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How to use OBS Studio to Record or Live Stream Second Life

How to use OBS Studio to Record or Live Stream Second Life

I continue to get numerous questions about this so I thought I would do a detailed tutorial with a video so you guys can also get into Second Life vlogging and live streaming.

Watch my video on YouTube for all the information: https://youtu.be/NLciu-Dt7Q4

Recording, Editing and Streaming Software

OBS Studio (to record and/or live stream)

In this tutorial I am going to cover OBS Studio, mainly because it is free, easy to setup and use. It is also available for Windows, Linux and OSX. You can use it to directly live stream to your channel or record a video and then use any editing software of your choice to edit that video and upload to your video platform. You can not edit video with this software. This is the software I now use to live stream to my YouTube channel and is what I used when I recently did my two live discussions: Live Social Media Discussion and Live Second Life Photography Discussion.

Camtasia (to record and/or edit)

I use Camtasia to record the majority of my videos and then I also use it to edit my videos. This software is not free and you cannot use it for live streaming. I will not be covering this software in my tutorial. If you’d like to see what other hardware and software I use, check out my computer specs page.

Photoshop (to edit)

If you do not have a video editing software but do have Photoshop, you can use that to edit your video as well. You cannot use Photoshop to record or live stream. This is not how I edit my videos, I use Camtasia for editing, so I will not be covering this software in this tutorial but recently, an SL resident shared some tutorials on how to edit video using Photoshop on my Discord server the other day and I thought the tutorials were so well done that I would share them in this post:

Other Video Editing Software

Here are a few other very popular video editing softwares:

Streaming Services

The service I recommend using is YouTube and that is the one I will be covering in this Tutorial. I do not recommend Twitch because they have been known to ban users that streamed Second Life on their site. There are many other sites where you can live broadcast to like Hitbox, but I only stream to YouTube and that is the one I’ll be covering today.

Setting up YouTube for Streaming

You can go through the YouTube Live Streaming Guide for all the details but here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Create a YouTube Account: YouTube accounts are linked to your Google accounts so if you already have that, you can just start uploading your videos to your youtube account. If you want to live stream, you need to take a few more steps.
  • Verify your YouTube Account: Before you start live streaming, you need to make sure your account is verified. If you don’t plan on live streaming but just uploading videos then I don’t believe you need to do this step. To verify you will need to provide your phone number.
  • Enable Live Streaming: Next you’ll want to go to your ‘Creator Studio’ and then click ‘Live Streaming’ and set that up.
  • Add Stream Info: Before going live, make sure to setup your stream info with an interesting title and description, and then upload a thumbnail image.
  • Go Live: To start streaming your content you just start your encoder, for us that will be OBS Studio. To stop streaming, you will need to stop your encoder. When you are done streaming, a video of your stream will be automatically created and uploaded to your YouTube channel.

