Use two or more Instances of OBS

While Jim is re-writing OBS to probably sooner or later simplify the whole process, we can already use OBS(1) to stream to two locations or stream and record at the same time. In contrast to my “How to easily stream to two or more locations?” guide we will use OBS, two instances (or more if wanted) and have the advantage of seeing drop frames right away without having to setup nginx. The disadvantage being, we have to run more than one encoding. For example two x264 stream encodings or one x264 and one QuickSync(/Nvenc/VCE) encoding.

If you have a secondary Monitor available you can skip the next step. For everything to work we will need a secondary Monitor, but we can use a little trick to make Windows think we have one connected:

Now we can start configuring OBS. The setups will differ slightly later on, but first things first, we need to create a second installation of OBS to make sure everything works as we want it and no settings get mixed between the two instances. If you already have OBS installed to your program files, you just need to grab the Binaries Zip file and extract either the 32 or 64bit folder to a location of your desire.
If you are new to OBS and do not have it installed, you could also just extract the 32 or 64bit folder two times and work with those two “installations”. The important point is we need to create two shortcuts. One for each instance of OBS. Let’s say you extracted both to D:\Downloads\OBS1 and OBS2. Then you create two shortcuts, one to:

  • D:\Downloads\OBS1\OBS.exe and one to:
  • D:\Downloads\OBS2\OBS.exe

If you used the installer of OBS and for example the 64bit version you would have two target lines like this:

  • C:\Program Files\OBS\OBS.exe
  • D:\Downloads\OBS\OBS.exe

We now need to slightly change them. The first target line just needs -multi to allow running multiple instances of OBS, but while using the %appdata%\OBS folder to save our configuration. The second target line needs -multi -portable, again to allow running multiple instances but to save the configuration to the OBS main folder in this case. So our new target lines would look like this:

  • D:\Downloads\OBS1\OBS.exe -multi
  • D:\Downloads\OBS2\OBS.exe -multi -portable

or

  • “C:\Program Files\OBS\OBS.exe” -multi
  • D:\Downloads\OBS\OBS.exe -multi -portable

Next we can start both instances for the first time. (Of course it is also possible to run a 3rd or more instances with this setup, I would recommend to run them in portable mode and installing each to its own folder) If you already used OBS earlier, the first instance should include your normal setup, while the second one should only have an empty scene. Again, the setups will now differ a bit:

  • Streaming to two locations
    • Option A (same visuals on both streams)
      • 1st instance of OBS that has all Scenes and Sources
      • Projector output to secondary Monitor
      • 2nd instace of OBS captures the Projector Output
      • each is configured to stream to a different provider
    • Option B (different visuals on both streams)
      • both instances have all Scenes and Sources
      • one instance has a Scene with your Game or Window/Monitor capture
      • this instance uses the Projector output to secondary Monitor
      • the other instance has one Scene that captures the Projector
      • each is configured to stream to a different provider
  • Streaming and recording at different settings
    • Option A (one high quality recording and one stream output with different content)
      • 1st instance of OBS has only one Scene that Captures your Input
      • Projector output to secondary Monitor
      • 2nd instace of OBS captures the Projector Output and has other Sources/Scenes
      • 1st is configured to do a High Quality recording (for example with QuickSync)
      • 2nd is configured to stream at a different quality to your favorite provider
    • Option B (same visuals on both stream and recording)
      • 1st instance of OBS that has all Scenes and Sources
      • Projector output to secondary Monitor
      • 2nd instace of OBS captures the Projector Output
      • it does not depend which one is configured to do what

That is mainly all you need. Configure your two instances of OBS according to your desired outputs. Two streams, or a high quality recording and a stream. And do not forget to check out QuickSync/Nvenc/AMDVCE to do the local recordings with nearly no CPU usage.

In general you will currently need a beefy system to run two encodings at the same time on your CPU, but as mentioned, in the future the rewrite of OBS might allow to stream to two locations directly from within OBS and maybe with only one encoding if wanted. As always, if you have questions, post them below. And constructive feedback is also always welcome.

You may also like...