Factors to Keep in Mind When Setting Up a Phone Camera for Your Twitch or YouTube Stream in OBS

A while back, I invested in the Elgato Screen Link. For the purposes of capturing my mobile screen within OBS, it worked as intended.

However, that’s not the only thing the application can do. You can also use it to make your smartphone work as a wireless camera. Though I found this feature to be way more interesting, early tests melted my computer.

Now that I have a modern PC, I revisited the idea of incorporating my smartphone camera into my stream as a vlog cam.

There are a few pieces of software you’ll need for this to work. First, grab Elgato Screen Link from the iOS App Store. If you use an Android, there are viable alternatives out there. There are free and paid versions of the app, but I’d start with the free version for now. You’ll also need to install the Elgato 4K Capture Utility on your PC.

The process of setting up both pieces of software is fairly straightforward. There are two quirks worth noting when you set this up to work within OBS. One, you have to have the 4K Capture Utility on for this functionality to work. Two, make sure to set the Screen Link as a separate source in OBS instead of window capturing the Capture Utility app. Gives yourself a bit more CPU overhead, minimizes delay a touch, and allows you to control the audio for your mobile cam directly instead of having it mixed with your desktop audio.

Speaking of which, make sure you apply all of your audio effects to your camera, such as your noise gate, noise filter, compressor, equalization, and limiter. Without that, your voice audio will sound terrible. If you want to be a keener, you can fine-tune the settings specifically for your mobile microphone, though you can probably use your existing settings as a starting point.

If you’re using the camera as an alternative to the webcam, you probably don’t need to do anything with your existing mic. However, if you want to use it as a vlog cam, you will likely run into an issue where your phone mic and your stream mic are picking up your voice at the same time.

You could just manually mute the microphone each time you switch to that camera. Or, you can go about it the cleaner way by removing your microphone as a default source. Before you do that, go into every scene with your mic and add the microphone as a source. If you don’t do this first, you will lose all of your mic settings.

After you add your mic, it should now appear on your list of sources. From there, go to OBS and set your default mic as disabled within the “Audio” section. Going forward, every new scene you make shouldn’t have your default mic associated with it. In this case, when you switch to your mobile scene, your mic will be automatically disabled.

If you are using it as a primary camera alternative, you may need to have it run in sync with your default mic and other video sources. The fundamental challenge is that the wireless connection will introduce some lag. Your best bet is to use the delay settings within Screen Link and then set all of your video and audio sources to be delayed by that exact value.

Using your phone as a camera on stream isn’t as plug-and-play as a standard webcam or microphone. But if you’re willing to put in the effort – and your computer has enough horsepower to run it – adding a mobile camera to your setup could work well as not only a vlog cam, but as a substitute for a webcam or DSLR. During these times when cameras are really hard to come by, this could be a viable alternative. Try the free version and see if this is something you can add to your tool kit!

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