There’s nothing better than good gear and automation talk, and that’s exactly what we’re getting today. Cat Mulvahill is one of my favorite YouTube creators because she has shown me so many cool things about eCamm Live. But it turns out we’re both also huge Stream Deck nerds. So if you’ve been looking to get the most out of your Stream Deck (or need a compelling argument to buy one), today’s episode is for you.
- Cat uses her Stream Deck with eCamm Live to do transitions, lower thirds, and more during recording. Because of that, she barely has to edit her videos. It’s like storyboarding your whole video in advance!
- She and I both use our Stream Decks for more than just streaming though. One of Cat’s cool actions in a multi-action that sets up her entire bookkeeping workspace. This cuts down considerably on the amount of time she spends on the actual accounting stuff.
- When it comes to creating content, she picks topics that are interesting and solve a problem. That usually generates comments and questions, that in turn, leads to more content ideas!
- Cat Mulvihill
- Cat on YouTube
- Cat on Twitter
- Cat on Linkedin
- eCamm Live
- Stream Deck
- Open Broadcaster Software (OBS)
- Join the Creator Crew
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There’s nothing better than good gear and automation talk, and that’s exactly what we’re getting today. Cat Mulvihill is one of my favorite YouTube creators because she has shown me so many cool things about eCamm Live.
Seriously, if you’ve ever watched one of my live streams that I was using a cool transition or background thing, it’s because I learned it from Cat. But it turns out we’re both also huge Stream Deck nerds. So if you’ve been looking to get the most out of your Stream Deck (or need a compelling argument to buy one, or another one, or if you’re like some of us, a third one), today’s episode is for you.
Be sure to look for these top takeaways about how Cat uses her Stream Deck with her with eCamm Live so that she barely has to edit. We also talk about how we use our Stream Decks for more than just streaming and how we use it to execute other automations.
She also gives us a great tip on how she creates content and how she determines what she’s going to talk about on the channel. In the Pro show, we talked about teleprompters and how I don’t use one and I learned that she uses one but not for what I thought she use it for. So that’s going to be a great conversation.
If you want to hear that you can sign up over and howibuilt.it/pro. You can find what will surely be a copious amount of show notes and links over at howibuilt.it/305. But for now, let’s get to the intro and then the interview.
Intro: Hey everybody, and welcome to How I Built It, the podcast where you get free coaching calls from successful creators. Each week you get actionable advice on how you can build a better content business to increase revenue and establish yourself as an authority. I’m your host Joe Casabona. Now let’s get to it.
Joe Casabona: All right, welcome, welcome, everybody. I am here with Cat Mulvihill. She is a trainer and facilitator at Cat Mulvihill Training. Cat, how are you today?
Cat Mulvihill: I’m doing really well. Thank you.
Joe Casabona: Thanks for joining. I’m really excited because we are going to nerd out on one of my absolute favorite topics as well as, maybe selfishly, my best-performing blog post, which is how I’ve configured my Stream Deck.
We got connected from Jay Clouse’s community. And it was like from your welcome video because I just thought it was super cool how you did a bunch of stuff. And then I found out that you were doing an eCamm Live. And I’m like, “I use eCamm Live. So I thought we should chat because I think a lot of people probably do a lot of cool… well, want to do a lot of the cool stuff that you do.
Cat Mulvihill: I hope so.
Joe Casabona: Yeah. So let’s start there. First of all, Stream Deck and eCamm Live. Is there anything else that’s kind of part of your toolset?
Cat Mulvihill: So my main tool set is eCamm Live and Stream Deck. I think those are the main things, aside obviously from the camera and my… Oh, my teleprompter. I do. I’m a big, big fan of the teleprompter. I love it. It is very much a part of my regular workflow.
Joe Casabona: Oh, okay, cool. I already was gonna say in How I Built Pro we’re going to talk about our gear, like our cameras. We’re also going to talk teleprompter because I don’t use a teleprompter. So maybe we can do the pros and cons of that.
If you want to get that conversation ad-free you can sign up over at howibuilt.it/pro for just five bucks a month.
