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OBS Studio – Adding Countdown Timers for Twitch or YouTube Gaming

November 15, 2019

What is up guys, welcome to another video for the Gaming Careers YouTube channel I’m Pete and today we’re going to be doing another OBS studio tutorial, this time looking at how to add a countdown or count up timer into your stream. Now on-screen now you can see the kind of thing that we’re going to be creating in this tutorial and of course I’ll be talking through all the different settings so you can customize it to look exactly as you want it to for your stream layout. So why would you want one of these countdown timers on your stream? Well typically they’re used as a way of counting down to the start of your stream, so the idea is is that you start streaming and you show this sort of countdown timer and all your followers and viewers will get notifications from Twitch or from YouTube that you’re going live. They’ll gather onto your stream as the countdown timer is counting down and eventually when it reaches zero you can start your stream. This allows all of your viewers and subscribers or followers to be able to start interacting in chat and you know start creating an atmosphere and it means that when you actually start streaming you should have a healthy number of viewers watching you. The other way that these timers are used is for counting upwards and this is typically used if you’re going to be doing a charity stream or maybe a 24 hour stream for some certain event and you want a way of displaying how long you’ve been live for for your stream viewers. So this way you can start the timer when you start streaming and it will be counting up and your viewers can always see how far through that 24 hour stream marathon you might be. If you’re new here to the Gaming Careers YouTube channel, we’re a channel completely dedicated to helping you grow your live streams on Twitch and YouTube as well as the channels themselves so you can eventually make a profession out of your gaming passion so if you are new here consider subscribing, but let’s jump into the software! So the tool that we’re going to be using is a free software tool called Snaz, and what it does is it similar to some of the Stream labels software, it generates text files which auto update and then OBS can read from those text files and display them to your stream. Now there are quite a few different online options for countdown timers that are popping up, sort of websites dedicated to creating a timer that you can then use OBS’s browser source plug-in to capture. But I wouldn’t really recommend them for something like a countdown timer because using browser source in OBS is a lot more of an intensive process for your CPU to do than just simply reading a text file. So it’s going to be less intensive for your computer and at the end of the day streaming and recording if you’re doing both at the same time anyway as well as playing games is a really CPU intensive task, so you want to be trying to minimize the impact you can for things like this. So the first thing that we’re going to need to do is to download and install Snaz, so if you visit the link in the description below this video, you can download the latest version and just follow the installation process as usual. Now when the application first launches, it can look a little bit intimidating because there’s lots and lots of different options but we’re really only going to be interacting with a select few of them for our timer functionality. The first thing that we’re going to set up together is the functionality to count down to a specific time. Now the output format option is how you wish to display your countdown in the text file, so the options $d or $h, $m, $s they stand for; days, hours, minutes and seconds respectively and then you can see that the default option has these values separated by colon symbols. Now personally for me I will be starting my stream countdown maybe 15 to 20 minutes before my stream actually starts so I don’t need the day or the hour option as these are always going to be zero for me anyway. So I’m just going to leave mine as $m:$s which will display the minutes with a colon and then the seconds on the countdown. It’s also worth noting here that this doesn’t have to just be the symbols, you could add some text before this if you want to such as live in and then the countdown. Next up we want to set the actual date and time that we want the countdown timer to end at, so you can click this little button to set it to the current date and time and then just adjust it from there. I’m going to set mine for this example to roughly 10 minutes from now. The live output box will just display what the text file contains when you start the timer so it’s a useful little box to use when you’re setting up because you can check that it displays exactly as you want it to. Next you can set what you want the timer to display when the timer is complete, so for me I’m going to change this text to starting now with an exclamation mark. These two buttons here are the start and stop buttons which are hopefully pretty self-explanatory but for those that are wondering, one of them starts the timer and the other one stops it. Over on the right-hand side we have options to play certain sounds when the countdown is done, so if you want that kind of functionality just browse for an audio file on your computer and select it. The use double digits option, that