Best OBS Recording Settings in 2022

Ben Jacklin Edited by Ben Jacklin

In this article, you’ll learn:

  • The best basic and advanced settings for OBS

  • How to set up and optimize OBS

It’ll take you about 12 minutes to read this article, and nearly the same time to manage all your settings. No way! Save your time with Movavi Screen Recorder’s AI video enhancement.

If you want to record professional-grade videos from your screen, then OBS Studio is a solid platform. But the program is a little tricky when setting up. For those struggling with their configuration, here is our list of the best OBS recording settings.

Parameter

Recommended setting

Base (canvas) resolution

Adjust to the size of the video you want to capture – e.g. 1920 × 1080 to match the size of your monitor for ‘full screen’ capture at 1080p.

Output (scaled) resolution

Adjust to fit your output file format or the recommended playback or streaming format for your preferred platform.

Common FPS (frames-per-second)

60 FPS

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How to get best-quality screen recording videos in OBS Studio

OBS – Open Broadcaster Software – has advanced features for both capture and streaming. But to get a smooth output, you must know how to set up OBS for recording.

Balance your settings

To optimize for the best recording settings for OBS, you’ll need to pre-configure specific settings that apply to every recording. These base settings help you capture with better quality overall and should remain as a default.

To configure these settings, access the Settings menu by clicking File > Settings. A window will appear that lists options to change settings in a variety of categories like Output, Audio, and Video.

We’ll use these categories to:

  • Set your video capture parameters

  • Set your video recording parameters

  • Set streaming parameters for your screen recording

Auto-configuration tool

An auto-configuration tool will pop up when you first open the OBS screen recorder. From here, you can adjust the settings to match the specs on your computer. But if you need to further adjust your settings – as shown in the sections below – you’ll return to the Settings menu.

Follow the instructions in each category to optimize for the best OBS recording settings in any situation.

Set video capture parameters

You can improve the quality of your videos by clicking the Video category from the Settings menu. Here, you’ll find options that allow you to capture the smoothest videos possible within the platform. Adjust the following settings for optimal capture recording performance.

1. The base (canvas) resolution

Represented by width × height, this resolution represents the dimensions of your capture area. It’s best to match it to the settings on your monitor, but you can also create a custom capture window. 1920 × 1080 is standard 1080p HD recording.

2. Output (scaled) resolution

The resolution for your output (Scaled) doesn’t have to match the resolution for your capture (Canvas). But to create better quality videos, it's best to do so. For optimal playback on a specific platform, make sure your resolution settings are compatible. If not, you’ll want to adjust your settings to match the platform's upload standards.

3. Common FPS (frames-per-second)

FPS – also known as frame rate – determines how many frames per second your video will record. This affects the quality of your video, as more frames give you a smoother picture. 30 FPS or 60 FPS are the top settings based on your storage capacity.

60 FPS has a higher recording bitrate and takes up more storage. But if you want your viewers to experience no lag while watching gameplay videos and other high-quality content, this is the best option.

4. Downscale filter

When your resolution output is smaller than your recording, the video must downscale to match the size. That’s the task for this filter. Lanczos provides the highest quality downscaling, but not every computer can handle this filter. Therefore, we recommend sticking to Bicubic, unless your system can handle Lanczos.

Set your video recording parameters

Click Output from the Settings menu. From here, you can choose either Simple or Advanced to change a wide variety of output settings.

There are no actual parameters for this section, as everyone has different recording needs and systems. But we’ll explore those settings in the sections below.

For now, click the dropdown menu next to Recording format and select MP4. It’s the most commonly used video format to date.

Set streaming parameters for your screen recording

Streaming is another area that can have a lot of settings based on your needs – see below. But here are three settings you can use as defaults for most streams, assuming you’re streaming in 1080p full HD at 60 FPS.

To access, click Output under the Settings window. Then select Advanced from the menu next to Output Mode. Click the Streaming tab and use these settings:

  1. Set the Bitrate to 4,000.

  2. Set the CPU usage to veryfast.

  3. Select X264 as your encoder.

The best OBS settings for recording

The section above provides a default list of settings you can use in most recording or streaming situations. Now we’ll explore each Settings category, so you’ll know how to use the best OBS settings for recording based on your project.

General settings

The General tab within the Settings window has settings that affect your experience of the platform. There’s nothing on the menu that affects the quality of your audio or video. Explore these settings and see what might be helpful in your video creation process.