Okay, so your main toolkit or your main tool set, eCamm Live Stream Deck, teleprompter. Before we move on from the teleprompter, are you using a mirrored iPad? Is that how you’re kind of doing that? Or how are you using your teleprompter? Because I did have one and I just didn’t… Like it was set up and I had the iPad and I just didn’t use it really. I was like the reverse Ron Burgundy.
Cat Mulvihill: I upgraded. I started out with the iPad. At the time, I was running an older Mac and I had to run a software in order to mirror everything so I could see things properly in the teleprompter. And that was a disadvantage. So for a while, I just stopped using it and I would just practice looking into the camera.
But I decided to upgrade and so I have a monitor, a dedicated 10-inch monitor on my teleprompter. We can get into more details later. But it made a huge difference because it is plugged into the power source, connected to my computer. It acts like another monitor. And it’s so easy and seamless. And it’s a monitor that flips so that I can see everything in the right direction when I’m looking in the glass.
Joe Casabona: Nice. And that makes sense, if you’re using it all the time, right? Because I think the thing that I would use it for when I had it set up mostly was putting my Zoom calls on that. Like using it as a second monitor and putting my Zoom calls on there. And then I just thought, “It’s taking up too much space on my desk and I don’t like the way it looks most of the time. And I found myself breaking it down. So I stopped and I really simplified.
I also had a shotgun mic mounted to the top of my camera. That’s not really what shotgun mics are supposed to do. So I put it on like a tripod. So now when I use it’s right here.
Cat Mulvihill: Just out of the shot.
Joe Casabona: Yeah. So which new complexity. Again, we’ll talk more about this in Pro, but you know, I’m using Continuity Cam on the iPhone. So I have a multi-camera thing now. So now I gotta make sure it’s not in either frame. But that’s okay. First world problem.
Cat Mulvihill: Part of the fun and complexity of the studio setup.
Joe Casabona: Yeah, exactly. So we have your main tools, we have teleprompter. Let’s rewind for a second and talk about… because we both are online educators. I’m a podcaster. You do trainings and vocal coaching. So what made you really start to invest in this setup? I guess the whole preamble for that was like, not everybody needs what we have. But when did you realize that you should probably invest more in your setup?
Cat Mulvihill: That’s a really good question. I somewhat stumbled into it. I used to work in the university environment and I left in 2019 to start my own business, doing workshops and training. And at first it was in-person training. I actually had a couple of opportunities to do virtual training back in 2019 before everything shut down. And that was a really interesting experience, and I was able to do it-
Now looking back, I did a pretty good job. But once everything shut down, I realized I have to pivot otherwise my business is going to fail. And what I noticed is that as I learned some of this technology, I was running workshops and people would comment and say, “How do you show the graphic on your Zoom call? I’ve never seen that before.”
So I was doing things that people hadn’t seen. And I noticed more and more people were coming to me asking more about the technical aspects of the workshop I was running and less about the content of the workshop itself. And I recognized there was an opportunity there for me to teach other people how do you incorporate graphics and really just elevate the quality of your virtual calls, the virtual workshops, webinars. So if you are forward facing in a virtual environment, how do you make that a better experience for the people on the other side of the camera?
So I started investing in my studio setups slowly as a workshop facilitator who was just trying to make a living in the virtual platform. Then as I started to teach this stuff, I did start to invest more and start to bring in new tools. For example, I don’t know, I got the Stream Deck before I started teaching it.
So definitely it was me trying to just make a living as a facilitator and someone training people and being forced to go online. And I found I really enjoyed it. And luckily I really enjoyed teaching people how to do the actual technical aspect as well.
Joe Casabona: Nice. That’s awesome. Similar story, I guess. I mean, I’ve always been kind of a gear nerd, tech nerd. But I got my camera in February 2020, like January 2020, and made a video for YouTube. And that video obviously blew up in March. That kind of enabled me to start to do more cool stuff with video.
I was already making online courses and trying to optimize how I was doing things. Because that was the main reason I was doing it, right? Because I was making online course videos. And I hate editing.
Cat Mulvihill: Yeah, me too.
