What is OBS?
OBS (Open Broadcast Software) is a free tool that we recommend using in tandem with CdnStudio in order to record and broadcast your work. It can be downloaded for free at: https://obsproject.com
OBS (Open Broadcast Software) is a funnel for video streams. It allows the user to take multiple video feeds (or images), put them all together, and then record or broadcast the content through a single, unified video feed. In relation to CdnStudio, OBS allows you to:
- Prerecord CdnStudio sessions, adding background images, text, and additional platforms (Zoom calls, webcam feeds, etc)
- Livestream CdnStudio sessions to YouTube, Vimeo and Facebook live.
This page will walk you through basic tools for streaming, recording, and accessing your videos.
OBS Basic Tools for Streaming
SOURCES (bottom left) are single streams of video or audio processed by your computer. Examples of sources include: internet browser windows, webcam feeds, movie files or even easy to edit text.
SCENES (bottom left) are your canvas’ for arranging and organizing various sources and/or text and images in order to create your desired custom video stream. It can be as simple or as complex as you want it to be. If you want to create a video with a few different “looks”, select the “+” on the bottom left and name it. If you are recording/streaming one “look” no need to add others. Some examples of when other looks would be helpful include title cards, credits, “blackouts”, etc.
AUDIO MIXER (bottom centre) allows you to monitor your audio inputs and control the volume output to your stream/recording. OBS automatically defaults to using your computer’s built in microphone. If you are using an external microphone you will need to add it as a source in the same way you would a video source.
SCENE TRANSITIONS (bottom right) are an optional feature in OBS where you can freely switch between SCENES by fading, cutting or sliding between them over a user defined amount of time.
CONTROLS is where you will find options to stream and record your work.
Connecting CdnStudio to OBS
- Make sure you have CdnStudio running in chrome. Note: in order for OBS and CdnStudio to work together, your Chrome browser/CdnStudio cannot be in full screen.
- In OBS, click the “+” symbol at the bottom left corner of the SOURCES window.
- Select “Window Capture”.
- Make sure “create new” is selected. Feel free to give it the name “CdnStudio” or you can leave it as is. Click Next.
- Click on the empty bar beside the red “Window”. This will drop down a list of every open browser window on your computer. Select the CdnStudio browser window. Press OK.
- You should now see CdnStudio within the canvas of your scene. Most likely, the window is much bigger than the scene so you will only see a portion of the Cdnstudio. This can be fixed by left clicking the window so it is surrounded by a red box, then right clicking within the red box, clicking “transform” followed by “fit to screen”. You should now see your full browser window in OBS.
- To crop out the “mechanics” of CdnStudio so that your audience only sees what you want them to, hold the ALT or OPTION key and then click/drag on one of the red corners of your source.
- This window can easily be resized and placed wherever you want within the “canvas” of your scene. To resize, click on a corner of the red box, hold, and drag to your preferred size. HOT TIP: If you hold shift while you do this, it will lock the aspect ratio of your video image so that it doesn’t get distorted or stretched while resizing. Once resized, left click and hold anywhere within the red box and drag to your desired location
Recording with OBS
- Once you’re ready to record your work, preset your cues by going back to the first scene you have established. Ensure the audio is picking up whatever microphone you are using (laptop microphone, external USB microphone, etc.). In CONTROLS (bottom right) click START RECORDING.
- On a Mac, the video will be saved in your MOVIES folder as an MKV file. If you can’t find your videos, select FILE > SHOW RECORDINGS. If you have VLC Media Player, you can play an MKV file. If not, select FILE > REMUX RECORDINGS.
Streaming with OBS
- Once you are ready to stream, under CONTROLS select START STREAMING. Because we have not yet setup the URL and Stream Key, we will be prompted to open settings to enter the URL and Stream Key in the ‘stream’ tab. Along the left side of the screen select STREAM and select which service/platform you are using.
- After you’ve selected your service, select GET STREAM KEY and it will walk you through accessing a stream key from whatever service you are using.
In order to schedule time in CdnStudio, please fill out this form.
Before you get started, you and all of your collaborators will need:
- A green/blue backdrop with adequate light.
- This can be a green screen, a blue wall, a blue towel, etc.
- A webcam (attached to a computer, at this point we don’t recommend mobile phones at this time. Mobile interface need to be created and tested.)
- A computer with chrome/firefox installed (we don’t recommend safari)
- A stable internet connection
- 4 total collaborators or less
- A way to connect with your collaborators (slack, messenger, group text)
OPENING YOUR STUDIO
- Start your studio by clicking the link in the email you received.
- Position your webcam so it sees only you in the background with you in the foreground.
- On the right side of the page, in the videofeed of yourself, double click an area of the background to select the chromakey colour. Here are some tips on achieving the best chromakey.
- You should now see yourself inside the studio and your background should be replaced by the pink CdnStudio stripes.
- You can reset your chromakey colour at any time but double clicking in another spot.
- You can also replace the CdnStudio stripes with your own background by uploading an image under the video feed of yourself.
