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Want to start broacasting to Facebook Live
from your computer?
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FACEBOOK LIVE BUTTON
Use Facebook Live on your profile, page or group:
Choose where you want to go live, compose your post and
get the stream key to broadcast from your computer. Find out how, below!
Looking for the Go Live button?
The go live button doesn't work on mobile devices. View this page on your laptop or desktop to broadcast to Facebook Live.
Want to use Facebook Live from your Computer?
...On your Facebook Profile, Page or Group?
...For Free? On your Mac or PC?
However, even if you don't have access to Facebook Live on your phone, you are now able to use Facebook Live on your profile, pages or groups and you can do this from my computer. You can use multiple cameras, videos and images all with slick transitions. Cool eh? Want to know how? Watch my walk-through video and read on...!
OBS Studio or Wirecast?
If you want to broadcast from your computer, you'll need to use an app. There are quite a few that work with Facebook Live, but the most popular ones are OBS Studio and Wirecast, but there are others...
- OBS Studio (Mac, PC & Linux, Free, Open Source)
- Wirecast (Mac & PC, from $495)
- XSplit Broadcaster (Windows only, Free version and from $4.17/month)
- Huzza (Interactive live video Web app, free and from $15/mth - multiple guests only available on paid plan)
- BeLive - (web app with guests and multiple camera angles - currently in private beta)
- mimoLive (Mac only - $199/yr for personal use, from $699/yr for commercial)
- BlueJeans onSocial (Web app - initial price $39.95/mth for live meetings with up to 25 guests and live streaming to Facebook)
Then there are some apps and tools that offer video meetings or broadcasts but don't currently integrate with Facebook Live. The good news, you can integrate these with Facebook Live by sharing the window in OBS Studio and Wirecast. Examples include:
In this article, I will guide you how to set up the free OBS Studio to broadcast to Facebook Live (to your profile, groups or pages). OBS Studio is incredibly powerful, and it's free!
Both OBS Studio and Wirecast can use many different sources for your live stream including:
- Multiple webcams
- DSLR cameras
- Image and Videos on your computer
- Your phone's camera (via an IP Camera app)
- Your display
- A Window on your computer
They support multiple displays at the same time (including picture-in-picture) and you can easily set up keyboard shortcuts with slick scene transitions. OBS Studio and Wirecast allow you to stream to a plethora of services including Facebook Live and YouTube.
OBS Studio is an amazing piece of kit, however, if you're wanting more power and features, and you want to take things to the next level, then I highly recommend Wirecast. It costs $495, which might be a hefty investment for some, but it's an amazing tool. It does pretty much the same thing as OBS Studio, and although it's perhaps a little more fiddly to use, you have many more features to play with.
For a step by step guide on how to broadcast to Facebook Live using Wirecast, check out my sister article - Click here to view.
For more information, and to download a free trial of Wirecast click the following:
Streaming to Facebook Live from OBS Studio or Wirecast requires a good internet connection. Check the following:
- Upload Speed: You'll need a fast internet speed. It's the UPLOAD speed that counts. Facebook mention you should have at least 3Mbps UPLOAD speed. However, to get good results, a speed higher than 10Mbps is more like it. I've had reasonable quality with lower (say 4Mbps) and I've heard reports from some who have worked with as low as 2Mbps. It depends on what quality you are happy with. A good download speed is useful, but it is the upload speed that is important. Check your upload speed with the speedtest tool.
- Go Wired: This is optional, but if at all possible, try a wired connection by connecting your computer with your router with an ethernet cable. WiFi is great, but your internet speed can reduce rapidly the further away you are from your router. To give you an example, my download speed when plugged in is 200Mbps, but it goes down to 34Mbps when I use WiFi. The same is true for my upload speed - it goes down a lot when I use WiFi.
- Fast & Powerful Computer: You need a pretty powerful computer. Ideally you should have a modern i7 processor and a lots of memory. Your computer needs to encode the video before sending it over to Facebook. Encoding video requires a fast processor and a modern i7 can cope with this. If you have a dedicated graphics card that helps too - as will a good bit of memory. To help things, it is best to close as many apps running in the background as possible - so that OBS Studio can have as many resources as possible to encode the video. To give you an example, my 6yr old Dell with an i5 processor, 8Gb RAM and a dedicated graphics card almost copes - but it's not perfect. I'm waiting for a new computer as we speak!
