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What is OBS?

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OBS (Open Broadcaster Software), also known as OBS Studio, is a free and open-source live-streaming software. It provides source-capture and device capture in real-time. This means that OBS captures scenes such as your webcam, game video, microphone input audio, and more.

OBS then encodes your video and allows you to record or even broadcast the resulting video on certain platforms such as Twitch, YouTube, or Facebook.

In this article, we will discuss the OBS more in detail.

History of OBS

Open Broadcaster Software was initially released on September 1, 2012, as an open-source program allowing streamers and content creators to decide exactly what they want to show on the streaming platform of their choice.

Initially, a small project that was created and managed by Hugh “Jim” Bailey, the OBS project quickly grew as the streaming community banded together to create features that would revolutionize the world on online streaming.

OBS Studio replaced Open Broadcaster Software (or OBS Classic) in 2016. Both Windows and Mac users in the streaming community have continually worked to improve the live streaming program to include new features month to month. These add ons make OBS Studio even more robust with a powerful API.

OBS Studio allows people to play a specific game, layered correctly with stream overlays and other graphics as well as pull in audio and video sources. This professionalism can bring in many viewers when people on Twitch are live streaming, making it easier to grow an audience.

Who Uses OBS?

OBS is used by many YouTubers looking to record content for their videos, and by many Twitch, YouTube, and Facebook streamers.

OBS is one of the best and most powerful open-source broadcasting and recording software available. It offers lots of customization and plugins that are not available on other software, such as move transition, closed captioning, and many others.

While OBS is great software, it does come with a steeper learning curve than other software, such as Streamlabs. Therefore, if you’re tech-savvy or a more advanced streamer, OBS is the right software for you. If you’re a beginner, you might prefer the simpler Streamlabs.

OBS is also the first software to receive major updates. For example, OBS has a studio mode that was released a few years ago, while studio mode is yet to be released on Streamlabs.

Is OBS Free?

OBS is completely free to use. Once you download OBS, you can use every feature and you will not have to worry about ads or malware. In addition, you can download the plugins that we previously discussed at no cost.

OBS Studio Features

As a free and open-source program, OBS Studio allows you to use the following live-streaming features for when you stream to Twitch. These features can be used by both Mac and Windows users on the streaming platform of their choice.

  • Platform compatibility – OBS Studio is compatible with many other platforms designed for live streaming. All you need to do is input the stream key of the streaming platform of your choice in the settings menu and you will be able to start streaming with ease.
  • Broadcast audio – Not only can you add more than one audio source at the same time, but you can use OBS Studio as a make-shift audio mixer by adjusting the audio levels of each of your audio sources. It also has a built-in noise gate to help you keep the sound of your broadcast crisp and clear for your audience.
  • Broadcast video – In the same way, you can add several video sources in your OBS settings. Not only can you stream a live scene from your webcam, but you can import the video scenes from your favorite game (you can even use an external or internal capture card to import games from a console or mobile device). You can setup the way it looks ahead of time so that you can preview what your audience will see when you go live.

Can You Live-Stream on OBS?

You can live-stream with OBS on different platforms such as Twitch, YouTube, or Facebook, and it’s pretty simple. Here are the steps you have to take:

  1. Step 1

    Download and install OBS. Here, you will need to choose whether you are on Windows, MacOS, or Linux.

  2. Step 2

    Add scenes. Once you have OBS open, you will want to click on the “+” sign below “scenes” on the bottom left of the screen, and add an “in-game” scene. You can do the same for any other scene you would like to add, such as “starting soon” or “be right back”.

  3. Step 3

    Add sources. Then, once you’re in the specific scene, such as the “in-game” scene, you’ll need to click on the “+” sign below “sources” on the bottom left of the screen and add your sources. You’ll want to at least add a “display capture” or “game capture” to capture your game footage, a “video capture device” to capture your webcam (or other video input), and an “audio input capture” to capture your microphone audio. You can also add any other source you’d like from the options in OBS.

  4. Step 4

    Click on “settings” on the bottom right of your screen, and then on the “stream” tab, and then choose your “service”. This will be either Twitch or YouTube for most of you. Underneath, you’ll also need to enter your stream key.

  5. Step 5

    Optimize your output settings. Once you’re in “settings”, click on the “output” tab. Select “advanced” for “output mode”. Here, you’ll want to change your bitrate depending on the speed of your internet connection. If your internet can handle it, change it to 6000, but don’t go higher than that. You’ll also want to change your encoder settings to NVIDIA NVENC H.264 (new) if you have a 10-series or 20-series NVidia graphics card.

  6. Step 6

    You can now click on that “start streaming” button on the bottom right of the screen and go live.

Can You Record on OBS?

You can also record gameplay footage with OBS. The great thing about OBS is that it supports mp4 file exports, which is the file type that most video editing software requires. Therefore, many YouTubers use OBS to record gameplay footage. To record footage using OBS, follow these steps:

  1. Step 1

    Follow steps 1 to 3 in the “Can You Live-Stream with OBS?” section.

  2. Step 2

    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 “mkv”, or any other file type you may need.

  3. Step 3

    You are now ready to click that “start recording” button.


OBS is a very powerful software that allows you to record gameplay footage or live-stream your favorite games. It is worth giving OBS a shot, whether you are a YouTuber or Twitch streamer. It is free after all, and you can download plenty of plugins that will help your content stand out compared to the competition.

Once you have set up your OBS studio, you won’t need to make changes from stream to stream. The video and audio sources should be tested ahead of time but should remain fairly the same. Your add ons may also need to be updated from time to time.

Note that depending on your computer and capture card, you may not be able to use all of the OBS Studio features for your streams without it creating lag on your stream. Again, it is important to preview everything before you start streaming so that from the first scene on, your audience won’t experience issues.

About the Author


Alex, also known as CallMeB27, is a Twitch streamer from Montreal, Canada. He earned his Master’s Degree in Business, Management, and Operations from Georgetown University. His biggest passions include video games, sports, and traveling.

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