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How to add captions or subtitles to your livestream with OBS and spf.io

Jun 16, 2020 | Blog, How-to

If you stream to Twitch, Facebook, YouTube or other streaming platforms, you can use spf.io to add captions or subtitles to your livestream with OBS.

OBS is free and open-source software that enables you to record or livestream with multiple inputs. In this tutorial, we’ll show you how to use spf.io’s automatic captioning to show subtitles in OBS using a chroma key filter and the projector view.

As an example, check out this brief clip of a church in Indonesia showing captions in OBS.

This tutorial assumes you have OBS installed and a spf.io session created. We will use automatic captioning, but other spf.io methods for releasing subtitles like manuscripts can work just as well.

Note: If you’re looking for a simpler setup, you can embed your livestream in spf.io’s audience view and the captions/subtitles can show up right there! This enables you to support lots of languages.

Step 1: Open the streamer and projector view for your session

In spf.io, click on the Streamer button for the session.

Click on the “Start Projector” button for the session.

Step 2: Turn on automatic captioning

In the streamer, click on the “Stream captions” button.

Ensure the “display raw captions” mode is enabled. When enabled you will see the speech bubble icon with three dots in it. This mode means your speech will turn to text as you speak and immediately sent out.

Click on the captioner microphone button to start listening. You can see a preview of your speech turning to text. Once you verified that it can listen, click the button again to turn it off for now.

You can watch a video with more detailed instructions for setting up raw automatic captions here.

Step 3: Configure subtitles and enable chroma key background

In the projector controller, open the subtitles/closed captioning configuration.

Ensure “Enable display” is active. Change settings to make the subtitles/captions look the way you want. For example, many people choose to enable “Scroll” and “Text shadow” for visibility.

Click on the Chroma Key background button. This will change the background color of your projector view to be the chroma key color. The default green color is sufficient.

Step 4: Open OBS and add the projector view as a window source

In the Sources panel of OBS, click on the plus sign at the bottom and select “Window Capture”.

You will see a list of windows that you can add to the Scene. Select the Projector View window and press “OK”.

Step 5: Apply the chroma key filter and crop the window

Drag the Window Capture source you added to the top of the list of Sources. This ensures the subtitles will be visible.

Next right click on the Window Capture source and select “Filters” from the menu.

In the lower half of the Filters window, you will see a list of “Effect Filters”. Click on the plus sign and add a “Chroma Key” filter.

By default it will select the Green “Key Color Type” which matches the chroma key color of spf.io’s projector view.

Close the filters window.

Now in your OBS preview you should be able to see through the projector view to the rest of your Scene. However, the browser address bar and part of the bottom of the projector view may still cover up part of your scene.

Let’s hide these unwanted screen elements.

To do so, right click on your Window Capture source. In the menu, go to “Transform” and click on “Edit Transform”.

You will see a window that lets you crop the top and bottom of your window. Increase the top and bottom crop amounts until the unwanted parts of the projector view are no longer visible in the preview.

Now your preview should look something like the image below.

Step 6: Speak and see the subtitles in OBS!

We’re almost done! To test if the captions or subtitles are appearing in our OBS preview, let’s go back to the spf.io streamer and click on the captioner microphone button to make it listen.

Now start saying something and you should see the words appear in OBS in the lower third of the screen!

 

There are several ways to generate captions and subtitles with spf.io ranging from automatic to script based to integrating with a stenographer. All of them can be shown through the spf.io projector view and integrated with OBS as described in this tutorial. With spf.io, it’s simple to make your livestreams accessible in many languages!

Ready for the next step?

Find out how spf.io can help you make your next event accessible.

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