How to Record a Part of the Screen in OBS
OBS Studio is one of the most popular open-source broadcasting software on the market. Apart from the advanced streaming features, the program also comes with a slew of screen capturing options. In this tutorial, we’ll focus on how to use OBS to record a part of the screen instead of the standard full display capture.
Since the software works well with multiple operating systems, we included step-by-step instructions for Windows, Linux, and Mac, respectively. All versions of OBS Studio share the same user-friendly interface, so the process is almost identical for all three platforms. Keep reading to find out more about the app and its many nifty features.
How to Record a Part of the Screen With OBS
If you want to avoid recording the entire screen, there are several alternative solutions. One way to do it is to use Window Capture to screencast a single open window. Another option is to apply the Crop/Pad filter and adjust the parameters to a preferred setting. The third (and probably the easiest) method involves resizing the display with a simple command.
Below you’ll find detailed instructions for each screen capturing feature. The same steps can apply to all three OS platforms, thanks to the uniform OBS interface. Naturally, all potential discrepancies will be highlighted as part of the walk-through.
Let’s start with the screen capturing an individual window. Here’s what you need to do:
- Launch OBS and scroll to the “Sources” box.
- Click on the little plus icon at the bottom of the box to access a drop-down options panel. Select “Window Capture” from the list.
- A pop-up box will appear. Add a title to the source and hit “OK.”
- Below, click on the downward arrow next to “Window” on the left-hand side. Choose the window you want to record from the drop-down list. Make sure the “Capture Cursor” option is enabled. Click “OK.”
- The window has to be the same size as the display. If that’s not the case, navigate to the menu bar at the top of the screen and go to File > Settings.
- Open the “Video” tab and lower the base resolution. It will automatically shrink the canvas to accommodate the window.
Note: Make sure the window you plan to capture isn’t minimized. Otherwise, it won’t appear on the list of available windows. Have it run in the background instead.
If Window Capture doesn’t do the trick, you can use the Crop/Pad filter to isolate smaller parts of the screen. Just follow these simple steps:
- Open the OBS app and scroll to the bottom of the window. Right-click in the “Sources” panel to open a pop-up menu. Click “Add” then select “Display Capture.”
- A pop-up box will appear. Enter the title of the capture and hit “OK.”
- If you have more than one monitor, click on the “Display” dialog box and select the right one from the drop-down list. Check the “Capture Cursor” box and hit “OK.”
- Scroll down to the source and right-click. A pop-up menu will appear. Select “Filter” from the list of options.
- A new window will appear. Click on the little plus icon in the bottom-left corner of the screen. Add the “Crop/Pad” filter and click “OK.”
- Resize the display by changing the cropping parameters. Write the appropriate pixel values in the corresponding field. Close the window once you’re done. The parts of the screen you don’t want to record will be cropped out
Finally, the most elegant solution is to use your cursor to resize the display capture. In other words, you can manually pinpoint the parts of the screen you want to record. Here’s how to do it:
- Click the little plus icon at the bottom of the “Sources” box and choose “Display Capture” from the options menu.
- Enter the title if you want to create a new capture. To add an existing one, select one from the list below.
- The display capture is outlined with red lines and circles. Hover the cursor over the little red circles and press the “Option” key. You can now manually crop the screen and single out the parts you plan to record.
Note: The command for a PC keyboard is mouse ‘’click + Alt.’’
As of now, there’s no mobile version of OBS available for smartphones. However, you can use a lightning cable to connect your iPhone to a computer and add the device as the source. Here’s how:
- Plug the phone into a computer via a lightning cable.
- Open the OBS app and click on the tiny plus button at the bottom of the “Sources” box.
- Select “Video Capture Device” from the pop-up list. Name the source and click “OK.”
- Click on the small downward arrow on the “Devices” dialog box. Find your iPhone on the list of devices and click on it.
- The iPhone display will appear. From here on, repeat the steps from the previous sections if you don’t want to record the entire screen.
Note: Since OBS isn’t compatible with smartphones, this method can often result in bottlenecks. It’s much better to use the pre-installed screen recorder most iPhones have.
Unfortunately, the same goes for Android devices. There’s no mobile version of the OBS app available on Google Play. You can try hooking your phone with a lightning connector and repeating the steps from the previous section. However, the best option is to use the built-in screen recorder app that’s designed to fit your phone’s display culture.
How Do I Begin Recording My Screen?
The OBS app is extremely easy to navigate. The “Sources” feature allows you to streamline different aspects of the recording and adjust the audio and video settings to your liking. Here’s how to get started:
1. Launch the app and navigate to the “Sources” box at the bottom of the screen. Click on the little plus icon to access a pop-up menu.
2. For Mac and Windows users, choose the “Display Capture” option. On Linux, the feature is labeled “Screen Capture.”
3. A small pop-up box will appear. Add a title to the appropriate field and hit “OK.”
4. Next, go to Settings, and ‘’Output’’ and determine where you want the file to be saved.
5. Scroll down to the “Mixer” box to adjust the audio settings. Click the little gear icon to choose a preferred audio source (Desktop or Mic/Aux).
6. Once you’re done setting up, click on the blue button in the bottom-right corner of the screen to start recording.
Why Is There a Black Screen on OBS?
While OBS is an outstanding broadcasting software, it’s not immune to bugs and glitches. The most common issue users have when trying to screen share is the infamous Black Screen error. If this happens to you, there are several potential causes:
• Your computer’s been running for way too long. If that’s the case, try removing all power sources and leaving them to rest for a few minutes.
• You installed an incompatible version of the app. Check whether your OS works better with the 32-bit or 64-bit version.
• The app is outdated. Uninstall the current OBS software and download the latest framework from the official website.
• There are issues with the graphics card. Try switching to a different GPU when using the app.
• The app doesn’t have administrator privileges. OBS sometimes needs admin rights for screen recording and broadcasting.
• The content you’re recording is encrypted. Some platforms, like Netflix, protect their content from screen capturing and sharing.
There are three different ways to capture individual parts of the screen with OBS Studio. You can use the Window Capture feature to record a single window or apply the Crop/Pad filter for more intricate details. The easiest method is using the ‘’mouse click + Alt’’ command to crop out the parts you don’t want to record.
You can switch between the three depending on your needs. OBS is famously user-friendly and easy to navigate. And if you have the misfortune to run into the Black Screen, there’s a way to fix that as well.
What’s your preferred method to record parts of the screen with OBS? Is there a different screen capturing software you like better? Comment below and tell us if there’s something we’ve missed.