Ultimate Guide: How to Use OBS Studio for Screen Capture

March 25, 2024

If you are about to start recording your content or to stream online, chances are after one google search you have already stumbled upon OBS but might be unsure about what to do next.

In that case, allow us to help you out with your video recording or live streaming via OBS.

What is OBS Studio exactly?

OBS stands for Open Broadcaster Software and it is the most commonly used recording and streaming software on the market currently. Not only does it help with recording and streaming but as an open-source software there are a lot of third party tools and plugins that can meet your potentially unique needs to elevate your live streaming quality from the competitors.

Main reasons to use OBS:

Unlike some of the other streaming softwares, Open Broadcaster Software lets you completely adjust your bitrates and your video quality so if you are not equipped with a top of the line computer, you can still manually adjust the streaming and video quality for a smooth video with no lag. It also supports advanced encoding options like x264 and gives better optimization for your recordings and streams.

Installing OBS Studio and Video Recorder settings

  • Download and Install OBS or Streamlabs Desktop
  • Go into the Settings, select Video tab and make sure both Resolutions are set to 1920x1080 and that the Common FPS Values is set to 60fps
  • Afterwards in Settings, go into Output and switch to Advanced Output Mode
    • For now we are focusing on Recording so select the Recording tab and make sure to pick a Recording path on your PC that has plenty of space
    • Select recording format, MP4 is a common one to pick
    • Enable Audio Track 1,2 and 3 if you are planning on editing the recording afterwards or to send the gameplay footage to a video editor afterwards
    • Recording should be set to either NVIDIA NVENC H.264/HECH or AMD HW H.265 or similar
    • Video Bitrate should be set to 10000 and depending on your graphics card the framerate
    • If your footage has lag issues, you might need to lower the bitrate until you no longer have lag in your gameplay videos
    • Rate control: keep it on CBR the default option as CBR stands for "constant bitrate" which makes for a smooth experience and will not cause issues in your recording
    • Either leave Keyframe interval on default or change that to 2 seconds and you should be done with the recording settings
    • In output, change the audio bitrate from 160 to anything between 192-320 for better audio bitrate quality
  • Next up, let's go into the Audio settings in OBS
    • Audio bitrate and Sample Rate is set to lower by default and if you are streaming from a laptop, might as well keep it on default but if you are on a strong setup let's adjust them by:
      • Change Sample Rate from 44.1 khz to 48khz
      • Change
  • Afterwards let’s create a new scene
  • Click on the plus icon to add Sources to the left of the Scenes and either select Display Capture or if you can select Screen Capture and select Automatic Capture Game
  • If you have a webcam, or a video capture device then let's add that into the obs scene as well
    • Add Source, select Video Capture Device
    • Then pick your webcam or your video capture device such as camlink 4k or HD60S game capture card
  • By default your OBS scene should have 2 audio inputs in the Audio Mixer panel
    • Mic/Aux
    • Desktop Audio
  • Click on the wheel button next to each audio input and click on “Properties” to make sure the correct audio devices are selected (do not leave them on Default as that can be unreliable)
    • Also in the same window or Advanced Properties in OBS, you will see numbers next to the audio inputs, make sure to leave everything on 1 and for 2 and 3, have the microphone and desktop separated
    • In obs you need to click on the cogwheel icon on the right side of the Audio Mixer Panel
    • This will allow you to be able to mute your microphone while keeping the gameplay audio on when editing your video

OBS settings for live streaming

Now that we have setup everything for recording videos, it is time to also set up the streaming settings so you can have a smooth live streaming experience.

In Settings, go into the Output window and under Streaming let's set up the following:

  • Audio Track should be kept on 1
  • Enable Twitch VOD and select a different track
    • This gives you the option to separate music audio input so your VOD will not contain music and therefore Twitch/youtube will not mute any part of your live stream vod
  • Encoder: Same as for recording
    • NVIDIA NVENC H.264/HECH or AMD HW H.265 or similar
  • Rate control: keep it on CBR the default option
  • Video Bitrate: Twitch recommends 6000 but if you are streaming on youtube you can set the bitrate to 8000
    • Should your stream become laggy, it could be caused either by bad internet connection or your pc can not handle it, in which case you should consider changing the video settings to 720p or 900p (1600x900) and lower the bitrate
  • Audio bitrate should be the same as for recording and it is applied universally so it should be setup by this point
  • Besides these, one more thing is that in your Settings, select Stream where you will need to connect your streaming platform. It may let you login via your Twitch/Youtube account or otherwise may need to manually set it up by inserting your custom stream key.

Finding your streamkey

Stream key is a unique code made for your stream account which is needed for OBS or Streamlabs OBS to be able to start going live.

Each platform has the stream key placed somewhere else so here you can find the guide for Twitch and Youtube's stream key location that you can copy paste into OBS


  • Go to Twitch.tv and log into your streamer account
  • Select your profile on the top right corner
  • Click on Settings
  • Select "Channels and Videos"
  • On the left toolbar, click on "Stream" under the Settings tab
  • The first option there will show you the streamkey that you can copy paste into OBS
    • Do not share your stream key with anyone!


  • Log into your YT account
  • On top right, click on streaming
  • Under Stream settings, you will find your Stream key that you can copy paste into OBS

Afterwards of setting that up, you should be able to just click on Go Live in your open broadcaster software and start the stream!


Depending on your hardware and game and complexity of your OBS stream setup you may be running into skipping frame issues or your recorded video is out of sync so here are some general tips for fixing those issues:

  • In OBS settings, let's lower the video bitrate
  • In OBS settings, decrease the video resolution to 720p or 900p
  • In OBS settings, make sure the right Nvidia/AMD x264 encoder format is selected
  • Make sure rate control is set to CBR
  • Make sure FPS is set to 60 fps
  • Make sure recording path is set to a hard drive with plenty of space if you have issues when recording videos
  • Disable any software running in the background that you do not need
  • Update your graphics card driver
  • Restart your computer before starting a stream/recording session

In my experience, adjusting the video bitrate seems to solve the main issue but of course you might need to go through the other fixes as well.

If none of the above works, chances are your computer is not strong enough to handle the specific task, in which case you might need to consider a dual stream setup and then you can set your quality and video bitrate to the highest usable setting just remember to fix your microphone and audio sources setup in the audio mixer for streaming computer.

You are ready to go now, just click the record button and time to record gameplay as you want!

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