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How to Use Scenes to Transition Between Sources in Open Broadcaster

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This post is part of a series called How to Record Screencasts with Open Broadcaster Software.
OBS for Screen Recording: How to Add and Use Sources
How to Use Animated Scene Transitions in Open Broadcaster (OBS)

In the last tutorial of this series you learned about Sources in Open Broadcaster, with a focus on the two most useful types for screen recording: Screen Capture/Display Capture and Window Capture, which you can use to set up multiple recording targets, like monitors or specific applications, and even webcams. In this tutorial you'll learn how to organize your sources using Scenes and do a basic transition.

1. OBS Scene Basics

To add a new scene to an OBS project click the plus (+) button at the bottom of the scene panel, located at the bottom right of the interface.

Add a new scene

You'll then be given an opportunity to name your new scene:

Name your scene

Each scene can hold as many sources as you like. However, for the purposes of screen recording, the most common approach you'll take is to have one scene for each source you need.

For example, here I have one scene for a general screen capture, and three more scenes each set to capture individual applications:

Different scene for different applications

It is much easier to switch between multiple scenes than it is to switch between sources contained a single scene. We'll cover more on scene switching later.

2. Scenes with Multiple Sources

Even though you'll mostly use a single source per scene, in some circumstances you may want to use more than one. Generally speaking that will be so you can layer sources over each other to combine them in some way.

For example, perhaps I might have a code editor filling up the canvas, in which I'm modifying a website's code. Meanwhile a browser is shrunk and positioned in the corner to preview the site's changes as I go along.

Two applications in a single scene

The sources works like layers in a graphics editing app, where the highest source will appear over other sources. If you need to change the order of sources inside your scene you can either drag and drop them or hit the little up or down arrow below the list of sources.

3. Basic Scene Switching

First, make sure you are not in Studio Mode: as long as you see just a single screen display in OBS rather than split screen you're not in studio mode. Then, just click on the scene you want to capture and OBS will transition to it.

Coming Up Next

Now that you know how to work with scenes you're ready to learn about some of the cool ways OBS provides to handle transitioning between them, including custom hotkeys and transition effects. We'll cover that in the next tutorial, see you there!

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