How to Record with OBS Studio on Windows PC as A Newbie [12 Sources Support & 3 Steps]

It’s undisputed that OBS Studio is the most powerful free desktop screen recorder for Windows and macOS in the market. However, since the official quickstart is too simple and other guides are scattered, which is not friendly to new users or those who don’t know much about capture settings, here I will deliver a beginner-tutorial to impart all fresh starters how to record with OBS Sutdio neatly. Both Windows and macOS users could take this easy-to-understand instruction for reference..

OBS Studio Guide - How to Record Screen with OBS

Where there is PC screen recording and live streaming discussion, mostly probably there’s a name recommended by experienced users, and that’s exactly the OBS Studio, full name Open Broadcaster Software. OBS Studio is quite advanced open source screen recorder, available for PC running Windows, macOS, and Linux. Without doubt, although it’s a piece of freeware, the full-featured tool really has great performance on both screencasting and live broadcasting, much better than general consumer software.

Advanced program usually has more complex user interface and related setting. OBS Studio is such an app too. I still remember the first period of time to meet OBS for an easy presentation creation, I even have no idea where to start because the unusual UI really confused me a lot. If you are a newbie with similar difficulty on how to record with OBS Studio, I will share some OBS tips & tricks to simplify your work of game capture, full/partial screen capture, picture-in-picture video production, multi-audio-track capture and so on.

Fristly, Let’s Up on OBS Studio’s Main Window

The first step is always the hardest one and getting familiar with OBS Studio is just the first fifficulty we should get over. Now before to learn how to use it, let’s get together to know more about its details. As one of the best screen video recorders, its interface to settings speak for itself.

  1. Menu bar
  2. Preview Window
  3. Scenes
  4. Sources
  5. Audio Mixer
  6. Scene Transitions
  7. Controls

#1 Menu bar is the basic element for most desktop software including OBS Studio. By accesing those multiple options, you can remux any video recording, edit its looking, rename and export, enable captions, and do auto-configuration (if you are so new to video settings and have no ideal on best settings for your PC).

#2 Preview windows is obviously an area for you to have a look at the available and unhidden scenes and sources you added already. By clicking each source overlay, you are free to change the size, lock it, transform/rotate it, and apply filter effect into it. When there are several sources to demonstrate, you’d better arrange them as ou wish without overlapping. Popular picutre-in-picture/PIP video can be realized easily with OBS, be it desktop + webcam, application + facecam, gameplay + real-face narration or so similar.

#3 Scenes: In each scene, you can add and gather sources according to your actual requirements. OBS sets no quantity limit of scenes so that you are enabled to create and switch between either two perfectly (with transitions), which is superior to nearly all screen recorders in the market.

#4 Sources: There are over ten sources are preloaded according to different types and user demands.

 – Audio Input Capture: Any available audio input device including microphone.

 – Audio Output Capture: Any available audio output device including speaker.

 – Browser: Any browser tab you have opened already. Only a full target URL can make the work ready.

 – Color Source: With it, user is able to set background canvas into any color or use “whiteboard”.

 – Display Capture: If there are multiple monitors being connected and running at the same time, select any one to add for upcoming capture task.

 – Game Capture: It’s made to recognize and record the running DirecX/OpenGL game running on PC. Three recording modes and several scale resolutions/hook rates are given alongsice.

 – Image: Any local picture in JPG/PNG/GIF is possible to added for bakground, annotation or other purpuse.

 – Image Slide Show: If you want to make picture slideshow video here, just leverage this source option to choose target pics and set the transition effect & playback speed.

 – Media Source: Similar to image source, this is aming to input any of your favorite media files, video or audio, onto canvas and play it with proper speed.

 – Scene: It allows to add any existing or create new scene.

 – Text (GDI +): If you want to input words, use it to type and add them at desired color, opacity and position.

 – VLC Video Capture: VLC is a widely-used media playback and streaming tool. If you are willing to move its media source into OBS, click this option to so in clicks.

 – Video Capture Device: Video capture devices, for general users, can be a facecam, a video or game capture card. Integrated or externally connected, all can be added with this source option.

 – Window Capture: To insert any certain software program window, browser window, file explorer window or so, do it from this one.

 – Group: It is designed for sorting out source items clearly if there are too many ones.

#5 Audio Mixer: OBS Studio has added this tool for years to give more flexible settings of added audio sources, such as the volume and the track number (in Advanced Audio Properties) if you want to have all sound tracks seperately for more convenient post-production. And this is knows as multitrack file.

#6 Scene Transition: If there are two or even more scenes you are ready to record, when you switch from one to another, you are suggested to set and apply the preloaded fade/cut/slide/swipe transition effect to make the video looking much cooler.

#7 Controls: Here’s the place to start recording, end recording, and do more complex Settings. As to screencasting, you can directly navigate to Video and Output’s Recording sections to confirm or tweam.

How to Record with OBS Studio (v26) on Windows 10 [3 Easy Steps]

After getting an overall idea of the main interface, you can follow the simple guidance below to start your capture with hassle. If you haven’t installed it on your PC, please go to official OBS download page to get the newest version. I have to say, although OBS Studio is an open source project, it gets frequent updates that even most general shareware cannot match.

Step 1. Add source (must-do), add scene (if necessary)

From the very start, OBS has a scene with no source. You can click “+” icon under Sources straightway to add any source as you like. I have explain all sources one by one above. If you still are confused, just take some time to try them. For most people, the recording is too basic. Set some examples here:

  • To record the entire desktop, add “Display Capture” source;
  • To record background narration, select “Audio Input Capture” to make it happen;
  • To add real face from webcam, add “Video Capture Device”;
  • To record game, click “Game Capture”
  • ….

By default, the added sources may look messy and not in the right position, don’t feel difficult because you are free to resize them and place them in any section as you like by clicking and moving them one by one with the mouse.

Also, if it’s your first time to use OBS, you can make use of “Auto-Configuration Wizard” (Under Menu Bar -> Tools) to test your PC and apply the the recommended settings in one-cilck.

Step 2. Define video format and other settings (if you really need to)

OBS Studio has the most popular MP4 as the ourput format defaultly. If you want to change it or explore more settings on video and audio, such as bitrate, fps, audio channel, track number and so on, just click Settings and go to Output -> Recording -> Recording format. Output Format also has an “Advanced” mode which offers “Standard” to “Custom Output (FFmpeg)” for more advanced user.

To change the final video resolution, you should navigate to Base (Canvas) and Output (Scaled) resolution under Video category to do so.

Step 3. Start and End Recording

Tap “Start Recording” to have the capture process on immediately, during which you can pause and unpause it at any time. When the documentation or demonstration is over, press “Stop Recording” to give it to an end and saved locally.


Getting a quick start on OBS capture is not hard after you have completed this how to record with OBS Studio tutorial. However, if you are not so interested in such powerful while hard-to-begin app, and you don’t even need to do recording frequenty, maybe general easier screen recorders like Snagit are more suggested.



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