How to do Live Study With Me with OBS

written by Marie

Last updated on: March 17, 2024

Published on July 25, 2020

This article will explain exactly how to be able to create live videos on YouTube, called “Study Live Stream”! If you don’t know, these live study sessions are a bit like a group of studies that would normally take place around a table, but virtually!

So I film myself working on my homework for 50 minutes, then I take a 10-minute break. These study sessions are transmitted live on YouTube, and this allows you to study (or work) with other students all over the world!

If you don’t fully understand the purpose of filming yourself while working, I have filmed a video that explains all the benefits I could get from this method.

The equipment you need to stream online

To get started, you don’t need to buy a lot of equipment. However, this can be very useful. When I started my videos, I was just using the webcam on my MacBook. By cons, here is the equipment that I bought to be able to make better videos.

A step-by-step guide to making live study with me with OBS

Download the required files for the setup

  1. Download OBS
  2. If you want to have sounds when the work or break timer is done, we need to download sound files in the .wav or .mp3 format. Make sure that that the copyright license of the sound that you choose allows streaming usage. To make this simple, I suggest you to choose audio from the YouTube Audio Library (to access it, first login to your YouTube channel account). We need to have two different files for break timer and the work timer, so download two times the same alarm, or 2 different. In the “Sound Effects” section, you can look for keywords like “bell” or “alarm.” I downloaded “Small Bell Jingle”

Start setting up OBS

  1. Download the software Open Broadcaster Software (OBS), and open it.
    1. If asked, accept the software to make changes on your system 
    2. Accept the auto-configuration wizard 
      1. Optimize for streaming 
      2. Service: YouTube
      3. Follow the steps on this website to prepare your YouTube channel to live stream, then to link OBS to your YouTube account. Follow up to step 6 of “Link OBS to YouTube”.
  2. I created a set of configurations you can use to get started quickly. You can download the file on Google Drive.
  3. In the software menu, go to “Scene Collection”, then “Import”. Click on “…”, select the file you just downloaded, and click on open, then Import.
    Screenshot of the "Scene collection" menu on OBS
  4. Go to “Scene Collection” again, and select “Study-Live-Streams”
  5. Don’t worry, you will receive 1 error messages when doing so. It’s normal, we will fix it next!
  6. On the “Missing Files” window, click in the “New File” column and go select one the the alarm .mp3 sound files that we downloaded earlier from the YouTube Audio Library. Do it for “Bell2” and “Bell”, then click on “Apply”. If you don’t have this warning, just create a “Media source” in the “Work Time” scene and in the “Break Time” scene. Go select those 2 sound files we downloaded earlier.
  7. Download the text files required to create countdowns during the video. For that, you need to download this file on my google drive. It is the script Countdown-lua from the OBS website. Unzip the folder, you will find two files inside. One of them will be the timer for break time (10 minutes), the other will be the timer for work sessions (50 minutes)
  8. Go back to OBS, go to Tools > Scripts. The full procedure is shown in the following video.
  9. Click on the “+” sign, and go select one of the two “Countdown-lua” scripts we just downloaded. Then, select this new entry, and use these values:
    1. Timer (minutes): 10 minutes
    2. Text Source: countdownBreaks
    3. Start Text: empty the field
    4. Final Text: Work
  10. Then, we will do the same thing again but select the other “Countdown-lua” file. Click on the “+” sign again, and select it, but this time use the following values:
    1. Duration: 50 minutes
    2. Text source: countdownSessions
    3. Start Text: empty the field
    4. Final Text: Break
  11. You have now imported the configuration successfully! I will explain each item to you in detail! I know the camera is not connected yet, it’s a black image, but we will fix the rest in the following sections.

Scenes on OBS

The “Scenes” section is a collection of items to show to people watching our video. For example, I have three scenes: “Getting Ready“, “Work Time“, and “Break Time“.

They are quite self-explanatory, I use Getting Ready right when I start the stream. When I’m ready, I manually switch to Work Time. When the work timer is at 0:00, you can click manually on Break Time to start the break timer. However, that is pretty annoying: you’re focused, working, and you need to actively remember and look at how much time is left so you can switch the timer on time. Note that whenever you change a scene, the timer on that scene is reset to 50 minutes or 10 minutes.

That brings us to another setup we can do: we can automatically change the scenes to switch from work to break when the timer is done.