Joe Casabona: So anything that I could do in real-time or make it easier for my editor, right? So one of the things is I would tuck out of a Slide Deck and I didn’t want to have to make notes for my editor to be like, “At one minute and five seconds to one minute and ten seconds, show this slide.” So I just would do. I would switch scenes and do that. That’s the shorter stuff I started using the Stream Deck for.
Cat Mulvihill: I actually don’t edit. I think I have edited maybe three or four videos out of my entire YouTube channel. I do actually have a second channel that I don’t really create videos for that anymore. So I probably had over 100 videos, maybe three or four have editing. And that’s because I do everything in advance with eCamm.
And setting up all the scenes as if… Now the other thing is that I ran a lot of them live. So I would actually just live stream my content, use eCamm with my Stream Deck to show all the different scenes, all the graphics, animations, they were all set up in advance. And then I would just end it.
Now, on YouTube, I would cut off the start and the end when I chat with the people who are there live because I don’t want to make people sit through that on the replay. But I hate editing. Part of it is not that I hate it it’s that I don’t really know how to do it and I love that I can kind of set it up in advance.
So I consider it pre-editing maybe. I don’t know if that’s a thing. But that’s what I’ve fallen into. And it seems to just work for me. And if it’s not broken, don’t fix it is sort of my MO right now. I would like to learn more about editing but it feels overwhelming right now.
Joe Casabona: And it’s tough. Because I do. I do edit. Well, for a long time I made videos professionally. Like people would hire me to make instructional videos for them and I had had to do all the editing, and so I’m in there in ScreenFlow. But I wasn’t doing things efficiently because I never took time to properly learn the craft. I would just learn things as I had to.
I learned maybe a couple of months ago, as we record this in like 10 years into my video creation journey using ScreenFlow that you could delete and then combine the tracks. This is gonna be really hard to explain on a podcast, I think.
But in ScreenFlow, when you delete a portion of the video, the two clips that are left don’t automatically snap together by default. There’s a special kind of delete that you have to do. And I didn’t know that you could do that until like two months ago. So every time I deleted a track in ScreenFlow… It’s called ripple delete.
Cat Mulvihill: Yes, I think I have heard of that with Premiere Pro.
Joe Casabona: Yeah. So every time I deleted a piece of video, I would then grab the one track with my cursor and drag it to the end and then like have to stop just short so that I accidentally create a transition. And then I learned about ripple delete, and I think of all the hours that I wasted doing it the wrong way.
Cat Mulvihill: I bet there are so many tools. Even our phones are just things we use every single day and we have no idea how much time we are wasting because we don’t know how to do something. But I was thinking about this the other day. Almost every time you get new technology, because they keep making it intuitive so that it’s great user interaction or user interface, the problem is nobody takes the time. They just figure out what they figured out naturally. And a lot of people just stop asking any questions or watching tutorials or reading instructions. Gasp.
Joe Casabona: How dare I? I mean, look at shortcuts. People ask me how I can spend… I have the iPhone Pro Max, whatever, whatever. The latest one every year, right? I’m on the iPhone upgrade program. People call me a sucker for that. But I do real work on my phone because I’m building shortcuts. I want to know how many people have never even looked at the shortcuts app, how many people don’t know it exists.
Cat Mulvihill: I was that person for a long time until I had a pain point that I realized this can be solved with the shortcuts. And it’s the most basic shortcut but it solved a problem which was doing my vocal exercises. So I’m trying to be a good student and do my vocal warmups as much as possible.
And it was just so tedious to try to get to the file because it’s an audio file that is saved on my phone. Not easy to access, it’s not in a player. So I set up a shortcut where I just tap it, it automatically opens it, ready to go. And I can just, in basically, one tap, open it and second tap, just start doing my warm-ups. That is so basic, but it’s so transformative to fix that pain point that you keep having over and over or that stops you from doing a thing that you want to do regularly.
Joe Casabona: Yeah, absolutely. That’s something that you do on your phone or on your computer?
Cat Mulvihill: Do that on my phone.
Joe Casabona: Okay, cool. So what you could also do now is in the accessibility settings, go to system settings, accessibility, back tap, and then you can set up a double back tap to just run that shortcut.