Setting up OBS Studio to Stream to YouTube

  1. Installation: Install OBS Studio for your platform.
  2. General Settings: Go to File > Settings > General – A lot of these settings are pretty straight-forward and will be based on personal preference, especially when you start experimenting with your sources in OBS. But, here is a screenshot of my general settings so you can get an idea of how I have it set.
  3. Stream Settings:  Go to File > Settings > Stream – This is where you will choose the service that we want to stream to.
    1. For ‘Stream Type’ choose ‘Streaming Services’
    2. For ‘Service’ choose ‘YouTube / YouTube Gaming
    3. For ‘Server’ choose ‘Primary YouTube Ingest Server’
    4. For ‘Stream Key’ you will find your stream key in your Live Stream Dashboard, scroll to the bottom and copy paste your stream key from there. Make sure never to share your stream key with anyone or they will be able to stream to your youtube channel.
  4. Output Settings: Go to File > Settings > Output – Change Output Mode from Simple to Advanced and then we’ll go through each setting separately:
    1. Streaming tab
      1. 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. That’s what I have as I don’t feel the need to split my audio.
      2. Encoder: x264 will be the more stable option and for online streaming this is the recommended option.
      3. Check ‘Enforce streaming service encoder settings’ so there are no issues wherever you plan to stream.
      4. Check ‘Rescale Output’ and the recommended output would be 1280×720 because then you won’t overload your encoder and/or internet connection and most streaming services scale down to that anyways. For YouTube, you can do up to 1920×1080 but the difference in quality is not that noticeable and it should increase your performance.
      5. Rate Control: The recommended setting is ‘CBR’ because it makes the encoder always run at a constant bit rate no matter what the scene.
      6. Bitrate: Recommended bitrate is 3500. This depends on your upload speed so if you feel lag on your stream you can lower it.
      7. Keyframe Interval: Recommended setting is ‘2’ which is specifically used for Twitch but will also help on YouTube so the viewers can watch the stream smoothly.
      8. CPU Usage Preset: This setting tells OBS how much CPU processing power to use and is dependent on the power of your computer. The recommended setting is ‘veryfast’ but if you have a very powerful computer you can set it to slower but that will of course use more processing power.
      9. Profile: Recommended setting is ‘main’ because main and high profiles deliver better quality video than baseline profile, however the stream becomes more difficult to decode for older smartphones and tablets so main is good for most modern smartphones and tablets whereas high is best for bigger screens. So sticking with main gives us the best quality with better decode options.
      10. Tune: Recommended setting is ‘None’ as the other settings do not apply to live streaming very well.
      11. Variable Framerate (VFR): Leave unchecked because a constant frame rate is preferred.
      12. x264 Options: This should be left blank.
    2. Recording tab
      1. Type: Should be set to standard.
      2. Recording Path: Where you want to save your videos.
      3. Generate File Name without Space: Your personal preference.
      4. 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 softwares and then 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.
      5. 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.
      6.  Encoder: If you have an nvidia graphics card then you want to select NVENC like I have. If you have an AMD or another graphics card, you would choose the one named that and the x264 you want to leave for streaming in case you are recording and streaming at the same time.
      7. 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.
      8. Custom Mixer Settings: This should be left blank.
      9. Rate Control: Like the streaming tab, this should be set to ‘CBR’ because it makes the encoder always run at a constant bit rate no matter what the scene.
      10. Bitrate: This should be set anywhere between 25000 to 40000. The higher the number the better the quality of your video but the larger your file size will be and the more taxing it will be on your computer. I usually keep mine at 30000 but you can experiment with yours.
      11. Keyframe interval: Should be left at 0, no need to change it for recordings.
      12. Preset: I leave this at default but you can experiment with it to improve video quality.
      13. Profile: I leave this at main, same as the streaming tab.
      14. Level: I leave this at Auto.
      15. Use Two-Pass Encoding: You can check this option to make your video look slightly better while making your file size smaller. If you are streaming and recording at the same time though, you may find some performance issues.
      16. GPU: I leave this at 0.
      17. B-frames: I leave this at 2.
    3. Audio tab
      1. 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.
      2. Name: You can name each audio track if you prefer.
  5. Audio Settings: Go to File > Settings > Audio 
    1. 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.
    2. Channels: You want to keep this at Stereo.
    3. 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.
    4. Desktop Audio Device 2: I leave this disabled because I don’t use audio like Skype in the background that I would want to separate and/or mute when editing. But you can set this to your preference.
    5. Mic/Auxillary Audio Device: This should be set to your default microphone.
