If you’re a gamer or general PC user, you might have heard about streaming and if you’ve heard of that, you might have heard about the Elgato Stream Deck. It’s a box of illuminated customizable buttons that give you quick access to programs and other controls – ideal for on-the-fly adjustments while streaming. The latest model, the Stream Deck+, adds dials and a touch screen to the equation too.
Its a useful gadget for streamers, with instant access to lighting, volume and camera controls, but as we’ll look at, it can also be very handy for content creators too. The Stream Deck+ offers eight customizable buttons, but in addition to previous versions, also includes a touch screen and push-button dials.
Starting with the touch screen, this allows for control over features you position there as well as displaying the adjustment you make using the dial below. For example, you could control system or microphone volume, or even the lighting brightness or temperature of an Elgato lighting accessories connected to the same WiFi network – handy for getting those colors and exposure just right.
The new dials also have buttons, so as well as using them as dials, you get an additional button to work with. For example, if you’re controlling lighting using the dial, this can be switched off using the button function. The button can also be used to add layers or ‘dial stacks’ to the dials too.
This stacking feature allows you to add additional controls to a single dial that can be cycled through using the button. For example, you could control the lighting and temperatures of an Elgato lighting accessory on a single dial, switching between them using the dial button.
The controls make it quite and easy to do what you need to do, but the real star of the show is the software interface and available plugins and icons that are free to download. More are being added, but as well as the likes of Spotify, Twitch and Voicemod integration take a couple of minutes to do and go way further than simple app opening commands as you can dial in commands to control almost every aspect of the software.
This brings me on to using the Stream Deck+ for tasks other than gaming, streaming and music. For example, Premiere Pro has a full icon set designed to allow you to use the keys and dials to control various aspects of the software. For instance, there are over 60 icons in the Premiere Pro icon pack such as ripple delete, add edit, adjust track heights, grouping and dozens more that remove the need to remember keyboard shortcuts or use your mouse so often.
You can also use the dials to control features such as scrubbing or moving clips around. It’s a genuine time-saving device here and all you need to do is match the keyboard commands to the relevant icon, place them on the right key in the software and off you go. While the Stream Deck+ only has eight keys, you can create up to 10 pages, easily outstripping every icon for Premiere Pro in the icon pack and it’s easy to flip between pages too using the touch screen.
The damage to your wallet? The Stream Deck+ costs $200 and that’s a lot for something that many of us may not use regularly. However, even if you’re not a regular streamer, if you spend hours every week editing photos or videos, it can definitely save time and that’s where it’s different to a lot of other gadgets – it could actually save you money as a result if you make money from that work and it takes you less time to do it.
However, the ecosystem behind the Stream Deck+ is mature, has plenty of free plugins and addons and while some of it can be a steep learning curve if you’re new to these kind of gadgets, as well as time-consuming to set up too , once you’ve done that, you won’t need to do it again. It’s not going to be an essential item for everyone who uses a PC, but it definitely has huge benefits not just to streamers, but content creators as well.