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OBS Streaming

OBS Design Fundamentals – Video Device Capture

The Video Capture Device Source allows you to add any video devices such as webcams and capture cards for recording or streaming. Devices such as webcams are plug and play, you only need to plug the webcam to your computer to display the webcam’s point of view. Recently, traditional cameras now have the option of being able to be plugged straight into a computer offering higher picture quality. If your camera doesn’t offer a plug and play solution, you can use a capture card.

One of the original purposes of consumer capture cards was to let people take their home movies from VCR and DVDs and convert them into a video file for backup. Today, there are a wide variety of internal capture cards and external capture cards that are used to hook up a DSLR camera to your computer to be used as a webcam to capturing gameplay from your video game consoles. Before you buy any capture card, I would recommend asking yourself “What do I want to use the capture card for?” as not all capture cards are the same or are compatible with certain devices.

Once you have your webcam or capture card setup, Video Capture Device Source offers the same properties for you to configure your video device for your recording or livestream.

Deactivate/Activate

If you ever need to restart your capture card or if you are running multiple applications that require your video device, you can use this button to turn your video device on or off.

Configure Video

Depending on your video capture device, this button will open a pop-up window with various options that is connected to your video capture device. For example, devices such as webcams will have settings such as controlling zoom, focus, and color control.

Configure Crossbar

If applicable to your video capture device, this will open another set of options to configure your capture device. For example, capture cards that support multiple inputs such as composite and s-video support this feature as you need to instruct which video signal you are using with the capture card.

Resolution/FPS Type

There are two options that you can select: Device Default and Custom. Most video capture devices can be left on Device Default. However, if you need to alter the resolution you can set the video capture device to custom where you will be able to set the Resolution and FPS options using their drop-down lists.

Resolution

If you have selected Custom, the Resolution drop-down list will show what resolutions that your video capture device supports. If you need a specific resolution for your video capture device, it is best to use this setting.

FPS (Frames Per Second)

If you have selected Custom, the Frames Per Second drop-down list will show the frames per second option your video capture device will allow. For example, some webcams offer 4k resolution but only at 30 frames per second. If you are streaming at 60 frames per second, then you will want to change the resolution to 1080 which will then allow the webcam to capture at 60 frames per second. It is important to read the manual of your video capture device to see the framerate your device will support.

Video Format

If your video capture device supports multiple video formats, if you need to select a specific format from the drop-down list, you can select the format here. Since this is a fundamentals course, most video capture devices do not need this setting adjusted as most video formats are supported through OBS.

Color Space

This drop-down list allows you to set the color space for your video capture device. Simply put, Color Space are standards for correctly showing colors for high definition or analog formats. It is highly recommended that you leave this option set to default as your video capture device is automatically set to the format set by the advanced settings in OBS. The 709 standard is intended for high definition or widescreen aspect ratios while the 601 standard is intended for standard definition/analog aspect ratios. Adjusting these settings different than with the advanced settings in OBS will result in colors being displayed incorrectly to your audience.

Color Range

The Color Range drop-down list offers three settings: Default, Full, Partial. Once again, it is recommended to leave this option to default as like the Color Space setting, the video capture device will adjust itself based on the advanced settings in OBS.

Color Range is a standard that defines the numerical value, between 0-255, to a color. The number 0 is the color for black and 255 is the color for white, with every other color in between. For the Full Color Range setting, it will follow this standard offering more precise colors when used. The Partial Color Range setting in contrast has a smaller range converting the numerical value to a color. Any value that is below 16 is shown as black and any value above 235 is shown as white. Typically, devices such as televisions will only have partial color range.

Like Color Space, having your video capture device settings set differently than your advanced settings in OBS will result in colors being displayed incorrectly to your audience.

Buffering

The Buffering setting allows you control if you find that your video and audio with your video capture device is desynced. Buffering ensures that your video and audio from your video capture device are synchronized. There are three options available: Auto-Detect, Enable and Disable. By default, Auto-Detect is selected delegating the decision to your video capture device. If your video capture device supports buffering, it will enable buffering. If there is no delay, Auto-Detect will disable buffering. If you are noticing that your audio and video are not synchronized, then set Buffering to Enable.

Flip Vertically

Some video capture devices will output their video upside down. To fix this, select the Flip Vertically option to correct the orientation.

Audio Output Mode

Audio Output Mode allows you to set where the audio from your video capture device will be captured. The Capture Audio Only setting will only capture the audio but will not offer any audio monitoring. In other words, you will not be able to hear the audio. If you need to output the video capture devices audio through your default device, then the option Output Desktop Audio will capture the audio from the device and output the audio through your default device. Output Desktop Audio should only be used if you want to hear what your viewers are hearing.

Use Custom Audio Device

This checkbox setting should be used if your video capture device is not showing any audio in the audio mixer. Some video capture devices such as Logitech or AverMedia use dedicated audio drivers. By selecting the Use Custom Audio Device checkbox, a drop-down list will generate, and you can select the audio device that corresponds with your video capture device.

Create a Video Capture Device Source

For this example, you will need a video capture device such as a webcam or capture card. To create a Video Capture Device Source, follow these steps.

1.      Click on the + sign in the Sources window and select Video Capture Device.

2.      From the pop-up window, click on the OK button.

3.      From the Video Capture Device properties window, select the video capture device you want to display.

4.      Click on the OK button to close Video Capture Device properties window.

Video Capture Devices is an important source if you plan on creating content that involves showing yourself, or any media that you are showing in real time. With multiple cameras you can create compelling scenes showing a set from different camera angles. Before buying any capture cards or webcams to research the device’s capabilities so they match your needs to the content you plan to produce.