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How to fix the ‘Starting the output failed. Please check the log for details’ error on OBS on Windows 10

OpenBroadcasterStudio is a popular free screen recording tool. It’s one of the most feature-rich recording tools you’ll find and it’s used by professionals for recording screencasts and even streaming live gameplay. The app is complex and as such, you can run into a few common problems with it. The OBS black screen is one common error that users get but you might also see an error message ‘Starting the output failed. Please check the log for details’. The full message tells you to update your display drivers if you’re using the NVENC or AMD encoders. This may seem like it’s a driver problem but it’s actually a problem with the codec that you’re using and it’s really easy to fix.

Fix the ‘Starting the output failed. Please check the log for details’ error

Open OBS and click the Settings button on the bottom right.

In the window that opens, go to the Output tab. Under the Recording section, open the Encoder dropdown and select ‘Software (x264)’. Click Apply, and then OK. For good measure, restart OBS. When you next try to record your screen, the recording will start without throwing any errors.

This error is a result of the wrong codec being selected to output the recording file. OBS supports the codec but it needs to be installed on your system. The NVENC codec is an NVIDIA codec. Generally, you’d use this codec if you have an NVIDIA GPU that you’re using to run OBS, and you may need additional drivers to be installed. Make sure you’ve got everything NVIDIA recommends that you install to get the most out of its GPU. For AMD GPUs, the same rules will apply. Install anything they recommend whether it’s for gameplay or for recording your screen.

Generally speaking, the x246 codec is what most screencasting tools use. In fact, you will find many video recording devices e.g., phones also use this same codec to save files to the MP4 format. It’s a common codec that gives you good video output and you do not need special hardware to use it. If you only have an Intel graphics card, the x246 codec will be able to output a perfectly good video.

You can also opt for the x246 Low codec which is generally the same one and it’s going to output a video that is better quality. If you’re worried about the quality of the video, you can do a test run with this codec.

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