Chapter 2: Live Stream Setup

Which Platform?

Of course, there are multiple platforms to choose from, and it may feel a bit overwhelming to get started. We suggest getting familiar with each before committing to one. Firstly, if you have an established community on a particular platform, it's best to start there.

Start by creating a multistream to establish which platform gets more engagement and views.

Live Stream to Twitch, YouTube, and Facebook at the same time

Which platform is right for you is a personal choice, and there is no right or wrong answer. We'll review the big players like Twitch, Facebook, and YouTube.

Platform Options Overview

Twitch

Twitch is a continuously growing platform for live streams of every variety with topics that may include gaming, music, talk shows, sports, travel and outdoors, "just chatting," food and drink, or special events. This guide teaches how to stream using the free Streamlabs OBS software.

While you may stream directly from your PC or mobile device to Facebook, we also review the specifics of scheduling live streams and how to live stream games on Facebook.

YouTube

Of course, streaming to YouTube is a popular option for many live streamers, especially gaming. YouTube allows mobile, webcam, or encoder live streaming options. We get into the details on streaming with the encoder option through Streamlabs OBS.

Multistreaming Options

If you want to stream across all Twitch, Facebook, and YouTube, Streamlabs offers multistream functionality for a monthly or annual fee. This could help you grow your audience faster.

Create a Twitch Account

Before you start creating content, reference the community guidelines to avoid any content that could potentially get your account on Twitch and Streamlabs suspended.

  1. Create an account
    • Click the "sign up" button and fill out the appropriate information.
  2. Enable two-factor authentication
    • Before you can start broadcasting, you'll need to enable 2FA. Navigate to security settings, and enable 2FA.

Download Streamlabs OBS

Twitch, Facebook, and YouTube allow you to use free live streaming software like Streamlabs OBS. Download and install it on your desktop computer.

  • Launch Streamlabs OBS
  • Sign in by clicking on your preferred platform name and sign in using the same login

Streaming Settings - General Set Up

If your computer hardware cannot handle the high streaming settings, you may experience performance issues while you are live streaming. Streamlabs OBS helps solve this issue for new streamers with the Auto Optimize feature. Like it sounds, it optimizes your settings based on your internet speed along with your computer hardware. Find this setting in your Streamlabs OBS software under Settings > General. If you are more comfortable with the technical aspect, adjust the settings as you see fit to provide the best live streaming quality.

Streaming Quality and Resolution

Quality, high-resolution live streaming is essential to building your audience and will impact the performance of Streamlabs OBS. Doubling your pixels from 720p to 1080p will use more computer resources but will produce a better stream.

  • In Streamlabs OBS, adjust your resolution by selecting "Video" from the side panel in the setting window.
  • Leave the base (canvas) the same as your computer's standard resolution.
  • Reduce the output (scaled) resolution to 1280x720 to reduce the impact of your hardware performance and achieve the best balance of performance and quality
Live streaming quality

Choosing your Encoder

There are software (x264) and hardware (NVENC) encoders. To encode videos on your CPU, use the software encoder. But the advantage of a hardware encoder like NVENC is it is a dedicated encoder in the GPU. This difference is crucial with live game streaming. So if you are concerned about game performance, this is your better option. If your video card is NVIDIA, then we recommend streaming with NVENC.

CPU Usage Settings

Your CPU usage preset is under Settings > Output. There are several usage presets under x264 (how fast the CPU encodes your videos). The default settings are "Very Fast," delivering an ideal balance of performance and quality. Keep in mind, NVENC includes these presets: low-latency, optimal performance, and max quality. Experiment with these presets, but we suggest starting with the "Quality" preset and adjusting as you see the quality and your hardware performance.

Dynamic Bitrate

The Dynamic Bitrate feature allows Streamlabs OBS to adjust your bitrate from your network performance automatically. By making these adjustments as needed, it prevents your video from dropping frames.

Of course, you still may experience dropped frames if your computer or internet cannot handle the set bitrates, but this improves your streaming stability and minimizes latency.

Enable Dynamic Bitrate from Settings, then select the Advanced section.

