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Video Broadcasting with OBS for Remote Developers

I'd like to look into a broadcasting setup for screen-sharing as a remote worker.
May 30 2019 2:30 PM

I absolutely love Twitch! Gaming streams are what I turn to after a long day of code. Day9, Savjz, Grubby, and plenty of others, are masters of the art. Gotta love'em!

But what I'd like to look into today is their broadcasting setup and how we, as freelancers and remote workers, can gain something from the use of it. In fact, take a look at a few streams here: twitch.tv/directory/game/Programming, that'll give you an idea of where I'm going with this.

Open Broadcaster Software

So we've all had a screen-share call before, you pick a window, a browser page or a phone emulator, and that replaces your camera feed with whatever is happening on that screen. With OBS, you can share a window that has so much more than that, even like, your face 🤯!

Setting the Scenes

An OBS scene starts black. You could follow their overview instructions, but for our purposes we may start right away by adding the few sources we need to build our first scene. First off, the camera! In the Sources box, click the + button and select Video Capture Device to create a new one. You can now put yourself anywhere on the feed! Next comes our code editor, from the + button again, select Window Capture and find your editor's window in the dropdown. And again, you can put your code anywhere! By the same couple of button clicks, you can add: a browser window, a terminal window, an emulator window, a design tool's window, anything really. Try building multiple scenes, transitioning between them mid-stream is entirely seamless. I have one that is my code editor full-screen, one that is half my code and half a browser window, and another that is mostly my face. Take a look:

Chroma Keying

Well, you guessed it, you'll need a green screen, mine is the Elgato Green Screen by Corsair.

Do you have one setup yet? Okay now, if you select and right-click your camera source, you'll find the Filters at the bottom of the toolbar. Next, in the Effect Filters box, add a Chroma Key. You'll notice that there's quite a few sliders to play with here. I'm not going to pretend to know anything about green screen lighting setup, but after a few minutes of tweaking the Similarity and Smoothness settings I got something that worked well for me. My setup has a 433 value for similarity, 66 for smoothness and 133 for color spill reduction.

Sharing your Broadcast Window

Great, unto the final step: getting onto a screen sharing call. In OBS, right-click anywhere in the video preview box and enable the Windowed Project (Preview). You'll now have a stand-alone window you can select for your screen-sharing video conferencing. As a side note, I found Discord to have the better screen-sharing capabilities. My client sent me this screenshot 🤪.

Other Crazy Things you Can Do

  • You could have TWO remote developers show up on the same broadcast, one developer dials in via a video call to the broadcaster and the broadcaster inserts the caller's feed as a source onto the scene.

  • OBS can record your stream, perhaps you'd want to keep records of pair-programming sessions or you'd like to film a product demo. All of that can be saved by the click of a button.

  • If you have a recording of developer commenting on their work, you can broadcast yourself ON-TOP of that recording. Developer on developer on developer... to infinity!

Try it out and let me know how your clients react when they see you on your next OBS powered call!



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