How to record screen with OBS

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Matthew M. White
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OBS Studio is a powerful screen and broadcast tool. Apart from live streaming content, the open source software can also seamlessly record computer screens and capture audio. The user-friendly dashboard comes with a host of customization features for high-quality videos.

This tutorial will show you how to record both your screen and audio with OBS Studio and save the file to your hard drive. Since the software is compatible with multiple operating systems, we've included step-by-step instructions for each. Keep reading to know more about the fantastic free tool and its various screen recording settings.



How to record screen with OBS

Since it is an open source software, OBS Studio download is completely free. As mentioned, the program is compatible with different operating systems, including Windows, Linux, and Mac. It is an advanced tool that offers a wide range of customization options. In addition, OBS automatically saves recorded files to a folder of your choice.

The only major drawback is that the software does not work with all devices. If you want to use OBS Studio for screen recording, you're pretty much tied to your computer. Currently, there is no mobile version available for iOS or Android devices. However, there is a way around these limitations, but more on that later.

Below you will find detailed instructions on how to record your computer screen with Windows 10, Linux and Mac, so be sure to keep reading.

Windows 10

If your PC is running Windows 8 (including 8.1) or 10, you're good to go. You can download the appropriate version of the software from the official website. You will be asked to indicate whether you will use OBS for streaming or screen recording during the installation process, so keep that in mind.



Once you have downloaded it to your computer, follow these steps for screen recording:

  1. Open OBS Studio. Typically, the software will automatically add a “scene” after launch. Alternatively, click the plus icon in the "Scenes" box in the lower left corner of the screen.
  2. Navigate to the "Sources" box right next to "Scenes." Click the small plus icon at the bottom of the panel.
  3. Select "Show Capture" from the options menu. A small pop-up window will appear. Add a title and click "OK".
  4. Another pop-up window will appear. If you have multiple monitors, click the little down arrow to access a drop-down list. Choose the display you want to capture and press "OK".

  5. Go to the lower right corner of the screen and click on "Settings".
  6. A new window will appear – select “Exit” from the sidebar on the left side. Under "Save path", choose a destination for your file.

  7. Once you're done, click the blue "Start Recording" button in the lower right corner of the screen.

Linux

OBS Studio is compatible with PCs running Ubuntu 18.05 or higher. However, keep in mind that you will need to install the FFmpeg video filter first. You can use the following command to do this: sudo apt install FFmpeg. After that, you can get the official version of OBS for Linux from the official website.


When it comes to screen recording, the steps are more or less the same, with one minor distinction. Here's a quick breakdown:

  1. Launch OBS and scroll down to the “Sources” box.
  2. Click the small plus button to access the options panel and select "Screenshot". The feature name is the main distinction between Linux and other operating systems.
  3. Click "OK" when prompted by pop-ups. If you have multiple screens, choose one for recording.
  4. Go to Settings and click on “Exit”. Select "Save Path" to determine where the file will be saved.
  5. Navigate to the lower right corner of the screen and press the "Start Recording" button.

Mac

The oldest version that supports OBS is macOS 10.13, so make sure your Mac meets the requirements before downloading the software. When it comes to screen recording, you can follow the Windows 10 steps all the way as they are entirely the same. Here's a quick recap:


  1. Click the small plus icon in the "Sources" box.
  2. Select "Show Capture" from the list of options. Confirm with “OK” when prompted.
  3. Go to Settings and click on “Exit”. Select "Save Path" to determine where the file will be saved.
  4. Tap the blue "Start Recording" button in the lower right corner of the screen.

iPhone

Unfortunately, no mobile version of OBS is currently available in the market. Most smartphones already have a built-in screen recording feature, eliminating the need for third-party software.


However, if you want to use OBS on your iPhone, there is a way around the limitations. You can use a Lightning connector to connect the device to your computer and work from there. Here's how:

  1. Plug the iPhone into your Mac or PC using a Lightning cable.
  2. Launch OBS and scroll down to the “Sources” box.
  3. Click on the small plus icon and select "Video capture device".
  4. A pop-up window will appear. Check the little circle that says "Create New" and click "OK."
  5. A new window will appear. Click the little down arrow next to "Devices" to access a drop-down list. Select your iPhone. If it does not appear, check if it is plugged in correctly.
  6. Once the iPhone screen appears on the screen, click on the “Start Recording” button in the lower right corner.