allows you to choose between having a leading 0 on the single digit number. So for example you can see how the output changes when enabling and disabling this option in the live output box. The removed time span equal to 00 check box, that allows you to not display zeros if the days, hours or minutes have reached zero. So for example if you have set it to display days, hours, minutes and seconds and the days are now zero, if you enable this option it will stop the days from displaying 00, it will just remove the days once the days reach zero. Finally we are given the path to the text file that Snaz has created for us and a button to copy that path to the clipboard, which we’re going to use because we need to paste that into OBS. So if this text file path doesn’t show yet, you’re going to need to click start to start the countdown timer and then click copy path to clipboard and we’ll open up OBS. So in OBS studio I’m going to create a brand new scene and call it countdown because we want to be having a specific scene to start the stream with a countdown and then when the countdown reaches zero, we want to be swapping to our normal scene. Maybe that’s a webcam or your gameplay or whatever you’d like to stream but we’re going to make a new scene and call it countdown. Next we’ll go across to our empty sources and click the plus and then select text GDI. Let’s name it something that can easily identify it so I’m going to call mine countdown text. Now here you want to be ticking the read from file box and you’ll notice at least in the current version of OBS studio that I have in this video, you can’t seem to paste in the file location which we have copied so maybe by the time that you’re watching this video in the future they might have fixed this, but if not we can just click the Browse button and then paste the path into the file name box and press open. Now in the preview hopefully we should have a timer counting down to zero. If not make sure you have clicked the start button in Snaz to make sure the timer is counting down. Next we can customize the font, color and size of our text. I’m going to make mine white, nice and big with a font size of around 200. As I say in all my videos that are to do with putting text into OBS studio, if you want to increase the font size make sure you come back into the font properties and increase it here rather than just dragging the red box that you get in the preview window. Because as I keep saying it doesn’t scale text properly so it’s going to start to look pixelated. Feel free to go absolutely nuts on the colors, backgrounds, alignments all the other font options, but for me this is all I need so I’m going to press OK. Now you should have your countdown on your preview in OBS and you can drag it around to position it wherever you’d like in the scene. Now obviously this doesn’t look fantastic but the functionality of a countdown timer is there. Next I’d recommend spending some time in Photoshop or any similar application that you might have installed, create a nice background image for your text to sit on top of. I’ve created this in about two or three minutes and I think it looks pretty decent or if you want something a little more advanced you could find a looping video background online that you might be able to download for free or purchase for a very small amount and then you can make a transparent image like I have done here in Photoshop, which just has the text and then finally the timer sits on top of all of that. You can see in a really small amount of time I’ve created something that I think looks pretty decent for my stream that counts down to when I’m going live. A couple of useful things to know about the Snaz application is that it needs to be running whilst you want to display the timer, I think that’s fairly obvious but you can close it once the timer is complete. It’s a pretty lightweight application so really it’s not using much of your CPU, so just make sure that it’s running when you want the timer to be displayed. I often recommend having sort of a to-do list of things that you need to do before you start your stream, so if you’re going to use a timer every time you stream, make sure you add that to the list. The other just useful little tip in OBS is that if you want something to be centered you can right click on the text or the layer, go to transform and then click Center to screen then you can use the up and down arrows on your keyboard to position it vertically whilst always remaining centred. Finally the last thing that I’ll cover is if you want the counter to count upwards like I mentioned if you were doing a marathon stream or a 24-hour stream type thing and you want to count upwards rather than downwards, you just go back to Snaz and click Chronos, go to chrono up, choose your format similar to how we did in the countdown and then click start. Copy the new file path into OBS and add it just as we did with the countdown text file. I hope you guys have found this video helpful, if you have got to this point in the video and you’ve been following along please do give it a thumbs up so we know that you guys enjoy this kind of content and can keep creating more of it. If you’re new here and you haven’t heard of Gaming Careers before, check out the YouTube channel we’ve got loads of tutorials on OBS and growing your YouTube and Twitch channels to hopefully make a profession out of your gaming passion, subscribers I’ll see you in the next video! Peace! you


