OBS Studio – Adding Countdown Timers for Twitch or YouTube Gaming

October 4, 2019

What is up guys, welcome to another video for the Gaming Careers YouTube channel I’m Pete and today we’re going to be doing another OBS studio tutorial, this time looking at how to add a countdown or count up timer into your stream. Now on-screen now you can see the kind of thing that we’re going to be creating in this tutorial and of course I’ll be talking through all the different settings so you can customize it to look exactly as you want it to for your stream layout. So why would you want one of these countdown timers on your stream? Well typically they’re used as a way of counting down to the start of your stream, so the idea is is that you start streaming and you show this sort of countdown timer and all your followers and viewers will get notifications from Twitch or from YouTube that you’re going live. They’ll gather onto your stream as the countdown timer is counting down and eventually when it reaches zero you can start your stream. This allows all of your viewers and subscribers or followers to be able to start interacting in chat and you know start creating an atmosphere and it means that when you actually start streaming you should have a healthy number of viewers watching you. The other way that these timers are used is for counting upwards and this is typically used if you’re going to be doing a charity stream or maybe a 24 hour stream for some certain event and you want a way of displaying how long you’ve been live for for your stream viewers. So this way you can start the timer when you start streaming and it will be counting up and your viewers can always see how far through that 24 hour stream marathon you might be. If you’re new here to the Gaming Careers YouTube channel, we’re a channel completely dedicated to helping you grow your live streams on Twitch and YouTube as well as the channels themselves so you can eventually make a profession out of your gaming passion so if you are new here consider subscribing, but let’s jump into the software! So the tool that we’re going to be using is a free software tool called Snaz, and what it does is it similar to some of the Stream labels software, it generates text files which auto update and then OBS can read from those text files and display them to your stream. Now there are quite a few different online options for countdown timers that are popping up, sort of websites dedicated to creating a timer that you can then use OBS’s browser source plug-in to capture. But I wouldn’t really recommend them for something like a countdown timer because using browser source in OBS is a lot more of an intensive process for your CPU to do than just simply reading a text file. So it’s going to be less intensive for your computer and at the end of the day streaming and recording if you’re doing both at the same time anyway as well as playing games is a really CPU intensive task, so you want to be trying to minimize the impact you can for things like this. So the first thing that we’re going to need to do is to download and install Snaz, so if you visit the link in the description below this video, you can download the latest version and just follow the installation process as usual. Now when the application first launches, it can look a little bit intimidating because there’s lots and lots of different options but we’re really only going to be interacting with a select few of them for our timer functionality. The first thing that we’re going to set up together is the functionality to count down to a specific time. Now the output format option is how you wish to display your countdown in the text file, so the options $d or $h, $m, $s they stand for; days, hours, minutes and seconds respectively and then you can see that the default option has these values separated by colon symbols. Now personally for me I will be starting my stream countdown maybe 15 to 20 minutes before my stream actually starts so I don’t need the day or the hour option as these are always going to be zero for me anyway. So I’m just going to leave mine as $m:$s which will display the minutes with a colon and then the seconds on the countdown. It’s also worth noting here that this doesn’t have to just be the symbols, you could add some text before this if you want to such as live in and then the countdown. Next up we want to set the actual date and time that we want the countdown timer to end at, so you can click this little button to set it to the current date and time and then just adjust it from there. I’m going to set mine for this example to roughly 10 minutes from now. The live output box will just display what the text file contains when you start the timer so it’s a useful little box to use when you’re setting up because you can check that it displays exactly as you want it to. Next you can set what you want the timer to display when the timer is complete, so for me I’m going to change this text to starting now with an exclamation mark. These two buttons here are the start and stop buttons which are hopefully pretty self-explanatory but for those that are wondering, one of them starts the timer and the other one stops it. Over on the right-hand side we have options to play certain sounds when the countdown is done, so if you want that kind of functionality just browse for an audio file on your computer and select it. The use double digits option, that allows you to choose between having a leading 0 on the