In this article, we dive into how to use Elgato Stream Deck with different lighting and other show control software at a very low cost. The Elgato Stream Deck comes from the world of gaming but has 15 keys and the keys are customizable LCDs.
What this means for us is that we can control lighting with this unit and other software but have a multi-page button controller for under $100. Let’s dive into how we can use this and what type of programs that this unit can work with such as the Stream Deck program, Companion, and ShowCockpit.
Depending on what you decide to use the Elgato Stream Deck for there are different programs you may actually consider using. Perhaps you want to use this with lighting, video, audio, or even as a combination.
Stream Deck (Default Software from Elgato)
The Stream Deck program does come with the controller. In this tutorial, I decided to use ONYX as well with this program because ONYX does use the keyboard shortcuts.
To set this up just go to the keyboard shortcuts page in the user manual. This will show you the keyboard shortcut list that’ll work inside of ONYX.
Working with Stream Deck is very simple and easy to use. With the program pulled up, go to the right-hand sidebar. Utilizing the search function located on the top you just search for what function you want to use. In this example, I used Hotkeys. When the search pulls up your results just “drag and drop” to the button you want to assign the function to.
In the bottom section of the program, you can title the key and then using the drop-down just select what you want the button to do. A bonus is that you can even design your own icon to use in the program.
Once you set up and assign your new button you will immediately see it come up on the controller. With that, it is super easy to get started with Stream Deck and overall it is a good program. The downside to this is that it’s not show-control specific. It really only works well with the hotkey command and the multi-commands.
If you’re working with a program or console that is designed to work well with hotkeys then I would definitely recommend using Stream Deck. Another feature I really enjoyed is being able to set up different profiles. I had set up my lighting console as one profile and then set up a video profile as well as an audio profile. This way I could set different controls and buttons that worked for those profiles. With Stream Deck, there’s a lot of great options for general use.
Companion is the next program I tried with the Elgato Stream Deck and it is more technical and does take more to configure. Once you launch Companion you can select “Add by Category” or “Add by Manufacturer”. The great feature with Companion is that by adding your different programs and tools Companion is a really great software to have when working with other applications.
Just as I did with the Stream Deck program I wanted to use Companion and ONYX. To connect ONYX with Companion just to go “ONYX” on the top left corner, click “General”, click ” ONYX Manager”, once it loads just continue with the prompts and be sure to use the turn on Telnet Server option to get ONYX and Companion to connect.
Also, be sure to leave ONYX’s Manager open when connecting to Companion. Once you have the two programs connected you will be able to get started. The benefit of using the program Companion is that once you learn how to use it, it becomes a very powerful tool.
Inside of Companion, click the “Buttons” tab located on the top menu. There you can add and edit the buttons you want to add to the Elgato controller.
One example of what Companion can do is setting a “Full Release” button to release all of my fixtures and then set up a second function that will fire off a completely different set of equipment.
Another great feature is that Companion automatically adds pages to the Elgato controller and allows me to jump between different pages of cues very easily. So instead of just 12 buttons, I have multiple pages of cues available to record to.
If you’re not a developer, Companion can take a lot to learn how to use it. But with the patience and willingness to learn it can be a really great piece of software to use.
The last program I wanted to highlight is ShowCockpit. Personally, I love using ShowCockpit but I really only recommend using it with the Elgato controller if you have used Show Cockpit with other MIDI controllers. The reason why is that if you have used it before then you already familiar with how to set it up. If not, then I would highly recommend using the Stream Deck program instead.
To get started with SHow Cockpit, you’ll need to bring in and connect your devices within Show Cockpit. Once you do this go to the “Mapping” located on the left sidebar.
Within the Mapping section, you can go through and assign different functions and the buttons as needed. The downside is that when you assign your functions and buttons you will have to label them yourself. Show Cockpit will not auto-populate and do that itself.
To do this, go to “Element” on the left sidebar and here you can set the colors and build your buttons. It can be time-consuming to go back and forth to create these buttons.
Overall, if you are already using Show Cockpit then being familiar with how to use it will be just fine. Otherwise, you may just want to use the Stream Deck program instead.