- Enabling Pop-ups: If you're using the Go Live button on this page, you'll need to allow pop-ups from this site (iag.me). Usually the first pop-up will open, but once that closes, a 2nd pop-up should open. If it does not, you'll need to enable pop-ups.
- Allow RTMP: Really, this shouldn't be an issue for most people. However, make sure your firewall, router and ISP all allow RTMP. You don't need to know what that is, apart from that it's the method (or protocol) Facebook Live use for Facebook Live. If you can't connect, you'll need to check your firewall settings or contact your ISP.
- If you're still having issues, Facebook recommends you "disable all ad blocking software or browser plugins that could prevent the video player from loading". I think that's a bit extreme, but if you're having issues, it's best to try.
Webcams & Microphones
If your computer has an integrated webcam and microphone, you can get going straight away. However, if you want to enhance the quality, I recommend investing in a decent webcam and if budget allows, a webcam.
I highly recommend the Logitech HD Pro Webcam C920. There is a newer version, but the C920 works really well, has amazing reviews and is fairly inexpensive:
The microphone in the C920 is pretty good, but if you can afford the cost of a microphone, it's well worth it. Audio quality really matters. If people can't hear what you're saying, they'll just turn off. There are so many amazing microphones out there, and you can get really geeky and get mixing desks, external sound capture cards and more. I'm really happy with my Blue Yeti Microphone (Amazon).
You can get really creative at this point and invest in multiple webcams. That way you can change camera angles throughout your broadcast. To get an idea of what you can do, check out this live broadcast by David Antunes. He produces live band sessions "David Antunes & Amigos" every week using OBS Studio, his Macbook Pro, 4 webcams and a bluetooth keyboard which he controls while playing the piano. He regularly gets 50,000 views, with around 1,500 watching live:
This is really important! Facebook is very good at detecting the use of copyrighted music. A number of users have been banned from broadcasting to Facebook Live for up to 3 months for inadvertently or intentionally playing copyrighted music. I'd hate that to happen to you.
You don't need to know this stuff, but it's useful, particularly if you encounter any issues.
- RTMP - Facebook uses RTMP as the method (or protocol) to stream your live video. RTMP stands for Real-Time Messaging Protocol and was developed by Macromedia (and then Adobe) to stream audio and video via Flash.
- Max Resolution: 720p (720 x 1280) at 30 frames per second. That's not quite full HD (which is 1080 x 1920).
- Max Title length: 255 characters
- Video encoding: H264 encoded
- Audio encoding: AAC
- Max Video length: 240 minutes (4hrs)
- Pixel Aspect Ratio: Square
- Frame Types: Progressive Scan
- Recommended max bit rate: 4000 Kbps
- Audio Sample Rate: 44.1 KHz
- Audio Bitrate: 128 Kbps stereo
- Bitrate Encoding: CBR.
Broadcasting to Facebook Live: Getting Started
#1 Download OBS Studio
As I said, in this tutorial, we're going to be using the free and open source software, OBS Studio:
So, head on down to the Open Broadcaster Software website and download OBS Studio:
IMPORTANT! Please download OBS Studio (for Windows, Mac or Linux) and not the old OBS Classic (Windows Only). OBS Studio has built-in support for Facebook Live while the classic version does not.
#2 Get your Stream Key
In order to start streaming to Facebook Live, you need a Stream Key and the ability to publish a live video via Facebook.
First of all, do you want to go live from your Facebook page or your profile?
There is a different method for each.
The first is for Facebook Pages only. The 2nd method is mainly for Facebook Profiles & Groups, but also Facebook Pages.
Method 1: Facebook Pages Only
The easiest way to go live on your Facebook Page via your computer is to use the button at the top of this page.
However, the traditional way to go live from your page is to use the "Publishing Tools" on your page.
Log on to your Facebook page and click on Publishing Tools in the top menu:
Then click on Videos on the left menu:
Then click on the +Live button on the top right:
Then copy the stream key in the modal window that appears:
Then click preview and fill in your update text and video information:
You can't go live yet, since you'll need to enter the stream key into OBS and start your stream so that Facebook can receive it.
Once Facebook receives your stream it will no longer display "OFFLINE" and will start to display your stream preview. Now skip to
Now skip to #3
Method 2: Facebook Profiles & Groups (and pages)
If you want to go live via your Facebook profile and share to your own timeline, a friend's timeline or a group you'll need to do things a little differently.
Facebook doesn't give you Publishing Options for profiles. They do, however, provide developers the Live Video API.
