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How to Use OBS Studio for Professional Video Streaming [2021 Update]

By Harmonie Duhamel

13 Min Read

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Harmonie Duhamel

Harmonie is a Senior digital marketer with over 6 years in the Tech Industry. She has a strong marketing and sales background and loves to work in multilingual environments.

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      Anyone involved in live streaming needs to use a live video encoder. Encoding can be done at the software or hardware level. RTMP-enabled software encoders like OBS Studio provide the most versatility and are used by the majority of professional broadcasters.

      OBS Studio is a free, open-source broadcasting software with an integrated video encoder application. This encoding software is quite powerful and used by many broadcasting professionals. 

      This article will explain how to use OBS Studio for RTMP (real-time messaging protocol) stream RTMP ingest. We will cover how to add video sources, adding an image or OBS window capture to a broadcast, positioning multiple video sources, setting up hotkeys, and choosing the best encoder settings.

      Please note that this article is based on the latest version of the classic OBS Studio Version 27.0.1 released on June 11th, 2021, for free download for both macOS and Windows operating systems. The recent update features undo/redo, browser docks on macOS, Linux, and more.

      For easier and faster setup, we recommend using the Dacast custom version of OBS Studio. If you decide to use our custom version of OBS Studio, check out this tutorial.

      This post has been updated to reflect the most accurate and up-to-date information regarding the setup and tools of OBS Studio as of July 2021.

      Table of Contents

      • Connect OBS Studio to Dacast
      • How to Add Video Sources on OBS Studio
      • How to Use OBS Studio Window Capture
      • How to Add Images or Text with OBS Studio
      • How to Arrange Multiple Video Sources on OBS Studio
      • Setting up Hotkeys on OBS Studio
      • Choosing the Right OBS Studio Encoder Settings
      • OBS Studio Video Tutorial
      • Conclusion

      Connect OBS Studio to Dacast

      obs window capture
      In order to learn how to use OBS Studio with Dacast, you must first learn how to connect the two platforms.

      Before we dive into how to use OBS Studio for live streaming, we’re going to quickly cover how to connect your OBS Studio encoder to Dacast. To ensure software compatibility, check out our post on the minimum OBS system requirements.

      First, you’re going to want to open up “Settings” on OBS Studio. You’ll see a “URL” and “Stream Key.” Keep these two codes handy. 

      Open up the Dacast live streaming platform and navigate to the “Encoder Setup” window and select “Other RTMP Encoder.” Input the URL and Stream Key into the fields labeled “Stream URL” and “Stream Key,” respectively.

      Select “Use Authentication.” Fill in “Username” and “Password” using the login information of your live channel.

      From there, you should be good to go.

      How to Add Video Sources on OBS Studio

      One of the simplest and most important tasks with OBS is to add video sources to your stream.

      To add a video source, such as a webcam or a camera connected via a capture card, click on the “+” sign that is inside the “Sources” widget:

      This will prompt you to add a type of video source you can add. Select “Video Capture Device” if you want to add a camera. Then you will be asked to name your video Sources and choose from an existing one or create a new one.

      At this stage, you can also choose to flip the image vertically or horizontally, adjust the opacity, change the resolution, or set up a chroma-key (green screen) effect. 

      When you are done click “OK,” and your video source will be added.

      If there is blank space bordering your video feed, you may need to go to “Settings” and adjust the resolution of your broadcast to match the size of your video input.

      How to Use OBS Studio Window Capture

      If you want to share your computer screen during your broadcast, you can either use Display or OBS Window Capture.

      Display Capture will broadcast everything that is on our computer screen in a certain area, although the size of that area can be changed. Window Capture for OBS will allow you to broadcast the screen of a particular application (Skype, Word, PowerPoint, Internet Browsers, etc.) and only that.

      To set up a Display Capture go to the “Sources” widget, click on the “+” sign and select “Display Capture.” 

      Give it a name and click “OK.” 

      From there, you have the choice of whether you want the mouse cursor to be captured or not. You can also set the opacity and select a “Sub-Region” to create a smaller area of your monitor screen to capture:

      OBS window capture

      For Windows Capture go to the “Sources” widget, click on the “+” sign and select “Window Capture.” 

      Name the source and click “OK.” 

      On the drop-down menu, select which application you want to OBS Window Capture from. If you don’t see the one you wanted, try re-launching OBS or the program (or both). If it still doesn’t appear, use “Monitor Capture” instead.

      Choose whether you want to capture the Entire Screen or the Inner Screen. You have the option to choose if the mouse cursor is captured or not, the opacity, and create a smaller sub-region. 

      Click “OK” when you’re done.

      Want to try Dacast with OBS Studio risk-free for 30 days? Take advantage of our free trial and the version of OBS that was designed to be used with Dacast.


      How to Add Images or Text with OBS Studio

      To add images to your stream, right-click under sources, then click “Add.” From there, select “Image.” This will give you the option to browse for the image you want to add and adjust the opacity.

