obs studio guide

by Yevvie.2590
Last Updated: 15th June 2022


Xinluang [BP], Nevaelei [ebay]

Hello! I'm Yevvie and I'm a dedicated Firebrand main for a couple of well-known fight guilds and a driver for Fabled Mythos [Fabl]. I've been working on a variety of tools and guides, introducing people to the NA fight scene and its culture. Together with my husband and friends we're leading a guild with learning as its goal, so if you enjoyed this guide and ever swing by BP, pop in to say hi!

What is obs?

OBS Studio, known also as OpenBroadcasterSoftware, is a free and open-source program used for streaming and recording videos of games, screen captures and more. The app looks very simple and fairly straightforward to use, but has extremely detailed technical side, and makes for a powerful tool for anyone who wants to share their screen with others.

Where to get it?

OBS is available on their own website, as well as on Steam

How to use it?

Initial setup

After you open the app, you'll be greeted with a fairly simple UI. The top part is your recording / streaming preview, while the bottom provides controls for all of it.

Leftmost column gives you an overview of Scenes, which are separate setups for your recording. Second to it are Sources, which are all the files and capture sources that the app will use while recording. It won't record anything but the things listed here.

Audio Mixer shows you where the sound comes from. If you're recording with Discord voice chat on, you may want to tick the mute button under your microphone. Discord will still feed OBS the things you speak in voice, but you won't be recording ambient noises of your room, commentary you share with your roommate or any other unwanted chatter. Unless this is what you want to add to your video, you do you.

Scene transitions are the effects applied to the screen if you use more than one scene. In the image above you can see my "Splash Screen", which is the cover for any information visible on the screen while we're loading into the game or doing other things I do not necessarily want a visual on. When swapping to "Guild Wars 2" scene it will apply a gentle crossfade, making it more pleasant to the eye. You don't need to play with that if you don't want to.

The last column provides you with general menu for the app. From here you can start streaming or recording at a click of a button, or edit additional things you need.


Now that we know the UI, we'll look through setting up the app for optimal video quality and experience. Click the [1]  menu. 

In Settings, I want you to navigate to  tab. Things below are specifically the way I set up my recordings and they will depend on your hardware so you may need to play with them in the future.

Base (Canvas) Resolution should be equal to your screen resolution if you're playing in fullscreen or borderless fullscreen. If you have two monitors, input the resolution of the one which has GW2 on it.

Output (Scaled) Resolution is what the video will come out as. If you have good specs and get no lag from recording UHD videos, you can set it equal to your screen size. For others, 1280x720 should be a reliable choice to showcase crisp enough video to know what's happening, but not too big.

Downscale filter is really up to you, but I recommend Bicubic for fast and lightweight option that looks good.

Common FPS Values you want to set up to "60".

In  tab you need to set up at least two hotkeys to be able to record fights quickly. Those are "Start Recording" and "Stop Recording". They can be both set up to the same button so you can end old and start new video quickly. If you'd rather record a long video of multiple fights, you can also bind "Pause" and "Unpause" to cut off the blabber and the times you running around. I do that in post processing or leave it in, usually.

In  the most important is to set your recording path to where you want the videos to save. If you have more than one drives, I highly recommend recording it to the drive different than the one GW2 is running from to reduce any possible stutters. 

Setting up a scene

Click  at the bottom of the leftmost menu and enter the name for your GW2 scene. It can be anything.

It should be now selected in "Scenes" list, if it's not, click on it once. Now press the  at the bottom of the "Sources" menu and choose "Game Capture".

In the window shown below, you have a couple of options.

"Capture any fullscreen application" is great if you run your games in fullscreen and want to record different games at different times. Issue with is that if you multitask and have, for example, fullscreen Netflix on the other monitor, it may take precedence over the game and ruin your recording. 
"Capture specific window" is the best if recording just one game. You need to launch the game, then launch OBS and pick the .exe from the list. For me it's [Gw2-64.exe], set to "Match title, otherwise find window of same executable". This way, whenever you're on this scene, it will search for just this application, and if GW2 is not opened, it will show red (as below) and provide you only with the black screen instead of recording random things.
"Capture foreground window with hotkey" - I have no idea how that works, never had the use for it.

Chat cover

Chat cover is a simple image that, well, covers your chat. It can be anything, from a character screenshot to expressive thing you made in paint, or even professionally designed artwork you've commissioned. Generally, you should stay away from things you do not own, as copyrights are an important thing to keep in mind here, but you're welcome to use your imagination. For free images you can use sites like pexels.com, which provide royalty free photos.

Having a chat cover is a nice thing to do, usually. If you plan on sharing your footage, especially in public, protecting privacy of your friends and guildies is a kind way of telling them you respect them. You never know when you may get an interesting whisper or someone telling you that they had a breakup, and you wouldn't really want to lose full footage over it.

Setting a chat cover is easy. Once you have chosen graphic, you can click the  at the bottom of the "Sources" menu and choose "Image".

From there "Create New" and press OK, then navigate to the folder your file is at. Once loaded, you can click on it in the preview window, then move and scale it to cover just the chat.

That's it!

Now when you're ready to record just hit your hotkey and play away~!
Once you're finished recording, your footage will be available in the location you chose during setup. 

Storing & sharing your videos

When files are ready, go ahead and create yourself a channel on youtube and upload them there. Public or Unlisted - the choice is yours, but remember that some guilds prefer if you keep the footage hidden from the prying eyes, so "Unlisted" is a safe bet if you're sharing it just with your mentor.

I tend to create separate playlists for different guilds for the reason stated above, as well as the fact that this way everything is neatly organized and I don't mix my shenanigans and casual gameplay with the more serious recordings. Tossing a vague date at each playlist helps me gradually see my growth as a player and asses what was done to improve at each step.

I hope that this answers all your questions and helps you set up yourself for footage recording. If I missed any crucial information or you have any questions, feel free to contact me either on Discord or through the form on this website.

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