership base is to stick to a consistent schedule, interact with your chat, and most importantly, HAVE FUN.

Good luck and happy streaming!