Overcome Zoom Limits with Live Streaming
Wish you had a better way to reach out to parents, community, staff, but Zoom's 100 person limit getting in your way? Use the free OBS Project to stream your Zoom conversation via YouTube, Twitch or Facebook Live. We'll discuss how to collect questions and feedback, too. It's easier than you think.
A school principal crashed and burned on Zoom. He had wanted to reach out to staff, parents and community. What he didn't realize is that Zoom Basic has a few limits:
No more than 100 people can be in a Zoom
New Zoom security requires participants enter a password to join a Zoom (to prevent zoombombing)
The need to enter a waiting room and allow people in, singly or all at once
There has to be a better way.
OBS Studio to The Rescue
A better way, available at no cost, may be to use OBS Studio to live stream your Zoom. You can allow a select group of people into the Zoom to allow for audience engagement and response.
You can stream the Zoom to any one of the following with OBS Studio:
YouTube or Vimeo
In fact, OBS Studio makes it easy to stream to MANY different online spaces.
These are three popular ones you can get setup on.
Select from a drop-down list which streaming service you want to use. In my example, I chose YouTube, but you can choose any you think your audience will watch. Note that Twitter/Periscope didn't work well for me.
A Quick Demo of How It WOrks
Step 1: Getting and Installing OBS Studio
Getting OBS is as easy as saving the setup file for your type of computer. OBS support Windows, Mac, and/or GNU/Linux. No Chromebook solution available (try Flipgrid Screenrecording (Free) or Screencastify ($29 a year) instead).
When you first install OBS Studio, it will ask if you want to run a wizard. Say "Yes" since it will do it's best to capture possible inputs. I recommend that you have your headset microphone plugged into your USB port and that it is your preferred input/output audio device.
Tip: Remux MKV Video Format to MP4 Video Format
Need your video in MP4 video format? Go to your Settings in OBS, select Advanced, then put a checkmark in the "Automatically remux to mp4" box, as shown below:
I'm not sure what "remux" means but the result is that you end up with a video file in MP4 video format. That's great because MP4 is one of those formats you can share with anyone (no matter what their device) and they will be able to view it.
As you can see from the two video files saved on my Desktop that I have an MKV file, but it has automatically been saved as an MP4, too.
You can change where OBS saves your videos on your computer. Look in
Step 2: Setting Up Scenes & Sources
OBS makes it easy to set up an unlimited number of scenes you can switch between seamlessly via custom transitions. Inside of each scene, you add different sources.
Sources can be a web browser, a computer program, a Zoom Meeting ID window, audio/video saved on your computer or your headset/microphone.
Your audio mixer lets you "mix" in various audio sources, such as Desktop Audio (e.g. play background music before a meeting) or Headset Mic (so your video recording or stream captures what you are saying).
If you had other audio sources, such as an external bluetooth microphone, you could use that as well. This makes OBS Studio's audio mixer quite versatile.
The Controls area is where you decide whether you are recording or streaming.
Recording: Only want to record video? That video will be saved in MKV video format on your computer. You can change your settings to have it automatically "remux" it (save it) as an MP4 formatted video (see above).
Streaming: If you have already setup your Streaming settings (e.g. Facebook Live, YouTube), then you are ready to go.
Step 3: Streaming Configuration
Ready to stream content? You will first need to do a few things. For this example, I'll be using YouTube. Those include the following:
First, get your YouTube Live Stream Key
Be careful to not share the Stream name/key with anyone. You'll need to "Reveal" the key then copy-n-paste it into OBS Settings-->Stream, as shown below:
YouTube Live is great at walking you through the setup.
Remember to take your time going through this process.
Now that you have that setup, you will be ready to stream whatever content you want. If it's a Zoom meeting, let's take a look how to get that going.
Step 4: Setting Up Scenes
The first time you set up scenes, you'll be wondering if you are doing it right. That's normal.
You can setup one scene to capture everything you need (e.g. headset mic, a start up picture with audio playing in the background, or video). Another scene may share your slide show program or web browser with your headset mic.
For example, here's what my scenes look like:
Scene Name: Title Slide
Web Address - This includes a web address that appears at the bottom of my video recording or stream. Isn't that handy?
Image - This is an image or export of an image. It could be a slide you've saved as a JPG or PNG image file. Or, it could be your school mascot.
Headset Mic - This is included in ALL my scenes since I want people to be able to hear me speaking, and I want to hear what's happening.