Wednesday, December 04, 2013

NooB Streaming Tutorial

I am nearly complete with my very long and arduous process of starting up a gaming stream. I have moved all of my equipment to my larger game room filled now have the ability to stream my consoles with a capture card (cheers). I have a few minor problems left to sort out but if all goes well I should be able to stream nearly every night which is the plan.

But, enough about me this post is about you. You wanna stream stuff? Don't know where to start? Bought a canoe instead of a webcam thinking that will help you down the stream? Made a lot of bad puns like this one? Well I can't help you there since that's all I do...but I can help you get your stream off the ground with a few bits of advice. Sure there are plenty of tutorials out there, so why should you read mine? I'll tell you why! Because...if you don't I'll get you...I'll get you and then your pets...and I'll drop you all off smack dab in the middle of Detroit! FEAR ME!

Firstly, the equipment. What do you need??

1. A decent computer. Streaming costs a good amount of processing power, you want at least a quad core, intel i7 or something in that range. There are settings in the streaming software to work around that if you can't muster it though.

2. Decent internet. You want to have a good amount of upload bandwidth at the very least. Upload is the most important, try to have at least 3mb upload speed.

3. Capture Card. I recommend Elgato (google it) but any of them are pretty good. Avermedia is the other go to brand. This is only if you want to stream consoles.

4. Webcam. Not required but people like to see your shitty face. Dunno why...

5. Headphones. Very required. You can't have audio from speakers that feed into whatever microphone you are using.

6. Microphone. This can be attached to your webcam or headphones to save space / hassle.

7. HDMI splitter. This is to get around HDCP protection on the PS3 and PS4 (though the PS4 protection should be removed sometime soon).

8. Lots of cords/adapters, the more the better! I say this but it depends how you set things up. The issue with streaming console on a capture device is the audio gets delayed 3 seconds (more on that later). So you can't feed the audio from your computer to YOU and have it make sense, so you need to run audio from your headphones in your TV directly. Or you can hook it up to your computer monitor. However you do it the goal is, you need to hear something and your viewers need to hear something and it all has to match up in the end.

That's the hardware end of it and there's more to it you can add a green screen, amps, mixers, whatever. It all depends. It can also be as simple as you want to stream PC games and all you need is a very good computer (considering it has to run the game AND the stream software), a microphone and headphones and webcam though again that's optional. Some say the microphone is optional too, but honestly how are you going to talk to chat while gaming? If you don't want to talk to chat why are you streaming? lol

The next bit is Software and this is where things get hairy. It's taken me a good 2 months but I think I've got this bit down.

Firstly I recommend getting OBS

It is free, very easy to use, and very good quality and they're always plugging away to make it better. The other choice is XSplit which runs like $70 a year to use and has slightly more features than OBS but I'm not sure if you'd really notice in the end unless you were putting on a full scale gaming tournament. Although, one thing it has which is nice is you can auto-split your videos at designated intervals for offline copies of your stream which OBS should be adding in at some point.


Once you get OBS installed there are some settings to consider....well a lot of settings to consider. For each setup though, your mileage may vary so it's not like I can just list a bunch of things and have it work for you.

What you need to consider are some important variables though.

Bitrate - This is how good your stream will look, and there are some rules to go  by when determining what you want your bitrate to be at. For me, I have 5mb upload speed which is the best I can do in my area. I have to have my bitrate be at a level that looks good, doesn't exceed 5mb, and also allows room for spikes. I set mine at 2700 to play it safe, but 3000 when I'm feeling lucky. These are very safe numbers, I probably could do 3500 but then I'd worry about playing online games where I'd need the extra bandwidth. You have to play with this number but eventually you'll get it right. What to look out for is your framerate while streaming. OBS will tell you if you are dropping frames and this means you need to lower your bitrate...or...

Processing Speed - There is a setting in the advanced tab that lets you overwork your processor in favor of bandwidth to make shit look nicer. Veryfast is the default and what that means is OBS won't use your processor that much. But if you have a really good processor you can bump that up to Fast, or beyond. I don't recommend going higher than Fast only because the other settings don't provide much more quality for how much performance you will dip.

Resolution - The goal for most streamers is to get a 720p stream essentially. This means you want your output resolution to be 1280x720. If your stream is struggling though you can lower it, but there's really no reason to go above this either. Why you may ask? Because you have to consider your audience will mostly not even be able to view a 1080p stream unless they have super ridiculous Internets. You would be limiting your available viewer base for a meager quality upgrade.

Those are the three main settings you will be playing around with until you get that sweet spot. The basics of using the program become self apparent as you play around with stuff like adding your webcam, microphones, capturing windows. Also, shows you how to add your account to the OBS software to get it synced up.

Some helpful tips:

Audio delay - This issue will come up in more ways than you'd realize. You must understand that there are multiple audio sources happening in different places all going through one channel so issues arise from this. Especially with capture cards. The capture cards will give you roughly a 3 second delay on audio vs your mic and video game. So if you die and yell "shiiiiiit!" that shit won't come until 3 seconds before you die on the stream, giving yourself away. There is a very simple fix in OBS that will delay your mic by however long you want it to. I have set mine to 2500 milliseconds but you have to play around with it. You also have to delay your webcam the same amount or you'll end up looking like a poorly dubbed kung-fu flick.

Sever - Pick the RIGHT server. I can't stress the importance of this and how much time it will save you. After I bought my new fancy high speed internets and tested it out I was very disappointed that it wasn't working right....then I figured out I was using the Twitch California server and I'm in Michigan, doh! Very simply, in OBS you can select which server is closest to you. That's a good rule of thumb but there is a program out there that pings all the servers and you can determine which is fastest for you. Just google Twitch server ping and it's the first one there.

Cropping - OBS has a lovely hidden feature to let you crop things when you select "edit scene" for monitor capture. You just hold Alt down while sizing stuff and it crops it down. This is VERY useful.

And that's all for now. Leave questions in the comments and I can help out if needed. I didn't cover everything but went over the most important stuff.

*Gaming is complicated these days*

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