Getting started with OBS Studio

We have created this guide with the beginner streamer in mind, someone just opening OBS Studio and wondering what this magical software can do. We hope this guide may also be beneficial for professional broadcasters looking for a refresher on how to set up OBS Studio.

Breaking down the OBS "Settings" window

OBS presented in it's default theme

First, let's switch the theme to Dark. Well, at least, that is what the theme that I will have for the rest of our screenshots.

OBS Theme selection dropdown


General Settings

When you first open up the settings window, you will land directly on the general tab where you will see a couple of different sections which we will go over here, one at a time.

General

General Settings Section

Things to note

- Language:

To select your interface Language.

- Theme:

To select between a couple different theme variations.

- Automatically Check for updates on startup:

Leave this on!

- Open stats dialog on startup:

Optional.


Output

Output Section

Things to note

This has to be a numbered list. Otherwise, there would not be enough room to explain each.

- 1 & 2:

Turn these on if you are afriad of accidentally going live.

- 3:

Only turn this on if you have the harddrive space for the recordings.

- 4-6:

Disabled by default options


Source Alignment Snapping

Source Alignment Snapping Section

Things to note

This section of the General Settings allows you to fine tune how sources (Things like your webcam, game, etc.) behave when rearranging them around on your canvas.

If you find yourself getting frustrated with fine tunned webcam overlay placement, come back here and adjust these settings to your liking.


Projectors

Projectors Section

Things to note

Projection allows you to project your entire OBS Canvas to a single monitor, which can be helpful to give alerts or for on-screen presenters.

These options listed here are mostly to fine tune your projection at a high level.


System Tray

System Tray Section

Things to note

These are your basic options for how you want OBS to behave when minimizing and closing the application.

Oh, and this is your System Tray 👇


Stream Settings

OBS Stream Settings Tab
Here are the settings OBS will use to connect to your platform, there are a couple of different options here, but in most cases, you will need to follow these steps.

  1. Select your Stream Type! Only change this to "Custom Streaming Server" if the website you want to stream to is not already supported by OBS. Stream Type Dropwdown
    *This guide only shows setting up via "Streaming Services"

  2. Select the website you want to stream to from the service dropdown. OBS Server Dropdown

  3. Select the Server you want to stream to.
    Restream.io RTMP Server dropdown List in OBS
    We suggest picking the server located closest to you geographically or using ping tools provided by the website

  4. Enter the stream key if the website has one, otherwise, leave this blank. Stream Key Section in OBS


Output Settings

In this guide, we will keep our Output on the simple view, for a more advanced view take a look at our advanced guide for OBS Studio located nowhere because it is not written yet.

Output Settings

Output settings allow you to control how you want your stream and video to be delivered, with convenient comfortable to use controls, as well as more advanced tools for those looking for a bit more power. As we have done before with General Settings, let's break this window down into its sections.

Streaming

Screenshot-2018-05-12-13.32.08

Things to note

- Bitrate:

Check out my other post on Bitrates & Stream Quality here.

- Encoder:

The two main encoders are x264 & NVENC.

- Note: The main difference here really comes down to where you want to offload the bulk of your OBS Processing. You can either have it done on your CPU (If it can handle it) using x264 or you can have it processed on your GPU using NVENC.

- Audio Bitrate:

Anything between 96-160


Recording

Screenshot-2018-05-12-19.20.44

Things to note

- Recording Path:

Don't let this spook you, it's only where the videos will be stored.

- Recording Quality:

To make things easy, leave this as deafult.

- Recording Format:

Changing this to MP4 will allow you to edit the video in most editing software.

- Custom Muxer Settings:

This is an advanced setting


Audio Settings

Audio Settings

While audio settings can provide you with an in-depth overview of all the different sound settings for your stream, in this guide, we will only look at the top most used settings.

Screenshot-2018-05-12-19.30.27

Located here are all the dropdowns for configuring your on stream sound output, including your Desktop Audio (The sound you hear), your Microphone and some additional fine tuning settings at the top such as Sample Rate and Channel setup.

Screenshot-2018-05-12-19.32.16

These settings should remain as they are shown above, with your audio broadcasting in stereo and your sample rate at 44.1khz. As for your Microphone and Desktop audio, set these to default or your preferred audio devices.

For a more detailed look at Virtual Cables and how to set them up, check out my other post here!


Getting Started with Virtual Audio Cables

Looking to gain more control over your audio setup without buying a mixer? Welcome to Virtual Audio Cables!


Video Settings

Video Settings

Video Settings allows you to change a couple of different aspects of your streaming video, such as your resolution among others. Let's start first with the two most essential options.

Screenshot-2018-05-13-17.37.40

Your Base Resolution is the resolution (size) of your OBS Canvas, in most cases, you will want this to match the size of your gaming monitor or your graphics. In this case, I've set mine to 1080p, as that's the size of my overlay.

resolutions-diagram

However, your output size is the resolution your viewers will see when watching your stream. To get a better sense of what resolution you should pick, have a look at the chart below.

resolutions-1

Choosing your resolution heavily depends on what bitrate your network can handle, to figure this out it's best to do an upload test. For help picking the best upload speed, check out our article on how to choose the perfect quality for your OBS below.


Boost your stream Quality

Looking to upgrade the quality of your broadcast? Check out our post on maximizing your stream quality here.


Hotkeys Settings

Hotkeys Settings

Hotkeys are an easy way to become a keyboard wizard in OBS Studio, allowing you to do something as simple as starting your stream with a simple command; to chaining events into a masterful combination of effects and transitions.

For this guide, we'll only cover adding your first couple of hotkeys. Let me know in the comments below if you would like to see an in-depth guide on how to chain hotkeys together; if there's enough interest I'll update this guide with a link.

What is a hotkey?

Well, the best way to describe a hotkey would probably be:

Screenshot-2018-05-13-19.04.03

You are probably most familiar with hotkeys such as CTRL+C & CTRL+SHIT+DEL, in the same way, these perform complex tasks quickly we can do the same within OBS Studio.

First, think of a command you would like to press to go live on OBS Studio; maybe CTRL+S? Try this command now and see if it does anything, if it does, it is best to choose another combination. If the command does nothing, we are good to use it for our starting stream Hotkey.

Screenshot-2018-05-13-19.08.46

Click on the Start Streaming area and then perform your command, once you are done you will want to click apply at the bottom to escape from the field.

Now you can repeat this process going down the list to set up your OBS Hotkeys fully!


Advanced Settings

For this guide, we won't be going in depth on the Advanced Settings tab as in most cases users do not need to change or edit the settings on this tab. As always, if you'd like a rundown on the advanced settings of OBS Studio to feel free to leave a comment down below and let us know.


Part 2

Coming Soon