How to start streaming on Twitch and set up OBS, choose your camera, music, create a scene, and get popular
Want to broadcast to the world? In this guide, we’ll show you how to create your own channel on Twitch.tv, what software and equipment to use, how to set up your stage, and more.
Online streaming on Twitch is becoming more and more affordable every year, so it’s no surprise that more and more people want to become streamers on the largest platform -Twitch. Popular streamers gather tens of thousands of viewers on their channels, and they also make good money from the business they love.
But the point of streaming is not just fame and fortune. All popular streamers try, above all, to share their gaming experience with a friendly community. It is a great way to socialize and make friends, even if you are used to spending time in the proudest solitude, sitting in the farthest corner of the house day and night in front of your computer.
Choose a streaming software
To start your career as a streamer, you’ll need to decide which software to use to stream your online broadcasts. According to many, the best and most affordable of all is Streamlabs OBS. It is completely free, can save settings and design scenes in the cloud, and has many useful built-in features that are used by most of your colleagues.
Another undeniable plus of Streamlabs OBS is its ease of use. The first time you start up, you only need to devote a few minutes to the technical points, and then the program will do everything on its own. And you can get down to design and broadcasting right away.
As an alternative, you can also advise a tool from the owners of “Twitch”. At the moment it is in beta-testing stage and is called Twitch Studio. You can request access to it on the official website of the service.
At the moment, it’s too early to recommend this program to anyone and everyone, but it already has a pretty good interface and interesting features designed specifically for Twitch. For example, it integrates the chat from the site directly into the scene design. But since access to Studio is not open, below we will consider the setup in Streamlabs OBS.
How to set up a stream?
The first thing you need to do is register on Twitch.tv. Of course, there are other services for broadcasting, but Twitch is the most popular and most understandable for beginners. There are trivially more potential viewers here than anywhere else. And it works perfectly with Streamlabs OBS, which is also important for a beginner streamer who is not yet ready to get acquainted with more complex programs.
After registering on Twitch, install Streamlabs OBS and start it up. Streamlabs OBS will start automatically, and you’ll have to choose the stream quality depending on the power of your hardware and the speed of your Internet connection.
If you don’t know what to start with, and your network speed is just a random number, try 1080p@30fps to start with. This means that your stream will go at 1920×1080 resolution, and the frame rate will be 30 frames per second. Most likely, this is the quality Streamlabs OBS will set after the tests. Of course, you can change everything later, but at first rely on the automation.
Get a webcam
Using a camera is not necessary for streaming, which means that no one will complain to you if you do not have one. But it is extremely desirable if you want to establish a contact with a new audience. Almost all famous streamers use “webcams”. The camera allows you to show not only the game, but also your personality. Personality is a powerful weapon, especially in the streamer community.
People on Twitch chat love it when a streamer is open to communication and interaction, and a webcam is such a bridge between you and the audience. It can help you attract more people if they find your personality interesting. But it can also cause viewers to leave the stream, so try to be polite, neat and friendly. After all, it is most pleasant to communicate with such people.
All this does not mean that you need the most expensive webcam. Much more important is how you will use it. The most important thing is to set a good light so that the frame is clear and distinguishable. You should also try different mounting locations. You want to get the angle that makes you and the background behind you look as good as possible.
It is better to choose a static background, because if some obscene things happen behind you, then the attention of your person will quickly move there. A clean wall or a closet with your favorite things, preferably gamer stuff like retro consoles, game discs, different collectible merchandise is the best choice.
If you do it right, it will add a more professional look to your broadcast. But if you want to position yourself as a real “pro” right away, buy a green cloth to use a “chromakey” to remove the background completely, leaving only yourself-loving.
Buy a good microphone
A microphone serves roughly the same function as a webcam, that is, to add a twist to the stream – your personality. But understand that it can not only make the stream better, it can also ruin it. A microphone that sounds, squeaks or echoes is one of the most unpleasant things for the average viewer’s ear.
If you’re using a stationary “mic” or one that’s built into your webcam, you just have to play with headphones. Otherwise, the sound from the speakers will go through the microphone and create an unpleasant echo effect. You should also decide what kind of voice device to use, because most gaming headphones have a built-in microphone.