  • Reply Pizzapat April 13, 2019 at 6:35 pm

    0:00 who else got scared

  • Reply matt boxall April 14, 2019 at 12:11 am

    Surely there is a easier way. I just want a timer to be there. And reset each time that scene is activated.
    This should be a built in widget on slobs. Thanks for the video though.

  • Reply Spoodies April 15, 2019 at 8:56 am

    Really helpful! Thank you!

  • Reply A Blob April 16, 2019 at 8:44 am

    Why does your thumbnail suck so much? I refused to click on this video for two days solely because of that ugly as heck thumbnail.
    But thank you, this really helped me.

  • Reply ShadowStorm April 16, 2019 at 5:06 pm

    What Photoshop program are you using? Can you make a video to show us how to use a background for the stream-starting-soon scene. Love the vids btw. Support from Sweden 🇸🇪

  • Reply pro gaming with sidhant April 17, 2019 at 5:26 pm

    Thx bro

  • Reply Vanja Seatovic April 18, 2019 at 11:27 am

    Hi, thanks a lot for this video its really helpful. My next question is how am I going to add this on the twitch platform. I am a beginner twitch streamer and I play ps4 only. Thanks in advance.

  • Reply _ ZEN_ April 19, 2019 at 8:19 pm

    Okay i dont understand shit so can anyone explain easier. I wanted to livestream a gtav speedrun on ps4 i just want to put a timer/overlay without paying any programs and i want to stream on youtube.

  • Reply EdgedPixie April 22, 2019 at 3:23 pm

    Great content. Good depth, simple to follow, and very grounded. Great tutorial, thanks!

  • Reply Pompie April 25, 2019 at 5:37 am

    Please sub to me I will sub back

  • Reply THEPUTA April 26, 2019 at 3:48 am

    Thank You Sir! For Helping Me And Also Who Don't Know How To Do This Countdown Soo Thank You Sir! BTW

  • Reply Mhanollo Ghames April 27, 2019 at 2:48 am

    WOW This is very good. 😀

  • Reply Ketta April 28, 2019 at 7:39 am


  • Reply Mr_ Anonym May 10, 2019 at 3:14 am

    will this work for streaming to mixer as well ? i use obs to mixer

  • Reply soloslava May 13, 2019 at 1:36 am

    look at this dudddddeeeee hee looking like ron weaseleyeeyeyeyye hahahahhahahahahahaha

  • Reply ecmyersvids May 14, 2019 at 4:10 pm

    Thank you! I wanted to add a countdown to my stream, and your video was the first hit. I'm really glad I discovered your channel. It's a terrific resource.

  • Reply Joe Guzman May 22, 2019 at 10:01 pm

    you single? cause man do i love you!

  • Reply Foggy Student960 May 25, 2019 at 6:48 pm

    Thanks so much this was very helpful!

  • Reply Kirk Stenvall May 26, 2019 at 6:42 pm

    Dude! You deserve more subs than you have. Love your videos!

  • Reply Bryce Overholt June 3, 2019 at 12:17 am

    Epic,and zzjbxkzixj

  • Reply Proxin Pugzy June 14, 2019 at 2:04 pm

    I couldn't go past 12 trying to set the date. Any help?

  • Reply Spyral Sodax June 22, 2019 at 12:59 pm

    for me when it goes to only seconds, it isn't on the center and the starting now text isn't centered either. help?

  • Reply Takiowns Poker June 30, 2019 at 10:43 pm

    What's the alternative of Snaz for Mac OBS studio?

  • Reply The Bro Gamers July 2, 2019 at 11:36 am

    Hello I am a small youtuber and I do streams with my brother so please support us and help us grow.
    Thank you

  • Reply YouForGoturMeds July 2, 2019 at 10:41 pm

    enjoyed the video.. but I have a question near the beginning you mention that u can use timers to be added say if viewers donate say during a charity stream that the timer can incease but what streamer sets is it possible that you could either take a moment to send me information how to or point me in the direction to find this info thank you

  • Reply Guillaume MAHELLE July 4, 2019 at 1:31 pm

    This video rocks ! Thanks dude

  • Reply Amanda Wilson July 10, 2019 at 5:46 pm

    When it gets to 00:00 it starts counting down from 59:59 again… and doesnt post the "msg when done" like it should. any suggestions???

  • Reply Guitarriff1988ii July 13, 2019 at 12:48 am

    What about Elgoto to Facebook stream?

  • Reply Patchkin :D July 16, 2019 at 5:53 am

    These videos might be old but there so helpful I’m trying to start streaming on my YouTube and these are just what I need

  • Reply Shadow B LT July 16, 2019 at 12:13 pm

    doesnt work for me it says "Please pick a time that is later then the current time… " Help pleaseee

  • Reply Sweplays The ultimate gamer July 16, 2019 at 12:54 pm

    it doesetn work

  • Reply Meme2Basic July 16, 2019 at 6:23 pm

    path wasnt there…

  • Reply TheRealP1 July 23, 2019 at 3:01 am

    thanks dude i got it to work! its for gta casino countdown im doin! saved my life on this one hahah!! dropped a like btw!

