By Kane Peterson, NewTek Workflow Engineer
TriCaster and 3Play support the use of MIDI devices as additional controllers. Among other uses, MIDI devices can trigger scripts made up of sequences of one or more TriCaster and/or 3Play commands. These scripts are called “macros,” and this article will describe how to set up a Windows PC as a MIDI device that can trigger such macros.
As just one example usage, this could allow a LiveText operator who is handling title updates to also have the ability to bring the titles on and off by controlling TriCaster’s Down-Stream Keyer (DSK) from the LiveText computer. An example for 3Play would be to have an operator tagging in and out points for replay events from an iPad.
Let’s look at how to configure a system so any macro function can be performed using a hot key on a computer, no matter what application is being used at the time. For our example, we will work with TriCaster, but the same procedures and steps would apply for 3Play systems.
- TriCaster 8000, 860, 460, 410, Mini, or 3PLAY 4800 or 440 system
- rtpMIDI: you can download it from this link.
- MIDI Buttons: you can download it from this link.
- AutoHotKey: download the installer from this link.
- Custom NewTek Install_AHK_Script.bat file, download from this link:
Install rtpMIDI on the computer that will be running MIDI Buttons. Once rtpMIDI is installed, open the configuration window and click the ‘+’ under My Sessions. Then activate the checkmark next to your computer name. You can close the rtpMIDI configuration screen.
Now install rtpMIDI on the TriCaster system. In the rtpMIDI configuration screen, press the ‘+’ under My Sessions and then activate the checkmark next to your computer name. Under the directory, you will see your other computer that has rtpMIDI running, select it from the list and press the ‘Connect’ button to make it a Participant. You can close the rtpMIDI configuration screen and launch TriCaster.
Now install AutoHotKey on the computer that will be running MIDI Buttons, use default settings.
Finally, copy the MIDI Buttons application to a location on your computer. MIDI Buttons doesn’t have an installer; you just run it from any location on your computer.
We need to setup MIDI Buttons so that it is configured correctly for our needs. Run the application and you will see a window appear with 15 buttons. Right click on any button and choose the ‘Configuration’ option from the menu.
- Choose Output 1.
- In the Output 1 MIDI Device, select the rtpMIDI server name from the drop down, this will be the name that you connected on the NewTek system to make it a participant.
- Check Output 1 Active.
Now press Apply to save settings and close window.
Each button has to be setup. Right click on button 1 and choose ‘Button properties’ from the menu, setup the button as follows.
- Type in button name (optional).
- Set Message to ‘Note On’.
- Set MIDI channel to 1.
- Set Note to 1.
- Set velocity to 127.
- Set Hot Key to F1.
If you are using other MIDI devices that connect using rtpMIDI (like an iPad) on this same NewTek system, you can use a different MIDI Channel and Note number to make sure they don’t conflict. Each button between all rtpMIDI devices should be using a unique Channel and Note number.
Press Ok, and proceed to setup buttons 2 thru 12 with the same settings; except for the Note and Hot Key, they should match the button number (ie, F2, F3, F4…F12).
Once you have configured the buttons, they are ready for use. If you press the assigned Hot Key (F1 through F12) or click on the button, your TriCaster system will receive it as a MIDI button press. Any macro assigned to that MIDI button will run.
However, the Hot Keys only work if the MIDI Buttons application is selected. If you run another application all keyboard presses will be sent to that application and MIDI Buttons will not receive it. We need a way to create keyboard shortcuts in Windows that we can direct to MIDI Buttons. This is where the AutoHotKey application comes into play. Install AutoHotKey, use the default settings. The first time you run it, it will ask if you want to make a default script, select yes. You might need to run AutoHotKey one more time to get its icon to show up in the Windows tray (by the clock).
AutoHotKey needs to be programmed so that it knows how to do this; there is a batch file that has been created to make this process easy. This batch file has been included in the zip file linked above (under Requirements) from this article.
Drag and drop the icon of the MIDI Button application on the ‘Install AHK script’ batch file. A window will open telling you that the AutoHotKey.ahk file has been installed.
Now right click on the AutoHotKey icon found in the Windows tray and choose ‘Reload the Script’. AutoHotKey is now configured with the new script settings. Pressing the Windows Key + Control Key and the F1 through F12 keys will run the macros assigned to buttons 1 through 12 in MIDI Buttons.
The script is smart enough to even launch the MIDI Buttons program if it currently isn’t running. Better yet, MIDI Buttons can be running in the background and receive the shortcuts, so no matter what application you are also running, access to your macros are just a key press away.
Author: Kane Peterson, Sales Engineer, NewTek, Inc.
More tips and tutorials by Kane Peterson:
- iPad MIDI Control for TriCaster
- 3Play: iPad Double Punch Tagging System
- Wireless TriCaster Control with TouchOSC
For more information on Live Production and Streaming (click here).
For more information on Slow Motion and Instant Replay (click here).