Live now
Start time
Playing for
End time
Listen live
Up next
Listen live on

Up Your Streaming Game with These Two Tools

Publish Date
Tue, 20 Sep 2022, 5:37pm

Up Your Streaming Game with These Two Tools

Publish Date
Tue, 20 Sep 2022, 5:37pm

Am I a streamer?

Not really. Not unless working in radio counts as streaming. Which technically, it kind of does I suppose; you can stream Newstalk ZB. Sometimes I'm on Newstalk ZB. So okay then, yes; you can stream me.

Audience statistics would suggest I do a pretty good job of helping make good radio. Whether good radio makes for good streaming? Well, that's another question.

All I know is I'm lucky to have a lot of technical resources at my disposal to make New Zealand's number one breakfast show sound as good as it does; from mics and headphones to the very sophisticated computer system that allows me to play fart noises to the nation with the click of a mouse.

What a time to be alive.

The good news is the internet lets you do pretty much the same thing - with cameras - from the comfort of your own home. Getting an audience? Well, that's kind of up to you. Making your content look more professional? Elgato can help with that.

There's a reason the famous movie-making phrase, "Lights! Camera! Action!" starts with, "Lights!" Decent lighting is perhaps the most important ingredient when it comes to quality video. If the pandemic has taught us anything, it's that some people look great when they're being interviewed from their attic studies, while others look like serial killers. Often, it's not due to the camera quality but the lighting. 

If there's more light behind you than in front of you, or perhaps just not enough light at all, no matter how good your webcam is it's unlikely to show the world much of the real you - more like just your silhouette.

The Elgato Key Light Air is an elegant solution to bring you out of the shadows and place you front and foremost in centre stage. Effectively, it's just a light. Technically, there's a lot going on that makes it one of the most useful things I've ever added to my desktop.

To begin with, it's extremely well engineered; a solid, durable base and easily adjustable stand, complete with a push-in channel at the back to conceal the generously long power cable. The ball/socket mount for the light itself is a little bit fiddly to attach but once you have, it offers a good range of motion to ensure the Key Light Air is pointing in exactly the right direction; at you.

It uses 80 premium Osram LEDs (forty warm, forty cold) and the temperature and brightness are fully customisable through the companion Control Center app. You see, the Key Light Air connects wirelessly to your PC, Mac or phone. Because the LEDs are positioned on the edge of the light, facing in, with their light reflected out by a specially designed aluminium film, you won't find yourself staring directly into a blinding glow. Instead, the light - although bright - is softly diffused and I often forget I have the Key Light Air switched on, long after I've finished filming. It helps that LEDs glow cool, of course.

But to make using the Key Light Air even easier, it also fully integrates with one of the most genius things I've ever plugged into my computer; the Elgato Stream Deck Mk.2.

Like the Key Light Air, the concept here is so simple; a set of shortcut buttons you can customise to... well, to do pretty much anything you want.

I can't begin to imagine the technical wizardry behind the Stream Deck but the upshot is, you plug it in, download the Stream Deck app and you can immediately begin streamlining your workflow. This ranges from designating buttons to be physical switches for accessories like the Key Light Air to firing off captions, title sequences or whole video inserts in your live feed.

I've been using the Stream Deck for a week or so and I've only scratched the surface of its full functionality. I have buttons to launch combinations of my favourite apps. I have a button to turn on the light and get my video recording programme ready to go. I even have a button to turn all the buttons off at night and one to light them up again the next day.

When you assign a shortcut, depending on what it is, Stream Deck will designate a default icon, although you can choose or even design your own. For example, the button I've set to open the Newstalk ZB Technology page now sports the Newstalk ZB logo.

But there's so much more to it than that. The Stream Deck Store offers over a hundred plugins, ranging from Spotify controls to presentation shortcuts for meeting apps like Teams and Zoom. You can create different sets of buttons under different profiles and you can even assign those profiles to change automatically depending on which app you have open.

And just because there are only fifteen buttons, that doesn't mean you're limited to just fifteen shortcuts. You can assign folders to buttons; perhaps I'll have a sound effects button; once I push that it opens my SFX folder with another fourteen buttons to play my sounds with. Here's the crazy thing; you can have folders in your folders. And folders in those folders. It's like The Matrix.

That's one way to do it. You can also just add extra pages, navigating from one to the next via an arrow key.

The options. Are. Limitless.

It's actually quite overwhelming. Obviously, being primarily designed for streamers and gamers there are whole sections of default actions just waiting to be dragged onto a button. Start audio commentary? Screen capture? Post to your socials to let your followers know your stream is about to start? Too easy.

I've found the best way to use Stream Deck is to wait till I find myself doing something I feel like I do the same way every day. Then I create a button for it. Sick of typing out your delivery address for people? I was. Now it just happens with the push of a button.

See? So simple. And my life is so much better.





Click here for more information on the Elgato Key Light Air.


Click here for more information on the Elgato Stream Deck MK.2.

Take your Radio, Podcasts and Music with you