Output settings

We saw this menu earlier, but let’s take a closer look. This menu allows you to customize the encoding and format settings for your videos and streams. To start, click Advanced under the Output Mode dropdown menu and use these OBS high-quality recording settings:

Encoder

To create a video, you need the program to encode the information in the video into a specific format. And your graphics card determines how fast your system can encode that information.

Many articles on ‘How to optimize OBS for recording’ state that you should use the NVENC H.264 setting. And they’re right because this setting creates the highest quality videos and streams.

But this setting requires an NVIDIA graphics card you may not have installed in your system. That’s why we recommend the x264 as the default recorder.

If you have an NVIDIA graphics card, use the NVENC H.264 setting, and you’ll definitely see a difference when recording or streaming games.

Rate Control

The rate control setting tells your system how you want to allocate the bitrate you’re using. CBR puts out consistent, quality video clips, doesn’t stress your motherboard, and gives you complete bitrate control.

However, if you have an NVIDIA graphics card installed, then CQP is the setting with the highest quality. Just know that this setting puts out large video files, and is mainly used by those recording videos in 4k.

Bitrate

You can always set custom bitrates to match the quality of the video you want to put out. Just remember that when you increase the bitrate, you increase the size of the file. If you have the storage space, you can set a high bitrate like 16,000 for full HD recordings to get a crisp video.

But if you’re recording videos for tutorials or conferences, and potentially only playing back in 720p, you can lower things down to 3,500.

Video settings

Both Base (Canvas) Resolution and Output (Scaled) Resolution depend upon your output needs. You can always match the settings to the size of your monitor to get the full screen, but you don’t have to. However, this is best practice to get the highest quality video output. Remember to set your bitrate to either 30 or 60 FPS.

Audio settings

Under Audio, most of the default settings are fine for any standard video. Just be sure that you set the platform to get your audio from the correct source.

If you’re using your computer's internal audio output, then select Default next to Desktop Audio. And if you’re using an external mic, then select your mic from any of the four Mic/Auxiliary Audio options.

Using advanced settings for OBS

The last two settings categories are Hotkeys and Advanced. Hotkeys doesn’t really affect your video output, so let’s look at Advanced. Here, you’ll want to incorporate the following settings for high-quality videos:

  • Set your processing priority to Above Normal.

  • Set the renderer to Direct3D 11.

  • Set your color settings to NV12, 709, and full.

How to optimize OBS for recording

How to set up OBS for game recording

To record gameplay, you’ll click the + sign under Sources and select Game Capture from the menu. From here, you can choose whether you want to record your full screen or a specific window.

If capturing a window, be sure that your Base (Canvas) Resolution matches the resolution in the game’s window. And be sure to visit your Audio settings if you’re using an external mic for narration.

How to set up OBS for low-end or bad computers

Many of the settings above are for modern, higher-powered computers. If you’re working with a low-end computer, then you’ll want to set things up based on the specs of your system to create the smoothest possible video.

The best way to adjust for this is through the resolution. Go to your Settings menu and then click Video. Then, drop your resolution settings until things smooth out. Your video quality will be lower, but at least you’ll lower the chance of lag and create a fluid viewing experience.

How to set up OBS for online conferences and lectures

For lectures and conferences, it’s better to choose Display Capture from the Sources menu. Again, you’ll want to adjust the Base (Canvas) Resolution to match your display.

If you’re recording your own lecture, then use a mic for the best sound. Just be sure to set things up in the Audio settings first.

How to set up OBS for streaming

For streaming, the settings in the previous sections will work for most scenarios. To optimize your streaming, you’ll want to focus on your bitrate and FPS. This is where your internet speed comes into play. You’ll need a faster internet connection to put out higher-quality streams with higher bitrates.

Here’s a short guide you can use to set up bitrate and FPS for streaming:

  • 720p video at 30 frames per second – 1,500 to 4,000 kbps

  • 720p video at 60 frames per second – 2,500 to 5,000 kbps

  • 1080p video at 30 frames per second – 3,000 to 6,000 kbps

  • 1080p video at 60 frames per second – 4,500 to 9,000 kbps

Top alternatives to OBS

At Movavi, we’re committed to providing you with verified information only. Here’s what we do to ensure this:

  • When selecting products to include in our reviews, we research both demand and popularity.

  • All products mentioned in this article have been tested by Movavi Content Team.

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  • We study user reviews from popular review platforms and make use of this information when writing our product reviews.

  • We collect feedback from our users and analyze their opinions of Movavi software as well as products from other companies.

Not a fan of OBS? Below are our breakdowns of some top alternatives.

