OBS Studio: How to record online presentations (Zoom, Teams, Webex, Meet, …)

Maarten Smeets

Sometimes you want to record online presentations to maybe re-watch them later or share them with colleagues. It is not always possible to easily do this from within the tool which is used for the presentation. An easy alternative is to record such sessions using OBS Studio, a free and open source tool. In this blog post I’ll explain how you can do this.

Setting up OBS Studio

First download and install OBS Studio.

Within OBS Studio, you have Scenes which hold Sources. By adding and configuring the correct sources you can easily make recordings.

Configure the Sources to record

There are several things which are good to know when configuring your Sources;

  • Be on time for a meeting.
    It allows you to setup OBS Studio correctly for the recording.
  • Capture a Window, not a Screen.
    A reason for arriving on time is that you can select the correct Window in OBS Studio from the Window Capture drop-down (after you have added Window Capture as a Source). You can capture the screen, however in that case you must be careful what happens on that screen. Do not move other windows or the mouse in front of what you want to record for example. When you record the window, you won’t have this problem. Just don’t resize it. If you also want to capture a chat for example which has popped up in another window, you can choose to add 2 different Window Capture Sources.
  • Select a working Capture Method.
    Sometimes for example Zoom meetings just show a white block when captured. ‘Automatic’ was the default setting for Capture Method on my system. This selected BitBlt which did not work for me. When I switched to Windows Graphics Capture (available in Windows 10, release 1903), it would capture my Zoom meetings.
  • Check the capture area
    Once you’re setup, you should first check if your Window Capture is sized correctly. You should see what you want to record in the area what will be recorded in OBS Studio.
Check the capture area
  • ¬†Audio Output Capture for output sound (what you are listening to)
    Check you are using the correct device. You can check whether you are using the right one when you see the audio bar in the Audio Mixer. For me using the Default device worked out nicely.
Check your audio source
  • Audio Input Capture to capture the microphone when presenting yourself
    When you talk to your microphone, it will not end up as output but is input. You might also want to capture the output when presenting when you also want to also record questions people ask.

Recording and playback

After you have configured the input Windows and Audio, you can start recording. Once you clicked it, the button changes to Stop recording which you can use to stop the recording.

Starting and stopping a recording

By clicking Settings, Output you can see where the recording will end up and you can open it and share it if you like.

Where will the output be stored?
After stopping the recording you can open and play the output

Mind that in some countries it is not allowed (by law) to record others without explicit permission. Take this into account when considering to make a recording!

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