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Thread: xkeys 128 Layers with TC1

  1. #1
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    xkeys 128 Layers with TC1

    Just playing around with one of these and if I make a button on the surface a Layer shift (press and hold to access layer 2) the Tricaster sees the remaining buttons as different keys than the keys on layer 1, awesome give up 1 key to double the remaining key count! But if I make the key a layer toggle (dont have to hold shift) the TC1 seems to treat all the buttons the same regardless of being in layer 1 or 2. (Layer 1 is the green light on the left side and layer 2 is the red light.

    This feels like a bug but was curious if anyone else used it this way and was more familiar with it.

  2. #2
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    While I have used the 128 with TC1, I've not used toggle on that panel. I have used layer toggle on other Xkeys units and have not had any issue. My guess would be that you are using the Xkeys unit natively, meaning you have not manually assigned your own shortcuts to the keys (using Xkey utility in Hardware Mode). That may be part of the issue - I never use the native key codes. The Support folks at Xkeys are great to work with, I would just reach out to them.

    Thanks

    Jeff
    Jeff Pulera
    Streaming Broadcast Solutions - Newtek Elite

    TriCasters: Mini with AE, TC1
    Camera: Sony PMW-X70 4K
    Controllers: All variety of XKeys
    PTZ: Newtek NDIHX-PTZ1

  3. #3
    If I recall, the native keyscan codes do not respect layers, this is not a TriCaster issue, just how the hardware works when you directly read from the XKeys device. If you want to use layers, you can still use the hardware mode in the X-Key unit, but you will have to go into the unit a program each button with a keyboard shortcut for the different layers.
    Kane Peterson
    Solutions Architect
    NewTek, Inc.

  4. #4
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    OK, I will give this a shot guys thank you, I will ping xkeys because the shift layer option appears to work, the buttons act different when holding the button designated as shift layer (not a actual shift key stroke). But Toggle does not. I would have thought that toggle layer and shift layer would both work if one does. Reguardless I am pretty sure I need to goto the hardware mode because I would also like to use Key up commands for things like shuttle back and stop shuttle when released.

    I think there is a file I have to edit a config to use hardware mode?

    I am also looking at the vmix setup where they are able to trigger lights properly. from what I can tell it is possible to teach the xkeys how to light up a single light in a bank and if you press a different key light that and remove the other. Its not going to get feedback if I make a change via the UI but it would be nice to have the visual feedback if I stick with the xkeys for all commands.

  5. #5
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    There are many benefits to programming your own key shortcuts on Xkeys panels in MacroWorks, using Hardware Mode so that no Xkeys software need be installed on TriCaster.

    You might have 4 different keys, each being assigned unique shortcuts of:

    A
    Shift-A
    Ctrl-A
    Ctrl-Shift-A

    What if for your purposes, you wanted ONE key to be able to do 2, or 3, or 4 different things in different situations? When programming your own shortcuts to the Xkeys panel (using MacroWorks in Hardware Mode), you can assign SHIFT and CTRL to any keys. Those keys can then act as modifiers just like they do on the Windows keyboard. You have a key whose shortcut is "A" but if you first press and hold the "SHIFT" key you created on Xkeys then press your "A" key, the shortcut sent to TriCaster is then "SHIFT-A" so that fires a different macro than just "A" by itself.

    Notice I don't mention ALT, because Newtek chose to assign that to toggling the main switcher row between Inputs and Buffers, so the screen goes wonky whenever you send an Alt-shortcut, not cool so I stopped using ALT combos.

    As for lighting, Xkeys did add a capability to turn entire banks (rows) of key lights on and off, but that doesn't help me. An example of what works for me is maybe I have 5 keys that determine whether the switcher buttons are controlling Main switcher or one of the 4 MIX busses. I want ONE of those keys to be lit so I know what I am controlling. So pressing "Main" tells Xkeys to turn the light ON for that key, and turn the lights OFF for keys Mix1, Mix2, Mix3, Mix 4. Selecting Mix1 turns on Mix1 light and turns off Main, Mix2, Mix3, Mix4 lights. Little bit of repetitive work to program but it works. Be aware that you can overload the buffers in Xkeys if you add too many commands to a single key. Unfortunate. For instance, if you want a single input key in switcher row to light when selected, that means for that key to be on, you have to tell ALL other input lights in that row to be OFF and when you start doing that for every key...the commands add up and you get errors. Plus if you do a transition, the active key light doesn't know to change....so I just refer to the TriCaster UI to see what Prog and Prev sources are selected and don't try to do "live" indicator lights for those.