- Once you have your studio set-up, share the URL with members of your team.
THINGS TO REMEMBER
- Experiment with layering by choosing who enters the studio first. The creator of the studio will always be the layer closest to the front. Then, as each participant joins they become the farther layer back.
- When uploading a background, you will max out at 640×480 resolution. This is for performance reasons but also to ensure compatibility with a wide variety of devices. Not all devices can do higher or wider resolutions and we have to use the lowest common denominator to make sure the frames stack correctly with similar “scale”. For an even background, we’re looking for the pink candy stripe to be even and strong throughout the entire background to ensure the best quality of video and background. The more evenly lit, with less shadows, the better.
- There will be a slight sound/video delay. If you can hard-wire your computer to the internet, this will decrease the delay. If you’re curious about ways you can reduce latency, click here.
- If you are experienced in livestreaming, you can run CdnStudio through OBS to the livestreaming platform of your choice.
Are you having trouble accessing your studio?
- Are you using Chrome or Firefox? Have you updated Chrome or Firefox recently?
- Do you have any other video conference software open? Try closing them. Sometimes older computers can’t run Zoom and CdnStudio at the same time.
- Is your background sized at 640×480?
- Try refreshing and re-entering the studio link. However, if you have the crown emoji, you are the host and should not refresh.
- Try getting your teammates to run this test and send it to us.
That depends on how much room you would like to use to rehearse in, and how many collaborators you would like to see on screen at once.
Unlike physical spaces, CdnStudio is only restricted by the number of pixels in your studio. While creating a realistic blend of full-body performers is one way to use CdnStudio, we’ve also had success blending users sitting in chairs, using a mix of puppetry with real-life performers, and other creative arrangements!
If you want a realistic blend of full-scale performers, you will want to allocate identical amounts of space at each participant’s location. In addition, we would recommend that:
- The camera you use at each location be similar in resolution and angle of view
- The green or blue screen you use should fill the camera view entirely
- The camera, background and space be positioned in similar or identical ways.
Latency or delay is the time it takes for video and audio to travel from you to our servers, and back to each participant in the studio.
If you have ever used Skype or FaceTime to communicate online, CdnStudio can experience latency in similar ways, where the response times are not as immediate such as in a landline phone call.
A number of factors contribute to the overall latency in your CdnStudio call. While there are some inherent delay times in the encoding, transmission, decoding, chromakeying, blending and return path of the communication, there are some things you can do to achieve best results.
- Avoid using Bluetooth or other wireless headsets in a CdnStudio call. We found Bluetooth devices can add up to a full second or more of audio delay to a conversation.
- Skip the WiFi, if you can. Using a wired connection directly to your internet connection will achieve best results. If you must use WiFI, try connecting to a 5GHz network instead of 2.4 Ghz network. Consult your network administrator or router manual for assistance.
- Check your connection, for network latency using SpeedOf.me. Ideal latency is less than 50ms Some connections like satellite, fixed wireless and cellular networks do not provide low latency connections ideal for CdnStudio.
- Keep your studios small. The more participants you have in a studio, the more latency is compounded as our servers wait for each user’s audio and video to arrive before they can send out the resulting mixed session. If one collaborator’s connection is poor, the entire session will be poor as well.
Any webcam is supported, including built-in webcams. You may, however, wish to use an external webcam or video source to have better control over where your camera is positioned and controlled.
Depending on how much space you are hoping to occupy with your studio, you may want to use an external webcam or video camera mounted to a tripod to have better control over the framing of each studio participant.
External webcams are also often bundled with software that allow you to control the colour temperature, auto focus and exposure settings of your webcam, which can be very useful. If you are using a Mac, you can check out Sight Control ($6.99) or iGlasses ($19.99) to control settings on your built-in iSight camera.
To use the HD feature on your PRO account, all participants must be using a 720p webcam or better to achieve an HD studio session. Links to HD webcams are listed below.
Click the Browse… button in the Studio Control Bar and select a PNG or JPG under 2MB file on your computer. Click upload, and wait for your background to appear. It takes a few moment for CdnStudio to prepare your background and apply it in your studio session.
Backgrounds are automatically sized to fit into your studio.
The standard resolution is 640×480. This is for performance reasons but also to ensure compatibility with a wide variety of devices. Not all devices can do higher or wider resolutions and we have to use the lowest common denominator to make sure the frames stack correctly with similar “scale”. Anything larger will be sized to fit inside this resolution, with black bars on sides that are not within this aspect ratio.
For a solid background, we’re looking for the pink candy stripe to be even and strong throughout the entire background to ensure the best quality of video and background. The more evenly lit, with less shadows, the better.
We recommend using a green screen, but you can also use any bright coloured wall. Blue and green work best, as red and other warm colours can conflict with skin tones.
Creative use of shower curtains, bed sheets and towels also work well, although brighter colours work better than darker shades.
You can order a green screen kit on Amazon, such the ones below.
For more information on achieving best results, see our Green Screen Best Results page.