June 3, 2020

Software first steps: Configuring OBS – Scenes

By jfbethlehem
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You have OBS set up and it’s a complete blank slate. You only see a window with some odd buttons and panes. What can you do with this, you might ask. What do all those buttons do? This looks complicated…

But, actually, it’s not that complicated once you’ve run through it a bit. There are some things you will want to do, regardless of how big your setup is in church. 

You will want to add the camera to OBS. You will want to add a logo. You might want to add slides or lyrics. You might want to add videos that were sent to you beforehand or as a countdown. And, if you are really daring, you might want to add someone who’s somewhere else on the Internet into your stream. And you might want to have multiple scenes so people will not be only looking at one thing.

No worries, we’ll walk you through each and every step so you will not get lost in this amazingly powerful free software.

Adding scenes

The first thing you will probably want is to add multiple scenes. This is to organise the various different views your livestream will have. For example, you might want to have an intro video or a timer before your actual live stream starts. Or you will want to have a scene where you will have your camera show your Pastor while showing the slides. Or no slides. Or lyrics. Or you want a second camera. There are many good reasons to have multiple scenes and starting with getting a list of scenes is a good first step.

To add scenes, you go to the ‘Scenes’ panel at the bottom left. Below this panel, you will see a plus, a minus, an arrow up and an arrow down.

Press the plus to add a scene. Enter a name that will be logical to you for what you want to be in that scene. Possible names could be “Countdown”, “Welcome”, “Pastor full view”, “Pastor slides”, “Band” and “Closing”. Give it a name that works for you. 

Ordering sources and scenes

Before we add sources, I want to add one thing. You can order sources and scenes using either the two arrow buttons in the ‘Scenes’ and ‘Sources’ panels or by click-dragging them with your mouse.

In the ‘Scenes’ panel, this just orders the various scenes you have created but in the ‘Sources’ panel, this not only orders by also positions. Higher placed sources will be put in front of lower placed sources. If you have a picture or a camera view which suddenly disappears when you add something, change the order around a bit until it’s set as you like it to be. New sources will always be put at the top.

Copying between scenes

You will add quite a few sources to your scenes. But…you will not want to add new sources manually every time. You probably dislike having to manually resize them and give them unique names even though they are basically the same things over and over again.

The team of OBS must have thought the same thing because they have added the option to copy sources from one scene to the other while maintaining the position and dimensions. 

To do this, select the source you want to copy in the scene you want to copy it from. Right-click it and select ‘Copy’. In the scene you want to add it to, right-click an empty spot and select ‘Paste (reference)’. 

Using template scenes

If you have many scenes with sources at the same place but you do not want to copy-paste the sources between scenes all the time or you want to have a one-stop-shop to change source positions and have those changes be applied at all other scenes, you can use template scenes.

Template scenes are basically just normal scenes that you include in other scenes.

First thing you do is to create a new scene. Give this a good obviously template-y name, like ‘__Default Scene Template’. In this scene, you can add sources which are the same on the other scenes that you are using.

When you have finished the template scene, go to the scene you want to add the template scene to, click the plus and select ‘Scene’. Click ‘Add existing’ and select your template scene. After you click ‘Ok’, you will see all items in your template scene in your new scene. If you move the items in the template scene, they will be moved on all scenes where the template scene was added.