About a week ago I announced the 30 Second SL Dance Challenge on the forums and there’s been a wonderful response to it, across all networks. At the same time, I’ve gotten numerous questions asking how to record our Second Life screens and also edit and upload videos to various social networks like TikTok or Instagram Reels. I had done a comprehensive OBS tutorial back in 2017, but it has become a bit dated now so in this post, I am going to do a few different updated video tutorials.
In 2022, and for the past couple of years, I have only been using OBS Studio (free to use) to do all of my recordings and live streams in Second Life. I then use Adobe Premiere Pro (not free) to edit my videos if needed. I also often use an app on my tablet called YouCut (free or you can upgrade to Premium for more options) to quickly edit my videos into portrait sizes (9:16 aspect ratio) that equates to a smartphone’s vertical screen size, which is the size most popular on TikTok, Instagram Reels, and YouTube shorts.
Before we begin, please take a look at my current System Specifications on this page. For this video, because I was recording OBS Studio, I used Camtasia to record and edit.
Setting up OBS Studio to Stream or Record Second Life
- Installation: Download and Install OBS Studio for your platform.
- General Settings: Go to File > Settings > General – A lot of these settings are pretty straightforward, will be based on personal preference, and do not affect the quality of your stream or recording.
- Stream Settings: Go to File > Settings > Stream – This is where you will choose the service that you want to stream to. If you are planning to stream to YouTube, please read my 2017 tutorial to learn how to set up your YouTube channel to stream.
- For ‘Stream Type’ choose ‘Streaming Services’
- For ‘Server’ choose ‘Primary YouTube Ingest Server’
- Use ‘Stream Key’ and copy-paste your stream key from your YouTube Live Stream Dashboard.
- Output Settings: Go to File > Settings > Output – Change Output Mode from Simple to Advanced and then we’ll go through each setting separately:
- Streaming tab
- Audio Track: Unless you are using multiple audio tracks and later when you are editing your output you want to split them up and mute one of them, I would just stick with ‘1’ for this setting.
- Encoder: x264 is the recommended option. I use NVIDIA NVENCH H.264 because I have an NVIDIA GeForce video card.
- I now keep ‘Rescale Output’ unchecked, but you can check it and choose 1920×1080 as that is Full HD output that YouTube prefers. But if your computer has trouble with it, you can reduce it.
- Rate Control: For streaming, CBR is the recommended setting because it makes the encoder always run at a constant bit rate no matter what the scene.
- Bitrate: I use 3500 Kbps. Keep this below 50% of your maximum internet upload speed from your ISP. (I have 20 Mbps upload max capability, but I find 3500 Kpbs to be sufficient.)
- Keyframe Interval: The recommended setting is ‘2’ which is specifically used for Twitch but will also help on YouTube so the viewers can watch the stream smoothly.
- CPU Usage Preset: (Shows up if you’re not using NVIDIA NVENCH Encoding) This setting tells OBS how much CPU processing power to use and is dependent on the power of your computer.
- Preset: I have it set to Max Quality, reduce if you have trouble with it.
- Profile: I have this set to high, often the recommended setting is ‘main’ because main and high profiles deliver better quality video than baseline profile, and ‘main’ is better for smartphones and tablets, whereas high is better for larger screens.
- I leave the rest of the settings as-is from install or default on this page.
- Recording tab
- Type: Should be set to standard.
- Recording Path: Where you want to save your videos.
- Generate File Name without Space: Your personal preference.
- Recording Format: mp4 is usually the recommended format especially if you plan on editing the recording. With flv and other formats, they are not always compatible with editing software, and you will need to take an extra step to convert the file to mp4 before editing so if you can record smoothly with mp4, stick with that.
- Audio Track: You can use this option to choose which audio tracks you want to include in your recording and/or edit them out later if desired.
- Encoder: If you have an NVIDIA graphics card then you want to select NVENC. If you have another graphics card, you would choose the x264.
- Re-scale Output: You should leave this unchecked so your recordings are the same as your base resolution unless you want the resolution to be different.
- Custom Mixer Settings: This should be left blank.