Android

The same rules apply to Android devices. Follow the steps in the previous section if you are determined to use OBS. However, keep in mind that this method usually causes bottlenecks and problems. Unless your model has a built-in screen recorder, try browsing the Google Play Store for a more compatible alternative.


Customizing Screen Recording with OBS

You can improve the quality of your file by playing around with different customization options. Let's start by defining the screenshot settings:

  1. Open OBS Studio and go to "Settings".
  2. Select "Video" from the panel on the left side. From here you can change the resolution, FPS, capture and output size of the recording.
  3. Adjust the settings according to your needs. Click the little down arrow next to each to access a list of options.
  4. Once you're done, click "Apply" and then "OK."

If you want your file to be in a specific format, here's what to do:

  1. Go to Settings, then “Output”.
  2. Click the little down arrow next to "Output Mode" and choose "Advanced."
  3. In the "Recording" section, look for the "Recording Format" dialog box. Click and scroll through the list of available formats.
  4. Check if the "Use Stream Encoder" option is enabled and click "Apply".

Of course, these changes mostly come down to personal taste. OBS is fairly intuitive software, so the default settings work just fine.

How to record screen and audio with OBS?

There are several options for capturing audio with OBS Studio. You are free to switch between internal and external sources, and the steps are pretty much the same for Linux and Windows OS. In comparison, Mac users have a slight disadvantage as OBS cannot record sound without the help of a third party. Luckily, there is a utility app that works great with the software.

Keep reading to learn how to record both screen and audio with OBS on different operating systems.

Windows 10

Before you start screen recording, you can adjust the audio source with the “Audio Mixer” function. Here's how:

  1. Scroll to the bottom of the page and find the "Mixer" section.
  2. Click on the small gear icon to open a drop-down list. Go to “Properties”.
  3. Choose a preferred source (Desktop or Mic/Aux audio). OBS automatically enables both, so you can leave it at that.
  4. To adjust the volume, toggle the slider next to the audio source you've chosen.
  5. If you want to mute the sound completely, click on the small speaker icon next to the activated source.

Linux

Follow the exact steps in the previous section to adjust the audio settings while recording screen. However, in case you only want to record the internal audio, here's what you should do:

  1. Click the little plus icon in the "Sources" box.
  2. Select "Audio Output Capture" from the drop-down list.
  3. Enter the source title in the small pop-up box and click "OK".
  4. Select the preferred output device and start recording.

And if you only want your microphone to register, you must:

  1. Click to add a new "Source" and select "Audio Input Capture".
  2. Check "Create new" in the small pop-up window.
  3. Select the microphone from the drop-down menu.
  4. Adjust the parameters using "Mixer".

Mac

Mac users need a third-party application to record audio with OBS. We recommend using Black Hole as it works well with the software. You can download the VA driver from the Mac App Store for free.

After installing the app, here's what you need to do:

  1. Open Apple MIDI Setup.
  2. Create a new output device that includes both your speaker and the Blackhole driver.
  3. Launch OBS and add the new device as an "Audio Out Capture" source.

iPhone and Android

Since there is no OBS mobile app for iOS or Android devices, it is much more convenient to use pre-installed screenshot apps. Sure, there is the lightning cable workaround, but it often produces poor results. If you want to record screen and audio simultaneously, we suggest sticking with the built-in features.

Just for information

With OBS, you can create high-quality screen recordings without much hassle. The software is quite user-friendly and works well with different operating systems. There is a wide range of customization options that allow you to change the file format and video capture configurations to your liking. You can also capture audio from multiple sources, although with the help of third-party apps in some cases.

The only drawback of OBS Studio is that it is incompatible with mobile devices. Although you can use a Lightning cable to connect your phone to the software, it's best to use the built-in features that most models have these days.

Do you use OBS for screen capture? Is there another software you prefer? Comment below and let us know if there is a better way to use OBS with mobile devices.

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