OBS Studio is one of the most powerful recording software right now. Whether you’re looking to record screen gameplay for your YouTube videos, or just clips to show your friends, OBS is an effective free option. In this article, we will cover how to record in OBS, and how much storage space you need for your recordings.
Here are the steps you need to take in order to record your computer screen on OBS:
Download and install OBS. Then, choose whether you are on Windows, MacOS, or Linux.
Add scenes. Open OBS and click on the “+” sign below “scenes” on the bottom left of the screen. Add a “recording” scene.
Add sources. Then, in the “recording” scene, click on the “+” sign below “sources” on the bottom left of the screen, and add a “display capture”. Select which monitor you would like to capture if you have more than one.
If you choose to, you can add a “video capture device” to capture your webcam, and an “audio input capture” to capture your microphone audio.
Select your recording location and video format. To do this, click on “settings” on the bottom right of your screen. Then, click on the “output” tab under “recording path” to choose the location you want to save the recordings on your computer. Finally, go to “recording format”, and click on “mp4”, or any other file type you may need. I use “mkv” since if my computer crashes, it will save what I have up until that point. We will go over some other settings that need to be adjusted in the “Best Settings for OBS Recordings” to ensure high-quality outputs.
You are now ready to click that “start recording” button.
How to Record Gameplay Using OBS Studio
Here are the steps you need to take in order to record your gameplay screen on OBS:
Repeat steps 1 and 2 in the “How to Record Your Screen in OBS” section.
Add sources. Then, in the “recording” scene, click on the “+” sign below “sources” on the bottom left of the screen, and add your sources.
a. For gameplay, add a “game capture” source and select the game you would like to capture in the drop-down menu. By selecting “game capture” instead of “display capture”, you will be putting less strain on your computer.
b. If you choose to, you can add a “video capture device” to capture your webcam, and an “audio input capture” to capture your microphone audio.
Repeat steps 4 and 5 in the “How to Record Your Screen in OBS” section.
Best Settings for OBS Screen Recordings
Let’s review the best settings for OBS recordings in order to optimize the quality of your video output. It is important to note that these settings are only a rule of thumb, since everyone has different setups.
Firstly, in your settings, click on “output” and then the “recording” tab. Change your encoder settings to NVIDIA NVENC H.264 (new) if you have a 10-series or 20-series NVidia graphics card. This will ensure you get a much smoother recording since it will use your graphics card to encode the video, as opposed to your CPU.
Secondly, make sure that the “rescale output” is unchecked and is at 1920×1080 if that’s your monitor’s native resolution. However, if you want to record in 720p, or if you have a 2k or 4k monitor, check the “rescale output” box, and lower the resolution to that of your liking. Here are some other settings you should have:
- Rate Control: CBR
- Bitrate: 12,000 (if you’re recording at 1920×1080)
- Keyframe interval: 2
- Preset: Max quality (if your graphics card is a 20-series or newer)
- Profile: High profile
Lastly, in your settings, click on the “video” tab, and enter these settings:
- Base (Canvas) Resolution: Native resolution of your monitor
- Output (Scaled Resolution: Same as the “rescale output” in the “output” tab
- Downscale Filter: Lanczos (if you’re downscaling the output)
- Common FPS Values: 60 (for a much smoother viewing experience)
Space Required for OBS Recordings
There are several factors that need to be taken into consideration when determining the space required per hour of recordings, such as the bitrate, frames per second, and resolution of your video. The higher each of these variables are, the more storage space that will be required. Since most people will use recordings to make YouTube content, I decided to look at the recommended settings for 1080p and 720p YouTube videos and recorded one hour of FIFA 21 footage for each.
- For the 1080p and 60 FPS recording, I used a bitrate of 12,000 as recommended by YouTube. This yielded a file size of 5.1gb for 60 minutes of gameplay. In 2021, 1080p and 60 FPS is standard and should be what content creators aim for. However, some people do not have fancy setups or enough storage space on their hard drives.
- As for the 720p and 60 FPS recording, I used YouTube’s recommended bitrate of 7,500. The file size for 60 minutes of gameplay was 3.2gb. Therefore, by lowering the settings, you can save almost 2gb for every hour of gameplay footage.
OBS will give any content creator great flexibility when it’s used to record your computer screen or gameplay footage. It’s generally better to record in the highest possible quality that you can, depending on the power of your computer and storage space available. If you don’t have the space, you can lower the settings to your liking. Ultimately, choosing the right settings for you is a balancing act.