How to automatically change scenes when the timer is done

  1. Close OBS.
  2. Download the Advanced Scene Switcher plugin.
  3. Unzip the folder, choose Linux, MacOS, or Windows depending on what is your exploitation system, and follow the installation instructions that are on the website where you downloaded the plugin.
  4. If you have error messages like it detected an older version of Advanced Scene Switcher, just close them, it’s not important.
  5. Go to Tools > Advanced Scene Switcher > Sequence
  6. Click on the “+” two times and reproduce the following settings:

Edit: it appears the new version of the Advance Scene Switcher doesn’t have the Sequences tab anymore and has “Macros” instead. I haven’t tested it out yet, but use the Macros to create these timing settings.

Basically, what it says is that when the Work Time scene has been active for 50 minutes, we switch to the Break Time scene automatically. The same goes for when Break Time is over after 10 minutes.

Now, you will understand why I created a Getting Ready scene. The purpose is to not start the timer right away when I start streaming – so you can get time to get settled and say hello to your viewers before starting to work.

Sources section on OBS

The sources section contains all the elements that you have added to a scene.

Be-Right-Back and Lunch are two text elements that I use to tell people watching the video that I’m currently eating or that I’ll be back soon if I have something quick to do away from the computer. You can hide or show these by clicking on the eye. For example, Hide-Keyboard is hidden at the moment.

I use Hide-Keyboard to hide my keyboard when I’m writing passwords during a live stream. It is a “Color source” element, so it’s only a big black square. Similarly, I use HideScreen to hide my screen if anything sensitive comes up.

countdownSessions is the timer that I use for 50 minutes work sessions. Hiding & making it visible again will restart the timer. (For advanced users, I use the script Countdown Lua for this timer)

Clock is literally a clock showing time in EST timezone because many viewers of my stream would ask me what time it was where I live, so I decided to add it. If you want to remove it, you can use the “-” button. If you want to add your own clock or other elements, I used this website to do so. All you need to do is add a “Browser” source and copy-paste the link to the widget you want to add.

WorkingMasters is a way of telling people what I’m working on because again, that was a recurrent question. You can open the folder, and add your own “Text” source describing what you’re working on.

No of sessions is used to show which session number we’re at. I manually change the values. For experts: An experienced user could use many scenes and have them be scene-session-1, scene-session-2, and make an advanced scene switcher configuration to have the session number updated automatically, but that takes a while to configure. I did it once, lost the configuration, and don’t have the courage to do it all over again!

To move around elements like the timer, you simply need to click on the element to move it around.

To add elements like another text or any other, click on the “+” icon of the Sources section.

To change the color of the timer, or any text element, you need to double click on it. In the window that opens, you will have to scroll down and there will be two fields: “Color 1” and “Color 2” which you need to both change. These steps are shown in the animation below:

Gif on how to change the color of texts in OBS

Webcam is the element that makes it possible for you to show yourself through your webcam. You need to configure this element to make it work. That’s why the background is currently black. When we’ll finish setting it up, you’ll see yourself instead of a black image.

  1. Double click on “Webcam” to open properties
  2. For the “Device” field, select the webcam that you want to use.
  3. Click on “OK” to save changes
  4. Repeat these steps for all the scenes: Getting Ready, Work Time and Break Time

Select the microphone to use for sound

The only step left is to choose which microphone you are going to use. The animation below will show you how to do so. For this example, I didn’t have my Blue Yeti connected to my laptop, so I just selected the “Built-In Microphone” of my MacBook Pro.

  1. In the “Audio Mixer” section, under “Mic/Aux”, right click on the rounded shape and select “Properties”
  2. For Device, select the microphone that you want to use.

Connect OBS to YouTube

Follow the steps on this website to prepare your YouTube channels for live streaming, then to connect OBS to YouTube. Follow up to step 6 for the “Link OBS to YouTube” section.

How to start a live stream on YouTube

  1. Go to YouTube
  2. Top right, click on “Go Live”
  3. Follow the instructions asked by YouTube.
  4. When you are ready, in OBS, click on “Start Streaming”. This will start sending your video to YouTube. To be live on YouTube, you still need to click on the blue button “Go Live” on the YouTube dashboard.
YouTube dashboard when you're about to go live


I hope this article has helped you to get started doing live study sessions on YouTube! You are now able to do your own study sessions on your YouTube channel! Feel free to write a comment if you have any questions.

