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Hello Everybody!

This week is all about web assignments and reviewing radio shows! We were required to complete a number of assignments two of which had to equal a total of 6 stars and had to come from the Web Assignments bank.

The Assignment

This assignment is worth 3.5 stars and the exact requirements are: “Find a cool, easy to use digital tool online! Write up a brief tutorial on how to use it, and what it can be used for.”

The Story

I sat there for a few minutes and thought of everything I have used so far. I didn’t want to go discover something new because that might take up a lot of time and there was the possibility that I would find something, try it, and dislike it, in which case I wouldn’t want to recommend it to anybody. I finally decided to give a brief tutorial on OBS which stands for Open Broadcasting Software. I have two main reasons for choosing this. One, it is free and very well made. It allows for simple screen capture but also allows you to customize your recordings and screen in any way you want so that you can actually make really great looking screen capture or game capture videos! Two, it is heavily used for live broadcasting on platforms such as Twitch and to make YouTube videos. Live broadcasting is becoming a huge thing and a part of our culture now. Some people are completely unaware that live broadcasters make a living by having many subscribers and that there are literally million dollar gaming competitions and teams of people who play games professionally. So, if you want to be well prepared for the cyber future we are heading for, it’s important to understand what digital tools people use and how they use them.

The Tutorial

The first thing you would want to do is to download OBS from their website which is linked in the above section. The image below shows what the download page looks likes and you just have to select the proper operating system download for your computer.

Screen Shot 2015-10-25 at 6.08.01 PM

Once you have OBS installed, it’s time to play around with the basics. The image below is what your screen will look like when you first open OBS. It is also the screen where you can start adding some of the things you want. If you look down you will see some options including boxes for “Scenes” and “Sources”. This is where you want to start.

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Click on the “+” sign in the “Sources” box. The sources are what you will be capturing, using as a camera source, and audio source. The menu will give you options for audio, video, screen capture, and even images. If you have a microphone or a webcam, it will come up under your options once you plug it in. The Image below is an example of what your screen looks like once you have selected some sources. Take note, that sources will overlap in the order that you have them added. If you want an image to be behind your webcam screen, you must drag it below the webcam source in the little white box. The beauty of this is that you can resize and moved things around to your liking and with some tweaking, you can make a beautiful screen that includes pictures, text, a recording of what you are doing on your lab top and a video recoding of yourself. Also, at this point you may be wondering “Okay, so that’s the SCENES box all about?” that box simply allows you to make different screen capture creations. Maybe in one you want your image background to be a mountain scene and you want the video recording of yourself in the top left corner, and in the other scene, you want your video recording to be smaller and in the right corner. In this case you will add multiple scenes and customize them and just switch between whatever ones you want when you go live or start recording.

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Next, let’s take a look at some preferences. In the upper left hand corner, click on “OBS” and it will give you a drop down menu. The first thing should say “preferences…” and that’s where you need to click. You will get a whole menu with different aspects of OBS that you can explore and change. “General” will allow you to change the language and theme. “Stream” is where you will set up your live stream if you have a live stream key which you will get once you set up an account with a streaming platform like Twitch.  “Output” is where you can change what location your recordings get saved to and in what format (.mov, .mp4, etc…). “Audio” is something I don’t really touch because I usually do not need to change anything and for simple recordings, you may not need to mess with it. However, if you want to become an OBS expert, I suggest further watching and reading tutorials on what you can do. “Video” allows you to change resolution and frames per second at which you are recording and streaming. Once again, there are options here that you need not change unless you are well versed in video terminology. “Hotkeys” is a great place to set up hotkeys for easy one-click recording and various other adjustments. Finally “Advanced” is where you can set up recording delays ( which may be necessary when streaming). There are other advanced options here as well that you may not need to change unless you are very skilled and know what you are doing.

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Last but not least, below is a quick video of everything I just described. Take a look at it to get the feel of how OBS works!

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