Best for: Recording lectures and general online content

OS: Windows and macOS

Price: Free trial, $42.95/year, and $57.95/lifetime

G2 rating: 4.5 out of 5, 50 reviews

With Movavi Screen Recorder, users have an easy, convenient platform for recording their screen. Use the program to record things like online tutorials, events, lectures, and conferences. Set up is quick and easy, and the program has a lot of superb features to help you edit videos after you capture.

Key features

  • Show your keystrokes

  • Capture your screen and webcam

  • Record only audio

Pros

  • Easy-to-use interface

  • Works fast and seamlessly

  • Lots of interactive controls

Cons

  • Offers free version, but you have to pay to use all features

Best for: Video game recording and streaming

OS: Windows

Price: Free trial, $35.95/lifetime

Steam rating: 6 out of 10, 43 reviews

Gecata by Movavi is the company’s recording and streaming solution for serious gamers. The platform is user-friendly and allows users to optimize high-quality videos for their viewers.

You can record both video and audio, in-game or through an external mic. The program can also add webcam recordings into your video to show narration and your reactions to what’s happening.

Key features

  • Two-way sound capture

  • Full capture controls

  • 4K video recording

Pros

  • No performance loss

  • Offers hardware acceleration

  • Video and audio recording

Cons

  • Not available for Mac

  • Watermarks on the free version

Windows 10 Game Bar

Best for: Quick solution

OS: Windows

Price: Free

PCMag rating: 3.5 out of 5

The Windows 10 Game Bar is already built into any PC with Windows 10 installed. The program is fickle with its functionality, but Microsoft has given it some upgrades over the years. It’s a solid tool if you need a quick solution for video recording or streaming, but there are better options available.

Key features

  • System performance monitor

  • Can play music from Spotify

  • Works for games or any application

Pros

  • Works well when it works!

  • Already built into Windows 10

Cons

  • Inconsistent performance

  • Game Bar doesn’t always appear when you want it to

Summary

Setting up OBS to record for streaming, gaming, and video conferences is fairly straightforward. With the tips and tricks we’ve discussed here, you should be able to create quality videos by recording your screen and/or webcam activity. If you’re looking for a good alternative to OBS Studio that will help you make high-quality videos, we recommend trying out Movavi Screen Recorder or Gecata by Movavi.

Movavi Screen Recorder

The perfect way to record from your screen

Disclaimer: Please be aware that Movavi Screen Recorder does not allow capture of copy-protected video and audio streams.

Frequently asked questions

What are the best settings for OBS recording?

For many users, the best settings for OBS recording are:

  • Video file format: MP4

  • Audio track: 1

  • Encoder: x264

  • Bitrate: 40,000 (or 15,000-25,000 if you’re working with a lower-end computer)

How do I set up OBS for recording?

When you first open OBS Studio, you should be prompted to go through the auto-configuration process. If the Auto-Configuration Wizard tool doesn’t automatically pop up, you can find it in the Tools menu at the top of your screen. Run this tool to let OBS automatically check your system’s requirements and attempt to find the settings appropriate for your computer. This should include the settings for your recording, resolution, encoder, bitrate, and other settings.

Once you’ve run the auto-config tool, check that OBS is set up for your preferred audio device. You can do this by clicking Settings > Audio. Then verify that it has the right audio device selected or change it if you’re using another device.

Next, you’ll need to add your video source(s). Find the Sources box at the bottom of the screen and click +. This will give you several options, including Game Capture, Window, or Video Capture Device (for capturing webcam video). Select the appropriate video source(s), and you’ll be set to start recording.

How do I set up OBS for recording games?

To record gameplay with OBS, go to Settings > Audio to ensure that your audio output is set correctly to your internal computer audio or to an external microphone if you’re using one. Next, go to the Sources box at the bottom of the screen. Click + and select Game Capture. This will ensure that you record the window for your game and no other video sources.

Why is my OBS recording laggy?

If the video you’re capturing isn’t lagging, but your OBS recording is, you likely need to reduce your bitrate and/or turn down your resolution settings for your game. If the problem persists, and you know that your computer is not lagging, you might want to try an alternative video capture application, like Movavi Screen Recorder.

Check out this overview of no-lag screen recorders:

What's the best recording format in OBS?

We recommend setting FLV as the recording format in OBS. Picking FLV has a great advantage – if OBS crashes during recording for whatever reason, everything you’ve captured before that will be saved. In terms of format support, your best choice is MP4 since this format is most commonly used.

Have questions?

If you can’t find the answer to your question, please feel free to contact our Support Team.

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