What is OBS Studio? [Complete Guide]

Try an alternative to OBS – Movavi Screen Recorder:

  • Record screen and audio simultaneously or separately

  • Schedule your recordings

  • Easily navigate through the intuitive interface

Edited by Ben Jacklin

With so many screen recorders on the web, it's hard to choose one that fits your needs. This article answers the question “What is OBS Studio?” along with other common questions about the program.

What does OBS stand for in streaming?

So, what is OBS software? OBS stands for “Open Broadcaster Software,” which represents the open-source disclosure of the program’s source code. Programmers can – and often do – contribute their coding skills to the free-to-use platform via GitHub.

What's the purpose of OBS?

OBS Studio is a free and open-source software for screen recording and livestreaming. Its key purpose is to allow users to capture and mix audio and video sources, such as webcams, microphones, and your computer screen. Users can also stream directly to platforms like YouTube, Twitch, Facebook, and more.

But it’s not the only top-tier screen-recording program available. Movavi Screen Recorder is a solid alternative that offers a lot of features, an easy-to-use interface, and no learning curve.

What is OBS Studio used for?

What does OBS do? Gamers, content creators, and online educators regularly use the software for capturing content like gameplay, tutorials, vlogs, and more. The program can also broadcast live video to popular streaming platforms and provides options for customizing the look and feel of the stream with themes, transitions, and other elements.

Is OBS open-source?

Yes, OBS is open-source software. The developers made the source available to the public from the beginning, and anyone can modify, use, and distribute it. The open-source nature of OBS allows for a large community of developers and users to contribute to its evolution, leading to a robust and feature-rich solution for video recording and livestreaming.

Is OBS free?

Yes, OBS is free for users on any platform – PC, Mac, Linux, etc. The program has been free since its initial release, and the developers show no signs of changing policy.

Is OBS Studio only for streaming?

You can also use OBS Studio for video recording. The platform provides options for recording video locally, either to a file or to a device, allowing users to capture and save video content for later use, such as for editing, post-production, or sharing on social media.

How much space does OBS Studio take up?

The size of OBS Studio installation varies depending on the version and the operating system you are using. The current app requires a minimum of 600 MB of disk space, which means it’s a small and efficient piece of software.

However, the size of OBS Studio's footprint on your system can grow as you add more plugins, themes, and other elements. You’ll also need additional space for saving video files.

Is OBS Studio safe to use?

The consensus is OBS Studio is safe to use. As a popular open-source software, there’s a huge community of users and developers who test it on the regular. And in terms of bug fixes and security updates, you can check that box too.

However, as with any software, it’s important to take precautions when downloading and installing it to ensure that you are getting it from a reputable source. The best practice is to download the program directly from the official OBS Studio page, where they offer multiplatform downloads for your OS.

Do professionals use OBS?

Yes, OBS Studio has wide usage by professionals in a variety of fields. OBS Studio's versatility and powerful features make it a popular choice among professionals who create high-quality video content for rebroadcast or livestreaming.

The software's open-source code and large community of users and developers provide professionals with access to a wealth of resources and support. Overall, it's a reliable and effective tool for professional video production needs.

Is OBS Studio easy to use?

It takes time and effort to learn and master OBS Studio’s broad feature set. Although the software has a relatively straightforward interface and an encyclopedia of tutorials and resources, it has a steep learning curve. Some users may find the software's extensive range of options and settings both complicated and overwhelming – especially if they are new to video production or livestreaming.

If you want to capture video on a platform that’s easy to master, try Movavi Screen Recorder. It offers more capabilities along with an intuitive interface that works for both beginners and professionals.

Is OBS good for recording?

Like OBS’ streaming capabilities, the platform is a superb option for recording videos. The software provides a variety of features for capturing and recording videos, along with options for adjusting the quality and size of the recording to meet the user's needs. OBS Studio also allows users to capture and mix audio and video sources, which can be useful for creating polished and engaging videos.

But if you find the OBS Studio interface confusing, Movavi Screen Recorder is a top alternative that offers superior recording capabilities. You can also schedule your recordings ahead of time, so you never miss an opportunity.

Does OBS record audio?

Yes, OBS Studio can record audio. The software provides options for capturing audio from a variety of sources, including microphones, desktop audio, and audio from games and other applications.

OBS Studio also provides audio-mixing and mastering options, allowing users to adjust and control the volume, balance, and other aspects of the audio in their recordings. This makes OBS Studio a versatile and powerful tool for capturing high-quality audio and video content for both livestreaming and video recording.

Is OBS Studio better than Streamlabs?

While both OBS Studio and Streamlabs have their advantages and disadvantages, you need to choose a program based on your needs. Overall, users note that Streamlabs is more customizable and powerful than OBS, which requires more CPU. Another notable difference is price: while OBS is available totally free of charge, Streamlabs is paid software if you want all premium features. Streamlabs also offers more editing options for content creators and streamers than OBS.

To learn more about the differences between the two apps, follow the link below.

Read the article comparing Streamlabs and OBS

How do you record a video with OBS?

Follow these instructions to record a video with OBS:

  1. Install the program and launch it.
    Download OBS Studio

  2. Click the + icon at the bottom left of the Sources box. 

  3. Click Display Capture, then create a title, and click OK.

  4. Choose your capture method and keystroke preferences and click OK.

  5. Click Settings at the bottom right and then click the Output icon.

  6. Choose your output folder under Recording Path.

  7. Click the Start Recording button.

For a more detailed guide, follow the link below.

Learn how to record a screen with OBS

How do you livestream with OBS?

With OBS already installed, follow these to start a livestream. Note that the process may vary a little based on your streaming source.

  1. Open OBS and click the Settings on the bottom right.

  2. In the Settings menu, click the Stream tab.

  3. In the Service dropdown menu, select the service where you’d like to stream.

  4. Some services – like YouTube or Twitch – may require a stream key.

  5. Type in the stream key. Otherwise, click Apply and then OK.

  6. When you’re ready to stream, click the Start Streaming button.

Where does OBS Studio save recordings?

On a PC, OBS defaults to stores screen recordings in the Video folder of the computer. For Macs, they default to the Movies folder. However, you can create a specific folder for OBS recordings and modify the destination path to save there or wherever you want.


You’re now equipped with all the information you need to make the best of your OBS experience. The interface is a little difficult to learn, but there are alternatives available – like Movavi Screen Recorder – if you find it’s too much to handle.

Movavi Screen Recorder

The perfect way to record anything from your screen

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

Movavi Screen Recorder

Frequently asked questions

Is OBS Studio free or paid?

Is OBS Studio safe to use?

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