How to Create a Multi-Camera Setup and Stream from Your PC for Free


If you’re hosting an online presentation or seminar, having a multi-camera setup helps add a level of style and professionalism. But how can you do that if you also want to stream it simultaneously?

Although some services offer a transparent way to do this, you usually have to pay a fee. But did you know you can do it for free using select smartphones and streaming apps? Here’s how.

What do you need

three smartphones to use as cameras

This setup is a bit complicated and you need hardware to work with. So before you learn how to build this studio setup, you first need to know what equipment you need.

1. Cameras and client cameras

Since you’re building a multi-camera setup, it makes sense that you have multiple cameras. However, it doesn’t have to be a professional DSLR camera. In fact, you can use this technique on a mix of smartphone cameras and webcams.

As long as your device captures the video and there’s a way for you to stream the stream to your computer, you can use it.

2.OBS Studio and Streamlabs

Streamlabs and OBS Studio work side by side

These applications are free to download and use. You can easily download them from their websites and use either one to stream. However, you need to have both apps installed on your computer if you want to use a multi-camera setup in your video conferencing app while streaming your desktop for free.


Now why do you want to do this? This is because maybe you are hosting a live video conference where you speak to a panel, but at the same time you want to share it with your followers on other social media platforms that are not part of the panel .

If you only use one streaming app, you can only have the multi-camera setup or the live streaming of your video conferencing app, but not both.

Related: Best OBS Studio Alternatives for Live Streaming

3. A reasonably powerful PC

laptop on a desk in a dark room

You should know that live-streaming consumes considerable resources on your computer. But if you’re using two streaming apps, a video conferencing app and a presentation app, your computer might start to lag.

For this reason, it is recommended to have a reasonably modern device. Something like a 10th Gen Intel i5 processor with a dedicated graphics card should suffice for this purpose.

You also need a second monitor so your live video feed doesn’t capture the tools you use to manipulate the cameras.

Configuring your cameras

You want to have multiple viewpoints when setting up your cameras. After all, you defeat the purpose of the setup if you place all your cameras in the same direction.

When doing so, choose a place where you can highlight your surroundings or where you can show off your body language. For example, if your main camera focuses on your face, you may want your other camera to focus on your body language. It makes your chat livelier because your viewers can see the movement of your hand as you speak.

Related: How to use an Android phone as a webcam

Alternatively, you can focus on your workstation when someone else is speaking, allowing the audience to see your screen and system instead of focusing on your face.

Remember: your computer must detect your cameras. Install their drivers if they’re dedicated cameras, or if you’re using a smartphone, download and install webcam apps to get them working.

Creating a virtual camera source

Although you can use Steamlabs or OBS Studio as your virtual camera source, we’ll focus on the former. You should use Streamlabs as your virtual camera source, so you can control it independently outside of your video conferencing application.

That’s because you have to dig deep into the video conferencing app’s settings to change cameras, which makes it inconvenient, inefficient, and slow. But with Streamlabs, you can switch cameras with a single click or shortcut button.

add new source on Streamlabs desktop

Here are the steps to add cameras and create a virtual source:

  1. Go to the Sources pane on the main screen, then click the + sign.
  2. the Add Source window will open. Under Essential sourcesclick on Video capture device.
  3. Click on Add Source.
  4. In the new window, choose the correct camera you want to add under Add an existing source. Once you have selected the camera you want to add, click Add Source.
  5. The camera you selected will now appear in Sources sub-window. Repeat the process if you want to add more cameras.
  6. Once you have finished adding all the cameras, click the Settings icon in the lower left corner of the screen.
  7. In the Settings window, select Virtual webcam in the left menu.
  8. Click on Start the virtual webcam. The prompt will show The virtual webcam is runningand the button will display Stop virtual webcam.
  9. In the video conferencing application you have chosen, choose Streamlabs OBS Virtual Webcam as source.

enable virtual webcam in Streamlabs

Once you have completed all the steps above, you can now manually use Streamlabs to change your cameras. You can even add effects and transitions to make camera switching smoother and more professional.

Capture your screen and audio

Added microphone capture on OBS Studio to get sound from speaker

Now that you can change your cameras at will, it’s time to stream your screen. Capturing and casting your screen is a fairly simple affair. Just create a source that focuses on the monitor your video conference is on, and you’re done.

Although this step captures your screen and your computer’s audio output, it will not record your voice. This is because your computer is not playing your voice over its speakers. If so, you will experience a terrible return.

So, to make sure your social media viewers can hear you, you need to add the microphone you use in video conferencing apps as an audio source on OBS Studio. This way, it will mix your voice in the stream with your computer’s audio output, ensuring people can hear you and the other speakers.

Make the flow work

Facebook streaming key on OBS Studio

Once you’ve got everything set up, it’s best to test the stream first. Create a sample stream before your event starts, making sure everyone can be heard. To do this, go to your favorite live streaming service and then copy the Stream key.

From there, go back to OBS Studio. Under the Controls pane, click Settings. Then in the next window, click Flux in the left menu, then paste the stream key you copied into the Stream key text zone. When finished, press Okay. Then, under the Controls pane again, click Start streaming.

Your streaming service will then start receiving data from your computer. With this, you are now live and let the world see your top live online.

It’s time to go live

Now that many people are going online to hold conferences and summits, adding an effect or two will help you stand out. Although system setup can be tricky at first, you only have to do it once. After creating the multi-camera setup, you can now use it again and again quickly and easily.

And while the camera switching effect may be subtle, it has a big impact on your stream. It lets you be more dynamic, express yourself better, and even show off your gear. And you get all these benefits without spending a penny.

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