The Setup Phase is the starting phase of a game, where players have time to collect and set up Equipment, explore the location, and find the Ghost Room without the Ghost being able to initiate a Hunt.
The phase lasts a variable amount of minutes, which is dependent on the difficulty of the mission:
Countdown of the setup phase is shown on the timer in the Van above the camera monitor, and will only begin when any entryway to the building is opened. During this time, a player's Sanity drop due to darkness is slower. When the timer reaches 0:00, the Ghost becomes able to initiate a Hunt, depending on the ghost type and players' sanity.
Evidence can be fully gathered in this phase without triggering a Hunt, so it's highly recommended to find the Ghost Room as soon as possible and quickly set up most of the tools needed to gather evidence.
The Setup Phase can be ended early by failing a question asked towards the Ouija Board. This has a 33% chance of occuring, and the Setup Phase will immediately be ended early, regardless of remaining time.