Due to the nature of its open-source design, and backed by a passionate community of developers, OBS Studio has evolved from its humble beginnings into what would become the de-facto standard of live streaming software. In fact, it is widely considered to be one of the best programs for the purpose of live streaming.
It gets better. Did you know that there are certain optional additions, in the form of OBS Plugins, that can further expand what the program can do? There are so many different plugins available, and to make things easier for you, I’d like to highlight the top three that I find are extremely useful in some way.
Did you know that there are certain optional additions, in the form of OBS Plugins, that can further expand what the program can do?
The intent of these plugins is to add certain elements to your live stream that your audience can appreciate. For example, an Input Overlay, which will show your mouse clicks, and keypresses on an overlay element on your canvas. This is a feature not natively available on OBS but was made available as a plugin to expand the functionality of the software to include it.
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How I Chose These 4 OBS Plugins to Feature
There are a ton of plugins available to use for OBS Studio, so narrowing down the list to just a few was actually pretty challenging. I had to create a list of criteria for them to meet, which ultimately ended up as 4 plugins on this list, I considered:
- The impact that they will have on attention
- How easy they are to use
- How useful they actually are
For some plugins, they are designed to be in your face – a visual element to enhance your stream. Others are technical, background tools that can improve your workflow, or make some things that weren’t possible before possible.
#1 – Spectralizer, an OBS Plugin for Audio Visualization
Confirmed working for OBS Studio Version 26.0.2 running Plugin Version 1.2
Remember the old days of using the Win-amp audio visualizer to have something to watch when listening to music, being bored out of your mind?
No? Just me? Okay, I guess I’m just old.
Anyways, I do, and I am sad that they aren’t nearly as popular as they once were. Well, this plugin adds an incredibly low latency audio visualizer to OBS Studio. The visualizer style is a bar graph, but it is extremely customizable:
- You can Increase the detail (Number of bars) theoretically infinitely, however, anything past 255 tends to not really be visible
- The width, height, and spacing of the bars can all be adjusted individually
- Color changes are a button away
- Stereo mode available
- You can change how fast the bars change by modifying the Gravity & Falloff sliders
- Set it to monitor any audio source
- You can apply filters to the source (It counts as a source, and things like chromakey work with it)
There are a ton of different ways you can utilize this in your scenes to spice up the look of your stream, making it appear more professional. This plugin costs you nothing but a little bit of your time to set it up, and once it is, you never have to touch it again until you decide to change the look of your scenes later.
This plugin can be a bit complicated to install, so I strongly recommend paying close attention to the installation instructions.
#2 – Input Overlay, an OBS Plugin to show your Key Inputs on stream
Confirmed working on OBS Studio Version 26.0.2
|Useful for||Not Useful for|
|Competitive Gameplay||Standard “Casual” Gameplay (Distracting)|
|Tutorial videos for YouTube|
Next on the list is Input Overlay, which will show your audience on-screen what buttons are being pressed, as you press them. In fact, you can even make your own overlay image to set yourself apart. Just be sure to follow the instructions on how to do so in this video.
Technically, it also works for X-input-enabled Controllers, however, there is a better solution for that particular use case. What this is great for, are those of you who play competitive games, like League of Legends or Counter-Strike: Global Offensive. It’s also handy if you are making a tutorial on Blender or something that uses a million and one shortcut keys.
#3 – Move Transition, an OBS Plugin to add motion-based scene Transition effects
|Unique scene transition effects that can Wow your audience||Does not work with Streamlabs OBS|
|Able to display multiple scenes at once||Your Scene structure will change a bit|
The Move Transitions plugin fundamentally alters the way that scene transitions are handled, in a super professional-looking effect you’d sooner expect to see in a high-budget TV show. It does not remove the standard transition effects, merely adds a new one that is highly configurable.
When I streamed, I actually used a different plugin at the time, known as “motion-effect”, but I believe that one was discontinued by the original author. However, this new variant does more or less the same thing, but better.
I strongly recommend watching the video by nutty on YouTube above to get a good idea of how to set it up, and how the effect itself looks. He does a fantastic job of showing the plugin’s ins and outs. If you’re interested in adding this to your own setup, or at the very least, trying it out, here you go! The installation instructions are on the same page.
Also, please note that this plugin is quite a bit more complicated to use than the other two, but the effect that you get out of the transition is worth the complexity, in my opinion. There are a few tutorials on YouTube available for it, so feel free to check those out if you are having a hard time
4: Source Record Plugin – Record Without Overlays
The Source Record plugin greatly simplifies the process of recording your webcam and gameplay as two separate sources. This ability to separate out the recording of the sources is invaluable for converting your streaming content into YouTube videos.
This has always been possible to do utilizing two separate instances of OBS Studio, and the NDI plugin, but there is a lot of complexity involved in that setup, making it very tedious and confusing to use that workaround method. The Source Record plugin throws all of that complexity out the window, utilizing the effect filter feature as a hook to record specific sources.
When setting this up, I strongly recommend that you add gameplay_ or something to the filename formatting. You’ll also want to set up a dedicated folder to each recording source, because if you record your webcam separately, they start recording at the same time, meaning that one has the potential of being overwritten.
Thank you for reading to the end! If you found these plugins helpful, or have another plugin you want to let the community know about, leave a comment down below. Be sure to include your stream URL as the Website field, and maybe you’ll see me hop in your stream one day. Good luck with your streaming endeavors!