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BRYAN August 4, 2020 - 3:17 pm

Wow this post was very usefull, im having online clases and the tests require to record screen and webcam, thanks for this post

Marie September 1, 2020 - 11:17 am

Hello Bryan,
Glad I could help!!

Vishesh December 8, 2020 - 12:20 am

Can you please make a full tutorial video on this?

Marie December 17, 2020 - 5:25 pm

Yes I can definitely do that! I don’t have enough time at the moment, but I hope I can one day!

Alissa December 18, 2020 - 7:40 am

Thanks ! Now I’m all set to start my live streams

Marie June 3, 2021 - 8:42 pm

Awesome Alissa, glad I was able to help! 🙂

Christine December 18, 2020 - 9:43 pm

This is awesome and very helpful. You did an excellent job of explaining and supplying visual aids without overcomplicating! Thank you!

Marie June 3, 2021 - 8:42 pm

Hello Christine!
Thank you so much, that is exactly what I wanted to achieve with this blog post!

Raihaan February 4, 2021 - 3:08 am

Hello Marie!
I am currently connected to my 21:9 monitor with an HDMI and I am facing problems with the resolution. I am not able to fit the whole screen with my camera. Can you tell me what to do?
Thanks for making such an informative blog!

Marie June 3, 2021 - 8:41 pm

Hello Raihaan!
I don’t think I had that problem before. I assume you tried to “stretch” the webcam element to fill the black square?
Otherwise, you can try to look on Google with keywords like “21:9,” “Ultrawide,” “OBS.”

Riddhi February 26, 2021 - 1:16 pm

This was really helpful!! Thank you so much for your efforts

Marie April 24, 2021 - 7:16 pm

Hello Riddhi! Thank you so much for your comment! I’m glad it was helpful!

SUHAIB April 22, 2021 - 12:48 am

thx this so helpful

Marie April 24, 2021 - 7:13 pm

You’re welcome, glad I could help 🙂

Bhumika May 10, 2021 - 2:28 am

How do I add a beep after the timer ends? Also would it be possible to change from “Scene 1: Study Session 1” to “Scene 2: Break Time” automatically once the timer ends?

Marie August 3, 2022 - 6:13 pm

Hello Bhumika!
Since you left your comment, I have since updated the blog post with your suggestions!
Hope you like it!

Bhumika May 10, 2021 - 2:33 am

I dont have a laptop or a desktop with a webcam and hence I would like to use my phone to stream. Is it possible to get these features (timer, beep after timer, changing scene automatically after timer ends etc) on a mobile phone application?

Marie June 3, 2021 - 8:18 pm

Hello Bhumika! I have no idea, I haven’t tried. You could look into Streamlabs OBS! 🙂
Good luck!

Bhumika May 10, 2021 - 2:37 am

I couldnt find anyone but you on the WHOLE INTERNET who’s put up a guide to study streaming and software info. I wish there were more people who gave this info. Would be really helpful if you made a video about this. Thank you so much! 🙂

Marie June 3, 2021 - 8:19 pm

Hello Bhumika!
Thank you so much for your lovely comment!
I will definitely make a YouTube video soon with a step-by-step!
I’ll also add a few steps 1- how to automatically switch the timer and 2- add a sound when the timer ends 3- how to hide the hour of the timer!

Abc May 23, 2021 - 9:27 am

that 10 min timer was not coming when I was doing this

Marie June 3, 2021 - 7:54 pm

Can you explain a bit more what was the issue? I can’t help if you don’t give a more detailed error message or problem you encountered! 🙂

Kahraman Berke June 15, 2021 - 4:25 am

Error loading file: cannot open D:/Yayıncılık/countdown 2.lua: No such file or directory
I get this problem when I add countdown.lua why I get this error? how can I solve it?

Marie August 3, 2022 - 6:07 pm

This means that it doesn’t find the file countdown. When does this error happens?
Have you completed step 5 and more? I actually explain this error is normal and then explain the steps to fix it. Did you do that and it didn’T work?

madhura June 18, 2021 - 11:57 am

we need mobile or camera just for video recording purpose which is going to be shown on screen because youtube app is not working in my mobile and i have a laptop for OBS

Marie September 8, 2021 - 1:30 pm

I’m not sure I understand your comment?