Cat Mulvihill: Oh, the back of the phone?
Joe Casabona: Yeah.
Cat Mulvihill: Ah. I don’t want to accidentally open the file though. I’m gonna start having some really awkward audio come out of my phone.
Joe Casabona: I see. I see. I have double back tap set to my camera. Because when you have three small children, you really got to be quick on the draw with the camera if you want to capture a moment. Or a smile. They will smile until they see the camera eye. It’s a phenomenon. And then the triple back tap is run to the “I have an idea shortcut”.
Cat Mulvihill: Oh, that’s a good idea.
Joe Casabona: And then I type it and then it logs it to Craft. And I just started using Make. And Make has webhooks and it accepts webhooks from shortcuts. So I can now add content ideas to Airtable.
Cat Mulvihill: Oh, I love that.
Joe Casabona: Or if Make has Notion integration-
Cat Mulvihill: It does.
Joe Casabona: So you could run a shortcut and send that data to Notion if Notion doesn’t have direct shortcuts integration. Airtable doesn’t because it’s like the electron, like the-
Cat Mulvihill: I don’t think Notion has direct-
Joe Casabona: Most things that start as really intense web apps and then like have an app on the phone probably don’t because they’re basically just a wrapper for the web app.
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Joe Casabona: I want to talk about how you use eCamm Live and I want to talk about how you use your Stream Deck. One of the ways that I use my Stream Deck is execute a bunch of shortcuts.
Cat Mulvihill: Oh, yeah.
Joe Casabona: That’s the thing that I do on my Stream Deck all the time. So first, tell us what is eCamm Live, and why do you use it for recording and not editing? Because it’s streaming software, right?
Cat Mulvihill: It is, yeah. So eCamm is a streaming software for Macs only. It really is meant for live streaming. That’s why it was created. And it’s got some native integration so you can stream directly to YouTube, to Twitch and to Facebook. They keep expanding, which is great. They’ve actually just added I don’t know if it’s only in beta, but multi-streaming as well so that you can stream to multiple places. And now I think you can stream to Instagram with eCamm.
Joe Casabona: No kidding! I’ve been using Restream for that.
Cat Mulvihill: Yeah, it’s new. I believe as the time that we’re recording this it’s in beta. But beta is accessible for people who want to try that out. That’s on the Pro Plan. It should be rolling out to everyone soon. I don’t know when. I don’t have a date. But the software-
Joe Casabona: I’ll just real quick. Running beta software for like your live stream, they’re very dangerous.
Cat Mulvihill: Their betas are pretty reliable and they’ve got a ton of testers who are using it every single day.
Joe Casabona: Nice.
Cat Mulvihill: So I feel like they know what they’re doing there. And they do have a Discord for people who are in the beta and can keep those conversations going. What I found quickly though, is I was using it for live streaming, that is why I initially got it. And you would set up different scenes. So scenes might have graphics, one might be a screen share, one might be an animation, one could just be your main camera.
So as I realized how powerful it was for setting up these different scenes and sort of telling a story and… It’s like storyboarding in advance. That’s how I think of it. It’s, what do I want to do, in what order? And yes, you can use it to just kind of jump back and forth in between these scenes. But I started to actually set it up like a show flow where every single scene would follow in order.
I use those for all my YouTube videos. I use it for any lessons that I create when I have a course. I also use it in Zoom. And so I started using this in Zoom very early on. And this is what started to get people’s attention to say, “Hey, how did you do that thing? How did you show an overlay in your Zoom video window? What is happening? Teach me how to do that. And that’s what really got me into it.
Now I did learn after that that OBS does almost all of the same things. And actually they do some things that eCamm Live does not do. And OBS is open source, it is free. It works on Windows and Mac which is a nice bonus. I personally still eCamm is so user-friendly and intuitive. You know, you use it. But I also thought I’ll teach people how to use OBS as well because I definitely want there to be a low barrier to entry for people who want to start thinking in scenes I guess you could say.
