How a manager can use OBS or Loom.

Async meeting update via OBS

This week I used OBS to share videos with my colleagues. Here is what I learned.

OBS is a broadcaster software useful for many different things; mainly I use it for recordings, and streaming. This week I used it to create a short video (about 5 mins) to share some updates to the Arduino web team, we are about 20 people and it is not always easy to update everyone on what is happening in the company.

The idea came around after I read a bunch of tweets about Loom, the rising startup developing a simple tool to create asynchronous video with a great UX and almost no set up. I also read this and was immediately inspired by it.

A few weeks ago I wanted to start using OBS to make a demo for the Arduino Day 2020, then for Bar Arduino. My colleague and technologist Ubi de Feo was using it very often and advised to give it a try.

So I did, and it became clear it could be used as a management tool. I started setting up three different scenes: one with just myself, another one with my desktop and myself, the third one to show the hardware and the browser to show interactions with IoT applications.

More recently, thanks to VirtualCam Plugin I am using OBS in every Zoom call to share my screen while having a small preview of myself and communicate non-verbally with the audience.

OBS has been proven quite effectively for different reasons

  • You can record yourself while using your regular desktop set up, no need to move in “video” mode; it lowers the barrier and stress of recording.
  • You can save and convert the file as mp4, so it is easy to share and preview on Slack.
  • You can change the scene with a shortcut.
  • The video quality is excellent; you can adjust a lot of camera params.
  • The OBS UX is excellent, you do not need to save the settings, they are automatically kept, and most importantly, once you re-open the app, everything will be shown as you left it.

Here is a short video on how it will look like.

I have some suggestions on how to be effective, I am still improving the process but some colleagues gave me useful feedback.

  • Keep the video under 10mins to keep everyone engaged.
  • Add a short description of the topics you are covering while sharing, so people can decide to see it or not based on the short description.
  • I am thinking to publish it in our intranet to have in the long term all the videos available and searchable by topics or dates.
  • There are not hard rules, experiment and see what works best for your team.

I also tried Loom a SaaS. The UX is even better (completely automated settings), but you cannot customize it well, it has some useful features if you want to save the recordings on the web or highlight parts of the screen while recording. It is ideal if you want to adopt it in an entire team or organization. You can also add links with call to actions, making it perfect for sales or marketer but even for teachers.

Next, I will give StreamLabs OBS a try, it is a simplified version of OBS optimized for online streaming.