- Rate Control: I use VBR for a higher-quality recording. If you have trouble with it, use CBR.
- Bitrate: I have it set to 3500 Kbps
- Max Bitrate: I have it set to 10000 Kbps
- Keyframe interval: Should be left at 0, no need to change it for recordings.
- Preset: I have this set at Max Quality, reduce it if you need for your computer.
- Profile: I have this set as high, same as my streaming tab, but you can use main if you prefer.
- I leave the rest of the settings as-is from install or default on this page.
- Audio tab
- Audio Bitrate: 128 is the lowest you want to set this to. The higher you set it, the better quality sound but the more bandwidth it’ll use. I keep mine at 192. For recording purposes, if you have a better mic then you can make this higher to get better quality sound.
- Name: You can name each audio track if you prefer.
- Streaming tab
- Audio Settings: Go to File > Settings > Audio
- Sample Rate: You want to set this the same as your microphone settings, which you can look up in your recording devices for your mic. Mine is set at 48khz so I keep it at that.
- Channels: You want to keep this at Stereo.
- Desktop Audio Device: I set mine as default because I want it to pick up all of the audio from my mic and computer. You can change this setting to your preference.
- Desktop Audio Device 2: I leave this disabled.
- Mic/Auxillary Audio Device: I leave this at default.
- Rest of the settings: I leave the rest of the settings as-is from install or default on this page.
- Video Settings: Go to File > Settings > Video
- Base (Canvas) Resolution: This would be set to your base screen resolution.
- Output (Scaled) Resolution: You should keep this set to your base screen resolution and not downscale from here. If you want to stream at a lower resolution then you can adjust that in your streaming tab because you should always record at your base resolution and then scale it down while editing if needed. This is especially for people recording in 2K or 4K.
- Downscale filter: I used to set this at Lanczos (Sharpened scaling, 32 samples) but now I leave it at Bicubic and I feel like this works better for me. You can choose whichever one works better for you. Lanczos is supposed to give you a sharper image if you are using webcams etc, but for gaming Bicubic should do.
- Common FPS Values: 30 frames per second is the default and this is where I keep mine at. Some places you stream to want it at 30 or it won’t work, like LinkedIn.
- Hotkeys: Go to File > Settings > Hotkeys – This is based on your personal preference, I normally do not set any hotkeys.
- Advanced: Go to File > Settings > Advanced
- Process Priority: I recommended setting this to Above Normal in my previous tutorial. Currently, I have it set to normal, they both seem to work fine for me, so your preference.
- Renderer: You will want to set this to Direct3D 11 because the other option, OpenGL, may not perform as well.
- Video Adapter: I don’t use this so leave it blank.
- Color Format: NV12 is the preferred setting here.
- YUV Color Space: Set this at 709, but if you have any issues with it then you can leave it at 601.
- YUV Color Range: Set this to Full unless you get any color issues then try using Partial.
- Filename Formatting: I don’t change this and leave it at default.
- Overwrite if file exists: I do not check this as I don’t want to accidentally overwrite any files.
- Replay Buffer Filename Prefix: I’ve left this at the default which is Replay.
- Suffix: Should be blank.
- Stream Delay:
- Enable: I do not enable stream delay. The rest of the options in this section will be greyed out.
- Automatically Reconnect:
- Enable: You want to make sure you enable this so you can reconnect streaming automatically if you lose your connection for a bit.
- Retry Delay (seconds): This is how long it waits between each re-connection attempt. I’ve left this at the default which is 10.
- Maximum Retries: This is how many times to retry a connection before giving up. I’ve left this at the default which is 20.
- Network: I didn’t mess with anything in this section and left it all at default settings.
- Sources: I have enabled browser source hardware acceleration as it is recommended for people on Windows machines.
- Scenes and Sources: Scenes and Sources can be found on the main window of OBS Studio near the bottom.
- Scenes: On the left side of the screen you will see a box for scenes. You can name each one differently depending on what you want to show on your stream or recording. I usually set up a few scenes for myself that include different sources such as my game, my browser, my first display monitor, and my second display monitor. I set these up so if I need to switch up what I want to be streaming or recording quickly, I already have the scene created and I can do so with just a click of a button.
