How to Control Multiple Cameras with OBS?

Streamers with budget studios often lack the conveniences for professional live video production that come with high-end equipment, such as dedicated video production systems. For instance, such systems allow users to record multiple camera angles at their full resolution simultaneously on a single device such as a PC or a Mac. Livestreamers have to rely on expensive software or dedicated video production hardware to record streams with multiple cameras at full resolution. In this article, let us explore how to control multiple cameras with OBS, an open-source encoder for low-budget streamers.

What Are the Challenges of Streaming with Multiple Cameras?

Using multiple cameras makes streaming interesting, engaging, and presents a better method to communicate stories. However, there are several challenges of using such a setup for individuals.

  • In a traditional setup, multiple cameras have to be linked to a single hub, and the person operating the setup will have to decide which shot to switch at a particular moment. This could become challenging if there are several cameras that a single person has to control.
  • If the cameras do not have sufficient storage, there would be recording time limitations, and re-mixing and re-cutting the videos with different camera angles at their full resolution as separate files would become challenging.
  • If the cameras are recording in higher resolution (example: 4K), the device used for ingesting the streams could suffer from performance issues, such as dropped frames, or could even get overheated while streaming multi-hour lectures or time-lapses.

What Are the Options to Stream with OBS Using Multiple Cameras?

While OBS is not designed to record multiple cameras as separate video tracks/ files, there are ways to control multiple cameras with OBS.

Using Multiple OBS Instances

Launch OBS Studio on the desktop and set up hotkeys for starting and stopping the recording. Start another instance of the application and provide a recording path for the two cameras in each instance. Use the hotkeys to start or stop the recording when ready. With this method, the two videos with different paths will get recorded in sync, as the same hotkeys are used for both.

Using a Super Wide Canvas

Use a large canvas space (example: 3840*1080) and place the cameras as full-sized objects in the two halves. Use a video editor for cutting, resizing, and repositioning the footage. Ensure that the video tracks are synchronized to minimize post-processing resource requirements before streaming.

Using Open Multimedia Frameworks

Open-source multimedia frameworks, such as FFmpeg, can be used in combination with OBS to record streams from multiple cameras. This eliminates the need to re-encode while allowing users to record multiple tracks to one file simultaneously.

Apps4Rent Can Help with Live Streaming with Multiple Cameras

Although recording multiple camera angles simultaneously in full-size for streaming is a common requirement, it is surprising that there are not many stable/ well-known options for such video productions. There are paid solutions that are either too expensive or have other drawbacks, such as the use of a custom recording format. Regardless of the method that you choose to control multiple cameras with OBS, resource consumption would be a major challenge. While the former two methods rely on processing power, the latter method is restricted by storage.

Apps4Rent provides cloud desktops for OBS hosting that are powered by cutting-edge Microsoft and Citrix virtualization technologies. These GPU-enabled virtual desktops can be scaled on-demand and can be accessed anywhere, with any device, even with mobiles and tablets for using resource-intensive applications, such as OBS remotely. Contact our cloud-streaming virtualization experts, available 24/7 via phone, chat, and emails for assistance.


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