    Xkeys keys can be programmed to send one code when depressed...and another code when released! So maybe pressing a certain key sends M (to MUTE audio) and same key sends U (to UNMUTE audio) when released. You now have a cough button for the talent. A momentary switch to toggle the audio state, rather than using two different buttons for mute and unmute. Many uses for that feature. Zoom in, zoom out.

    There are a finite amount of key combinations on a keyboard, and Newtek uses a good chunk of them for the System Commands macros. You might want to go through and UNcheck those that you will never use, thus freeing up those key shortcuts for your own use. Especially with the XK-128, and even more important with dual layers, lot more codes needed for all those keys!

    In MacroWorks, you can assign function keys F13-F24 to any key. And then by also using using SHIFT and CTRL you gain a lot more possible key combos. Not talking about using with separate modifier key, but rather assigning "SHIFT-F13" directly to a key for instance.

    Next - Newtek added NATIVE SUPPORT for Xkeys a while back, meaning you can connect a brand-new Xkeys unit to a TriCaster and it will read all the keys right away, no programming needed. Similar to using a MIDI unit. Each keys sends a (long) unique key identifier when pressed, and these can be assigned to fire macros. Nice.

    Except not nice outside the simplest of applications because you can't use any of the neat features I mentioned before, like modifier keys and turning lights on and off, press-release commands, repeating keys, etc.

    If you choose to assign your OWN keyboard shortcut values to the keys on Xkeys panel, what happens then is that SOMETIMES TriCaster will see the shortcut you assigned, and SOMETIMES it will see the native key code from Xkeys so you get really inconsistent results with your macros, it's whacked. Buttons fire macros intermittently.

    So what you need to do is DISABLE the native Xkeys support in TriCaster. Please see attached document for how to do this. It's a very quick and simple EDIT to a text file basically. **Please note, you need to re-do this each time you update TriCaster software since this file resets to default again**.

    To DISABLE native Xkeys support on TriCaster.pdf

    Make sure to use a separate PC to install MacroWorks on and program your Xkeys unit, don't do it on the TriCaster itself. Make your changes to Xkeys, SAVE the changes, WRITE TO DEVICE, then move Xkeys panel to TriCaster to test results.

    Good luck

    Jeff
    Jeff Pulera
    Streaming Broadcast Solutions - Newtek Elite

    TriCasters: Mini with AE, TC1
    Camera: Sony PMW-X70 4K
    Controllers: All variety of XKeys
    PTZ: Newtek NDIHX-PTZ1

  6. #6
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    Jeff, thank you for taking the time to write such a helpful and detailed post. I really appreciate it. The button lighting I thought would be a nice to have but I will see if I run into capacity issues. The one thing I am trying to figure out is how to make a media player take focus. From the native surface there is a delegate flag for the media player buttons: I want to play DDR2. What is happening from the surface perspective (at least in the macros recorded, is that when you set the delegate flag and press play the command the system registers is ddr2_play. I wanted to have a similar setup where I could press DDR2,1, gfx1, sound and then play button to impact that item. and not have to have 4 play buttons. The system macros have a media play which will play what ever media player has focus. The thing I cant figure out though is how to make ddr2 have the focus short of clicking on it with the mouse.

    The other thing I wanted to doo was to have just one switcher row and have a set of buttons to determine if it controlled: Main Switcher, M/E 1, M/E2, M/E 3, M/E 4 vs dedicating another bank to ME switching. I also wanted to make the DSK row be able to set the DSK value for DSK 1,2,3,4. For DSKs modifiers would work perfectly fine for me but for the ME switching I would prefer to not have to hold the modifier if I was punching something there long term.

    I will continue to play with this for a while but I am pretty excited about the possibilities.

    Click image for larger version. 

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  7. #7
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    Jeff,

    You are right Alt does flash the interface, but Ctrl + Alt + Something does not (Alt and Shift Alt do) One more set of short cuts to use that dont flash the interface!

    Thanks!

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