Basic OBS Studio Setup

This guide will explain the OBS Studio interface and how to setup a high quality recording.

OBS Studio overview

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  1. Scenes are groups of sources (think of them as folders). You can switch between them to have different layouts, for example one for the game lobby and one for in-game action.
  2. Sources are single layout elements to your stream content (think of them as files within a folder). Examples are images, videos, browser pages, a webcam feed or game.
  3. The mixer shows your audio elements and is usually your desktop/game audio and your microphone.
  4. Transitions are used to give a nice animation when switching scenes.
  5. The main OBS controls to start/stop your stream or recording, quickly enter settings or to close OBS.
  6. This is the preview canvas and displays what you are broadcasting or recording. You can freely move and resize sources in the canvas to build your layout.

Basic first-run setup

When starting OBS for the first time, it will look like this:

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We will now setup audio as well as the basic configuration of OBS.

Enter Settings by clicking the "Settings" button at the main controls or go to File > Settings.

Audio setup

We will now add your computer's audio as well as your microphone to OBS.

Click on the "Audio" tab and setup "Desktop Audio Device" as well as "Mix/Auxilliary Device" to "Default". Leave the rest on "Disabled".

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Recording quality setup

Making a high quality recording very easy. Switch to the "Output" tab and setup desired:

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  1. Switch to Output settings
  2. Select the folder where OBS will store the videos. Default is the "Videos" folder in your user profile.
  3. Select the desired quality
    • For causual recording, "High Quality" is a good compromise of quality and file size
    • If you like to do video editing or post-processing, use "Indistiguishable Quality" for near-lossless quality
    • "Lossless" is not recommended, it will produce multiple gigabytes per minute!
  4. Use "FLV" or "MKV" as recording format, as those formats are crash-proof.
    • MP4 is not recommended, as your whole video can get unplayable if OBS or your computer crashes during recording. OBS can quickly convert FLV or MKV to MP4 after recording for you if needed (File > Remux Recording).
  5. Here it gets a bit difficult, as the available options depend on your computer. The following encoders - in that order - are recommended, to minimize performance impact of OBS. Select the highest one you have available.

    1. Hardware (NVENC)
    2. Hardware (Intel QuickSync)
    3. Hardware (AMD AMF)
    4. Software (x264, low CPU usage preset)

    The selection only affects how much CPU power is needed for the actual recording. OBS will do the complicated setup for you, so it will always hit the target recording quality selected in point 3.

You are now ready to start creating your layout.

Example scenes

Here we show you how to create example scenes.

Game with webcam

For a standard game scene, we will add the game itself and your webcam.

  1. Add a new scene to OBS by clicking the "+" button and name it "In Game"

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  2. You will now see two scenes, the default "Scene" and your new "In Game" scene. Make sure "In Game" is selected by clicking on it.

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  3. We will now add your game and webcam to this new scene. If not already running, please start your game now to have it ready for OBS.

  4. In the "Sources" box, click the "+" button and select "Game Capture"

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    You can rename it here as well or just confirm with "OK".

  5. The game capture properties will now open and you can select the game you'd like to capture.

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    1. Capture mode can usually be left to "Capture any fullscreen application". OBS will then automatically grab the game currently in focus. If you switch games often or only want to grab specific games, use the other two options as needed.
    2. Anti-Cheat compatibility hook should be kept on for best results. Please note that this will not affect any cheating reports, only how agressive OBS will try to get the game feed. OBS is safe to use and was never the cause for a cheat ban to date.
    3. When the third-party overlay option is enabled, OBS will try its best to capture game overlays as well, e.g. Steam, Uplay or Discord. Please note that this is "best effort" only, and not guaranteed to work.

    Click "OK" to close the game capture properties.

  6. Depending on how the game is setup, you can now already see something in the OBS preview.

  7. We now add a webcam. To do this, click the "+" under "Sources" again and select "Video Capture Device".

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  8. Rename the source to "Webcam" and click "OK".

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    1. Select your webcam from the list under "Device" and OBS will activate its standard settings.
    2. If you like a difference size/resolution, select Resolution "Custom" and select the desired size from the "Resolution" list.
    3. Click "OK" to add your webcam to the scene.
  9. Reposition and resize the webcam where how you like it

    1. To reposition a source, just click and hold it with your left mouse button in the preview. A red box will show its position.
    2. Use the corner or side handles to resize a source
  10. Done!

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