I’ve been meaning to put this quick guide together, with helpful bits of equipment and software that you need to get started in the world of streaming. I also wanted to explain the principles in a not-too-technical way. Here’s what I’ve come up with! This guide includes some philosophy, general tips, some basic kit suggestions, as well as “extra credit” optionals with affiliated links to the products I’m talking about. I hope you get some information out of this list!
If you have any questions, feel free to ask in the comments and I’ll try my best to help if I can.
I’ve been experimenting with OBS NDI recently, and although it may not be as relevant in 2020 as it once was, I thought it best to take some notes on how to make a dual-PC streaming setup work before I forget. It’s pretty straightforward. Here’s what we need:
two computers on the same network (wired for best results)
two installations of OBS, one on either computer
the OBS-NDI plugin installed on both systems
I should mention that this will with a wireless network, but it can lead to lower frame rates due to data throughput. Essentially the main PC will send its entire OBS scene more or less uncompressed over the network, at a very high data rate, only to be properly compressed on the second PC that will do the actual streaming. However, we can still switch scenes on the main PC in OBS just as we always do.
YouTube’s Studio “forever Beta” interface is in a continuous state of disarray. At the time of writing, and since 2018, we’re seeing a partially upgraded interface with plenty of deep links into the older YouTube Classic experience. 2020 is almost half over, and YouTube have upgraded half of the Live Streaming experience (Events). However, the Stream Now option is still Classic, and as such has a few issues that won’t be fixed (until we see the rest of YouTube’s upgrade… at some point in the indeterminate future).
The issue that I sometimes have is to find the URL to my new Stream Now live stream. With events it’s not a problem, but Stream Live Classic will often show us the generic live URL to our channel (say https://youtube.com/TheWPguru/live) rather than a direct URL with an ID. It entirely depends on the channel. On some you’ll see this (generic):
where you’d really like to see this (direct ID):
The latter is preferred because you can start chatting with people before you go live, and you can give out this link before the event begins. Although the generic live URL will work, the event will not be accessible when you start streaming the next time.
Thankfully, there is a way to extract the correct direct URL from the new YouTube Studio interface, but it’s not entirely obvious. Here’s how to grab it:
OBS has a super neat feature that works great if you’re narrating over an existing audio track. It’s called Sidechain/Ducking, and it will automatically lower the audio of one source if an audio level is detected on another source. For example, when you’re playing a game, the audio would be lowered when you speak, and when you’re quiet the game audio could be played higher. It’s like MAGIC!
In this article I’ll show you how to set it up, and the values that I’m using for some of my streams.
Adding the Sidechain/Ducking Compression Filter
On the audio source in question, apply a filter. You can either right-click on the source in question, or use the little cog icon in the Audio Mixer for that. Add a Compressor filter and call it “Sidechain Compression”, or another identifiable name.
The default values work OK, but I’m using these as I find them more pleasing:
Output Gain: 0dB (default)
The important bit is set at the bottom, which which we can pick a Sidechain/Ducking Source. Set this to your microphone source from the drop-down menu. That way the Compressor knows which other source to listen to and apply the effect. When a level above a certain threshold is detected, the filter kicks in. Anything below that will not trigger the filter.
It’s worth doing some test recordings to see which exact values suit your needs. To figure out the threshold, take a look at the audio meter while you’re not speaking into your mic. You’ll see some low level noise on the left, know as the noise floor. Make sure to set the sidechain threshold to somewhere above that level so that it won’t trigger accidentally.
So I’ve made affiliate on Twitch last month (YEY!!!), and one of the perks is that I can upload my own custom emote. Which is super exciting! It takes a while for those little icons to get approved, but once they’re online they add a very personal touch to a stream.
My first iteration wasn’t great, so I took another crack at it and wanted to upload the new design – having forgotten where in the deep and dark Twitch interface that setting was. I thought I’d make a not for next time, and anyone struggling with the same thing.
We head over to our Twitch Dashboard (https://dashboard.twitch.tv), which is accessible from the front page from our icon at the top right, under Creator Dashboard.
At the top left corner there’s a menu, click that and navigate to Preferences – Affiliate.
Under the Subscriptions section, there’s an item called Emotes. That’s where we need to be.
You need to upload three sizes of your emote to make the little icon look handsome on all kinds of screen resolutions and circumstances:
You also need to give it a unique name, made up of your channel name and a postfix of your choice. It’ll take some time for it get approved, and/or made live. Twitch will send you an email when you can use it.
Swapping emotes is possible, but it requires deleting and re-submitting them. Each subscription tier has one emote when you get started, but the more subscribers you get, the more “emote slots” you unlock. This handy article has all the juicy details:
Most voice recording sounds better with a little bit of compression applied. It’ll make the quieter bits louder, and make the louder bits quieter. In addition, there’s usually a little bit of noise that is picked up even with the best of microphones. It’s just a fact of audio life.
Thankfully OBS has two great filters that can be used in combination to great effect, first compressing your voice, and then adding a bit of noise reduction afterwards. I’ll show you how to do it, and the values that work well for me in this article.
In principle, we use the latter to route a source into the VB-Cable (a virtual destination), then we pick up the VB-Cable output as a separate input in OBS. We can then adjust its levels independently from other sources or apply filters if necessary. This all sounds more complex than it really is, so let me illustrate this with an example.
VB-Cable installs like a regular app on Windows, and does not need to be started. It’s like a permanent audio device driver on your system. There are three versions in total: the free VB-Cable, as well as two donation ware items called VB-Cable A/B and C/D. We don’t need those, but if you ever require more than one routable audio destination, give them a try. Either one will get you two more destinations.
I took this screen grab so illustrate which download button to click for the regular VB-Cable:
I’ve heard good things about Twitch Reruns, but had no idea how to get the going. I found the upload option, but I thought it would be ridiculous to download my own stream, then re-upload it for a Premiere. Turns out Reruns are a new panel you have to add to the re-designed Broadcast Dashboard.
Let me show you where to find it and how it works step by step (with screenshots, because I’ll probably forget a week from now).
I wanted a top quality capture solution for my PS3 and PS4 consoles, something that would last a few years and that I could use for high-quality HDMI capture of other devices too. I’ve had a cheap USB solution before and as you can imagine, the quality just wasn’t great. I finally bit the bullet and purchased an ELGATO HD60 Pro. This is a PCI-e card with a dedicated video encoder, HDMI in and out, and from what the sales brochure tells you, it’s the proverbial Dog’s Bollocks. I’ve had it for several months now and can give you some impressions.
I’ve been having some trouble with my internet connection lately. Up until two weeks ago I had an upload speed of about 20-25 Mbps, but since then it tanked down to an unstable and unpredictable 1-4 Mbps. I have my best technicians working on it (i.e. my internet provider). Needless to say, this put a damper on streaming at a constant bitrate of 5 Mbps like I usually do. I couldn’t even get OBS to deliver a stable 1Mbps connection.
My wife however was quite happily streaming FORTNITE directly from her PS4, and aside from a bit of blockiness every once in a while, the connection was stable for hours. I on the other hand couldn’t make anything work with OBS, no matter how hard I tried.
So what gives? There has to be some kind of magic in the way the Playstation consoles deal with streaming, on top of everything else. How come it works when OBS does not? I took a look at the data rate while I was test streaming, and found some interesting results.