Open Broadcaster Softwarefor Windows

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OBS, short for Open Broadcaster Software, is a powerful program that many content creators across several platforms use for their videos. This software is ideal for YouTubers, Twitch streamers, and anyone else in that category. OBS is mostly used by people who want to record their screen, capturing video of gameplay on consoles and PC to later edit into a video. Not only can you capture gameplay, but you can also record using your webcam and then mix and edit audio and video within the software itself. No more having to utilize a bunch of different programs in order to make one video. OBS is open-source and free, so anybody can use it. There are tons of different customization options, so with a little time and patience, you can tweak the software until it becomes the perfect fit for you, your audience, and your content.

Recording and streaming software streamlined for seamless transitions

Recording and streaming software streamlined for seamless transitions

First thing's first - OBS is a hub for content creation, and we can tell that it is meant to be used by different types of people with different ideas in mind for what they'd like their content to look like. It's not impossible for beginners to get the most out of the service, but understanding what everything is and what all of the functions do will take some time.

Heading over to the OBS website will present you with three different versions of the software to download for whichever operating system you'll be using. After a quick download of less than five minutes, you'll be able to do some basic setup. You can choose whether or not to include additional plugins for the Realsense camera, which is totally up to you - it will only take up another 5MB or so of space on your PC. Next, a window will pop up giving you the option of enabling the auto-configuration wizard and you can choose settings for if you'll mainly be streaming or recording. The software then runs a set of test to configure the settings to what will best suit your computer. At this point, you'll be free to explore OBS.

At the bottom, you'll see that there are five main areas that you'll be working with that are available on the main screen: scenes, sources, mixer, scene transitions, and controls. All of the audio, video, and other main components including sources that you'll be adding to your content will be in the scene area. Examples of sources are game captures, images, and video capture devices. In the mixer you can adjust the audio volume, mute it, and add filters to it like compressing it. Scene transitions allow you to fade in and out seamlessly between scenes, and your controls allow you to start and stop the recording, among other basic commands.

Before you jump into recording, you'll want to check the settings menu and make sure that everything is set up the way you want it to be. In the 'stream' tab you can view the different places that you might want to upload your completed file to, like Twitch, YouTube, and Mixer. In 'output', you can control the audio and video bitrate for streaming, and for recording, you can change the file type of the video and the destination file on your computer. The hotkeys tab is incredibly important as it makes the entire experience of using OBS more convenient. For example, instead of going to the right side of the screen and clicking 'start recording', you can assign the 'enter' button to the action to start a stream quickly. The advanced options dive further into different functions of OBS and are geared toward users that are a little more tech savvy.

Where can you run this program?

Currently OBS Studio is available for PC (Windows 7 and later), Mac (10.11 and later) and Linux. When it comes to computers running Windows, we recommend using a desktop that can be paired with a decent webcam, or a gaming laptop that comes with one built in. To get the best out of OBS, you want to make sure that the computer you have is one that is built to be able to handle the video and graphics card needed to capture clear gameplay. If you don't have the right hardware for streaming, recording, or both, even the best capture software isn't going to be much of a help to you.

Is there a better alternative?

When it comes to open-sourced and free software, this is an incredible tool. With that said, OBS is more geared toward the advanced level user and can be overwhelming when it comes to setting up the finer details. If you're just beginning and don't want to take the time to learn what everything is, Streamlabs is more of a jump-right-in route. Streamlabs boasts that 70% of Twitch streamers including top names like Ninja, Pokemane, and Lirik use the service. The service does all of the setup for you after asking a few basic questions, and enables you to integrate other windows like your Twitch dashboard into the program so you don't have to do a lot of switching back and forth. Both programs have a lot of similar features, but OBS is completely free whereas for more advanced functions of Streamlabs, you'll have to pay a hefty one time fee.

Our take

We think that OBS is an insanely good program and are kind of surprised that it's free. It's got everything that you need to be successful as a YouTube gamer, Twitch streamer, or if you need to capture some video and some commentary over it for your next big work project.

Should you download it?

Yes. If you're serious about creating some really great content and are willing to put in some extra work, OBS is for you. The type of user we see really enjoying this software is one that wants to know exactly what is happening in every area of the streaming and recording process and likes the freedom of being able to fine-tune the little details. It's not a program that you can download, setup in a few clicks, and go, but the learning curve is well worth it once you see the results of all the time and effort you put into learning the functions pay off.

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