That's fine for developers, but not very helpful for everyone else! So, I've made it easier for you all by creating a button that connects to Facebook Live using the official Live Video API. All you need to do is click the button above!
So what are you waiting for?
Firstly, Click on the "Broadcast on Facebook Live" button above (at the top of this article). You should see a pop up window.
Then, choose whether you want to go live on your profile or group and click next:
Then first pop-up window should close and a second pop-up window should appear.
If this second pop-up does not appear, you'll need to check your pop-up settings to allow pop-ups. See the troubleshooting section at the bottom of this article.
In the pop-up, enter your update text and video information:
You can't go live yet since you'll need to enter the stream key into OBS and start your stream so that Facebook can receive it.
Once Facebook receives your stream it will no longer display "OFFLINE" and display your stream preview.
#3 Start Streaming
Click settings in OBS Studio and then click stream in the left menu.
Select "Streaming Services" as the Stream Type and "Facebook Live" as the service.
Paste the stream key you obtained from the previous step into the "Stream Key" box:
You shouldn't need to enter the server URL because OBS uses the standard URL.
Click Apply and OK.
Make sure you have selected a video source (such as your webcam) and that you can see this in the preview section.
Then click the "Start Streaming" button:
Go back to the Facebook Live pop-up window in your browser.
After a few seconds, it should display "Fetching video stream". If it does not, check the troubleshooting section at the bottom of this article for possible causes.
And then after a few more seconds, display your stream in all its glory:
Please note, there will be a 5-7 second delay in the stream. This is normal.
IMPORTANT! If you are testing, it is a good idea to select "Only Me" for the "Who should see this?" option. That way no one else will see the live video while you are testing. You could then view your live video on a secondary device such as your smartphone: If you are happy to go live click the "Go Live" button in the browser window: The pop-up window will then close. Don't worry, you have gone live!
Check your feed and you should see your live video has appeared. That's it. Enjoy!
To end your live stream, simply click the stop streaming button in OBS Studio.
Facebook Live Demonstration
Here is a Facebook Live video I created earlier which goes through the set up above
Using OBS Studio
This article is work in progress. I'll be expanding this section to explain how to choose sources, change scenes, about scene transitions and keyboard shortcuts. If there is anything you would like to know specifically let me know in the comments below.
Facebook Live with OBS Video Course
Want to know how to use OBS Studio with Facebook Live, set up webcams, scenes and screencasting?
My Facebook Live video course covers how to use the tool and how you can use Skype for multi-person broadcasts and even your phone to make an amazing broadcast using Facebook Live to your Facebook profile, group or page.
With the Pro version, you'll also get access to a members-only community for extra support, tips and techniques, extra modules and I also go through how to add the button to your website including creating the Facebook app and the embed code.
I've gone to great lengths to make this as painless as possible!
There are 12 videos and all are quick and easy to follow and will help you get started with Facebook Live and the free OBS software.
The alternative is buying Wirecast at $495! The cost for this course is from $97.
You can watch the first two videos for free:
Introduction to OBS Studio.
How to add Scenes & Sources. (2'46")
Adding Webcams & Text to Scenes (Free)
Covering adding webcams & Text to Scenes as well as arranging layers. (5'28")
Other Modules in the course...
- Module 3: Adding image layers in OBS Studio
- Module 4: Sharing multiple screens & monitors
- Module 5: Managing multiple scenes with slick transitions.
- Module 6: Adding lower third graphics.
- Module 7: Adding video intros & segments.
- Module 8: Sharing app & program windows.
- Module 9: Streaming Interviews using Skype.
- Module 10: Streaming Interviews using Blab. Coming Soon - using Zoom
- Module 11: Streaming Periscope to FB Live & Sharing your smartphone's screen.
- Module 12: Saving your Streams.
- Pro Bonus: How to create your own "Go Live" button on your website including the code.
- Pro Extra: Using hotkeys (coming soon)
- Pro Extra: Schedule your Facebook Live broadcasts (coming soon)
- Pro Extra: Introduction to Wirecast (coming soon)
- Pro Extra: Green Screen / Chroma Key in OBS Studio (coming soon)
Buy the Facebook Live with OBS Video Course
Having trouble with the button above?
Do check the comments below, many other people may have asked similar questions to you and will save you some worry!
Here are some common questions and answers...
