OBS, Multicams, and USB

Discover the challenges of using USB cameras for multicam setups in OBS. Learn about limited USB bandwidth and the impact of USB cables on signal quality. Explore potential solutions and next steps for optimizing your setup. Find tips on permanently deleting video sources in OBS.

Apr 22, 2024

USB Cameras

So I have a 4k USB-C camera and 2k USB-A camera. Nothing super high end, they’re still USB cameras.
Well, for a little bit I’ve been trying to record videos with my USB cameras. Things were lagging, and I wasn’t sure if it was not having a graphics card, so I pulled it from my son’s computer and threw one in. Didn’t notice much difference, but maybe.
So I was trying to setup a multi-camera setup in OBS. Quickly started running into issues with switching. I know using USB cameras are not ideal, so thought maybe that could be the problem. Sure enough, seems to be the issue.

Issue 1 - USB controllers have limited bandwidth

So it turns out all the USB ports in my computer are coming in from ONE controller 🤦🏽.
notion image
So using a 4k camera is going to be A LOT of bandwidth. A 4k camera and a 2k camera on the same controller? Good luck!!

Issue 2 - USB Cables

So USB is an electrical signal at the end of the day. After changing my desk to a sit/standing desk I got a bunch of USB extension cables. However, for the 4k camera I ended up using a USB-C to USB-A extension cable. So not only is the cable length increasing, but also the signal is being converted.
So I found a USB-C <> USB-C cable and and plugged directly into my USB-C cable in the computer. Let’s see.

Next Steps

I think if I want to be creative with multiple cameras is to get a USB controller.
Or I can grow up and get a real camera as my friend Alano recommends. But then I’ll need a elgato controller and it’s such a bottomless pit.
I like USB cameras because I can setup a portable studio anytime.

Permanently Deleting a Video Source

There was a source that was still appearing even after deleting it. Here’s the solution.