This test of OBS and Stream Deck is one of the series in which we test different live stream configurations. We test how well they work with Fan2Stage and the OnStage system for Live Streaming. If you want to start a live stream or live podcast check out all of our tests so you can decide which works for you. Most of our tests are done with YouTube Live Streaming at Ultra Low Latency unless otherwise noted in the show notes.
Test Rack – Macbook Air M1, 50″ HDTV screen, OBS, OBSbot Camera and Stream Deck with Thunderbolt Port Expander and external speakers.
Limitations – The primary limitation is the ports. The MacBook Air only has two USB-C ports so you need to have a port expander. The OBSbot camera has a USB-A cord but didn’t like sharing the USB port with other devices. We had to dedicate one USB port for the camera.
The Stream deck, Keyboard, Mouse and 50″ screen were all plugged into a Thunderbolt Port Expander. The Stream Deck lets you quickly insert graphics, change cameras and do all kinds of quick tricks when you are running your own show. We all want a team but they get expensive quick. The stream deck from elgato makes it a lot easier.
One key to success with the Stream Deck is that you need some pre-show time to set up all of the buttons. I have tried just doing “scene 1”, “PIP 1” and then use a script to know when to press the buttons. It is much easier to label a button “skateboard” for the skateboard insert.
With OBS the media doesn’t always autosize the way you want it to. You may need to size all of your extra media in advance as well. For instance in the season finale for CoolToys® TV season 4, we had some 4K video from NAMM. We needed to scale it to 1080p to fit the window, otherwise we had some very odd close up’s.
The Bottom Line
Overall OBS and Stream Deck is a great starter set up on a budget. It won’t keep up with dedicated hardware integrated systems like Black Magic, but it is only one tenth the cost. OBS is essentially free and the Stream Deck is under $150 for the small one. Most live streamers will do fine with just the small OBS unit. Having the big screen to run OBS and the small screen on the Mac as the screen for the “OnStage” web application worked great. I think a second screen is almost required to make this work right.
By using the external speakers the crowd input from the Fan2Stage Virtual Audience System was loud enough to be picked up by our microphones so the fans can hear it. There isn’t a way to loop the audio directly back into OBS that we could find. It might be possible to create and audio capture out of the browser window, but you might end up with a double pickup. Also you would have no control over the volume. A second microphone and a mixer could be a cool addition but we haven’t tested that yet.
Beginning 1/25/24 reports have been coming in that users are getting a crash exception screen with logging in to the Fan side of the F2S.Live website. This is not affecting our servers or our events, and is currently unknown. We are working on it and as soon as we think it is fixed we will post more information here. Until then please download the app to your mobile device and use the mobile device version to let them know you are watching the show.
This error appears to only occur when using social media to log in online. If you log in with your registered email address, the error does not occur that we are aware of. The fan app is intended to be used on mobile devices for ease of use.
2/22/24 Update – We have updated the servers and this issue should be resolved.
This is a known bug because automatic time zone capture is not working at this time. This error normally happens when using social media to log in however the fix should be the same in all cases. Simply click on the humanoid icon bottom right, select “Edit Profile” on the next screen and enter your current time zone.
Fan2Stage is proud to be a founding sponsor and partner of LSPANA. Pronounced El-Spana, LSPANA was founded to create a common place for live streaming artists and vendors to share ideas and problems to move the live streaming world forward.
Live streaming exploded during the pandemic and has continued to grow at double digit rates. When we were approached with the idea of a specialized industry association focused only on Live Streaming, we knew that now was the right time. With LSPANA you will get coverage of the latest gear and techniques to make your live streaming events better than ever. With giant flat screen TV’s in almost every home, why make your fans sweat in traffic when they can join you live from anywhere?
Even if you have a small exclusive audience you can expand your shows reach by using Fan2Stage and other live stream technologies to create a super show. Live Stream and live shows, the best of both? If you live stream consider joining LSPANA today.
Yes it is possible to have a real audience in you home studio.
What is a real audience anyway? Is it the guy in the booth at the football game hitting the “applause” button? Is it the guy in the booth at the talk show hitting the “laugh” button? No. It is real people with real responses to a live show.
A virtual audience server is the only way to do that, and Fan2Stage is the only real virtual audience server. The way we see it, all live shows need audience feedback. Sure you can make videos for YouTube and Vimeo or even TikTok and hope you get a thousand views but what does that really mean?
The only thing that matters is what fans really think of the show. More importantly what they think at the time of the show. If you have a home studio and can live stream, why not have a real response from a virtual audience? Yes you can have a two way video stream and try and figure out what 50 little windows are doing. The reality is that it becomes a distraction, not an enhancement to the show.
Only with a virtual audience server can your fans be heard my you and other fans. Imagine hearing the laughter and the applause live and in real time. It can happen with Fan2Stage. You can have a live audience in your home studio. If your fans download the Fan2Stage app, you can host a live show and get real time feedback from a real audience! Why not sign up today?
F2S is the cloud based version of Fan2Stage for smaller venues.
Realizing that not everyone has the budget or the fan base for a full Fan2Stage system, F2S was created. F2S is the cloud based version for entertainers and smaller houses of worship that allows fans and parishioners to participate from home or anywhere else they can stream an event.
The F2S system provides a visual chart and audio feedback of the inputs made by the people on their phones. If you aren’t sure which version you need there is a handy comparison chart on the F2S.Live website.
Fan2Stage offered two free years to the first 100 artists that signed up but there is a catch. “The first 100 are helping to debug and perfect the sound feedback. The big difference is the customization” said Scott Lee, the lead programmer. With Fan2Stage we can use recorded response from your venue to keep the acoustics unique to your location. With F2S the response is scaled based on the number of people logged in and participating.
The more that log in and the more that participate, the “bigger” the feedback according to Lee. That makes the Virtual Audience System by Fan2Stage® a solution that works for anyone.
The Fan2Stage App is now available on Google Play and the Apple App Store.