#1 The first pop-up closes after I select where I want to go live to
When you click the go live button, your browser will normally display a pop-up. You'll be able to choose where you want the live video to be posted to. Once you've done this, this window should close and another pop-up should appear. Here you'll be able to craft your post, get the stream key and see your preview. However some browser's block this second pop up. If this happens to you, check your browser settings to allow pop-ups from this site (iag.me). Check this article out to find out how to allow pop ups for your browser.
#2 I get a "Cannot connect to server" or a blank preview
Something is blocking your connection between OBS Studio and Facebook Live. It's likely that your ISP is blocking your connection. If this is happening to you, could you let me know in the comments below along with the name of your ISP? I'm interested to know. This is happening rarely, but it is happening to some people. If this is the case, I highly recommend that you try connecting on a different internet connection (such as at a friend's house or at your local coffee shop). If it works there then you know it's your internet connection. If it is your internet connection then check you don't have any firewalls that could be blocking the connection. Also restart your router to see if that solves it. If it doesn't then try and call your ISP and ask them to unblock Facebook Live. They'll probably fob you off, but keep trying. Please let me know how you get on in the comments below!
#3 There is a big delay in my stream
This is a more difficult issue to solve. There is always going to be a delay (perhaps up to around 5-10 seconds) but some people have complained of a much longer delay. Firstly make sure you check your upload speed using a service like Speedtest.net. It's not your download speed that makes a difference, it's the upload speed - since you are uploading the video to Facebook in effect. You should have an upload speed of at least 3Mbps, although 4Mbps and higher is preferable. You can use Facebook Live if you have a slower speed, but you may have issues. Also, the speed of your computer is important. Older and less powerful computers will take their time encoding the video. Keep an eye on the CPU usage in the bottom
Also, the speed of your computer is important. Older and less powerful computers will take their time encoding the video. Keep an eye on the CPU usage in the bottom right-hand corner of the OBS Studio window. If it's really high (above 90%) then your computer may be struggling.
In OBS Settings you can change the encoding preset to “ultra fast” or “super fast”. You can find this in Settings->Output.
This will mean your computer’s processor will be used a little less.
#4 I use a Mac, and I'm not able to stream the audio from other apps such as Skype in OBS to Facebook Live
Macs handle desktop sound a little differently to Windows. On the Windows version of OBS Studio, the sound from Skype will automatically be captured as desktop audio in OBS Studio. On a Mac you need to route the sound from another app to OBS Studio.
This requires a 3rd party app. Wirecast has this functionality built in (a driver that records desktop audio), but with OBS Studio you’ll need a bit of extra help.
There are a number of options...
- Soundflower - An extension that allows other apps (like Skype) to route audio to other apps. There were some issues with Soundflower not being compatible with later versions of OSX but the developer has made some updates.
- JackAudio - Not tried this, but looks like a good alternative too.
- Loopback - Is a premium Mac app, which is highly recommended by a friend of mine. It costs $99, but apparently, it’s worth it!
- Sound Siphon - Similar to Loopback but cheaper.This was recommended by Leslie Samuel. I've not tried it myself, but it looks good!
When you install one of these, you can then route the audio output from Skype into OBS Studio and it should just work. It’s a pain that you have to jump through a few hoops here, but it’s just the way Macs work.
#5 My webcam appears black!
If your webcam preview just appears black in OBS Studio, you may need to adjust the resolution by changing it to custom. Right click the webcam source and click properties to change the resolution.
#6 Audio and Video are out of sync
There are a number of factors that can affect a delay between audio and video. The first thing to ensure is that you close as many background apps as possible. Close down as many apps as you can, check for any bandwidth draining apps such as Google Drive, Dropbox etc. You could also see what else is running in the background and shut down any other apps.
The 2nd thing is to check your upload speed. Use something like speedtest.net. If you have at least 3Mbps or 4Mbps upload speed you should be fine. Ideally use a wired connection as opposed to a wireless one.
The 3rd thing is to turn up the encoding preset. Go to settings and then output, and put the encoding preset up to max.
If none of that solves your issue, your computer may just be struggling with streaming the video. Live streaming takes a lot of processing power. Although OBS Studio as amazing - particularly for a free app, it's not quite as efficient as the likes of Wirecast. So, you may need to give it some help and manually fix the "sync offset".
To do this, click on the cog by the mixer on the main screen, and then adjust the sync offset of your audio. There is no ideal setting here, unfortunately, so you'll have to play around until you get a setting that works for you: