Using the OBS virtual camera with Altar Live

OBS is a powerful broadcasting tool, but a broadcast isn’t the right tool for every situation.  By using the OBS virtual camera with Altar Live meetings, you can add overlays and texts to your regular webcam output - perfect for adding a little extra to small group meetings, classes, and more.

Setting up the Virtual Camera

If you’ve never used OBS before:

1. Download and install OBS.

2. Select “I will only be using the virtual camera” during the setup wizard, and follow the rest of the setup instructions.

If you already have OBS installed:

1. Create a new profile and run the setup wizard again.  

Tip: By creating separate profiles, you can make sure you’re not streaming to another destination while running the virtual camera, and keep all your settings separate.  

2. You may also want to make a new scene collection if you’re going to be using different overlays, sources, etc.

Connecting the Virtual Camera to an Altar Live meeting

1. Under “Sources”, create a new “Video Capture Device” source, with your webcam as the input.

Tip: In OBS, a “source” is any element that can be added to the final output.  This includes images, audio tracks, text, and live cameras.

2. Press “Start Virtual Camera”.  Do not press “Start Streaming”.

3. Join a meeting on Altar Live. 

4. In the waiting room, select “OBS Virtual Camera” as your camera.

Adding Overlays to the Virtual Webcam

1. In OBS, under “Sources”, add a new source.  For this example, we’ll add an image.

2. In the viewer, position and resize the source until it’s where you want it. 

3. You can add multiple overlay sources - including text, screen shares, etc. to your camera output.

Tip: Sources appear in the order they’re listed under the “Sources” tab.  Sources at the bottom of the list are in the background, while sources at the top of the list are at the front.

Adding the Bible to the Virtual Camera

1. Copy/paste the passage you would like to display into a text file on your computer.

2. Under “Sources”, create a new “Text(GDI+)” source.

3. Select “Read from File”.

Tip: You can copy/paste the text directly into OBS.  The advantage with reading from a file is that you can make changes to the file itself, and the changes will appear in OBS.

4. Adjust the visual settings as needed.  To make the full text appear, you’ll want to use the custom text extents at the bottom of the screen.

Tip: Depending on your settings, your virtual camera may appear mirrored in the meeting.  Don’t worry - it will only be mirrored for you.  Everyone else will see the output as it appears in OBS.

Creating/Switching Scenes while using the Virtual Camera

Scenes are a great way to quickly switch between Bible passages, overlays, and more.

1. In OBS, under “Scenes”, create a new scene.

2. Add sources to the scene, just as you did before. Each scene’s sources will only appear when that scene is selected.

3. While using the virtual camera, simply click on the scene you want and the webcam output will transition in real time.

And that’s it!  You can now use your OBS virtual camera during your Altar Live meetings.

Want to learn about using OBS with Altar Live for broadcasting? Check out this article!

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