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How to Set Up Streamlabs OBS for Live Stream Video Broadcasts (Quickstart Guide)

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Streamlabs OBS is an intuitive, well-designed, popular streaming video program. Based on the open-source OBS Studio, Streamlabs is free to download.

Let’s take a look at how you can get up and running, and ready to stream or broadcast, with Streamlabs OBS. Note, Streamlabs' Prime subscription includes a number services and add-ons that appeal to professionals and advanced users, but is not required (and not covered in this tutorial).

1. Download and Install Streamlabs OBS

Setup

When you first open Streamlabs OBS, you’ll be asked to connect any existing streaming accounts. You can do that if you have them already set up, or you can add them later.

connect stream channel

Import OBS Studio Profile (Optional)

The next step will be great for users of OBS Studio who have a lot invested in profiles, Scenes, settings and so on. Streamlabs OBS will let you import all of those, if you want to. If not, you can choose to start fresh.

import obs settings

I’ve got a ‘test’ profile set up in OBS which appears automatically in the options. Click Start with that profile selected to import.

import profile

2. Get Set Up

Camera and Microphone

Like most broadcasting suites, Streamlabs will automatically detect the kit you’re using, but if you’d like to adjust that, you can do it in Settings, the cog symbol on the bottom left of the screen.

settings

This menu is also where you can connect your streaming accounts if you chose not to do it during setup – just look under Stream.

Layout

The windows-looking icon on the bottom left is a nifty layout editor. If you’re used to having your workspace a particular way, this is a great drag-and-drop way to rearrange everything without having to awkwardly resize windows. You can choose the style of layout, and which elements or panels to have easily accessible.

layout editor

3. Add Sources

If auto-detected, or manually set up as described above, your audio and video sources will automatically appear under Sources.

You can add additional ones by clicking the plus button next to Sources and choosing from the menu provided.

add sources

You’ll see the usual options like Browser Source, to let you stream a browser window, Media Source to add pre-rendered graphics and video, Game Capture and so on.

4. Widgets

We’ll go into specific widgets and their benefits in another tutorial, but for now here’s how you can enable them in Streamlabs.

For this, it's best to connect an account (Twitch, YouTube, Facebook) and log in. You can do this by clicking Log in above the settings cog, bottom left. You’ll have to authorise the account you want to connect with, so read the terms carefully.

Once you’ve done this, you’ll see an icon to open up a dashboard is now visible in Streamlabs OBS in the bottom left menu. It’ll open a browser window above your software with this dashboard.

dashboard

In the browser, under Features, click All Widgets.

This will give you a lot of options of things you can potentially add. Even though Streamlabs OBS has this functionality built-in, it’s often easier to look through available options on a browser like this.

Add a Stream Label

 Stream Labels are text overlays displaying things like donations, followers, etc., and they update in real time. Back on your Streamlabs main screen, if you click the Plus next to Sources, you’ll see there’s a Widgets option.

add source widgets

Click on Stream Labels and then Add Source. Name your label something relevant, I’ve called mine ‘New Follower’ as that’s what the label will be. You’ll then get a list of options

add source new follower

Under Label Type, scroll down to Most Recent Follower (or whichever label you’d like to add). You can then make adjustments for how you’d like the label to look, things like changing the font, the background colour of the label, the opacity, and so on.

 I’ll leave these on the default for now. Click done when you’re finished and your New Follower label will appear in Sources.

new follower source

If nothing is showing up for you on your main screen (but is under Sources), don’t panic. One of the slight flaws in this is that you can’t even test your label without at least one ‘event’ i.e a real follower. 

Once you have a follower, you’ll see the label, which might make it easier for you to then go back and adjust its appearance!

new follower label

5. Themes

Making your stream or recording look nifty is part of the fun. To get started with a theme, click the icon in the top left of Streamlabs OBS.

themes

You’ll see you can look through scene themes, widget themes and site themes. You’re able to refine your search by the type of live stream you’re doing too, including some generic options in case the others don’t quite fit.

Most of the options are limited to Prime members which has a monthly subscription cost attached, but there are some free options, try searching ‘free’ in the key words.

free borderline theme

Here’s a nice generic free pack with ‘starting soon,’ ‘be right back’ screens and a few other options. Hit Install to install it to your Streamlabs.

theme installed

The themes install in a way that’s really easy to make sense of if you’re a beginner. Your types of screen (stream starting, in-game, BRB) are listed where your scenes are, and then each has a breakdown of sources so that you can move things around or adjust them – like changing the social media prompts to your own. You’d do this in the exact same way as when you added them in the steps above – double-clicking on which source you wanted to adjust and following the options that appear. 

Have Fun and Start Broadcasting!

We've really only scratched the surface of what Streamlabs OBS can do, but hopefully you're now equipped with enough information to get started with your broadcast, stream or recording.

We'll look at more Streamlabs OBS features in upcoming tutorials but in the meantime, you can check out some more streaming tips and templates, below.

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