Audio & Video, Internet, Tutorials

How To Live Stream With Open Broadcaster OBS

This is going to be a tutorial on how to set up a basic live stream on YouTube using Open Broadcaster (OBS). I will be using Streamlabs for alerts and other widgets.

To download Open Broadcaster, head over to the main website

Scenes & Sources Introduction

OBS Streaming Scenes and Sources

To set up your stream on Open Broadcaster, first you have to add scenes and sources. A scene basically contains a set of sources. Such as “Game Capture” or “Window Capture” which can display a game you’re playing or the window of a program running on your computer. You can further improve your stream by adding graphic overlays, text or even websites.

To add a scene, just right click the white space underneath where it says “Scenes” and select “Add”.

During your stream, you can switch between different scenes to display your content in various ways. For example having an AFK (away from keyboard) scene is useful for when you have to deal with something off screen. Such as going to the bathroom or fixing a technical problem.

Setting Up Hotkeys

OBS Streaming Hotkeys

To set up a few useful hotkeys on OBS, simply click on “Settings” on the lower right, and go to the Hotkeys menu. Here you can choose which action you want to add a hotkey for by clicking in the white space under the action, and then pressing the key you want.

I’ve only added hotkeys for muting and unmuting my Desktop and Microphone audio, using the same hotkey for muting and unmuting. Other useful hotkeys could be push-to-talk for your microphone, start and stop for streaming and recording. It might also be useful to add hotkeys for switching scenes.

Adding Sources

OBS Streaming Adding Sources

Adding sources in OBS is simple, just select the scene you want, and then right click in the white space under where it says “Sources” and select your desired source.

For capturing video from a game, using the sources “Game Capture” or “Window Capture” are the best options. However “Display Capture” may also work. If you want to stream or record your entire desktop, choose “Display Capture”. To include a specific program window, choose “Window Capture”.

Adding Webcam & Overlay

OBS Streaming Webcams & Overlays

Webcam footage can be streamed by adding the “Video Capture Device” source and selecting your webcam from there.

In order to add graphic overlays to bling up your stream, you can choose the “Image” source and then go to where your overlay is and simply add it. You can left click and drag it to reposition the overlay. It can also be resized by left clicking on the red circles in the corners and draging your mouse to adjust the size.

Here you can download some free stream overlays and other graphics.

Setting up Streamlabs Account

OBS Streaming Streamlabs

To set up an account on Streamlabs, just head over to and click on “Login”. Then choose what site you want to use to login, such as Twitch or YouTube. First it will ask you to login to the site you selected, unless you’re already logged in. After that, it will ask you to connect your Twitch or YouTube account to Streamlabs, and authorize Streamlabs to view information on your profile.

This is required to display various alerts and stats, such as new subscribers and followers.

Subscriber & Donation Alerts

OBS Streamlabs Donations and Alerts

Setting up alerts for subscribers, followers and donations can be done using the “Alertbox” widget. But first, if you want alerts for donations, you have to connect your Paypal or Skrill account to Streamlabs. This can be done on the “Donation settings” page, where you can also configure other aspects of donating. Then you also need to display a link to your Streamlabs donation page, which is also available in “Donation settings”.

Next you’ll want to set up your alertbox. Just go to the “Alertbox” page on the left menu. In the “General Settings” tab you can adjust the layout, background color, alert delay and some other features. But usually you don’t need to change anything there. Going on to the other tabs, here you can change how the various alerts are displayed, what graphics and sounds are used, and so on. You can also select minimum amounts for what will display a donation, and make other adjustments.

Adding Alerts To OBS

OBS Streaming Adding Alerts

To then add these alerts to your actual stream on Open Broadcaster, go to the “Alertbox” page on Streamlabs, reveal and copy the “Widget URL”. Then head over to OBS and add a new source called “BrowserSource”. Paste the alertbox widget URL where there’s a URL to the OBS website and click on OK.

You can then resize and reposition it as any other source.

Starting A Test Stream On YouTube

OBS Streaming Starting The Live Stream

To finally start your stream on YouTube, head over to the Creator Studio on the YouTube website. Once there, on the left menu there should be a section for “Live Streaming”.

If there isn’t a live streaming option, then go to the “Channel” section and see whether or not live streaming is enabled for your account. If not, then you need to enable it from the “Channel” page by clicking the “Enable” button under “Live Streaming”. If you’re ineligible for live streaming, then you may need to verify your Google account first.

Once enabled, go to the “Live Streaming” section. Here you can setup your live stream, including the title, description and thumbnail of your stream. There’s also other stream options, you can enable monetization and also add cards to your stream.

But the main thing you want, is the stream key, which can be found under the “Encoder Setup” on the lower left of the main page. Make sure to not display this stream key anywhere, because anyone who has it can stream to your channel. If you suspect that the key was somehow leaked, you can press the reset button to get a new one. Click on reveal and copy the key.

Now head over to Open Broadcaster and click on the “Settings” button on the right. Now go to the “Stream” tab and from the “Service” drop down menu select YouTube, or whichever streaming site you’re going to be using. Then paste the stream key where it says “Stream key” and click on OK.

You can now click on the “Start streaming” button on the right, and your stream should be up and running.

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