At the bottom of this window, check the box that says, "Dynamically change bitrate when dropping frames while streaming."

Live streaming bitrate

Alternatively, suppose you want to adjust the bitrate manually. In that case, you can uncheck the automatic feature and add Twitch's suggested bitrate settings for the resolution and fps you're aiming to stream:

1080p 60fps

Resolution: 1920x1080

Bitrate: 6000 kbps

Rate Control: CBR

Framerate: 60 or 50 fps

Keyframe Interval: 2 seconds

Preset: Quality

B-frames: 2

1080p 30fps

Resolution: 1920x1080

Bitrate: 4500 kbps

Rate Control: CBR

Framerate: 25 or 30 fps

Keyframe Interval: 2 seconds

Preset: Quality

B-frames: 2

720p 60fps

Resolution: 1280x720

Bitrate: 4500 kbps

Rate Control: CBR

Framerate: 60 or 50 fps

Keyframe Interval: 2 seconds

Preset: Quality

B-frames: 2

720p 30fps

Resolution: 1280x720

Bitrate: 3000 kbps

Rate Control: CBR

Framerate: 25 or 30 fps

Keyframe Interval: 2 seconds

Preset: Quality

B-frames: 2

Please remember, everybody's setup will be different, so make sure to play around with the settings yourself to find out what works best for you.

Widgets and Alerts

Live streaming is about engagement and interaction with your viewers. Enabling the live stream alert widget gives you the chance to connect with your audience and interact directly with your viewers in real-time. With unique on-screen alerts, it's your best opportunity to create a great first (and lasting) impression.

Adding Alert Box widget on Streamlabs OBS

Add an Alert Box widget under the Sources section of Streamlabs OBS.

Streamlabs OBS Sources

Now, viewers will see as subscribers join, follow, etc.

Besides the default alert, Streamlabs offers Alert Box Themes to create a fun, colorful alert that matches your branding.

Featured Custom Alerts For Your Stream

You can also customize your widgets manually from the Streamlabs dashboard by selecting the Alert Box option in the left sidebar.

Streamlabs Alertbox

General Settings

Within Streamlabs General Settings, you can customize all alert types. These will vary based on which platform you are on. For example, Twitch will display options for Followers, Subscriptions, Hosts, and Bits. You can also edit alert delays, mod approvals, profanity filters, and more.

Streamlabs Alertbox Dashboard

Explore other widget options by watching the top widgets video from Streamlabs.

Brand

It's super important to have a consistent theme going with your brand. Having consistent colors, aesthetics, logo, and fonts all go a very long way in creating a brand for yourself and helping your audience remember you.

Some ways you can optimize this would be:

  • Social Media
  • Graphic Overlays
  • Twitch Panels
  • Branded Alerts

Streamlabs provides a ton of tools to help you create your unique brand:

  • Theme Library, with thousands of stream overlays from top designers like Nerd or Die, Visuals By Impulse, and more.
  • Panel Maker, which allows you to create your color-coordinated Twitch Panels.
  • Logo Maker, which provides complete access to dozens of premade logos and hundreds of logo components to help you create your own from scratch.

How to Setup Twitch Channel

Now that you have the basics of your Streamlabs OBS setup for Twitch, it is time to customize your Twitch channel. From either your desktop or mobile, add your profile photo and bio. There are several options to customize from your desktop computer like:

  • Profile photo & bio (less than 300 characters)
  • Channel banner (recommend size 1200x480px in GIF, JPG, or PNG format under 10mb)
  • Profile accent color
  • Video player banner (your offline image: 1080x720 in GIF, JPG, or PNG format under 10MB)
  • Channel trailer (less than 60 seconds)
  • Social media links
  • Stream schedule (Twitch recommends choosing a start time and end time, specific day, plus a category)
  • Channel panels (sections may include about you and other information that may consist of sponsors or related content)
  • Additional options for partners and affiliates
Branding - How?

Donations

How to Set Up Donations on Twitch

Donations are an excellent way for live streamers to monetize their content. To get started accepting donations or "tips," there are two methods to create a tip page.

