(Pocket-lint) – The Elgato Stream Deck is one of those techs you didn’t know you needed – but start using one and you’ll wonder how you ever lived without it. We originally wrote about this as part of our roundup of the best kit items a streamer might need.
Here are our favorite uses of Stream Deck – and not just for gamers, but video editors and beyond – to show just how awesome and versatile this device can be.
What is the Elgato Stream Deck?
The Elgato Stream Deck is essentially a small control panel with 15 customizable physical buttons. For people who broadcast their gaming sessions, it’s a handy tool for activating multiple controls – without having to leave a game to play with buttons, settings, or controls elsewhere.
But it’s so much more than that, because the Stream Deck can be customized with all kinds of controls (constantly expanding) to interact with all kinds of things, streamline your game, or make your workflow more efficient in some other way. .
1. Customizable controls
The main feature of the Stream Deck is to help streamers – whether it’s on YouTube, Twitch, Mixer, or whatever platform you use. There is a lot to be said for the flexibility of the controls this device gives you.
Sometimes that includes simple commands that help you stay professional. It can be an easy-to-access button that quickly turns off your webcam or mutes your microphone if you need to gulp down food or talk to a family member who has strayed into the room. Alternatively, you can set a mute and mute button for Discord, so that you can temporarily block your friends from being overheard and allow you to speak to your audience without interruption.
Other useful controls include buttons for switching between scenes – whether that’s to jump to in-game clips, a ‘come back right now’ pause screen, or a screen that allows you to chat directly with viewers on your camera. All of these things can be done in your streaming software, but typically require alt + tab in Windows to click buttons or configure hotkeys for each. The Stream Deck makes these actions much more transparent.
2. Ease of public engagement
The Stream Deck is particularly practical for quick audience engagement. We’ve defined buttons that allow us to send prepared messages in Twitch at any point in the stream with just one tap.
If you find, for example, that you regularly receive questions on a certain topic, you can compose a response that you could then simply send for discussion at the push of a button. In our case, we have a YouTube video with tips and tricks for the game we are playing, when people ask for advice on how to play the game, we can press this button to promote the video.
Other simple controls for Twitch include the ability to quickly mute a stream, place a highlight marker for future editing, play an ad, delete the current chat, or change the current chat mode to follower-only, emote only or slow chat. These easy-to-access controls make it much easier to manage your flow without hassle.
3. Files within files
The full-size Stream Deck features 15 buttons. You can also get a six-button mini version or the massive 32-button Stream Deck XL. Whichever one you choose, you can add even more controls with folders.
You will have noticed that every Stream Deck setup photo in this guide has an up / back arrow on the top left button. This is because Elgato also allows you to create folders and place commands in them. You can even create folders within folders.
We like to group things together in a logical way. In our Twitch Orders folder, for example, we have a subfolder filled with gifs. These gifs can be clicked to be viewed on the stream via Streamlabs OBS. You can even create gif folders for specific moods and have all kinds of relevant reactions to what’s going on streaming with just a few clicks.
4. Smart home controls
Another thing we really love about the Elgato Stream Deck is the ability to control things like smart home lighting from the interface. It’s compatible with Philips Hue and Nanoleaf, as well as Elgato’s Key Lights, which means you can program the Stream Deck to give you easy touch controls of various lights in your home.
We set it up to control the Philips Hue lights we had in two areas, as well as buttons to adjust brightness, switch between scenes, and even launch Philips Hue Light Sync. With multi-action buttons, you can set it to turn on various lights in different rooms, adjust brightness and more. You can do some of these things with the standard app or through a voice assistant, but often not as efficiently and satisfactorily.
5. Video editing
We also used the Stream Deck for video editing. You can add controls for all kinds of things including splitting video tracks, trimming start and end of clips, enable multi-camera editing, remove unwanted clips, record and much more. Moreover. All of this can replace keyboard shortcuts, which means you can use the Stream Deck to become more efficient in your video editing efforts.
Multi Actions also allows you to customize a series of different actions with just one click. You can, for example, have a single button to open your video editing software, launch the folder on your machine with all the video files, open a project, open audio software, etc., with just the push of a button. It’s not software specific either, so there are a lot of possibilities.
Taking all of these features together, you can see how powerful the Elgato Stream Deck is and why it’s worth buying one, whatever your specialty.
Written by Adrian Willings. Originally published on .