Open Broadcaster Software
Open Broadcaster Software (OBS) is an open source cross-platform video recording and live-streaming application. It provides an easy to pick up and extensible workflow with customizable scenes, volume mixers, transitions, filters and more.
OBS can be installed with the obs-studio package, or obs-studio-gitAUR for the development version.
Other clients that provide other functionality are available:
For easy configuration, Tools > Auto-Configuration Wizard can quickly set up base settings for both recording and live-streaming. The wizard auto-selects bitrate, resolution and encoder based on your hardware (and network connection if streaming was set up).
Hardware video acceleration
Hardware-accelerated encoding and decoding is best for performance, CPU/GPU usage and quality. The encoder can be changed in Settings > Output > Streaming > Encoder (may have to first set Settings > Output > Output Mode to Advanced). See Hardware video acceleration if a hardware encoder is not detected.
By default, OBS will output recordings in the user's home path with spaces in the video filename and the same encoder selected for streaming. The output path, filesize, file format, filename style and more can be changed in Settings > Output > Streaming > Encoder.
By default, OBS assigns no hotkeys. All hotkey pairs highlighted in red upon selection can use the same keybind for toggling the pair's function.
Virtual camera output
Starting from version 26.1, OBS supports virtual camera output on Linux. To use it, install v4l2loopback, then the Start Virtual Camera button will appear in OBS. If the
v4l2loopback kernel module is not loaded yet, OBS will automatically try to load it and ask for administrative privileges to do so (using pkexec(1)).
Since OBS is a Qt application, see Wayland#Qt to make it work under Wayland. See PipeWire#WebRTC screen sharing to enable Wayland screen capture.
Global shortcuts in KDE not working
The global shortcuts set in OBS only work when OBS is in focus. As a workaround, you can control OBS through its WebSocket interface, which can be enabled in OBS by going to Tools > WebSocket Server Settings and selecting Enable WebSocket server.
obs-studiois still missing WebSocket support FS#76710, but the Flatpak and some of the AUR packages do have it.
The WebSocket can then be controlled with
obs-websocket-py (version >=1.0). Either of them can be installed with pip. Then in System Settings > Shortcuts, you can add the following command for
obsws-python to set your custom shortcut to toggle recording:
python -c "import obsws_python;obsws_python.ReqClient(host='localhost',port=4455,password='yourwebsocketpassword').toggle_record()"
Or the following command if you're using
python -c "from obswebsocket import obsws,requests;c=obsws('localhost',4455,'yourwebsocketpassword');c.connect();c.call(requests.ToggleRecord());c.disconnect()"
The WebSocket password and port can be found in WebSocket Server Settings > Show Connect Info.
Tips and tricks
The obs-browser plugin gives the ability to use a webpage within the canvas, typically for web-based overlays. The webpage can be interacted with and works like any other source type.
The default obs-studio package does not provide this plugin. It can be added via other clients or plugin packages:
- obs-studio-gitAUR compiles with the browser plugin.
- obs-linuxbrowserAUR (or obs-linuxbrowser-binAUR for pre-compiled binary) provides the old linuxbrowser plugin. Works with the default client, but is abandoned and slightly outdated. The quickest way to get the plugin as of December 2021.
- obs-studio-tytan652AUR is a custom client that provides the browser plugin as well as browser docks, along with other general improvements.
Capturing via Vulkan/OpenGL
The obs-vkcapture plugin adds the capability to capture Vulkan or OpenGL programs by hooking into those APIs directly, rather than using generic Xorg or Wayland window capture APIs. To use it, install obs-vkcaptureAUR, as well as lib32-obs-vkcaptureAUR if capturing 32-bit applications. Follow the instructions in the GitHub repository to setup a Game Capture using the plugin.
Encoding using GStreamer
obs-gstreamer is a project which provides:
- An encoder plugin for using GStreamer for encoding.
- Plugins for using a GStreamer pipeline as a source, video filter, or audio filter. This is an advanced capability intended for users familiar with GStreamer usage.
AMD GPU users report that VA-API via GStreamer outperforms OBS's default VA-API video encoding capabilities. To use obs-gstreamer for encoding, install obs-gstreamerAUR and change OBS' encoder to GStreamer Encoder. If OBS gives an error regarding encoders you might need to install the gstreamer-vaapi package.
Encoding using AMF
obs-studio-amf is a patch that ports the AMD Media Framework encoder to Linux, which was previously exclusive to Windows.
To make this work you need to setup AMDGPU PRO, install obs-studio-amfAUR and set the
VK_ICD_FILENAMES environment variable:
$ VK_ICD_FILENAMES=/usr/share/vulkan/icd.d/amd_pro_icd64.json:/usr/share/vulkan/icd.d/amd_pro_icd32.json obs
With the most recent graphics drivers, AMF should outperform any hardware encoder for AMD in both speed and quality.
Manual plugins installation
You can manually install plugin to the
~/.config/obs-studio/plugins/. The folder structure is the following: