Finding The Right Recording & Streaming Software

So you’re ready to start investing time into your Twitch stream or YouTube channel. There are lots of tutorials on finding and setting up the right gear, but what about software? How do you efficiently stream or edit videos? Does it matter what you use?

As someone who’s used all sorts of video editing and streaming software over the years, I can tell you that finding the right software can go a long way in helping you easily stream or record. Here are my recommendations for each.

Recording/Editing Software

First, let’s talk recording and editing. This is a little more straight-forward because not doing it live means you can control the environment a little more. You’re not subject to internet outage or bandwidth issues. You can choreograph your videos a bit more, and you can do multiple takes.
There are also TONS of options in this space. I use 2-3 depending on my needs.

Tutorials: ScreenFlow

For on-screen tutorials with my face in it sometimes I use ScreenFlow because I know how to use it and it’s well suited for that. You configure which screen you want to record, your camera, and your mic, and you’re ready to go. You can even connect an iOS or iPadOS device via USB and record that screen. I did it for this video.

ScreenFlow Settings

Another big benefit of using ScreenFlow to record is that it tracks the mouse, so you can increase the size of the cursor, or completely replace it. I do this in all of my tutorials because it’s a lot easier for viewers to see the cursor without either of us zooming in.

Note: This software is macOS only. If you’re on Windows, Camtasia is an industry standard for tutorials.

4K Video: Record with QuickTime, Edit with FinalCut Pro

If you’re shooting and editing 4K video (especially at a high frame rate), I’ve found that that ScreenFlow falls flat on its face. They say they support it, but I’ve had terrible experiences editing 4K video with ScreenFlow on my iMac Pro. Instead, I’ll record using QuickTime, which is completely free. It also captures 4K video really well. To edit, I’ll use Final Cut Pro.


It’s a little more expensive (though as I write this Apple is offering a 90 Day free trial), but it handles 4K really well. I’m not as experienced with it, but that’s nothing a LinkedIn Learning course can’t fix.

Note: This is also macOS only. On Windows, you might consider Adobe Premiere Pro. It’s a staple in the industry.

Note 2: FinalCut Pro is a SPACE HOG. The projects, coupled with the fact that 4K video is already big means you need to keep an eye on your storage space.

Streaming Software

Streaming can be a little bit more complicated. You won’t have some of the benefits of pre-recording, and it’s all live so there’s no chance to do multiple takes. But with the right software, you can still seamlessly switch between multiple screens, add lower-thirds, and do some other neat things live.

Open Broadcast Studio

OBS Interface

I use Open Broadcast Studio (OBS) and while it can be better (especially on the Mac), it gets the job done and I’ve managed to configure it to work for me. I have 3 scenes (OBS’ term for video configurations):

  • Just me – my 4K camera, full frame.
  • Just my screen – my entire screen, not a specific app, full frame.
  • My screen + my camera in the bottom right.

You can create as many scenes as you’d like, share only specific apps, and more. It also works with the Elgato Stream Deck, which allows me to switch quickly between the different scenes.

The big benefit of OBS is it works with most streaming services, including YouTube Live, Twitch, Facebook Live, Crowdcast, and anything else that supports what’s called RTMP – a way of pushing lots of live video to a service.

Note: Because OBS works so well with Stream Deck and also supports recording, I’ve actually been recording my course videos using it. It took some setup, but it works great. You can see how I did it here.

eCamm Live

I’ve also heard great things about eCamm Live. It seems to work especially well on the Mac, is super clean, and well supported. It is a monthly subscription, but if it has the features you need it might be worth the price.

Some of the standout features are the ability to use it as a virtual webcam, so whatever you do will be sent to the webcam (great for visual effects). It will also automatically do local recordings, you can schedule broadcasts, and like OBS, it works with most streaming services and the Stream Deck.

It also appears to support Canon DSLRs, which is great. Because when I was using mine, it was a whole song and dance.

BeLive

If you’re looking for a simple interface, BeLive is the way to go. It works especially well with Facebook Live, and allows you to monitor your stream and grab comments without having to switch between BeLive and Facebook.

BeLive Interace

This is a no-frills app that’s strictly for streaming, but it’s also the easiest to use. So if you’re just looking for a straight broadcast app, this is the way to go. They also support YouTube Live and Twitch is coming.

Test and See What Works Best for You

These are just a few ideas – but you should test and see what works best for you. I’ve used most of the tools listed here and plan to give exam Live a test drive soon.

Are there any tools you love that I missed? Let me know in the comments!

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