It’s 2020. The neon-haired Ninja gamer is a household name, professional race car drivers are live on ESPN racing simulation platforms, and Microsoft’s seemingly successful attempt at a streaming service. , Mixer, was shut down, unable to compete with Twitch’s absolute dominance in the streaming space. Add to that half the world being forced to stay at home thanks to a global pandemic and you have a situation where everyone and their grandma want to be a streamer. For many people, setting up a feed is pretty straightforward. We will show you how in this article. This is a step-by-step guide, so buckle up.
Things to consider before you begin
- Streaming can be done via a PC or a Mac. If you are starting from scratch and planning to buy a dedicated machine, you will find more versatile software available for Windows.
- What kind of streamer do you want to be? Most popular streamers have a webcam so they can appear onscreen with their game, but that’s not necessarily a requirement. You may be more comfortable staying out of sight if you’re not sure you want to jump in with both feet.
- On which platform do you want to broadcast? Are you going to be a Twitch streamer? A YouTube streamer? Or do you go with a shotgun approach and try everything to see what sticks? It is good to think about this in advance so that when you are ready you can start running.
- Be prepared for headaches. Streaming can be frustrating with a capital eff. Sometimes things stop working and you can’t figure out why, then they start working again and you have no idea what you did to fix it. Getting the right equipment can relieve many headaches, but you need to be prepared to fix them.
What you will need
Your gear list will vary depending on what type of streamer you plan to be and what system (s) you will be playing on. We will focus on the recommendations and procedures that work for our Autoblog Twitch stream.
We’re also going to assume that you have a console or PC that is powerful enough to run both your games and your streaming software (if you don’t know what that is yet, we’ll get there). Many people stream games they play on their PCs through Steam or the Epic Store and use streaming software like OBS to “capture” the image and sound directly from their PC.
We play on a regular console and use a device called a capture card to “capture” the video and audio from the console and send it to the computer via USB. We play most often on an Xbox One X or a Nintendo Switch.
We are using a mid-range Elgato HD60 S capture card. We connect the capture card to our Xbox One X through the HDMI Out port, which allows us to capture on our computer what would normally be sent to a TV. A USB cable connects the other end of the capture card to the computer.
Then there is a microphone. This is probably where you will have the most options. While not everyone wants to broadcast their face to the world, you should definitely have some sort of mic for commenting, or else you’re just streaming the uninterrupted, uncommented gameplay of a game that a studio probably has. spent thousands of hours of hard work. and give away all its secrets and wonders for free on the internet, and that’s just not cool.
We use an Apogee Quartet as the audio interface with Blue Ember XLR microphones, which might be overkill for your average streamer. There are about a million other options, the easiest of which would be to use your webcam’s microphone. We do not recommend going this route. A better choice would be to take a micro USB. The current star on the web is the Blue Yeti, and it will absolutely do the job.
If you want to show your face while you are playing, you will need a webcam. We are using a Logitech HD Pro C920 webcam. There are countless webcams on Amazon, and as long as you can get one that can stream at least 1080p, you should be fine, although ultimately the quality of the video you capture will fluctuate depending on the. price of the material you choose.
Now you have everything you need! Before we jump into streaming software, now might be a good time to test your gear to make sure it is working properly. all alone before trying it with streaming software. This will help you determine what problems might arise later.
The previously recommended Avermedia and Elgato capture cards both come with their own software that you should use to test the cards before attempting to use them in streaming software. Hopefully everything will work fine and you are ready to take the next step.
Configure your feed
We recommend that you take a look at Open Broadcast Software, or OBS for short. You can stream using the software that came with your card if you want, but OBS will offer a lot more control over your stream and is used by enough people that help is easy to find online. There are different versions of OBS like Streamlabs OBS and StreamElements OBS.Live that we use, but all of them basically do the same thing with a different wrapper. The best part is that all of the options we have mentioned are free.
