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nobodyhome

macrumors regular
Original poster
Jul 2, 2008
126
3
So, looking online on my own I've found ample information for Nvidia and Windows pcs, but not much for Macs. One source suggested 200000 bitrate which I think is overkill? I'm not a video professional so I have no idea.

The reason I'm focused on OSB is I'm recording gameplay on the Mac and I want to make sure it captures sound. Quicktime doesn't seem to capture system sounds when screen recording unless I'm doing something wrong again. I've tried Blackhole, but unless they've made changes it never worked right. OBS got an update and captures the audio so I settled on OBS.

What kind of settings should I be looking at? Bitrates? Framerates? CBR, ABR, etc? I understand a little, but not how to make it best suit the Mac's hardware.

I'm not planning on streaming right now.

Thank you for any insight and advice.
 

rm5

macrumors 68020
Mar 4, 2022
2,142
2,397
United States
I am pretty well-versed with OBS—I use it for streaming but also for recording screen captures, and it works quite well.

On my M1 MacBook Air, going at 60 fps, I usually see the GPU hit around 60-70% usage, which is a little high to be honest, even with the M1-optimized version. So theoretically if the M1 Max GPU is at least 3 times more powerful (with the 24 core version) than my M1, you should theoretically see around 20% GPU usage, giving you plenty of headroom for the game(s) you're planning to capture.

In terms of bitrate, the "good old standard" for exporting videos is 2000x the frame rate, so if you were doing 1080p @ 60 fps, to preserve all the quality of the original footage, you would export at 120000 kbps. But you are not exporting video, you are recording gameplay... you might first TRY it at 120000 kbps to preserve all the original quality, and then dropping/raising it as needed. 200000 is definitely overkill, dont know where you got that one from!

Just keep in mind though, the file is going to be HUGE at 120000 kbps!! So make sure you have plenty of disk space beforehand—I'd say, for a long video, it can easily consume upwards of 25 GB, so having enough disk space is imperative.

I HAVE noticed that with OBS (there's probably a way to fix this, I've looked it up though and have found no helpful information) that the colors appear a little more washed out than on the regular display... just something to keep in mind.
 
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nobodyhome

macrumors regular
Original poster
Jul 2, 2008
126
3
I am pretty well-versed with OBS—I use it for streaming but also for recording screen captures, and it works quite well.

On my M1 MacBook Air, going at 60 fps, I usually see the GPU hit around 60-70% usage, which is a little high to be honest, even with the M1-optimized version. So theoretically if the M1 Max GPU is at least 3 times more powerful (with the 24 core version) than my M1, you should theoretically see around 20% GPU usage, giving you plenty of headroom for the game(s) you're planning to capture.

In terms of bitrate, the "good old standard" for exporting videos is 2000x the frame rate, so if you were doing 1080p @ 60 fps, to preserve all the quality of the original footage, you would export at 120000 kbps. But you are not exporting video, you are recording gameplay... you might first TRY it at 120000 kbps to preserve all the original quality, and then dropping/raising it as needed. 200000 is definitely overkill, dont know where you got that one from!

Just keep in mind though, the file is going to be HUGE at 120000 kbps!! So make sure you have plenty of disk space beforehand—I'd say, for a long video, it can easily consume upwards of 25 GB, so having enough disk space is imperative.

I HAVE noticed that with OBS (there's probably a way to fix this, I've looked it up though and have found no helpful information) that the colors appear a little more washed out than on the regular display... just something to keep in mind.
Thank you for all the info! So helpful. I see, I see... I'll try your suggestions and see where that lands me. I know what to aim for now and how it generally works so that's a huge help.

The colors might be adjustable post recording in Final Cut... Maybe? I was fixating so much on the chunking video during high movement I didn't consider the colors. Thanks for the heads up on those and the storage space. I haven't filled it up yet so I should be good, but I'll double check as well. Can never be too careful.

Seriously, thank you so much for explaining this stuff to me. 😄
 
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Starfia

macrumors 6502a
Apr 11, 2011
941
656
Hi, nobodyhome –

I thought I would chime in as well with what I consider the most important settings to narrow down initially. (You might know half of this already, but maybe something will be useful or explanatory.)

Correct that QuickTime Player only records audio and video from one selected source at a time. OBS is great general-purpose software for recording as well as streaming, and you have lots of freedom to combine, arrange, and switch between sources offline and while recording or streaming if you decide to get fancier later.

The frame rate is the number of frames per second. There's no reason to record at a higher frame rate than that of the game. In North America, most early and modern console games run at 60 frames per second. (Some run at a lower rate – for example, Super Mario Sunshine for GameCube runs at 30. Some of the most recent consoles support higher rates, such as 120, though at the time I'm writing this, I think only the late-2021 MacBook Pros are the only Macs whose screens support a higher frame rate than 60 for display.)

Resolution (the number of pixels used along each dimension) is similarly important to identify early. Earlier games had smaller resolutions (for example, 320 x 240), modern consoles often render in "1080p" or "full HD" (1920 x 1080), and cutting-edge systems sometimes render in "4K" (3840 x 2160). To avoid reducing recorded quality or wasting data, and to get "pixel-perfect" recordings without image distortion, make sure your OBS settings match your console resolution, or your gameplay window's size.

In OBS, those are both under "Video" settings.

The bit rate, the other important one, is the amount of data allowed per second of recorded gameplay. This is usually measured in "Kbps" or kilobits per second, where a kilobit equals 1000 bits. The higher or lower your bit rate, the more or less quickly your recordings will fill your storage space.

(I mention this since "a bit rate of 200000" technically means 200000 bits per second, which equals 200 kilobits per second, which may or may not be what you meant.)

You set bit rates independently for video and audio. Audio typically requires a much lower bit rate than video.

I would say the main factors for determining an ideal bit rate are the resolution and the amount of onscreen motion. Resolution increases proportionally with bit rate – that is, an large image with four times the pixels of a smaller one (for example, 1920 x 1080 versus 960 x 540) requires four times the bit rate to look about equally as good.

Video compression is sophisticated enough these days that if there isn't very much onscreen motion, the compression algorithm reuses data from adjacent frames rather than encoding new data for each frame. So, for example, gameplay of Minesweeper or Solitaire requires much less data than gameplay of a faced-paced first-person shooter.

OBS keeps bit rate settings under "Output," I think. (The "simple" output mode should be sufficient – plenty more technical settings are available for people who want them.)

When experimenting with bit rates, it might be useful to look at Twitch's recommendations for streamers (even if you aren't streaming).

Speaking for myself, just to offer a frame of reference: I do stream, and I'm usually streaming games with a pretty low resolution by today's standards (852 x 480), with not much onscreen motion, such as old point-and-click games for Windows. I typically don't exceed a bit rate of 500 Kbps, and an audio bit rate of 64 Kbps. I experience a little fuzziness when things get momentarily hectic onscreen, but for the most part, things look decent, sound decent, and bandwidth is used efficiently.

Again, that could be way more than you needed. An hour or two of experimentation will probably be enough to orient yourself. Bonne chance.
 
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