    6. Mic/Auxillary Audio Device 2: You use this if you have more than one microphone.
    7. Mic/Auxillary Audio Device 3: You use this if you have more than one microphone.
    8. Mic/Aux: (I don’t enable these settings)
      1. Enable Push-to-mute: If you enable this, you can set a hotkey to press and hold whenever you want to mute your mic.
      2. Push-to-mute delay: You can use this to delay in milliseconds for when you want the push-to-mute to execute.
      3. Enable Push-to-talk: If you enable this, you can set a hotkey to press and hold whenever you want to talk and have your mic pick it up.
      4. Push-to-talk delay: You can use this to delay in milliseconds for when you want the push-t0-talk to execute.
    9. Desktop Audio: (I don’t enable these settings)
      1. Enable Push-to-mute: If you enable this, you can set a hotkey to press and hold whenever you want to mute your desktop audio.
      2. Push-to-mute delay: You can use this to delay in milliseconds for when you want the push-to-mute to execute.
      3. Enable Push-to-talk: If you enable this, you can set a hotkey to press and hold whenever you want to have your desktop audio picked up.
      4. Push-to-talk delay: You can use this to delay in milliseconds for when you want the push-t0-talk to execute.
  6. Video Settings: Go to File > Settings > Video
    1. Base (Canvas) Resolution: This would be set to your base screen resolution.
    2. 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.
    3. Downscale filter: Unless you have a very old computer, you want to keep this set at Lanczos (Sharpened scaling, 32 samples) to make your picture sharper.
    4. Common FPS Values: 30 frames per second is the default and it captures normal paced movements quite well and in a natural way. This is where I keep mine at because at times my upload speed is not the best. If you are streaming at 720p or lower though and you have a good upload speed, then you can take it up to 60 because it will capture more details of a motion than 30 would.
  7. Hotkeys: Go to File > Settings > Hotkeys – This is based on your personal preference, I normally do not set any hotkeys.
  8. Advanced: Go to File > Settings > Advanced
    1. General:
      1. Process Priority: Set this to Above Normal.
    2. Video: 
      1. Renderer: You will want to set this to Direct3D 11 because the other option, OpenGL, may not perform as well.
      2. Video Adapter: I don’t use this so leave it blank.
      3. Color Format: NV12 is the preferred setting here.
      4. YUV Color Space: Set this at 709, but if you have any issues with it then you can leave it at 601.
      5. YUV Color Range: Set this to Full unless you get any color issues then try using Partial.
    3. Audio Monitoring Device: I leave this at Default.
    4. Recording: 
      1. Filename Formatting: I don’t change this and leave it at default.
      2. Overwrite if file exists: I do not check this as I don’t want to accidentally overwrite any files.
      3. Replay Buffer Filename Prefix: I’ve left this at the default which is Replay.
      4. Suffix: Should be blank.
    5. Stream Delay: 
      1. Enable: I do not enable this because stream delay is most often used in competitive games to help prevent someone from spying on you by viewing your stream to get an unfair advantage over you. I never participate in things like that so I never use this option. The rest of the options in this section will be greyed out.
    6. Automatically Reconnect: 
      1. Enable: You want to make sure you enable this so you can reconnect streaming automatically if you lose your connection for a bit.
      2. Retry Delay (seconds): This is how long it waits between each re-connection attempt. I’ve left this at the default which is 10.
      3. Maximum Retries: This is how many times to retry connection before giving up. I’ve left this at the default which is 20.
    7. Network: I didn’t mess with anything in this section and left it all at default settings.
  9. Scenes and Sources: Scenes and Sources can be found on the main window of OBS Studio near the bottom. 
    1. Scenes: On the left side of the screen you will see a box for scenes. There are how you lay our all your sources. You can name each one and create as many scenes as you prefer with no limits. I usually setup a few scenes for myself that include different sources 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.
    2. Sources: These are the actual visuals that are shown on your stream. 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.

Please note that I learned all of these settings after reading and watching many different tutorials and trying to understand how all of this works. With that being said, I am not a very technical person so I did my best here to my understanding and my experience with streaming and recording so far with OBS. If you have other suggestions for better streaming or recording with OBS, please feel free to leave your suggestions with your reasoning in the comments. I am always open to learning! Also remember that everyone has a different computers and network connections so experiment with these settings now that you understand them more and go with the ones that work best for your system.

Now you are all set to start streaming to your own youtube channel! I will be announcing a Second Life Vlogger Challenge very soon so make sure to look for the link here and participate if you can!

Full style and location details are in this post: Second Life Vlogger Challenge

Happy streaming and don’t forget to subscribe to my YouTube channel!

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