Sweety August 5, 2021 - 12:23 am

Hey Marie,
Thanks for the explanation.
However, could you add a section about the alarm (alarm to take a break, alarm sound to switch back to work, after 50 minutes of work) Please.
Thanks in advance.

Marie August 3, 2022 - 5:58 pm

Hello Sweety,
Thanks for your suggestion! I have since updated the blog post according to your comment and I am now explaining how to do that!

Jayesh August 10, 2021 - 3:33 am

thank you very much!!!!!!

Marie September 8, 2021 - 1:28 pm

Hello Jayesh!
I’m glad that I was able to help you!

Min September 9, 2021 - 4:33 pm

Hello Maire!
Thank you for your walk-through procedure. Is there way to hear when the timer goes off?

Marie January 19, 2022 - 9:59 pm

Hello Min! There sure is a way – thanks for your question. I have now updated the post to explain how to add a sound when the timer is done!

Amanda September 26, 2021 - 9:03 am

My Mac doesn’t open files on google drive, can you help me?

Marie January 19, 2022 - 9:58 pm

Hello! Can you explain a bit more the issue you’re facing? You can also send me an email with the “Contact me” form so we can look into this further together.

Melih January 8, 2022 - 1:08 pm

I wish I could see this post 2 weeks ago 🙂

I have struggled to figure out and spend hours to make my own.

Thank you Marie 🙂

Marie January 19, 2022 - 9:51 pm

Hahaha, I completely understand what you mean! I also wished I had this post when I was first trying to figure everything out!
Thanks for your comment.

Daniel February 22, 2022 - 2:47 am

Hi, I am having a problem on configurations on the very first part which I’ve downloaded on the google drive, because once I’ve imported it, there’s no error found, (the downloaded youtube music sound effects). I’m using a macbook air M1 by the way. I’m hoping you can help me.

Marie August 3, 2022 - 6:10 pm

Hello Daniel!
In that case, I would try selecting “Bell” and “Bell2” in sources and go to their properties to select the audio files myself.
Hope that works.

zhang Yuqing March 1, 2022 - 10:30 am

Thank you for your sharing, and I have a question about voice, when I import the scenes there is only have a black window, there is no choice to upload the sound files, so what can I do? thank you so much, and looking forward to your reply!

Marie August 3, 2022 - 6:01 pm

I am not sure I understand. The black window must be because of the webcam needing to be imported again, I believe.
You can send me a screenshot of your problem at my email: marie at girlknowstech dot com and I can help you out there, it’ll be easier!

Emma July 23, 2022 - 12:23 am

Hey! Thank you so much for this post. Any idea how I can connect productivity apps like forest to the livestream via OBS?

Marie August 3, 2022 - 6:10 pm

Hello Emma, you’re welcome!
What do you mean? For the Forest group code to be added automatically?
I do not believe that’s possible. For that, I would always edit a text field myself and add the new group code to join the forest study group.

Nishi August 7, 2022 - 12:19 pm

countdown time was not working even after adding scripts!?

Marie March 17, 2024 - 2:22 pm

Hello! It’s hard to say why without knowing more, maybe try again?

leena February 14, 2023 - 2:54 pm

I have several problems. Can you please help?
– when I import the scene, no missing files alert is showing
– in the Sources I do not have Bell and Bell2 at all. I have to create them myself but how do I link them to the countdown?
– I downloaded Advance Scene Switcher but It’s completely different from yours. I have 1.20.5 and it has only two tabs: General and Macro. There’s no sight of Sequences Tab.
– there’s no getting ready Scene
thank you

Marie March 17, 2024 - 2:29 pm

Hello! Sorry for the delay.

  1. The Bells sounds are coming from the downloads you did in the section “Download the required files for the setup”. Linking the bell sounds with the countdown is actually done when you automatically switch scenes. When you switch between the “Work time” and “Break Time” scenes, then the bells ring automatically.
  2. You are right, my version is 1.16.5. Apparently, in the new version, you need to create a macro instead!

  3. I will check to update the base version file so it includes it.

Thank you for your comments, I have made some edits to the post.

amatun August 1, 2023 - 9:44 am

hello..i have downloaded advance scene switcher……but i didnt find that sequence option here…plz suggest me what should i do right now?

Marie March 17, 2024 - 2:30 pm


It seems the newer version use “macros” instead. I haven’t tried it yet, but use the macros tab to create a sequence switching between scenes automatically based on time!


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