Over the past few years I've been trying out all sorts of things in my livestreaming setup that I'd like to point out in case it may be of use to anyone out there. So here's a quick rundown of my setup and things I think you should look into as a Livestreamer.
Let's just dive right into this and skip out on all the BS intro stuff.
First, Use OBS. OBS is open source and you can download it for free right on the official OBS website. Ok ok, I know you already know about OBS. If you're livestreaming and you don't use OBS are you really even a livestreamer though? Don't worry, we're going to dive in a bit deeper but we need to let the noobs know that StreamLabs OBS sucks, Stream elements is cool, but OBS is still better and here's why. Streamlabs always had issues for me, often crashing in the middle of a stream...
This causes an issue because youtube only allows for 3 notifications per day. So lets say I livestream and it drops 3 times that day making me restart, at night when and if I post any new videos or clips from the stream no one is notified. It takes 24hours before that counter seems to reset at this time.
Here are some ways you can setup your livestream.
Nginx allows for you to stream RTMP to your computer which then can send it out elsewhere as well as record a copy of it for you right on your harddrive. This is beneficial in a couple of cases. In my case, I have a LiveU which is a bonding encoder that will allow you to livestream from any hdmi device, like your dslr or video camera, and using multiple modems or hotspots it will combine their signals in order to give you one faster signal, and then sends that to wherever you want. Its your Nginx server that then sends it to youtube or another platform.
Here's why you would want to do this. Lets say your out livestreaming on your cellphone. These days we have ok quality on the cellphone cameras but you're still limited to the amount of bandwidth your phone can upload through the air to a tower. With something like a liveU, (there are other streaming devices by the way, as well as diy with a raspberry pi) you're able to actually stream with higher bitrate and resolution since multiple modems give you enough signal to upload these larger "files". This isn't a promo for liveU, they have their own set of problems, trust me, but it's just what I ended up using and having luck with.
If you want to learn more about this just look up more information about how the liveU works and the capabilities when using nginx gryphon for RTMP livestreaming.
ok, now you have OBS setup and working... but let me show you how I have mine setup!
It may look a bit complicated to some when looking at first but I'll explain everything I have going on here. I'll go through it fast so I'm not boring those who do have a bit more experience and if you guys want me to elaborate on any of the things I showed in this video just let me know in the comments and I'll dive a bit deeper into it.
First, In my OBS I've Changed my Theme so it's a bit easier on my eyes, I would show you all my stream settings but if anyone just copies them they will have issues since those settings are dependant on your personal internet speeds. Thats another subject on its own but the easiest way check is to do a speed test, whatever your upload speeds are will determine your settings choices. If you have 12-20mbps upload speeds, then you can safely stream at 6000bitrate which is about half that minimum 12mbps upload speed you have. If your upload speed was 6mbps, I would feel safe at bitrates like 2500-3000kbps. the best way though would be to actually do a private stream and watch it on a mobile device that is not on the wifi network. If it's lagging, take the bitrate down some or the resolution. usually 1080p @30 is fine for desktops and 720p @30 is going to be best for cellphone streaming. The higher the bitrate the clearer the image will look and the lower you go the more pixellated it gets.
So back to OBS, all of my scenes here are separated by their purpose at the moment. A's for example are my scenes I can swtich to during my streams while B are being set up for when there are issues with the stream. I can make it so that if my RTMP stream dies while I'm out doing IRL streams, it will auto switch to one of these to let the viewers know there are issues and when it comes back it will switch back to the active scene with your stream. So if you wanted to have some sort of technical issues video playing or just a banner image of some sort, this is the way you would set it up. This brings me to another thing, Plugins, there are tons for OBS. Have you taken the time to look into those? you should! The one that does this is called advanced scene swticher but ill show you a list of tools i use along with OBS to help tie all this stuff together.