single digit number. So for example you can see how the output changes when enabling and disabling this option in the live output box. The removed time span equal to 00 check box, that allows you to not display zeros if the days, hours or minutes have reached zero. So for example if you have set it to display days, hours, minutes and seconds and the days are now zero, if you enable this option it will stop the days from displaying 00, it will just remove the days once the days reach zero. Finally we are given the path to the text file that Snaz has created for us and a button to copy that path to the clipboard, which we’re going to use because we need to paste that into OBS. So if this text file path doesn’t show yet, you’re going to need to click start to start the countdown timer and then click copy path to clipboard and we’ll open up OBS. So in OBS studio I’m going to create a brand new scene and call it countdown because we want to be having a specific scene to start the stream with a countdown and then when the countdown reaches zero, we want to be swapping to our normal scene. Maybe that’s a webcam or your gameplay or whatever you’d like to stream but we’re going to make a new scene and call it countdown. Next we’ll go across to our empty sources and click the plus and then select text GDI. Let’s name it something that can easily identify it so I’m going to call mine countdown text. Now here you want to be ticking the read from file box and you’ll notice at least in the current version of OBS studio that I have in this video, you can’t seem to paste in the file location which we have copied so maybe by the time that you’re watching this video in the future they might have fixed this, but if not we can just click the Browse button and then paste the path into the file name box and press open. Now in the preview hopefully we should have a timer counting down to zero. If not make sure you have clicked the start button in Snaz to make sure the timer is counting down. Next we can customize the font, color and size of our text. I’m going to make mine white, nice and big with a font size of around 200. As I say in all my videos that are to do with putting text into OBS studio, if you want to increase the font size make sure you come back into the font properties and increase it here rather than just dragging the red box that you get in the preview window. Because as I keep saying it doesn’t scale text properly so it’s going to start to look pixelated. Feel free to go absolutely nuts on the colors, backgrounds, alignments all the other font options, but for me this is all I need so I’m going to press OK. Now you should have your countdown on your preview in OBS and you can drag it around to position it wherever you’d like in the scene. Now obviously this doesn’t look fantastic but the functionality of a countdown timer is there. Next I’d recommend spending some time in Photoshop or any similar application that you might have installed, create a nice background image for your text to sit on top of. I’ve created this in about two or three minutes and I think it looks pretty decent or if you want something a little more advanced you could find a looping video background online that you might be able to download for free or purchase for a very small amount and then you can make a transparent image like I have done here in Photoshop, which just has the text and then finally the timer sits on top of all of that. You can see in a really small amount of time I’ve created something that I think looks pretty decent for my stream that counts down to when I’m going live. A couple of useful things to know about the Snaz application is that it needs to be running whilst you want to display the timer, I think that’s fairly obvious but you can close it once the timer is complete. It’s a pretty lightweight application so really it’s not using much of your CPU, so just make sure that it’s running when you want the timer to be displayed. I often recommend having sort of a to-do list of things that you need to do before you start your stream, so if you’re going to use a timer every time you stream, make sure you add that to the list. The other just useful little tip in OBS is that if you want something to be centered you can right click on the text or the layer, go to transform and then click Center to screen then you can use the up and down arrows on your keyboard to position it vertically whilst always remaining centred. Finally the last thing that I’ll cover is if you want the counter to count upwards like I mentioned if you were doing a marathon stream or a 24-hour stream type thing and you want to count upwards rather than downwards, you just go back to Snaz and click Chronos, go to chrono up, choose your format similar to how we did in the countdown and then click start. Copy the new file path into OBS and add it just as we did with the countdown text file. I hope you guys have found this video helpful, if you have got to this point in the video and you’ve been following along please do give it a thumbs up so we know that you guys enjoy this kind of content and can keep creating more of it. If you’re new here and you haven’t heard of Gaming Careers before, check out the YouTube channel we’ve got loads of tutorials on OBS and growing your YouTube and Twitch channels to hopefully make a profession out of your gaming passion, subscribers I’ll see you in the next video! Peace! you

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