- Sources: These are the actual visuals that are shown within your scenes. You can add anything from your game, browser, images, whole display, specific windows, text, etc… Each one can be moved around and resized within the preview area right above.
Once you have finished setting up everything, hit that stream or record button and have some fun!
Editing Videos on Your Mobile Device with the YouCut App
Now that you have your recording from Second Life, let’s easily and quickly edit it into a portrait size to upload to your mobile platforms like TikTok, Instagram Reels, and YouTube Shorts. Before you begin, make sure to upload your mp4 recording to a cloud service online that you can access from your mobile device. I usually drop my mp4s to my Google Drive and then grab them from there on my tablet.
- Installation: Download and Install the YouCut app to your mobile device.
- Opening the File: YouCut typically opens files from your Gallery. So you need to download the mp4 from the cloud (Google Drive) to your Gallery on your mobile device. Then you can open up the file easily in the YouCut app by opening the app, pressing the + sign at the bottom, and starting a new project.
- Cropping: Once the video is open in YouCut, click the crop option and crop the file to 9:16 for TikTok, Instagram Reels, and YouTube Shorts. If you want to do a regular Instagram Video or (IGTV) you can leave it at 16:9 or crop it to 1:1 or 4:5 as IGTV takes all three of those well.
- Trim: Shorter videos that range from 15 to 30 seconds do better on these mobile platforms so click the trim button and trim as much as you need to keep it between that timing.
- Filters, Effects & More: Now is the time to make your video all fancy if you like. YouCut gives you all kinds of options for different filters, effects, stickers, etc. I don’t usually do any of this in YouCut as TikTok and Instagram give you all kinds of different filter and sticker options as well. What I do sometimes is mute the video of any sound (If I didn’t want to use my own sound) using the volume option so that I can choose one of the trending sounds from the social platform.
- Save: Click that save button and it should save a new file with all your edits to your gallery.
Uploading Short Videos to Social Networks
After you have your portrait short video ready, open up your social media app, upload your new video from your gallery, choose a trending sound so you get more views, add some text in the description, remember to use all the right hashtags, and hit that post button! Here are written instructions for the following three networks:
- For Instagram Reels: Open your Instagram app, click the + sign at the top right, click reel, click the + sign on the bottom left, click your video from your gallery, press add, click on the music icon on the left, pick a trending sound from the list or search for specific music at the top, choose the part you want for your video, hit done, click preview, if you want to change the music click the music icon again and then click edit under the music you had chosen, slide it to the section you want it to, click done, add filters and stickers and text as needed, click next, add some text in the caption including hashtags, tag people (@SecondLife), add “Second Life World” as location and then click share.
- For TikTok: Open your TikTok app, click the + sign at the bottom center of your screen, click the upload button on the bottom right, click on the video from your gallery, click add sound at the top, choose one of the recommended or trending sounds, or hit the search icon to search for something specific, to edit the sound click it on the top of your screen again then click the scissors icon to edit, move it to the part of the song you prefer and then hit done, click next, add a description including hashtags, you can also tag @SecondLife and then hit post.
- For YouTube Shorts: This only works on your phone! Open the YouTube app on your phone, log in, and then hit the + button at the bottom, click create a short, click the add clip button on the bottom left, click the video from your gallery, click add on the top right, click the checkmark on the bottom right, click sound and add a trending sound or search for something specific, add text and filters if needed, click next, add a short caption including hashtags even though they are not clickable on YouTube shorts they still bring up the video if someone clicks on them from other parts of YouTube, and then click upload short.
If you have suggestions or advice for better settings to improve the quality of videos and streams, please leave them in the comments so I can learn as well!
Happy streaming and recording, and don’t forget to share your links in the dance challenge!
UPDATE: I uploaded the short video I showed in the YouCut tutorial to both TikTok and Instagram Reels and this is how it looks:
@strawberrysingh I did an #ObsStudio Tutorial on my blog if you want to learn to record #SecondLife – check StrawberrySingh.com – video recorded in @secondlife ♬ Happy – Pharrell Williams
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