Intro to OBS - the Happin Guide

Posted by Daanish Rehman on Apr 7, 2021

As if live-streaming wasn’t already at an all-time high, a global pandemic has absolutely exacerbated peoples interests in the form. Whether you’re a gamer looking to get your set-up together, a community looking to publicize meetings, an expert on a subject with a call line to create solutions, or a performing artist looking to connect with your fans during a heightened time of isolation – MANY are interested in establishing work-from-homes that outlive the pandemic and tapping into a global audience.

 

If you’re a fan of livestreams like us, you know that there are engaging livestreams, and then there are monotonous ones.

 

One of the central components to an engaging livestream is visual movement, and making sure your audience doesn’t feeling like we’re staring at a singular thing for longer than our attention spans.

 

It can be frustrating enough to get people to watch your streams or engage with your content, so if you’ve hooked them in then it’s crucial you don’t lose them. Something as simple as providing different angles and vantage points can be all the intrigue necessary to maintain interested in your content over a prolonged period of time.

 

We’re going to walk you through the hardware you’ll need to make this happen, the software you’ll use to broadcast, and how to get comfortable setting up different cameras and switching between them so you can take control of your livestreaming needs with minimal mental short circuiting.

 

Let’s get right into it!

 

Hardware

 

To broadcast from multiple cameras you need the following:

  • Laptop / Desktop with webcam
  • Camera Phone + charger cables
  • Any additional cameras / audio devices you wish you connect
  • WIFI connection

 

While this is achievable with just a laptop, your camera phone and your WIFI connection, consider that toggling back and forth between only 2 scenes can look stale quickly, especially over a period of time. Borrowing a friends phone to set up a third angle can add a lot of visual intrigue. Or consider creating a third scene that allows viewers to see the feed from both cameras at the same time, using a template – but we’ll get to that later.

 

OBS – create scene

 

Happin OBS opening page

 

To connect your camera, in the space entitled “Sources”, press the + button. It’ll provide you with a number of options that are worth exploring when you’re comfortable with the software! The more creative you get with it, the more unique your stream will be. 

Happin OBS Sources

Happin OBS input

 

The second from the bottom is entitled “Video Capture Device”. Click that.

 

Between ‘create new’ and ‘use existing’, you’ll want to create new as I assume this is your first time configuring it. It’ll create a window like:

 

Happin OBS change scene

 

Where it shows “Device” should be a list of all the available cameras your computer is connected to.

 

It will automatically include your webcam camera. To connect your phone, you can connect it two different ways: either by buying the OBS app on your respective app store, or connect it using your charging cable. Once connected, it should show up within that same drop-down menu.

 

It will however, directly mirror your screen so a workaround would be downloading the ‎FiLMiC Pro app – it gives you manual control of your camera so you can unlock things like setting the brightness and apply presents; more valuable however is you can hide any and all buttons and meters so it is looks like a direct input from your camera.

 

If you can’t physically connect your phone for whatever reason, you can use apps like NDI that can wirelessly send your stream from your phone to the OBS software. Granted, it uses a WIFI connection so it has an increased potential for latency.

 

If you wanted to connect a DSLR camera, you’d need an HDMI cable as well as any kind of video capture converter like the Elgato Cam Link. Although it can be an additional price, it’s well worth it to be able to stream in 4K quality or introduce different camera lenses or a gimbal.

 

Make sure to explore the other scene options. Using window capture, you can share your computer screen, so if you wanted to show your DAW during a performance and how you’re playing with effects than this is something you should consider. As previously mentioned, if you wanted to input an image that acts as a template to frame your multiple inputs, here is where you do it – by selecting image. This can be the crucial glue to your stream and really take your productions value and cleanliness up! 

 

Once you’ve created scenes from your devices, it’s worth playing with the Effects button immediately above the sources section. That’s where you can do things like use greenscreen effects by chroma keying and take full control of your streaming set. In fact, we highly encourage you to take an active stance in sprucing up your stream by playing with physical elements like set design, creative lighting, camera angles and lenses etc. There are all things that create your visual identity as a streamer and honestly it can be great fun for you and your viewers.

 

OBS – Changing scenes

Changing scenes can be its own dilemma which is why having a template can be such a wonderful thing. That said, changing scenes creates movement and keeps the viewer more engaged and is absolutely something worth figuring out.

 

In an ideal world, getting a friend to toggle through them so you can focus on whatever it is that you’re streaming would be your best bet. If however, you want full control of that too, then you can map hotkeys to different keys on your keyboard for sheer ease of access and if you do have to run your own stream, you can do so with as much control as you’re willing to undertake.

 

So let’s assume you’ve created 3 scenes. Each scene has it’s own arrangement of sources; Scene 1 might be just your webcam, scene 2 – your phone cameras direct feed. Scene 3, has both your webcam and your phone camera feed on top of a background image. You should have something like this in your scenes tab:

 

 

Happin OBS change scene

 

To assign hotkeys, go to your preferences.

 

Happin Preferences

 

It’ll open up your general settings. In the subcategories on the right-hand side, there is a Hotkeys tab. Click that.

 

Happin OBS Hot Keys

 

It’ll show a list of different things you can map and will have empty boxes for you to type in your preferred hotkey. I scrolled down to the scenes and assigned them as such: Scene 1 would show when I pressed the “1” key on my keyboard. Scene 2, “2”, Scene 3, “3”. It looked like this:

 

Happin OBS Channels

 

Press apply and then OK. Make sure to click out of your scenes and perhaps onto the audio meter. As you try your different hotkeys, your scenes should change in front of you.

 

Having a Stream Deck here can make a world of a difference in terms of being able to touch a big button on a designated device to change your visual configuration. You’d be surprised how easy it is to press any of the many other keys on your keyboard when you’re trying to switch in the heat of whatever you’re doing. Seeing as that is an additional expense however, it is absolutely possible to make-do without it.

 

In fact, if you download the Elgato app from your respective app store and configure it, you’d be able to use an additional touch screen device for that as well!

 

For help specifically on getting your audio set up, we'll make sure to link it here when it's up! From us at Happin - happy streaming!