Joe Casabona: Yeah, I like that. I used OBS for a long time, again, computer science nerd and so if I wanted to stream or whatever, like OBS was the thing that I had to use. And then when I learned about eCamm Live’s native bring in the iPhone or iPad as a scene thing and I was like fighting OBS on that, I was like, If I’m going to be using my iOS devices and iPad, iOS devices a lot on live streams, which I was intending to do at the time, you know, I’m was like, “I’m gonna like draw, wireframe and like do the thing that Pat Flynn does where he writes out answers or whatever, because it’s like neat.
Cat Mulvihill: Oh, the whiteboard on the screen?
Joe Casabona: Yeah, like the whiteboard thing. Yeah.
Cat Mulvihill: Yeah, yeah.
Joe Casabona: Yeah. Now, it’s mostly just like showing people how to execute shortcuts or cool apps I’m using. But either way, when I learned I didn’t have to fight eCamm Live, I was like, Yes, this is worth the money.
I also kind of feel maybe it’s different because I haven’t used OBS now in a few years, but I feel like it is cross-platform but it works a little better on Windows. Would you say that’s accurate? Or has it changed?
Cat Mulvihill: I have a Dell, but it is not powerful at all. And I just don’t want to invest in a more powerful PC, just for testing it out. So I have used it on Windows but I can’t be sure. I don’t use it enough. I use OBS enough to teach people how to set it up for their Zoom calls. But I’m not teaching people how to stream with OBS. That’s just not in my wheelhouse. I just don’t know enough. That’s my honest answer.
Joe Casabona: Gotcha. I mean, that’s great. I will continue that story until… If you’re listening, let me know. Write in. Tweet me or social media platform me @Jcasabona. By the time this comes out, who knows? But I feel like it’s… because you know, Apple, Mac can make you do certain sandboxing things and doesn’t give access to certain resources on the system that you can with Windows.
So I just feel like with an open source system like that, OBS kind of works better on windows for that reason. Whereas because eCamm Live is Mac only, it probably can play within the rules of the operating system a little bit better.
Cat Mulvihill: I suspect you’re right on that front.
Joe Casabona: So the other reason I really like eCamm Live is because I believe it has… Again, maybe this is wrong. But I felt at the time I was evaluating them it had better Stream Deck integration. But maybe that’s not the case. Like maybe they’re equally as good or equally-
Cat Mulvihill: I don’t know. That’s a really good question. It does enough that obviously both eCamm and OBS you can, you know, run scenes and do different things. But I haven’t really done a side-by-side. That might be an interesting comparison to look at.
Joe Casabona: Where would you do that comparison? Do you have a place where you upload videos that people can learn that kind of stuff?
Cat Mulvihill: Well, I just so happens that, yes, I teach tutorials on YouTube. I don’t know if anyone would care about that comparison or not. But I am going to be creating some new Stream Deck content pretty soon. I do think people like comparisons. I just don’t know if they want to compare eCamm versus OBS. People usually pick the one that they want. They don’t usually pick it based on their Stream Deck capabilities. That’s my guess.
Joe Casabona: That’s a really good point, though. Because I think some creators… Well, first of all, I’ll say you can find a link to Cat’s YouTube channel and everything we’re talking about here over at howibuilt.it/305. That’s a really good point though. Because I think a lot of creators’ instinct or urge would be Yeah, I’m just gonna make that video. But you took a moment and you’re like, I don’t know if people want to know about this.
Do you do like keyword research or anything like that? Or do you do it based on questions you get? How do you come up with video ideas?
Cat Mulvihill: So early on when I was switching from my previous workshops to now teaching people how to do what I was doing, how to run the virtual meetings and workshops, that came naturally to me because I realized that it was content I wanted, that I wasn’t necessarily finding or the content I was finding was not how I would want to consume it. It either did not answer my question or it was really convoluted or something. Something was up with it. And I just thought, “Oh, I wish there’s something better.”
That sounds maybe egotistical. But I thought, “I want to do this the way I would want to consume it.” So early on, I had a laundry list. I think I had three, four months of worth of content right off the bat. Afterwards, though, yes, I started getting feedback from my audience as it grew and people started asking specific questions or I was helping to solve certain problems that my audience was raising. So that sort of become the source of a lot of the inspiration.