So in my other scenes you'll see settings changes for my cameras, then under that Here's where I set up my souce scenes. There are many cool uses for this but the most useful for me is if I set up my events scene, then add that in as a source to all the scenes i need it in, when I need to make a change it changes all of them automatcally. I don't have to go in and manually adjust my events source in all my scenes. Most people just add it in as a browser source and copy it in to other scenes, which works, but i found this way to work much better. the only pain is if I need to go in and make a change to a camera, for example, i need to go into the scene to do it which also means generally needing to turn on studio mode if you want to be clean about it.
Studio mode is cool too, if you dont want the stream to see what you're doing when you're moving things around or making changes, you turn that mode on, and when you're done with the changes you can hit transition or setup a hot key to make the change viewable by your audience.
Um... camera settings... so with OBS you can bring in a RTSP stream using the media source, this allows me to grab the feed from any IP camera or source on my network. Also, some IP cameras have a whole set of commands you can send to it using this so for example, my PTZ outside lets me send these commands to turn night vision on or off or even just to move it around using presets and more.... how is this useful to you, i dont know, but maybe u can use this outside of streaming for personal viewing of a petcam at home or that hot chick you have locked in the basement, i dont know, im not judging you, i just make videos here ok...
Close file when inactive, thats another thing to keep an eye for. There are some sources you dont want to close out every time you move from your scene. For example, in my streams I set it up so the latest donators and channel members show on top here, if I have it close this source ever time I change scenes it will reload and look a bit distracting so if you want it to just remain there even when you change scenes, that's how that works.
anyway, oh here's aother awesome tool I use. POTATOOOOOOO. VoiceMeeter Potato to be specific! It's basically a mixing board on your PC so you can pipe in audio and back out whereever you need it, and connecting it to multiple computers on your network is possible too with VBAN. Look into this if you haven't they have other tools that may be of use to you. There are plenty of other videos online of how this app works but its free... actually everything I'm showing here today is freeeeeeee.....
Another useful thing to note about OBS is that youre able to save out scene collections and profiles. If you're not using this, do it, like now! Profiles are basically for you to set up your stream settings. So you could set one up that goes to twitch at 1080p@30, then set up another profile that goes out to youtube at 720p@60, and whenever you're going to stream to a different platform you just switch to the one you want and the settings for your resolution and stream will be there. This way you don't need to constantly set that up before you go to livestream. Scene collections are for your scenes and sources. So if you have a set of backgrounds, scenes and everything else set up on the front end of OBS, this will allow you to save those so I have mine set up for the type of streaming I'm going to be doing and each one will have a different set of sources and scenes. My main one has everything in it and it can bog down the system at times, so it's just easier to have a different set of scenes that maybe dont have as much going on if I dont need all that extra stuff. Then it's not only out of my way but allows my system to breathe a bit. your processor will thank you.
Here are some other cool plugins you should know about:
My last notable mention is Lumia stream (Formerly, Lumia Cove). They have come a really long way since I started using them. Before it was just some simple connections between your stream alerts and smart plugs, chat commands, and smart lights. This allows for lights to change colors or effects in the backgrouns whenver notifications come up. But now they integrated featuers for midi, many more devices, and the list goes on. They are a paid subscription though so if you're interested in something like that go to their site to learn more. Definitely has come in useful quite a few times for me and I even use it on the daily to control my home lights even when im not streaming. The funny thing is when people donate or subscribe and the lights in my house and audio start doing crazy things. Like a little jumpscare just when you're least expecting it. haha
Alright alright, i'll stop for now! I've given you guys enough homework so be sure to look into those things I mentioned and let me know how you use these features, I'm curious on maybe some ways you use it that I haven't thought about yet. I hope I was able to help some of you guys just getting into streaming. I know when I started it was really difficult to find out more information about how people are using these tools or why. Sometimes standard OBS doesn't seem to have the features you want but it usually does. and many of the times, obs just works better and the updates are done by the opensource community. which we should always support so they can keep innovating on these awesome apps. Take care and see you guys on the next one!!!