OBS Studio is obviously a number 1 choice when it comes to streaming and recording your screen - it's completely free, relatively easy to use, and can be configured deeply. But its settings might confuse even experienced streamers. This guide will help you find everything you need to start streaming and recording video with the best possible quality. We will cover all important things to consider for the proper settings of bitrate, resolution, and encoders for you! Best OBS Studio Settings for Streaming
Best OBS Studio Settings for Streaming
The quality of your stream relies heavily on multiple limitations and factors that you have to consider. So let's break them down one by one before we dive into specific OBS Studio settings.
Internet Upload Speed - Usually, the bare minimum recommended for streaming is around 3-6 MBps (megabytes per second). It's enough to run a decent-quality 720p broadcast. Our recommendation is to have an 8 MBps upload speed and more, if possible. That way, you will have some room for lag-free gaming and more.
Your Computer - Although a modern CPU can be a dealbreaker for OBS, it's better to have an Nvidia GPU (GTX 10XX series and later) and 8 GB+ of ram to achieve the best balance between quality and performance.
Twitch Transcoding Options - Before you become a Twitch Partner, your viewers most likely won't see transcoding options on your streams. This is because as a regular streamer, you will only receive access to the transcoding options if it's available on the Twitch server side. So, while setting up your stream, it's better to have a reasonable balance for quality, otherwise, your viewers will struggle with lags.
Type Of Content - Having multiple colorful and moving objects might lead to high pixelization of your broadcasts.
Twitch Network Limitations - Twitch has a network bandwidth of 6000 KBps (6 MBps) for video and 320 KBps for audio. So there's no particular need to go beyond those numbers with your stream.
Now that you know this, we can move into details about the necessary elements of your OBS setup for streaming.
The best option is to stream in 1920x1080 or 1280x720 to keep the picture quality of your broadcasts relatively decent while taking less bandwidth. If you're a Twitch Partner, you can always go higher without fear that your viewers will have problems with your stream because they can choose the video quality directly in the video player.
OBS Studio has two types of resolution - Base resolution and Output resolution.
What's the difference between those two? The first one is the original resolution of your stream or recording. To have a nice quality of your Base resolution, it's usually better to choose your screen resolution. On the other hand, the output resolution is the one that is broadcasted to Twitch - basically, it's the resolution that your viewers will see. You should set up both of them in a way your network and PC can handle flawless streaming without FPS drops.
Some commonly used resolutions (represented as Width x Height in pixels):
3840x2160 - 2160p 4k
2560x1440 - 1440p QHD
1920x1080 - 1080p FHD (preferred)
1280x720 - 720p HD (preferred)
720x480 - 480p
640x360 - 360p
Choosing the correct video bitrate for your streams might be a very complicated task. Starting from your upload speed and ending with the type of content you stream - when it comes to the bitrate, you should consider every aspect of your stream.
Here are a few general suggestions for the most popular resolutions and framerates:
Also, there are many handy resources that can help you with calculating the video Bitrate for your streams.
Bear in mind - You should raise the bitrate if you're streaming real-life footage from the streets, video games with lots of small details (grass, trees, rocks), or any other content with a bunch of colors and moving objects. Otherwise, the picture may be too pixelated.
We recommend choosing 30 or 25 FPS (frames per second) over 60 FPS for your broadcasts. You may ask why? The answer is simple: most streamers aren't Twitch Partners, and multiple transcoding (where viewers can choose the image quality, like on YouTube videos) options may not always be available. Also, if you double the FPS of your stream, you have to double your Video Bitrate to keep the quality of your stream decent. Without different transcoding options, some of your viewers won't be able to watch your streams lag-free because of their poor internet connection.
Here is a list of the best middle-ground FPS options:
|1920x1080||25, 30 (Preferred), 60|
|1280x720||30, 60 (Preferred)|
High-quality audio can make up to 50% of your viewer's experience. That's why we recommend you go at least 192 KBps of audio bitrate. But, if possible, try to keep it at 320 KBps.
While the default Twitch Bitrate limitations for non-Twitch Partners are still at 6000 KBps (6MBps), there is always 320 KBps of room for audio on top of it. So, technically Twitch limits its network to 6320 KBps. So yeah, additional 320 KBps won't affect the video quality of your streams and will work well with Twitch Network Bandwith while drastically increasing the quality of your audio.
Best OBS Studio Settings for Recording
At its core, video recording with OBS Studio is the same as streaming. The only difference is that with video recording, we have limitless possibilities to crank up our settings for better image quality. So let's break down the most important OBS Studio settings for recording.
There's no need to worry about internet connection speed while recording your screen, so you can rely more on the quality of the video.
That's why you can set the Outcome resolution the same as your Base resolution. For example - If you have a 1080p (1920x1080) monitor - use that for both Base and Outcome.
If you want to make the file size smaller and don't need to have the highest possible quality, just keep the Outcome resolution at 720p (1280x720) or 1080p (1920x1080).
Usually "High quality with Medium file size" preset is your go-to option to keep the balance between the good quality of your video and the small file size. You can pick up the "Same as stream" option, and, most likely, you won't see a big difference, but it might give you better text readability.
MP4 is pretty much the standard pick for high-quality video with the lowest possible file size. Another well-balanced option is MKV.
Hardware NVENC. HEVC is a way to go if you have Nvidia 10XX GPU or newer, and regular Software H264 will work just fine in any case.
Why are there several encoder options to pick from? The main difference between them is how they process the video - with the help of software or hardware. Software encoders will make a higher impact on your CPU performance, while hardware encoders will use available cores on your GPU. The main pro of the hardware encoder is that it will process your video with almost zero impact on overall PC performance.
Same as with streaming, it's better to have a 192 KBps or higher bitrate for good audio quality while recording with OBS Studio. However, if you feel that your audio quality is still not good enough while listening to your own recordings, you can always crank it up to 320 KBps.
Framerate and Bitrate
If you're recording your screen, 60 FPS (Frames Per Second) and a bitrate higher than 4500 KBps (4.5MBps) might fit all your needs.
A higher framerate will make your videos smoother, especially if you're recording video game footage. But the bitrate, as we already know, is always harder to calculate because you have to raise it a bit whenever you record something with lots of moving objects in the scene.
Now you know all the best settings for streaming and recording with OBS Studio. We've gone through all of the essential elements of video broadcasting and recording together, the next step is for you to use this knowledge in practice. Happy streaming and recording! <3