Free OBS screen recorder and green screen

When I first started doing YouTube videos and testing software my aim was to have the talking head (mine) in the bottom corner while demonstrating the process on the screen. It adds something to the tutorial in my opinion.

I tested a number of different video recording programmes, mostly free, but the free versions did not allow for dual screen (talking head). OBS (Open Broadcaster Software) did but it was too advanced for me at the beginning, mainly because I was a newbie and didn’t know what questions to ask. I had issues with it and couldn’t do the basic setup so I stopped using it. This time around, I had the same issues but knew the questions to ask.

CamStudio is the video recorder I’ve been using, but have had a few issues with it recently, and even uninstalled it and re-installed it to try and get it to run.

Watching some YouTube videos of late I note that there seem to be a lot more people using green screen background, so I thought I’d explore that. I’ve watched a couple of videos about live streaming, I’m still trying to get my head around that.

This gentleman’s setup of OBS for streaming and the versatility of it is pretty impressive, especially for images, texts and window showing the presenter talking.

So I thought I’d revisit using OSB. I am a bit fascinated by the green screen and started watching videos on setting up that part of the process.

On starting to set it up on windows this morning, I got the talking head, played around with the green screen with one of Manu’s dog blanket (actually a long haul blanket given out on airlines, more turquoise than green) I gave that a bit of a test.

Black screen of death!!!

Going through the settings of adding multiple sources, I followed this gentleman’s video:

I set up a scene and added an image, a talking head (video capture device from my webcam) and then when I tried a display capture (this is screen capture) I did not get the infinity OBS screen but a black screen instead. If I used a window capture, that worked fine, but not the display capture. Then I thought, this is why I uninstalled the programme last time, so I did a bit of research.

It seems that laptops Graphics Display uses a couple of drivers to switch between full running and idle and OBS doesn’t like that at all. Here is an article on the issue. The video below solved the issue for me, changing the OBS settings within the NVIDIA card control panel:

So I am now able to put a little logo image in the bottom of my screen, have a talking head, and display the desktop and programmes on my screen. Hurray.

Videoing setup

Having made a few videos, I want to make them better. I really like Mr Dottotech and he has a 3 part YouTube playlist on his setup and process, here is the first one:

I have the computer, the webcam and am using the computer mic (although he does suggest a better one) and software for creating, OBS in my case. I’ll have to think about editing afterwards. I have attempted to use a green screen (dog blanket) but no lighting so far. So I may need to do a bit of research on that part for a background consistency.

I have ordered a green screen from Ali Express, I’m not sure when it will arrive, it says 14 to 25 days then the suppliers said 20 -60 days. So I don’t think I’ll be using Ali Express for a while unless its for something I dont want to use for 2-3 months and if its way cheaper than alternative sources.

So I need to set up a wee logo, do some testing on some editing software, although Da Vinci Resolve looks as if its worth playing with. Then I’ll need to think of some content. I have a couple of demonstrations I’d like to do on 3D PDF’s that I brought up in the RUGwell presentation and also a couple on productivity tools.


Testing the settings and adding sources that work has occupied my time for the last few hours. I had the aspect ratios of some of the sources wrong so text was thin and stretched. The green screen settings were giving me dark hair, that was weird!.

Anything above 2500 bit rate and lip sync doesn’t work. Flapping lips that do not match the audio.

Setting hotkeys that worked and testing the video output was also interesting. I’m not happy with the resolution/finish in the videos, the lines in the Revit model are all dotted/dashed/fuzzy, so something wrong with my output settings.

I’ve tested a few variations of the setting, some of them make the CPU go up to 100% and stay there. I haven’t had much change in revit or 3D PDF resolution, although the lines look better in Adobe than in Revit.

I came across another video regarding RAM on computers. I have 16GB RAM, but it seems that some programmes (Adobe Premier in the video example) allocate RAM for their programme, leaving a small amount to be shared with other programmes, so sometimes OBS cannot run as it has minimal RAM. I did note that when I raised the bitrate to about 5000 the CPU went mad and when I stopped recording it took a long time to process the video.

End thoughts

Pressing all the buttons I came across Studio mode, which this gentleman talks about in this video which is an interesting feature for streaming:

Its a nice idea and would be great in screen capture as you could have a text prompt list for what to say. I’ll need to see if you can use it in that mode.

Overall, I’ve been testing the output quality of the videos this afternoon. Its a fiddle factor thing. I could keep on doing that for a long while without being too productive.

I will use the setup I currently have and try and develop some content and post it. As I get more familiar with OBS I’ll see if I can improve the quality.

I’m pleased with the talking head, the logo (test- Drax coat of arms) , not so much with the final resolution. From the point of the ideas I wish to get across.

Another aspect of current setup is there is space above the talking head to put some extra information, such as links and other data. I’ll have to think about that.

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