Don’t panic if something doesn’t work right off the bat – there is an answer for everything on the internet. If any of the following steps that we’re about to document in OBS don’t work correctly, you’ll have to fiddle with options and settings until they work.
Start the software and make sure all your equipment is plugged in and recognized by OBS. Go to the Audio pane in Settings to configure your microphones, desktop audio, and monitoring devices. This screen will vary depending on your setup, but here’s a photo showing what our audio settings look like when we go live.
Next, you will create a “scene” in OBS. In the lower left corner you will see the Scenes section, where you will click on the + symbol to create a new scene and give it whatever name you want – ours is called “Game Scene”.
Directly to the right of the Scenes section, you’ll see the Sources section, where you’ll extract the video and audio needed to create your broadcast and start creating the look and feel of your stream. We first extract the video stream from the game by clicking on the + symbol in the Sources pane.
If you’re streaming a game to your PC through Steam, you’ll probably want to select Game Capture. If you use a capture card like we do for our Autoblog game stream, select the Video capture device option. Hopefully the window that appears will already have your capture card selected as a device and your console screen will now appear in OBS.
If you’re lucky, you should also see your game’s audio source reflected in the OBS audio mixer. Otherwise, you may need to fiddle with the Audio tab in Settings to make it work.
Once you get the hang of it, it’s time to add the webcam. Just like before, tap the + under Sources and add another video capture device. This time when the new window appears, replace the device with your webcam, which should be in the drop-down list with your capture card.
Finally, you need to get your microphone to work. Click the + button again under Sources and this time select Audio Input Capture. In the new window, click on the drop-down menu and find your microphone. If it’s there, sacrifice to the gods because you’ve just saved yourself a potentially huge headache.
If that doesn’t work, go back to the Audio tab in Settings and change your mic / auxiliary audio selection to your microphone. If he’s not there in either place, you might have to use some serious Google-Fu to figure out what’s going on. If your microphone does not appear, try all possible combinations of OBS audio settings and Windows (or Mac) audio device settings. Eventually something should work.
Some streamers use free audio routing software like VoiceMeeter Banana, but we have experienced constant audio dropout issues with such programs. We’ve finally taken the time to sit down and figure out the audio for the stream so that we’re no longer reliant on third-party programs like this, and we’re much happier with that.
Make it pretty
At this point, you’re pretty good to go! But if you want to add that extra touch to your stream, check out the services on StreamElements.com, StreamLabs.com, and NerdOrDie.com. You can purchase templates to dress up your feeds or acquire free versions. We use a webcam border purchased from NerdOrDie.com and then apply a filter in OBS to slightly change the original color to match our branding. We add a translucent version of the Autoblog logo in the lower right corner using image selection when adding source.
We also recommend that you get a chatbot, which can automate moderation, promote your website, or even play games with your viewers. A good place to start is Nightbot.tv.
Choose a platform and get started!
Don’t panic, it’s time to go live. You will need to choose the platform you want to stream on. The most important are Twitch.tv and YouTube, but you can also stream to sites like Facebook or Periscope. You can also check out Restream.io to stream across multiple platforms simultaneously.
Suppose you want to stream on Twitch. Find your Twitch stream key, which at the time of writing this can be found in your creator’s dashboard under Settings> Channel. Copy the key and paste it into OBS under Settings> Streams> Twitch. Once done, that big and alluring Start Broadcast button will stream your content live for the world to see.
There are tons of different ways to broadcast, and someone else with a lot of experience might stumble upon these instructions and say “But you’re doing it wrong !!” And they might be right. But the instructions here work for us, and we hope they will be of use to others looking to start their own feeds. Good luck there.
TL / DR: To set up a fast, cheap stream with a console and PC, just get a capture card, Blue Yeti mic, and webcam if you don’t have one. Download a version of OBS, set it up, make it pretty, paste your streaming key into your streaming software and boom. You are a streamer.
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