I did find as a creator there was a point where the well was kind of running dry because I thought, Okay, all the topics, I kind of to cover them, I don’t want to just start re-covering them. They need a different angle. And yes, there are updates. There are a couple of videos I made early on that I have thought, they’re two years old and there are things that I really do wish I had said.
For example, I teach people how to add graphics to Zoom. But when I first shared that video, I didn’t realize how much the resolution was compromised. So I started to make videos on, okay, what do you do if it’s blurry? And usually it’s not blurry for you, it’s blurry for others and sometimes people don’t tell you.
I had that situation where someone said, “Hey, you know, that training you ran, it was kind of hard to see. It was so blurry.” And I thought, “Oh, my gosh, how long have we been doing this? Why did no one tell me?” And so I was trying to get that message out. But I think if I go back, I would teach that lesson differently and I would focus on different graphics.
So I have some things I would do differently. And I could recreate that. But I think for me, I usually like to create content on something that both is interesting, that I find fascinating but also that solves a problem in some way. Typically, it has solved a problem for myself and I think it would help others. Sometimes I try to solve a problem for someone else as well.
Joe Casabona: I think that makes sense. So, first of all, the resolution thing, I think it’s funny, you mentioned that because my friend Alastair had this whole thing set up and he was so excited to show it to me. And he’s like, “Check it out.” And then he’s showing me a spreadsheet and I’m like, “I can’t really read that because the resolution is bad.” He’s like, “What?” And I feel like in a serial a little bit because I was like, “Sorry, it’s not readable.”
Cat Mulvihill: It’s true.
Joe Casabona: I think he has since fixed it, but I feel like I just popped his balloon.
Cat Mulvihill: Oh, yeah. Yeah.
Joe Casabona: I think what you say is great here. You’re solving problems usually for yourself. Dickie Bush who was on the show previously says like, if you don’t know what to write, write for you two years ago. So talk about the problems you were trying to solve. That’s one thing I wanted to pull out.
And the other thing is about those update videos. Because the thing about YouTube is you can’t reupload. You can’t replace a video. So if you want to do an update, then you need to upload a whole new video. But then that is opportunity for new content.
I follow a channel called Star Wars Explained because I am so cool. I mean, I guess right here for people who have seen my videos, this is… it’s called Boba Font.
Cat Mulvihill: Oh.
Joe Casabona: It’s Boba Fett but in like set type or type setting. This is really dorky.
Cat Mulvihill: You know, I was going to say my other half, he’s a real big fan of Star Wars and Boba Fett was his favorite character for a very long time until the show-
Joe Casabona: Well, I can see why.
Cat Mulvihill: …kind of put a damper. It was almost exclusively because of the helmet. And he just said, Why do you keep taking your helmet off every five minutes? “Boba wouldn’t do that.”
Joe Casabona: That’s what made him cool and mysterious.
Cat Mulvihill: Yeah, mystique. Exactly. Anyway, that was a little side tangent-
Joe Casabona: Another side quest. I am definitely gonna have chapter markers here. But anyway, Star Wars Explained, on May 4th every year he uploads a new Star Wars canon video.
Cat Mulvihill: Oh.
Joe Casabona: So like he takes all the content from the previous year, comic books, TV shows, not movies really anymore, but books, and then puts together a chronological timeline video. And that video crushes it every day. So if you’re doing YouTube, and you’re like, “What do I do?” look at older videos that are doing well and just do an update for them. I’m not a YouTube expert but that seems to work well.
Cat Mulvihill: I wouldn’t do that all the time but I think when there’s a legitimate update.
Joe Casabona: Right.
Cat Mulvihill: So an example would be OBS, I taught how to do a circular pitcher and pitcher and then later learned this is not the good way to do this. This is actually sort of a disadvantage. And I came back and I made a new one and said sort of the preferred way to do it. And I think I went back to the original, I pinned a comment to say, “There’s a better way. Don’t watch this one anymore.”
And then also I think I put a little… What did they call those?
Joe Casabona: The cards.
