OBS Introduction (Multimedia recording and streaming tool)


OBS (also known as Open Broadcast Software or OBS Studio) and a multimedia recording and streaming tool. OBS is a free program that is primarily meant for broadcasting and is available on Windows, macOS 10.11+, and Linux

OBS is set up in Scenes and Sources. 

  • Scenes are "canisters" that hold all the Source content in a given scene. You can have multiple scenes and have multiple sources within each scene. Scenes can be interchanged during a broadcast.
    • Typical Use Scenario
      • Scene 1 selected: "Stream welcome" graphic that welcomes people ( source = picture)
      • Scene 2 selected: Livestream of the event ( source = mic(s), cameras, audio)
      • Scene 3 selected: video files as advertisements  ( source = video files)
      • Scene 2 selected: Livestream of the event ( source = mic(s), cameras, audio)
      • Scene 4 selected: "stream end" graphic that thanks audience for watching ( source = picture)
  • Sources are the items that go inside the "canisters". There are many different types of sources that can be utilized (for example: display capture, audio capture, web camera, background image, text, and much more.).  

 Scenes and Sources

One scene is added to OBS by default (it is helpful to rename scenes as you are creating them (right-click and select rename to rename a source).

  1. To create a scene for the source(s) being used, click the + button in the sources tab at the bottom of the screen. 
  2. Choose a source type
    • Each source type offers different options that are contextually related to the type of source chosen (to learn more about source types, click here). 
    • Options can also be selected by selecting the small gear icon in the source box next to the corresponding source you wish to make adjustments to.
    • Every source has audio, visual and effects filters. To access filters, right-click on a source and click Filters--located at the bottom of the list (to learn more about filters, click here).
    • Pressing on the eye removes the visibility of the source from the scene (example: you had two source images in the same scene, however you only wanted one of them to be shown in the scene).
    • The small lock allows the resizing of the scene image (this is what the audience will see).
    • You can remove a source by clicking the source, then click the minus button in the source tab.
    • The process can be completed as many times as you want with sources and scenes. 
  3. To record, press the Start Recording button (located to the lower right of the screen). 
    • The default recording type is FLV to save file space. Switch the format to MP4 if you intend on uploading the content to Canvas.
    1. To switch the recording type, click the settings button on the far right side (under the controls tab).
    2. Click Output.
    3. In the recording section, use the arrows on the far right to switch recording to MP4.
    4. Optional Step: You can also change the recording path if you would like--default is the Video folder (Desktop is a more convenient place).
  4. After you are done adjusting the settings, click the grey Apply button and then click Ok to exit the Settings menu. 
  5. After you have set up your scenes and added sources into the scenes, press record or stream when ready. 

Audio Mixer

The Audio Mixer allows individual control of audio inputs. By default Desktop Audio and Mic/Aux are usually present.

  • Desktop Audio: Sounds coming from the computer speakers, and notification sounds from applications. 
  • Mic/Aux: If your computer has a built-in Mic, this is where the default mic will show up. External mics can also be shown in the audio mixer if they are added in as Audio Source.
  • Try to adjust the volume so that the audiometer stays in the high part of the green bar. If it is in low green, the audience may not be able to hear you and if it is in yellow or red, then you may sound distorted.  The gear icon allows for additional audio options such as adding audio filters, renaming the audio device, and changing the layout of the mixer from horizontal to vertical. 

Helpful Tips

  1. OBS can use a great deal of a computer CPU. If you have background applications running (such as Google Chrome, PowerPoint, Windows Update, Anti-Virus Scans, File transferring, etc.) and OBS running at the same time, then it may cause the OBS to stutter and lag. This may result in a stream cutting in and out or a recording momentarily freezing. OBS has a CPU percentage usage in the bottom right of the program. For OBS to run well, you will want the CPU percentage to stay under 75% 
  2. Don't stream over wifi/wireless. wifi can cause issues because it is not always going to be a stable connection and if more users are on the network, then less bandwidth is available to use for streaming.   Instead, stream over Ethernet (minimum Cat6 cable).
  3. Check the equipment that is being used with OBS to make sure the computer can support the equipment. Example: Camera requires a USB 3.0 port to run at full power, but the computer you are using only has USB 2.0 ports. Technically the camera will still work but there will be reduced performance with the camera. 

Additional Help

For additional help, please check out the OBS Guide Page.  If you would like some help setting up the OBS, please submit a request, we would be happy to meet with you!


Article ID: 89593
Thu 10/17/19 2:52 PM
Wed 3/4/20 9:45 AM