Hey everyone. I've been asked multiple times for advice on getting XSplit (now in Beta) working to use for livestreaming your games to twitch.tv. I may do a more extensive post about it in the future but here are the basic settings I start out with anyone I'm helping get XSplit set up for the first time. Find the basics after the jump.
|XSplit View>Resolution Settings|
The video settings are mostly affected by three main settings:
- View>Frame Rate
- Broadcast >Edit Channels>(Your Channel)>Edit>Video Encoding>Quality
For View>Resolution I always start people at 768 x 423 (16:9). If they need adjusting down I may have them go to 640 x 360 (16:9). This is a setting many people get wrong. They assume that they want this as large as possible to get "high quality". Wrong. Streaming isn't about quality. It is about matching the quality to your own upload capabilities. I personally use 768 x 423 (16:9) for all my streams.
For View>Frame Rate I have people start at 25.00 fps going down to 15.00 fps if needed to imrove stream quality die to bandwidth issues. Again we are looking for a smooth stream not super-mega quality. Most people understand streams aren't perfect. Providing a smooth stream is the key.
|XSplit Broadcast>Edit Channels Menu|
|XSplit Channel Properties Settings|
For Broadcast >Edit Channels>(Your Channel)>Edit>Video Encoding>Quality I have people start at 6 and go down to 5 if needed to improve stream smoothness.
Building a smooth stream in XSplit involves balancing audio and video quality until a acceptable compromise is made in both to provide a smooth streaming experience. Unfortunately XSplit's default audio settings are set woefully low which can often result in getting extremely poor audio quality "out of the box". Below are the audio settings that have worked for almost all those I've helped set up XSplit.
Audio settings are adjusted in the same menu as the Video Encoding settings (see image in last section). You can find audio settings in Broadcast >Edit Channels>(Your Channel)>Edit>Audio Encoding. The two settings you adjust are "Format" and "Bitrate".
The "Format" setting has the greatest effect on overall audio quality. I have people set this to "44.1000 KHz 16 bit mono" adjusting down to "32.000 KHz 16 bit mono" in situations where bandwidth is extremely scarce.
I have people start the "Bitrate" setting at "64000" to start with lowering to "56000", "48000", "40000" and even "32000" if needed to provide audio that isn't stuttering or poor quality.
Adjust. Test. Adjust. Test. Adjust....
The only real way to tell what settings will be right for your particular computer, internet connection etc are to use the default settings I've given above, start a stream, check the quality, stop the stream, adjust, start the stream, test, stop the stream, adjust settings and so on.
If you have a friend you can call up on the phone or via skype to watch your stream while adjusting these settings that can really help. Basically have them have your twitch.tv page up, start your stream and have them watch you play the game, move your character around, fly, all while you are talking into the mic. Have them chat back to you via twitch or skype chat and then stop the stream, ask them how it looked, and adjust settings and rinse and repeat until you have "your" settings.
You will know you've found "your" settings when the video is smooth and the audio is of good quality without breaking up at all. Remember, you are shooting for a nice smooth stream that will be enjoyable for people to watch, not something that would look great on your flat panel television. People want the streams to be smooth and not break up.
If you have any further questions or need someone to help you tune in your settings feel free to send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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