How to set custom resolutions in OBS (and why you should)

OBS, or Open Broadcaster Software, is a powerful tool for recording and streaming live. Typically, most creators use standard resolutions like 1920×1080 for their streams, but some situations may require non-standard resolutions. Here’s why and how to set non-standard resolutions in OBS, like 1600×900.

Why use non-standard resolutions?

Non-standard resolutions can be more useful than you think. For example, if you are recording a source larger than your monitor resolution, you should set a custom resolution to use a larger canvas for your scenes. One such example is recording a 4K webcam while using a 1440p display.

Similarly, you may need to record in an aspect ratio you don’t normally have, like 9:16 to make TikToks or stream to TikTok using your OBS settings. That said, there is an OBS plugin to simultaneously record in 9:16 while streaming in 16:9.

twitch logo on smartphone
Image Credit: Ink Drop/Shutterstock

Lastly and most usefully, custom resolutions can help optimize the quality of your stream while keeping Twitch’s bitrate caps in mind. Twitch’s maximum bitrate is 6320 kbps, allocating 6000 kbps for video and 320 for audio. If streaming at 1080p60, 6000kbps can be prone to visual artifacts like pixelation. 720p may not be detailed enough for your quality standards, so consider streaming in between at 900p (1600×900) for the best balance of pixel density and fluidity.

How to set non-standard resolutions

In SettingsGo to the Video eyelash. You will see two drop-down boxes for resolution, which contain standard resolutions scaled to your monitor’s aspect ratio. These drop down boxes are also writeable! If you need to increase the size of the canvas or use a different aspect ratio, double-click the Base resolution (canvas) and type 3840×2160 for 4K at 16:9 or 1080×1920 for 9:16 with portrait orientation.

Settings to change aspect ratio in OBS

Changing aspect ratios or increasing resolution will require you to rearrange your scenes: with a normal 16:9 aspect ratio, the camera feed below was centered and full screen, but is now offset to 9:16. You’ll also need to increase your bitrate if you plan to record in 4K.

Showing how changing the aspect ratio changes scenes

If you set your canvas from 1920×1080 to 900p, you can avoid rearranging your scenes and just adjust the resolution output to your stream; You’ll still be able to record at your base 1080p resolution while streaming at 1600×900. Gonna Productionand set your output mode to Advanced to unlock additional settings.

How to enable advanced output settings in OBS

Then in the Transmission tab, check Rescale the output box and double-click the text. Type 1600×900 for 900p to optimize for Twitch’s 6000kbps video bitrate cap for the best balance between visual fidelity and smoothness.

1600x900 resolution setting in OBS

Be creative and optimal

OBS tries to help you match your resolution to your available displays, but it’s not always what you need. Whether you need something larger, non-standard, or optimized, consider customizing your resolution in OBS.