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X-keys Broadcasting Solutions


"We find that X-keys units give us the flexibility to build solutions for our clients that make it easier for the users to operate the production equipment."
- Jef Kethley, Pizazz Productions

Although the Black Magic Design ATEM Television Studio can be operated via computer keyboard (as well as an Android or iPad device), I consider the Xkeys USB keyboard from PI Engineering a "must have" control surface for the ATEM TVStudio.

Keyboards and touch-screens do not provide tactile and sensory feedback of real control panels (costing $4,995), but the Xkey keypad does - and you can purchase one for $100.

In addition to controlling the ATEM TVStudio, the Xkey panel interacts with the computer keyboard in ways not possible with a regular control panel or standard PC keyboard. For instance, the top-left section of my panel launches programs, the bottom and center sections control the ATEM TVStudio and the top-right section controls the PowerPoint slides - all on the same laptop via the Xkey keypad.


BTW, the HDMI output of this laptop fed the ATEM TVStudio CAM-1 input, so the laptop 2nd display was for lyrics, speakers names, pictures of priesthood advancements and a video. The laptop's main screen was for control.

Here's where it gets really cool...

No matter which program is in the foreground of the laptop, when I press one of the upper-right keys (up, down, CONTinue or ESC), my PowerPoint program is brought to the active window and the key's function is executed. For instance, if I was to ALT-TAB to another program (doesn't matter which), when I press CONTinue, my PowerPoint program is made the active program and the PowerPoint presentation continues from the present slide. The up and down keys manipulate the PPT show properly - no need to ALT-TAB back and forth. (For you programmers out there, "If" statements are used along with IsActiveWindow and WindowToFront commands provide control.) The ATEM TVStudio controls still work, even though I am progressing through the PowerPoint Presentation.


With Macroworks 3.1 (supplied) and JustMacros (free) the X-key keypad can send information to the correct device or program. JustMacros can record keypresses, populate and configure fields or send commands (such as the lower-thirds lyrics box position, width, PIP box size and source, etc.), all customized into one key. For an example, I was able to create a macro to memorize which camera is on the preview bus, then assign preview to the current camera on air, dissolve in the chroma-key the speaker's name over the camera on air, and restore the preview bus to the camera previously selected (I called this key "KEY IN/OUT").

In addition to the X-key's tactile feel of a real control panel, the keys light up (red or blue) and provide feedback such as ON AIR or PREVIEW or ACTIVE. You'll notice in the picture above, the bottom of the panel is indicating which camera source is live (CAM2) which source is next (CAM3) and the CHROMA-KEY is active.

The panel can be used concurrently with the laptop's keyboard and functions. Rapid-firing keys still accurately controlled the ATEM TVStudio.

The clear plastic keys can be removed and combined with larger keys (AUTO and TAKE). A software template is also provided to create your own custom labels (one pre-cut sheet was supplied).

Test an X-keys XK-24 Today

Our 30 day, no questions asked return policy lets you evaluate any X-keys risk free. If you are not impressed by its performance, return it for a full refund.

XK-24-USB-R  Xkeys 24 key USB keyboard