Open Broadcasting Software (OBS) is a free tool for recording and broadcasting which enables multiple media sources to be aggregated and manipulated into a single stream. Features include on-the-fly effects like transparency and live greenscreening, direct from computer audio as well as microphone capture, ability to route audio (or presumably video) via an additional programme such as Ableton Live or Max/MSP and to switch between screen layouts (useful for transitioning between pieces in an online gig, for example)
- Download from https://obsproject.com/
- No account needed, no paid options
- You may need to set up some sort of virtual audio driver to route audio from your browser windows and any other apps (e.g. if applying effects via a DAW) into OBS - I use SoundFlower and have a Multi-Output Device set up so I can both hear the audio and route it into OBS. To set up a Multi-Output Device on Mac, see this document: https://support.apple.com/en-gb/guide/audio-midi-setup/ams7c093f372/mac
- Windows doesn't seem to need anything additional to receive computer sound
Cropping & resizing
- Crop a window by holding Alt and dragging the bounding box (be sure the bounding box isn’t set in the Transform dialogue)
- Resize a window by just dragging its corners
You can capture the same window multiple times and apply different crops and resizes each time to, for example, separate out users in a single videoconference.
Note that once a window is cropped in OBS, if you move it from its original position on your screen, the crop in OBS may no longer reflect the section you want to see.
Google Meet → OBS
- Cropping can be useful for making adjustments to Google Meet windows where participants can’t be hidden - crop to just the presentation area.
- Test your cropping carefully - when Google Meet is muted, it has a tendency to pop up a message asking if you’re trying to say something - this message intrudes into the frame area and cannot be disabled.
Zoom → OBS
- Use Computer Audio
- Share Computer Sound for presentation mode
- On the Host’s computer (the person collating material in OBS), you’ll need to take the Zoom window off full screen or OBS won’t be able to show it in the dropdown to be selected
Using multiple videoconference instances
Cannot log into multiple meetings simultaneously from a free or pro account - multiple simultaneous Zoom meetings require Business, Enterprise or Education account.
Obviously this can be solved with upgrading account type - hopefully only 1 person (the one using OBS) would need this, but the need for it is also quite limited and probably only necessary where multiple performers need to share multiple screens (present) *with audio* (untested - please update this page if you have tested this).
To present without computer audio (mic only), Google Meet works; for multi-performer audio-only presentation, a low-latency audio platform might be worth considering.
Alexander Schubert's Browsing, Idling, Investigating, Dreaming (Bastard Assignments Lockdown Jams, 2020): https://youtu.be/YAhaYcA9zuQ
This piece is performed live using 1 Zoom meeting (Spotify), 2 Google Meet meetings (Google StreetView is silent, the computer voice uses the system mic) and 1 local browser window (field recordings), aggregated in OBS and the OBS output then pushed out to the other three performers via an additional Google Meet meeting. Due to feedback problems, however, the field recordings are not heard by the other performers (although I'm sure there'll be a way I can rectify this - CR). Additionally, everyone joined the Zoom meeting as this was the easiest way to communicate without interfering with the other setups. The setup diagram is as follows:
- First check everybody’s mics are muted everywhere (or everywhere but 1 source)
- Go into Settings > Audio in OBS and check the Monitoring section. You should be monitoring only something that doesn’t have an audible output otherwise, while system audio may need to go to a multi-output device (speakers and Soundflower)
- Check your sound sources and outputs at the system level, in OBS AND where another tool has separate settings, e.g. Zoom lets you specify different outputs within the tool and doesn't necessarily change them when your system settings change.
Pages in category "OBS"
This category contains only the following page.