Our advice is to use a stationary one, because the microphone in gamer headsets is often of poor quality. They rarely have noise cancellation and other useful things. If you want to make really high quality broadcasts, you need to buy a professional microphone. It will cost about $100-150.
Here are examples of great microphones that are worth their money:
- Samson G-Track Pro – has the best sound, but is demanding on your sound card;
- Blue Yeti Nano – the best for beginners;
- Zalman ZM-Mic1 – a budget segment leader;
- Rode NT USB – expensive all-inclusive solution;
- Blue Yeti USB – the best in terms of configuration flexibility;
- Razer Seiren X – quality and compact;
- AntLion ModMic – the best solution for headphone users without a built-in microphone;
- Focusrite Scarlett CM25 MkII – used in professional studios, but needs experience for setup.
All of these microphones at the time of writing cost in the range of 100-150 dollars. Any microphone will do for quality streaming, but you have to choose according to your own preferences and experience with sound equipment.
Select the music for the Streaming
Integral part of any quality broadcast – the background music. Most often it plays right on top of the game, bringing a special mood and some uniqueness to it.
But there are some pitfalls. Twitch has an automatic system that mutes the stream when copyrighted music is playing. Streaming, of course, won’t stop because of this, but your viewers are unlikely to enjoy a half-hour silence when you can’t hear the music, the game, or even you.
To avoid this, you should choose music from the Royalty Free category, that is, without copyrights. You can find many online collections and libraries with such songs. For example, there are playlists on Spotify and YouTube. Also, Twitch affiliate owners have access to the library of officially licensed music, which has more than 1,500 tracks.
If you don’t have time to search for all this and pick up music, just play music from the game – it’s a simple, but quite acceptable solution to the problem. And it will certainly not be “jammed”.
Another important point is balancing sound from different sources. You need to adjust the volume of the music, the game and the microphone track so that you are always in the foreground. Next in priority is the game, it should be clearly audible. Music should be in the background, not sticking out in front of you and the game. But it has to be audible, too!
To set it up properly, use Streamlabs OBS’ Local Broadcast Recording feature. Start the game, play the music and say a few words, then save the recording and listen to it. It may seem like a small thing, but if you want to be a master, you need to make your broadcasts as enjoyable as possible for the audience.
Set up the scene
At this stage, you are almost ready to launch your first broadcast. But take your time: you still need to set up the scene in Streamlabs OBS. Open the “Editor” tab. There should already be an empty scene. You need to add the gameplay to it.
To do this, start the game you want to stream, and then press Alt + Tab to return to Streamlabs and add a new source to the scene. The best way to do this is with Game Capture. Give the source a name, such as “Game”, and select the running game from the list of open applications.
To add video from your webcam, make sure that it is connected, and then go to the Add New Source menu again. Select “Video Capture Device. Type the name again, select your webcam and click “OK”.
Important: To reduce the load on your computer, open the source settings of the webcam and set the resolution to a lower setting. Almost certainly webcam video will take up about a fifth of your screen, so 640×480 will be fine. You can also lower the frame rate. For example, if your stream is running at 30 FPS, there is no point in writing 60 FPS webcam video.
Now you need to choose a location for your webcam video. It should not overlap important elements of the game, such as the health counter. It is highly desirable to have the camera closer to the edge of the screen. You can also shrink or enlarge the source to better fit it into the scene, as well as make a special frame for it.
Many popular streamers use overlays (Overlay) – a special graphic design for streaming. They are added as picture sources. This is all sorts of beautiful frames for the camera and chat, as well as logos, plates with the best “donators” and other decorative things. It’s better to use PNG images with transparent elements.
All this is optional: no one will criticize you for not having an overlay. But if your stream will have a cool design, it will make you stand out against other novice casters.
Another tip: If you’re going to stream different games, create a separate scene for each one. That way you don’t have to rearrange the elements every time so they don’t close the game. Remember that the scene functionality is made specifically for switching between different games on the fly.