  • Reply MOKKA STREAMS August 1, 2019 at 6:54 am

    Its 11:53am and it wont let me setup a timer for 1 pm help

  • Reply Fortnitzzers August 2, 2019 at 10:02 pm

    I need help I want to make giveawey and I need timmer who will restart every 10 min how can I do that???

  • Reply Snowberri August 3, 2019 at 2:34 pm

    How do you get the screen to automatically switch to the stream video when the countdown is done?

  • Reply Photogromer August 5, 2019 at 6:43 am

    really wanted to watch this video but you remind me of the guy from hello ladies so I'm going to watch an episode real quick then return…

  • Reply CroneBlynk August 5, 2019 at 9:11 am

    thaanks bro just subbed i needed this my streams are kinda trash when they start

  • Reply Preston Odenbrett August 11, 2019 at 10:11 pm

    This was very helpful, It took me just a while to figure out what I did not do right and it works. However, since we are on a loose schedule I missed actually making it work due to incorrect settings of my stream. But will be testing it again next weekend.

  • Reply Beastly Dom August 15, 2019 at 6:56 am

    Thanks Love your Vids

  • Reply Stylo August 18, 2019 at 4:14 pm

    after watching all his vids u will have a pro stream

  • Reply WhoIsAnex August 19, 2019 at 2:50 am

    It would be way easier to make a 5 minute video in after effects and then put it into obs as a mov and just have it refresh everytime the scene is selected

  • Reply Shawdowverse40 August 19, 2019 at 3:38 am


  • Reply Demented Mallard August 23, 2019 at 10:41 am

    why not just use a gif as the background? that's what I do and it works pretty well, just needed to figure out the timer

  • Reply SloshBlox Gaming August 26, 2019 at 4:29 pm


  • Reply B&Č Transport August 30, 2019 at 10:55 am

    Can you do video how to do this text at 8:27 in photoshop. Please? Also love your videos its helping so much.

  • Reply ttownhornet September 2, 2019 at 5:24 pm

    Two years later and the information you provide in this video is still helping people like myself who are new to OBS and new to streaming as well. I appreciate the time you took to create this, salute.

  • Reply Andreas eosAndy September 10, 2019 at 3:59 pm

    Thank You !!!

  • Reply Team View September 12, 2019 at 5:34 am

    You are a Legend! Thank you for your help! I'm going to be using this timer for my streams!!

  • Reply The Cosmic Boy September 23, 2019 at 5:20 pm

    Thank you dude

  • Reply SRacerX October 9, 2019 at 1:15 am

    On 1 detection. Is safe Snaz?

  • Reply Zychu October 19, 2019 at 4:31 pm

    So will I be able to like change the time of the countdown whilst im streaming?

  • Reply Ultramarine 963 October 21, 2019 at 2:26 pm

    Great tutorial, thanks a lot, you have my subscription!

  • Reply Rhys October 21, 2019 at 7:42 pm

    How do I restart the timer after it gets to the message?

  • Reply TK Kratz October 22, 2019 at 3:07 am

    Is there a way I can add multiple timers

  • Reply Ollyhasavoice uwu October 27, 2019 at 2:10 pm

    How do u make a count up?

  • Reply Kyrolos David Gaming October 27, 2019 at 8:59 pm

    Is there a way I can do it on mobile I’m poor ;(

  • Reply Zakky090 October 28, 2019 at 6:39 pm

    Thank you so much

  • Reply Wes October 29, 2019 at 12:27 am

    Super helpful! Thanks so much!

  • Reply PoorTech October 29, 2019 at 6:28 am

    Good stuff, thanks!

  • Reply Anto_d_Figgle November 1, 2019 at 4:57 pm

    Its fucking steve merchant

  • Reply Michael Nebbia November 2, 2019 at 2:53 pm

    Thank you very much! I got my timer all set up for my streams! I plan on using it on my New Year's Eve special!

  • Reply NekoNightcoreGamer November 2, 2019 at 7:10 pm

    all it does is count up

  • Reply WizardofTruth November 3, 2019 at 5:06 pm

    thx for the tutorial

  • Reply Jack Sharpe November 10, 2019 at 7:56 pm

    Can u add multiple countdowns using snaz at the same time

  • Reply ihav2mchsparetime November 13, 2019 at 6:30 pm

    this guy looks like zuckles if he had his life together

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