  1. When you initially logged into Streamlabs, it likely asked for your PayPal email address.
  2. If you need to revisit this step, log into your Streamlabs OBS software. Navigate to Settings, then Donation Settings, and select Methods. From here, choose a payment processor like PayPal. From here, you can finalize your donation options.

If you are not a US-based streamer, you can update the donation currency. In addition, you can also set a minimum donation amount or a recommended amount.

Facebook offers various ways to go live, including going live to your profile, a public or private group, a business page, or an event.

To get started with live streaming on Facebook, choose how you want to stream, then follow these steps:

Facebook Live
  • Click the Live button (from the post section).
  • Add your description. Facebook allows tagging, location check-ins, and adding a feeling or activity to your live stream.
  • Click Start Live Video.
  • When done, click Finish.

With the Facebook app, you need to find your business page, group, profile, or event within the app where you want to live stream first. Then, you follow the steps as usual.

The Creator Studio app uses a pen and paper icon (from the Home or Posts tab) instead of going directly to a post.

Just like the Facebook app, select either your personal profile, a business page, group, or event to start your live stream and follow the steps outlined above.

Connect your Facebook account by selecting the Facebook option with you set up Streamlabs OBS.

Instead of going live immediately, you may want to schedule a live stream. After selecting Live Video, choose the Schedule Live Video Event option in the left column. Then add an event name, date, and time plus the privacy setting for the live event.

Click Next, then Upload Cover Photo or Choose Illustration. If you opt not to add a photo, it will use your cover photo. Click Create Event.

These steps automatically create two posts: an announcement (published immediately to wherever you scheduled the event) and a live video post published when the event goes live.

Before you start streaming games on Facebook, create a Facebook Gaming Creator page. Next, log in to Streamlabs OBS with your Facebook account.

  • Select your Facebook Gaming Page
  • It's correctly connected when you see the Go Live button.
  • In the pop-up window, add your game category, title, description, and select your page.
  • Click Confirm & Go Live.

Live Streaming on YouTube

If you want to live stream on YouTube, log in to your YouTube account. Make sure you have 90 days free of any live streaming restrictions with YouTube, and you must verify your channel.

YouTube Live Streaming

If you opt for streaming without an encoder like Streamlabs, you may be eligible to stream via mobile. However, if you want to stream directly from your mobile, YouTube requires you to have over 1,000 YouTube subscribers (or using the Streamlabs mobile app.)

How to Do Live Streaming on YouTube (From PC)

Typically, streams want to know how to stream on YouTube from a PC. After you enable live streaming on YouTube:

  1. Connect your YouTube account by signing into Streamlabs OBS with your YouTube login details. Choose the Start Fresh option if you have not set up YouTube live streaming with any other encoders.
  2. Set up your mic and webcam (Streamlabs OBS will automatically find them if connected to your computer).
  3. Personalize the experience by adding a theme, then click Go Live when you are ready.

Live Streaming on YouTube on Mobile

Using the Streamlabs mobile app opens the door for you to stream live to YouTube from your mobile device. Install the Streamlabs for Android or iOS, log in with your YouTube login, and choose whether you are streaming your screen or IRL. Use Editor Mode to customize your stream, then click Go Live.

How to Find YouTube Stream Key

After you click the Go Live button, you will find your YouTube Stream key under the Stream Settings section. Like the stream key for Twitch, your YouTube stream key is unique and confidential but necessary for encoders like Streamlabs. This unique code tells the software where to send your live stream and allows YouTube to receive it.

How to Stream on YouTube From PC

Lastly, you may also stream from YouTube directly. After logging into your YouTube account from your browser, click on the Create icon, then Go Live. From here, either schedule your stream or choose Right now. If you do not want to use Streamlabs, choose the Built-in webcam option. To use Streamlabs, select the Streaming software option. Next, customize your stream information, following the prompts. Finally, click End Broadcast when finished.

Now you know how to set up your streaming software for the best experience for both you and your viewers as you build your live streaming audience. As your live streaming experience grows, you may consider adding more widgets, stream across multiple platforms, or more. Live streaming may be a passion project or a thriving career, but now you know the steps to get started on Twitch, Facebook, or YouTube. So enjoy your live streaming experience!