How to Live Stream
Here is a (hopefully) simple beginners guide!
- Things you’ll need:
- A webcam
- Green wall or sheet
With the above kit, or at least some of it, you can create a pretty good looking live stream of your game and share it on Twitch or YouTube.
So what do I do with all this gubbins?
Check out this drawing which shows how my devices are interconnected.
[Ignore the amp if you are going straight into a TV.]
Effectively you are just putting the capture device, in this case an Elgato HD60, in line with your usual HDMI cable run.
Make sure HDCP is set to ‘Disabled’ in your PS4 settings (Settings>System).
You then connect the Elgato via USB to a PC or laptop and you are almost good to go.
There a few bits of software you can use, but I find that OBS Studio is the easiest and most feature rich one to use, it has the added advantage of being free. You can also check out Xsplit or the software that comes bundled with your Elgato.
If you have other devices to plug in, they will usually use USB, so plug in these devices and install any necessary drivers.
Once installed, open up OBS Studio and you can start to create a ‘Scene’.
Scenes let you set up what your watchers will see when they go to your live stream, typically you want to have your game feed (from the Elgato) filling the screen, a webcam feed in a small window in one of the corners and maybe a logo that helps to brand your stream in another corner.
I have three scenes:
- A PS4 scene with the Elgato (full screen), webcam (bottom left corner) and a logo (top right).
- A PC scene with the Game Capture (full screen), webcam (bottom left corner) and a logo (top right).
- A webcam only scene, webcam on full screen and logo (top right).
You’ll be seeing a live preview of what you are doing which will make it easier to put your scene together.
Be sure to add the microphone as well as the Elgato and the webcam (mute the integrated mic if the webcam has one) and make a few test recordings to ensure things look and sound good. I have the Blue Snowball added as a source in each scene.
I found that game audio was always very high and one of the great things about OBS Studio is the amount you can adjust the audio levels, get this right and your audience will have a much better time.
Recording to your local disk is dead easy, just hit the record button and off you go.
To stream live to YouTube or Twitch it’s a little more complex, but not much. I will only cover YouTube at this time, but Twitch works in a very similar way.
Get your YouTube account all set up and make sure Live Streaming is enabled.
Go to your Creator Studio and click the ‘Stream Now’ link, under ‘Live Streaming’.
In here you’ll see something called a ‘Stream name/key’ – this is the unique identifier that tells OBS Studio where to send your stream. Copy this key and paste it into OBS Studio in the ‘Stream key’ box in the ‘Stream’ section of the settings, be sure to select YouTube as the streaming service.
Click apply and you’re basically done. If you now click ‘Start Streaming’ in OBS Studio, whatever you have up in your scene will stream into your YouTube channel. You can verify this in YouTube where you will get a stream status indicator.
To take it to the next level you can schedule events within YouTube, which you can then promote before-hand to get more people ready to watch. The only difference with this is that each scheduled stream will have a unique ‘Stream Key’, so make sure to copy the right one into OBS Studio before starting your stream.
YouTube live streaming is still in beta, so don’t be surprised to come across some weird stuff while doing this. Hopefully all will be fixed soon enough.
I have found that YouTube sometimes struggles to process a long stream, so remember to also hit the Record button in OBS Studio when you start your stream so you have a local backup copy. You can then upload this later if YouTube messes up when processing your live stream.
More info is here:
And for examples folks doing great live streams, check out these channels:
- I’ve noticed that putting the Elgato in after the amp (between the amp and TV), which would be the ideal setup, doesn’t work. This is likely due to HDCP limitations (copy protection rules in the HDMI specification).
- The Elgato also seems to only pass stereo audio on the HDMI, so when I have it plugged in, I lose surround sound.
- You could replace PS4 with XboxOne or any other console with an HDMI output in this setup.
- There are many cheaper options for the kit I’ve used, but I know these work and are decent quality.
- You make another scene in OBS Studio that takes your PC output instead of the Elgato so you can stream PC games too.
- Switching between inputs on the amp can get frustrating, a second screen would be a useful addition to the setup.
- You can start and stop your live stream (when using scheduled events) from a YouTube webpage on your iPad or tablet, which can be convenient.
- You can also monitor your stream and use the live chat feature by using the YouTube webpage on Chrome on your iPad or tablet.
- Another cool thing you can do in OBS Studio is mic between two scenes, so at the start of your show you could have a full screen webcam to do an introduction and then mix to you game scene, or you could switch between an Elgato captured game and a game on PC.
- If you have a green wall behind you, OBS can key out (remove and make transparent) the green colour from your webcam feed, check out Videogamer’s channel and you’ll see how this benefits the overall look.
- OBS and OBS Studio are two different pieces of software. Everything in this article relates to Studio.