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.
At the end of January one of the biggest shows for the business side of the business is happening. Just across the street from Disneyland at the Anaheim convention center will be the NAMM show. We will be there, will you?
While we built Fan2Stage to work with just about any type of live streaming or podcasting setup, we’ve learned that some like Twitch have big delays that just don’t really work if you want a truly live response from your audience. We are going to NAMM to see if there is any new gear there and connect with the companies that make the gear we use in the Fan2Stage and CoolToys TV Studios.
While building the Fan2Stage system and the F2s.Live servers we want to be able to run the entire process on mobile devices, and the good news is you can. As with all things in the entertainment business there can also be a better way. Currently we use several systems in our studios because we are always testing. The minimum system for the OnStage performer we recommend is a good Android Tablet or iPad. From there, OBS, Black Magic, Roku, Stream Deck and Canon Cameras are all over our studios.
It’s about the Show
Everything we do at Fan2Stage is focused on making the show better. Just because fans have to stay home or you want to host a live show from the beach in Bali, it doesn’t mean you can’t connect. The whole idea of Fan2Stage is to keep the fans and performers connected. Without the human connection, what is the point. Aren’t you just talking to a camera? When the fans are more engaged you are more engaged.
Fan2Stage, a simple solution so that there is A Live Audience for Any Stage.
For the past year we have been working on the next version of Fan2Stage®. There are several significant improvements in overall performance and the fan experience. The Alpha release is currently in testing and you can give it a try.
The Small Screen Gets Bigger.
One of the trends over the past couple of years is that mobile device screens have gotten bigger. With the Fan2Stage 2.0a both the artist and the fan can display the video stream on the same screen as the input buttons. Now you can take the show every where you go. We could only do this with the introduction of Chunked CMAF.
For the artists side that means that you can use a single device, mobile, laptop or desktop workstation to host a show. No need to have your phone plugged in next to your computer to make it work. This also expands the places that Fan2Stage can go and where you can host or be part of a show.
Better Servers = Better Service
We have also made a major upgrade to our servers as we prepare to split out the sports version, Fan2Field. While sports events are also shows, they have different requirements so they are getting their own servers this Spring. Our new servers are based in the US and Europe to get them closer to your show and make them faster.
There are also some new features. Instead of only getting a tip at the end of the show artists can now sell tickets to the show. We are working with video streaming services to create private shows that can only be accessed by paying fans. Look for that feature soon. No more hoping for a few pennies from ads. Artists can always record the shows and post them for ad revenue later but that just isn’t the same as live and we all know it. That is why we created Fan2Stage in the first place.
If you want to sign up and take a sneak peak at Fan2Stage 2.0a and join the next episode of CoolToys®, click here to sign up as a fan and be the first to get the new Fan2Stage LiveFan® App. I look forward to hearing from you at the show.
Live Music is something that brings us all together. After a visit to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland Ohio, I realized how much of an impact live music has on our lives. With the introduction of high speed internet and video live streaming, live music can happen anywhere any time. The problem is that live-streaming a show, isn’t the same as a live show. Now you can be a part of the show and support live music even from home.
An artist or performer can use a meeting program and see a bunch of tiny faces on the screen and get distracted by the chat boxes, hand raising or funny emoji’s or you can get Fan2Stage. Fan2Stage supports live music because the performers hear real cheering from real fans without distracting little screens. How does it work? Simple. After building a profile and posting a link to your show on your socials, your fans start the connection. All you need is an android or apple mobile device with an audio out connector. Basically a headphone jack or adapter.
The headphone jack plugs into your soundboard, speakers or however you want to hear the fans and voila, you have a live audience in the room with you.
How Do You Hear The Fans?
The fans at the other end watching your show on a smart TV, computer or even a tablet simply use the Fan2Stage® Live Fan® app to connect to the show. With the app they have six reactions, clap, cheer, boo, whistle, aww and laugh. As they press the buttons faster and harder your live audience sounds grow exactly the same way they would if the fans were in the room with you. No tiny faces on the screens and no chat boxes to try and read that distract you from the show. Just real fan feedback that you need to be your best.
If you live stream, don’t do it without Fan2Stage. Sign up for free and make your show truly alive! If you are a fan and want to support live music, download the LiveFan App and let your favorite live-streaming performers know you want them to hear you cheer!
OnStage is the new name for the Fan2Stage Virtual Audience Servers.
Fan2Stage has split into OnStage and Fan2Stage. Well not really split, we realized that naming the app Fan2Stage and the servers for the hosts was creating a little confusion. The cloud based OnStage virtual audience server is now available at OnStage.f2s.live.
Venues that want more than a single channel input for the fan experience can now use an OnStage Server. With up to 10 audio zones available, Fans feedback can now come from the areas where the fans buy their virtual seats. Home team advantage anyone? How about audience participation competitions? You can now do it virtually with an OnStage® server.
The other benefit to having your own OnStage® server is the ability to private brand your fan app. Custom options area available for House of Worship and other markets. What different fan reactions? Want a different way for fans to send money? That can be done with private branded app.
Keep live shows going even if the audience isn’t all there. Better yet, expand your reach across the country or around the globe. Smaller venues can now host bigger audience with a virtual audience server by Fan2Stage. We also offer consulting to make sure you set up the cameras and mics for your virtual audience to get the best live show possible.
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?
One of the things we learned producing CoolToys during the Quarantine and lockdown periods is that fan feedback matters. The tough part with hosting a show even if on a Live Stream is getting instant feedback. Without someone telling you what the fans were saying in the chat box, you look silly reading the chat box. At least that is how we felt about CoolToys™.
We figured out what we were missing was a live audience. Without instant feedback the hosts weren’t sure if they were connecting. While that might be fine for radio, the best entertainment needs the connection to the audience. The energy from the audience elevates the show to another level. Don’t perform without all the energy you can possibly get. Use Fan2Stage to bring the audience in no matter where they are!
Fan2Stage is a patent pending system that brings the real feedback from the audience. No engineers piping in fake applause. Real people, real fans, real feedback, real energy. That is what seperates a good show from a great one.