Cat Mulvihill: Yeah, I put a little card I think towards the start just highlight new preferred method. Please don’t watch this video. But that’s the problem. The algorithm you’re not sure is it going to keep serving up the old one and not direct people to the new one. You can’t be sure. So you just have to do what you can to get the word out if there is a better way.
Joe Casabona: From what I understand like with the pinned comment and the card and maybe an end screen, that does help the recommendation engine understand. What a real click-baity person would do is first put out a video that’s like, “I was wrong and looking like real sad and then reference that video, and then two days later, here’s how you really do it. I’m trying to learn the YouTube algorithm. But anyway, I think those are some great points about coming up with content.
Now let’s go back to the Stream Deck, which I feel is the main event. Again, any good YouTube video, we teased it right from the beginning, and now we’re finally getting to it. I love my Stream Deck. Which one or ones… Because now people are living the multi Stream Deck world.
Cat Mulvihill: I am. I am.
Joe Casabona: Same here. So which ones do you have?
Cat Mulvihill: Well, I go through stages… Okay. My first one was the regular Stream Deck with 12 keys. Tell me if I’m wrong. Is it 15?
Joe Casabona: I think it’s 15.
Cat Mulvihill: 15.
Joe Casabona: 15. It’s 15? Yeah, yeah. I was gonna eight but that’s not right either. It’s 15.
Cat Mulvihill: Yeah, it’s 15 key. That was one I was using for a long time. My most popular video is How to Use the Stream Deck, and I was using the small one. And I sort of made a joke, I think, because it was a live stream of, you know, sell enough… I sold some Zoom icons for your Stream Deck. And I joked, sell enough Stream Deck icons to buy the XL.
And actually a few months later, I was able to do that. So then I upgraded to the XL and started using that exclusively for a really long time. Then last I think it was last January, I got my hands on the Loupedeck, which is a competitor to the Stream Deck and-
Joe Casabona: I looked into that. I would love your thoughts on that.
Cat Mulvihill: There are things that I really liked about the Loupedeck that the Stream Deck doesn’t have. And then there are things about the Stream Deck that the Loupedeck doesn’t have. So I really do feel like they are two… Obviously they work very similarly.
The Loupedeck has the dials, which now the new Stream Deck does have the dials. But the Loupedeck, I think, for, let’s say, someone who is actually an editor, there are some custom-built integrations with some editing products. So I think they have really honed in on that audience.
What I like about the Loupedeck is that it’s so quiet because it’s touchpad. Whereas the Stream Deck, something people will say to me and something I realized early on is these buttons make noise. And if you have a sensitive microphone, you are hearing every button press. And I sort of taught myself how to press them gently.
The Loupedeck, you don’t hear it. You just tap. But you have to look. Because if you tap the wrong one, you might not get what you want. So if you are trying to make eye contact, you’re live streaming, you’re looking forward, you have to glance down. You can rest your hand on it, but you still run a risk of hitting one of the touchscreens beside.
Joe Casabona: Yeah. Whereas the Stream Deck, the buttons are kind of elevated. You can kind of feel your way to the right one.
Cat Mulvihill: It’s tactile. So you could rest your hand on the corner… I always leverage the four corners of the Stream Deck as the primary ones, but you can count with your hand. And then I did get the pedal. The pedal is not the best investment for me because I am at a tall desk. So it’s standing height but I sit in a drafting chair. So if I’m ever seated, I can’t touch the pedal. It obviously only has three buttons. But when I’m standing, sometimes I’ll use that for a presentation where I’ll just use my foot to go to the next scene. So I got that.
And then I did recently get the Stream Deck+ so that I can teach about that. As of recording it, I’m a little underwhelmed with the dial options. They’re just not that many. Also, I think the buttons are louder. I have not been able to quietly press the Stream Deck+ yet. It’s just there’s no gentle way. So they’re bigger buttons, but… And I like the strip because you can change pages really quickly just by swiping. But so far, it’s limited. My experience has been limited.
And to answer your question, for a while after I had the Loupedeck, I did actually go back to the 15 key Stream Deck and I had the Loupedeck on the left and I had the 15 key Stream Deck on the right. So I sort of had each hand had access to shortcuts.