      Alternatively, you can add an image slideshow and select several individual files or an entire folder.

      The process to add text is very similar. You can use the menu settings to choose color, opacity, font, size, and message text. Also, you can indicate whether or not you want the text to scroll and the scroll speed, 

      How to Arrange Multiple Video Sources on OBS Studio

      OBS allows broadcasters to create scenes with multiple inputs on the same screen. This allows you to create professional picture-in-picture broadcasts and bring in multiple guests/videos via different sources.

      After adding a source, you can position it anywhere you like. To move a source, just click on it, and resize and reposition it the way you want:

      OBS Multiple video sources

      You can also do a right-click on your video source to change the order, rotate them, or even add filters.

      If you want to rearrange the layering of your sources, go to “Order” and then select “Move up,” “Move Down,” “Move to Top” or “Move to Bottom.” Whatever is on the top layer will cover the sources behind it, with the bottom layer at the back.

      To add a filter, right-click the video source, select “Filter” and choose the type of filters you want to add. You can choose from a video filter, audio filter, or effect filter on the image. 

      For example, below is an example of an image blend filter and a color correction filter added on the video capture device source:

      OBS studio filters

      To remove anything that has been added in your OBS Studio software—a filter, a video source, or an audio source—just click on the “eye” icon to mask it. For instance, after clicking on the “eye” icons of the effect filters previously added, my video source is back to its original state:

      OBS effect filters for video capture device

      Setting up Hotkeys on OBS Studio

      Hotkeys are a key feature for OBS Studio that will help take your streams to the next level. 

      Essentially, setting up hotkeys allows you to switch between multiple scenes instantly, at the touch of a button. This allows for smooth, precisely-timed cuts between different pre-recorded or live video streams.

      If you’ve followed our instructions above, you’ve already created your first scene. To use hotkeys, start by creating another scene, by clicking on the “+” within the “Scene” widget:

      Choosing the Right OBS Studio Encoder Settings

      Now that you’ve created your scenes and set up your video sources, you’re almost ready to begin broadcasting. It is time to make sure your encoder settings are correct. 

      Dacast has a few required encoder settings that apply to OBS Studio and any other encoding software you may use.

      These are the required settings:

      VIDEO CODEC H.264 (x264 may work)
      FRAME RATE 25 or 30
      KEYFRAME INTERVAL 2 secs (or 2x frame rate)
      SCANNING Progressive
      AUDIO BITRATE 128 kbps
      AUDIO CHANNELS 2 (Stereo)
      AUDIO SAMPLE RATE 48 kHz (48,000 Hz)

      Check out our live encoder configuration post for a complete list of suggested settings to optimize your audio and video streaming.

      Next, we need to connect OBS to Dacast. To do this, go to “Settings” select “Stream” on the left side Menu. Select “Custom Live streaming server“:

      OBS studio settings - custom streaming server

      The URL and Stream keys are available in the RTMP encoder set up a section of your Dacast last channel.

      Once you have copy-pasted the information related to your Dacast live channel, check “Use authentication”.

      OBS studio settings - user authentication

      You will see that you need to enter a username and a password. These are the login and password of your Dacast live channel, available in the encoder set up a section where you found the stream URL and stream key. For more details on those 2 steps, you can always check this tutorial for connecting Dacast with OBS.

      Finally, make sure your encoder settings are correct. We recommend the following:

      • Resolution: match your camera/source resolution
      • Frames per second: use 30 unless you have a specific reason not to
      • Keyframe interval: 2 seconds
      • Video codec: x264
      • Bitrate: Check out our bitrate guide for multi-bitrate streaming
      • Audio codec: AAC
      • Channels (audio): Stereo for all streams above 360p resolution, Mono for below
      • Audio sample rate: 22 Khz

      Now do a test stream to make sure your broadcast looks and sounds the way you want.  If it all works the way you’d hoped, you’re ready to go!

      OBS Studio Video Tutorial

      We recommend checking out our OBS Studio video tutorial for a visual recap of this step-by-step walkthrough of how to use OBS Studio.


      Once your encoder is all set up and you’re familiar with all of the features that OBS Studio has to offer, run a test stream to make sure your broadcast looks and sounds the way you want.  If it all works the way you’d hoped, you’re ready to go.

      Using OBS with Dacast is a great option if you want to stream live video on your website since it is fully loaded with the features you need to run a professional-grade broadcast.

      New to Dacast and interested to try out our white-label streaming platform for yourself? Sign up today for a 30-day trial to test out all of our features for free. No credit card required.


      For regular live streaming tips and exclusive offers, join the Dacast LinkedIn group.

      author avatar

      Harmonie Duhamel

      Harmonie is a Senior digital marketer with over 6 years in the Tech Industry. She has a strong marketing and sales background and loves to work in multilingual environments.

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