If you want to stream your Zwift races, some may be daunted by the tech when in reality if you’re ok using a PC, its not that difficult. Streaming yourself on a webcam is not obligatory either. Its a personal choice. I do, so I’ll include how to do that too.
First up. There are loads of different ways to stream on platforms like Windows, MacOS, Android, iOS, Linux using Youtube, Facebook or Twitch. For the purposes of keeping it simple and this post as short as possible, I’m going to stick to my setup on a PC using YouTube.
I have the following kit to enable my streams
- Windows 10 PC
- Webcam (optional)
- Zwift app and a login
- Open Broadcaster Studio (free software)
- YouTube account
My PC is a basic Dell but I have fitted a GeForce 1050Ti graphics card purely to enjoy better graphics in Zwift which in turn makes my streams better too. The webcam is a cheap USB HD webcam (about £10) I bought online. It just plugs in and works straight out of the box. No fancy setup, drivers or software required.
The Open Broadcaster Studio (OBS) software is free. This needs to be downloaded and installed like any other app on Windows.
To setup a stream you need 3 things.
- a source (Zwift app + optional webcam)
- an encoder to create a feed from the source (OBS)
- a streaming platform (YouTube) to make it available online.
There is a bit of setting up to do in Zwift, OBS and YouTube on your first stream but these settings are saved and you can reuse them over and over for future streams.
Zwift is easy, you simply go into the settings menu and make Zwift play in a window rather than full screen. Done. Restart Zwift to get it in a window and leave it on though, you’ll need it to setup OBS.
You can setup YouTube and get the one-time setup stuff done when you do your first stream.
If I know what race I’m doing, I’ll schedule an event in YouTube and then post a link to the video page to let people know about it. If they get there before I go live, the video counts down to the start time and displays a holding page. The stream can only be seen when I want it to be regardless of the start time I setup.
To schedule an event, go to your YouTube Creator Studio link. Click on Live Streaming, Events and click on the Schedule an Event link or New Live Event button.
Now on the Basic Info page, give your stream a name. I just copy and paste the race name. Type in a date and start time. Add a description. I usually specify the course and distance. Type any tags you want. These are optional, I usually add zwift. Make sure custom type is selected and its setup for Public output. To finish, click on the blue Create Event button.
On the next page, you can select an image to display as a holding page before your race goes live. Once you set one up its saved and automatically used on future streams unless you change it.
When selecting your stream key, create and select a reusable one otherwise you have to setup your OBS stream key every time. To create one, click on Create Stream Key, give it a name, a bit rate based on your internet speed and click Save Changes. For all your future streams just use the same re-usable key. Mine is called Zwift.
For your first stream though, you will need to select your encoder. Choose Other encoders from the Select your encoder drop down and copy the Stream Name. You will need this for OBS.
This a one-time setup. For future streams just select the re-useable stream key you created. There is nothing else to do.
Now open OBS with Zwift running in the background.
To setup your feed click on the + sign in the Sources window. Select Window Capture. Give your window a name, click OK to save it. Select Zwiftapp.exe from the window drop down. A window with the Zwift feed will appear which can be resized.
Note: the black area is what viewers will see, if you move windows outside of this area, the areas outside will be cut off and not appear in the stream
To add an additional webcam feed, click on the + sign again and select Video Capture Device. Accept the defaults and click OK. Your webcam feed should appear as an additional window on top of Zwift which you can resize and move to where you want it to appear. What you see now is in effect what your stream will look like.
Now to connect your stream to YouTube. Click on Settings, Stream, select the YouTube Service, the Primary YouTube Ingest server and paste the Stream Key (see above), click OK to save. This effectively gets Zwift and/or the webcam off your PC into YouTube to stream to the public
The stream settings and windows in OBS are one-time setups. When done you don’t need to do it again
Now its all setup and ready to go. Here is how I go live.
- Setup an event in YouTube
- Open Zwift
- Open OBS, start steaming, check feed being sent ok
- Open YouTube Live Control Room for the event, check feed received ok
- Go LIVE – when ready
With the event setup, when its time to go live give yourself a few minutes to get the feed setup first.
With Zwift running, open OBS and you should see Zwift and any webcam feed you have setup. Click on Start Streaming. If its received ok by YouTube you will get a green light. If not, revisit the settings. To stop the feed being sent to YouTube click on Stop Streaming.
To Go Live, open the Creator Studio Link for your channel, find your event and click on the Live Control Room button.
If your feed from OBS is working it will say so in your Stream Status. Click on Preview. The button will change to Start Streaming. Everything is now in place and ready to go live. I normally Go LIVE with a couple of minutes to go in the start pen. When you are ready, click on the button, click ok on the popup to confirm and then the Go Live counter will start. YOU ARE LIVE AND STREAMING!
Viewers can watch your stream now via your watch page or pick it up on your channel. Subscribers to your channel will be informed you are live too.
Ending your stream is simple. Just click on the Stop Streaming button. If you do this you can’t pick it back up, so end it when you are ready. I usually end a couple of mins after I finish. I then stop the stream in OBS, close OBS, save my ride and close Zwift and I’m done.
The stream will be available to copy and paste a link to straight away but bear in mind it can take a few mins to process the end of the video so don’t worry if you go straight to the end of a race, for example, and its not there. Just be patient.
So there you go, my guide to streaming a Zwift race and webcam on YouTube. There are a load of other features and settings in YouTube and OBS I could talk about but the idea of this post is to explain the basics to just get a stream up and running. I hope it helps if anybody wants to give it a go.