Enhance your Zoom Calls with OBS

One of the most impactful ways of enhancing your Zoom calls is using a streaming platform such as OBS or Streamlabs OBS – allowing you to completely customize your video feed. This article covers some of the key ways of improving your calls. 

What is OBS?

OBS, or Open Broadcaster Software, is a powerful live-streaming video software that enables full customization over your webcam feed.

OBS is intended as a way for individual users to create professional video streams. It is used mainly by computer game streamers to live stream themselves playing games. It is powerful, allowing full customizations of the video stream, and also relatively simple to use during live streams. Although it takes some time to set up and get used to, it allows you to transform your video calls with only minimal effort during the call.

Although originally used for live streaming, OBS (of which OBS Studio and Streamlabs OBS are two variants) both allow you to also connect the video feed to video conferencing software such as Zoom. 

Ways of enhancing your video stream

Opportunity 1: Resize and crop your webcam

One of the key reasons to consider using a software dedicated to video streaming, over directly using the webcam in Zoom, is to reposition and resize the image. 

Opportunity 2: Adjust the colors of your webcam

The next benefit of using OBS is that it allows you to adjust the video colors, beyond the often limited range of modifications that can be made in your webcam app. By applying filters to the video it is possible to create a much more professional live stream than is possible directly when using your webcam. 

Opportunity 3: Include slide overlays

Another benefit of OBS is that it allows you to include multiple components to your video feed that can be  – each customizable as you desire.

For example, it is possible to include slide overlays – allowing you to point to parts on your slides.

Need inspiration: Check out game streamers

If you want some inspiration for what is possible with OBS / Streamlabs, – check out games streaming (for example on YouTube or Twitch). In all likelihood, the gamers will be using OBS to on-the-fly combine together their game, webcam, chat feed, and often other animations.

But how to connect into Zoom?

While video streaming software was originally developed for online streamers (mainly gamers using platforms such as Twitch to broadcast their videos), they have recently incorporated the ability to connect directly with video conferencing software such as Zoom.

Specifically, to connect to Zoom, you just need to output the video as a ‘virtual webcam’ – essentially an imaginary webcam feed that you can then select from programs such as Zoom. 

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We’ve all been there: your setting up a scene in OBS – or worse part way through a live stream – and you move or delete an item, and suddenly you want it back. Control-z doesn’t work and you are frantically looking through the menu buttons to find undo. Well, we have good news and bad news for you: the bad first, there is no undo button included in OBS, the good news is that if you are desperately wanting to use undo, Streamlabs OBS is a solution.

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Strealmabs OBS is one of the most comprehensive platforms for streaming, either on platforms such as Twitch and YouTube, or via conferencing platforms such as Zoom. This setup guide covers the basics to help you get started.

Enabling the Virtual Webcam in Streamlabs

Connecting Streamlabs to your conferencing software, such as Zoom, uses a ‘virtual’ webcam – essentially a video feed, that you can select from within Zoom and other programs. This article explains how to enable the virtual webcam and select it from your conferencing software.

Disable Webcam Mirroring in Zoom

While mirroring your webcam is often a useful feature on Zoom – with your preview the mirror-image of how it is recorded – there are occasions when it is more natural to disable this and see your preview the way participants do. This article explains how to disable the mirroring of your webcam in Zoom. 

Adding a Webcam to Streamlabs OBS

The first thing you are likely to want to do with Strealmabs OBS is to add a webcam – in this step-by-step guide, we walk though through the entire process. 

Hide the Zoom Control Bar When Screen Sharing

The Zoom control bar is normally useful to have at hand (and for teaching it can be useful to always have it displayed). However, if you are sharing your entire screen it can be useful to disable it so that viewers can see your entire screen.

How to undo in OBS…

We’ve all been there: your setting up a scene in OBS – or worse part way through a live stream – and you move or delete an item, and suddenly you want it back. Control-z doesn’t work and you are frantically looking through the menu buttons to find undo. Well, we have good news and bad news for you: the bad first, there is no undo button included in OBS, the good news is that if you are desperately wanting to use undo, Streamlabs OBS is a solution.

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