Get the most out of online broadcasting by optimising with OBS Studio
A utility article from TicketCo Media Services on online broadcasting
Capturing your event and broadcasting it live to a global audience via Real Time Messaging Protocol and internet software are two individual tasks that should not be confused. It is one task to film a production, but another to broadcast live pictures to TicketCo Media Services’ servers to then be transmitted to your viewers.
In our latest insight with Simon Baker, Technical Director and Digital Producer at Wise Children, he reveals his experiences of using OBS Studio to live stream shows including Romantics Anonymous and The Flying Lovers of Vitebsk. A deeper guide is available as part of our Welcome Pack which covers ’10 Steps to Streaming Success’.
How does OBS Studio work?
OBS Studio is an open-source cross platform software for live streaming and recording. It encodes captured video and audio data before transmitting that data via Real Time Messaging Protocol (RTMP) to servers that provide viewers at home with the pictures they see on their screen.
A software like, or equivalent to, OBS Studio is required if you are going to broadcast a performance online either live or on-demand. “Our Welcome Pack guide to using OBS Studio helps you optimise your settings and preferences within the software,” said Simon. “It helps producers of all technical abilities get started with the live streaming process.”
Defining your stream
Within OBS Studio, there are seven subheadings in the settings column that can be managed to define what you will be outputting over your stream and recordings.
These are: General, Stream, Output, Audio, Video, Hotkeys and Advanced. Our Welcome Pack breaks down each of these seven pages and their capabilities to supply streaming users with a detailed guide of how they can provide viewers with the best possible online broadcasting experience.
Simon said: “A lot of my work using OBS Studio was trial and error, watching plenty of YouTube videos and reading various forums. To someone who is new to live streaming and video on-demand, OBS Studio may at first appear a minefield of confusing information and buttons.
“But by breaking down the elements within each column, we have produced a guide that advises users how to efficiently develop a streaming setup that works for them. It takes time, but it is time that is worth investing in.”
Testing your settings
Simon advises OBS Studio users to test their stream once they have established their output and recording settings.
This can be done via YouTube in advance to ensure minimum stress on the evening of your performance where final checks can be carried out using TicketCo Media Services’ platform in the hour leading before your performance.
“We found using YouTube as a testing platform a key tool in preparation before streaming Romantics Anonymous,” said Simon.
“Establishing if your internet is coping with your streaming requirements is straightforward – a box at the bottom of the Status Bar which can be enabled in Views will either flash green, yellow or red. From the status bar you can also access information like CPU usage and frame rate.”
It is rare a live stream will pass without small technical situations. But they can be quickly solved and minimised with good preparation.
Simon adds: “We know the powers of live streaming, but it is equally important to understand the challenges which is why our troubleshooting column prepares all users for common glitches that can be eradicated. This means learning about frame rates and how graphic cards, bit rate and/or local bandwidth issues can alter the health of your stream.”
Simon’s guide to OBS Studio concludes with an overview on video and audio processing and syncing sound to match visuals on screen.
“Video takes far longer to process than audio,” said Simon. “So, without our interference, viewers will experience a ‘delay’ in pictures. By adding time at the final stage of delivery via OBS’s’ Audio Mixer window, we can match the pictures with the audio and ensure a smooth HD quality product. Again, it can be a complicated process, but we suggest viewing a video from Ballast Media that thoroughly explains the process.”
To access our full step-by-step guide to OBS Studio and establish the perfect setup for your live stream, click here.
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