My Work From Home Setup

11 Mar 2021 - 7 minute read

Updated: 2021-03-13

This is one I get asked a lot! “Darko, can you share with me your streaming setup?". Well dear reader, now I am about to just that. Please bear in mind that this document will be changing from time to time, as I upgrade my hardware and software choices, but will always leave an “Updated: “ note somewhere at the start.

Caveat before we start: I do this for a living so I heavily invest time, money and effort into making this the best bang for the buck!

Another caveat: None of the links shared today are in any way sponsored or have used a pereferred vendor or whatnot. They were just the most convenient ones.

setup
The current state of desktop

Hardware

First and foremost you need somewhere to stream and record from! So, let’s start there - from the basics! And let’s see what exact hardware do I have to run all this.

Computers

I am using my desktop gaming PC as my main streaming, editing and recording rig. It packs the most punch so why not use that. It is rocking the (almost) latest nVidia graphics card, so I get the benefit of using the nvenc encoders.

So here is the rundown of the specs:

pc
... and the big tower to place it all in

That is pretty much it for the main desktop. As an additional laptop (usually where I run my demos from) I have the Lenovo X1 Carbon 6th Generation. Such a wonderful laptop! The specs of it are not that important, as it is just gonna be hooked up to a video capture device on my main PC.

Speaking of video capture …

Video stuff

Yes, let’s talk about the things that captures my big ol' head. I’ve actually dabbled with quite a few things until I have found the (almost) ideal scenario right now.

Camera

I’ve initially started just using the good ol' Logitech C922 Webcam! Then I have upgraded that to the Pro version of the same model. The only difference is in the resolution and frame rate rate the Pro model can do! (and a different LED light color around it). That was fine in the beginning - actually check out my first ever stream which was recorded with this exact camera. I was so young …

Then I’ve tried using my Samsung phone as a webcam, but that led me nowhere. Time to invest in a real camera.

Currently, I am rocking the Canon M50 Mark II with the kit lens (18-45 mm 1:3.5 - 6.3). An excellent camera in its price range. It shoots 4K video, has a rotating touchscreen - the works! BUT, it is far from ideal. While it is a pretty amazing camera it does have it’s downsides - let me break them down:

canon
It is a pretty one

Pros:

  • Does 4K
  • Does full HD (1080p) at 60FPS
  • Pretty good kit lens it comes with.
  • Microphone in
  • Can be used as a webcam via USB.
  • Excellent price and availability (I got it for 600 euros)

Cons:

  • No clean HDMI (sorta*)
  • Needs a dummy battery for constant power
  • Uses micro USB
  • Sometimes it overheats and just freezes (when streaming).
  • Can only record 30 minutes of video at a time.

Okay - allow me to elaborate a bit on the No clean HDMI part. How I use this camera is to connect its micro HDMI port to a capture device (a bit more on that later) - and use that video for streaming or recording. And that works fine - if you are okay with no autofocus. Yes - in order to have a clean HDMI output on this camera, you need to have the autofocus disabled. Otherwise, you will get this white box that tracks your face on screen. So far Canon has not fixed this.

Capture

For capturing a bunch of video outputs I use two devices. For my video I use the Elgato Camlink 4, just a perfect little tool for getting the output from your camera (or anything to be honest) into your streaming/recording PC. One of the best investments I’ve made.

And for when I need to capture the output from my other laptop or any other PC, I use the Magewell USB HDMI 4k Capture Plus (what a mouthful). This one is a tad bit more expensive than the Elgato Camlink, but it provides a lot more options. Such as HDMI passthrough, audio input via microphone, and audio separation from HDMI to 3.5 mm jack. It works like a charm with almost anything I throw at it. (although some of the non-apple USB-C to HDMI did not work with this)

Audio

Hear me out - at any live, recording or stream event you are doing. Your audio is the most important. You can have the worst camera or the best presentation your audio will decide how people enjoy your content.

audio
I am using this as my main audio interface anyway

For this I have a relatively simple setup. I am using an external audio interface - Focusrite Scarlett 212. It connects to my desktop PC via USB and just acts as an USB audio card. I’ve chosen this one so that I may connect my XLR microphone - the Marantz MPM-1000, which is very reasonable in price while having exceptional quality. All that connected to a cheap articulating microphone arm with a pop filter.

audio
Yes I know it's dusty

As for headphones, I am using the trusty Sony MDR-7506. These are tried and tested for decades now! And yes - they are cabled. I use them connected to my external audio interface, so that I may hear my voice via the Direct monitor.

Lights

No camera can do anything without proper lights. So for this I am using two pieces of LED lights - very differnet from one another. My main light - the one in front of me (just right of the camera) is the Elgato Keylight. A quite expensive, but excellent value light. It is controlled by its own App/Control center. To the left of me, is my secondary light - the RaLeno S192 (or any equivalent). It is a very manual - but battery enabled - light. It is very good for what it is. I just had a slight problem with them, that is I’ve ordered two off Amazon.de and both of them had dodgy power supplies. I had the seller get me new ones, and they are okay now. Just be careful if purchasing these. Bad power supplies can give you a real horrible experience.

Misc

Additionally, I have my Elgato Stream Deck to control my lights, microphone and OBS scenes. Once you commit to getting one of these, you cannot live without it. I use it for much more than streaming (app shortcuts, house lights, microphone control…)

streamdeck
This little device is always finding new ways to be useful

As for the Desk - it is the IKEA Bekant standing desk. And I am very happy to have one.

Software

Okay so for software, I will just keep it light here, as I will have separate articles on how I configure OBS or whatever else I use. But here it goes, the software I use for my streaming/recording/editing:

My software of choice of streaming my own personal streams is Streamlabs OBS a fork of the good ol' OBS but with some quality of life improvements. That is where I stream all of my solo videos from. If you have seen me by myself on screen or on stream - I’ve most likely done it from Streamlabs OBS.

That being said - if I am doing a stream with someone else, then we are most likely using StreamYard. An excellent online service that enables me to stream to multiple locations, record, and do it all with multiple people at the same time. Just a true lifesaver.

Finally - Editing. Well, I was never (nor still am) a professional video editor. And usually my edits are very simple. So using something like this maybe an overkill, but I just love DaVinci Resolve. Oh yes! A premium video editing package for the price of Free. What more can I ask for.


That is how my current editing, streaming, recording setup looks like. It’s likely to evolve over time, and I will make sure to add and update information in due time.