And then more recently, I switched back to the 32 key, the XML and I actually have the 32, the Loupedeck, and the Stream Deck plus all sort of surrounding my keyboard, which sounds like overkill, but I’m not gonna lie. I love it.
Joe Casabona: I mean, if you use it… That’s really interesting. I have the 32 and the Stream Deck+. I had a macro pad, but I didn’t read the manual before I got it. And it’s like the software’s Windows only.
Cat Mulvihill: Oh, oops.
Joe Casabona: So the Mac basically treats it like the left side of a full-size keyboard, which is so annoying. And I’ve tried like so many ways to… I’ve tried better touch tool to map it differently and Keyboard Maestro to map it differently. But the problem is that it maps to like the A keys and you’re like remapping both A keys. And I’m like, “Oh, this is terrible.
Cat Mulvihill: No.
Joe Casabona: And the… whatever. I think they’re called the cool master or something like that. Like some gaming Dudebro company. They say that software is coming from the Mac but they’ve been saying that for like three years now.
I have the pedal as well. I don’t use the pedal because… I think I told you this in the pre-show or in a different call but I wear shoes in my house. My brother would call me an animal for that. I could always take my shoes off. But I have a really hard time feeling where the button I want to press is. And I’m like usually sitting and my body like shifts. I am using it right now because my son play with my The RODECaster Pro for the sound effects. So I just like map sound effects to the Stream Deck pedal-
Cat Mulvihill: That’s good.
Joe Casabona: So I never have to touch my The RODECaster Pro.
Cat Mulvihill: I do believe the advice that I suggested to you for the shoe is to replace the middle with the stopper. So the middle now is offline, it’s not a button. But you can just rest your foot in the middle and then just go right or left.
Joe Casabona: More like driving. And that works, right? Because what I would use it for is the call to action in my videos. So like, go here to get this. And then the subscribe. I had like a little Subscribe animation created. And that’s a little overlay. So I think that’s a good idea. And now that I’m live streaming more, again, I think I should probably do that. So we’ll be here all night or all day or whatever if we go through how our Stream Decks are configured.
Cat Mulvihill: That’s not great podio fair.
Joe Casabona: It’s not.
Cat Mulvihill: Podcast fair.
Joe Casabona: Podio. New word coined right here. Podio.
Cat Mulvihill: Audio podcast. There we go.
Joe Casabona: No, it’s not. Instead, let’s talk about maybe your strategy for your Stream Deck. Because I have a strategy, you have a strategy. You’ve got all three. How do you have things set up?
Cat Mulvihill: My default profiles are typically my day-to-day productivity. They are predominantly triggering opening applications, opening files, and just shortcuts. And then if I am live streaming, or if I’m running a workshop, I switch to a specific setup for that so that I can trigger specific overlays, starting things, ending things.
So that’s more depending on what I’m using. So if I am using eCamm, I will have my eCamm features. If I’m also using something like Zoom or Keynote or some sort of slideshow, I’ll have all of those setups so that I can just do the production using the Stream Deck.
That’s really my strategy, I think is which mode am I in. I’ll have different pages set up for different things. I am still optimizing from a workflow standpoint. And most recently, this is a pretty nerdy moment, but I’m so excited about the couple of new multi-actions that I set up for running my business. One is called bookkeeping. And it’s I think 13 multi-action. And now that includes delays.
So it will open my QuickBooks, it will open my Stripe dashboard, my banking dashboard, my everything that I need, and it will also trigger opening Excel and opening the template page so that I can quickly get all of the files that I need in order to do my bookkeeping. I love it. With one press, everything’s ready to go.
Then the other one I did very similar is called my KPIs. And that will launch all of the sort of monthly check in for my business. So any metrics that I want to enter, it will also open the spreadsheets that I have with all my KPIs. So everything just launches. But that’s why I set the delays because I don’t want to just bombard all of those actions at the exact same time.
Joe Casabona: That’s so interesting. I do similar things with Keyboard Maestro, and then I map Keyboard Maestro. So Keyboard Maestro is a system automation tool that mostly generally, for those who don’t know, allows you to map keyboard shortcuts contextually or not, or globally or whatever.
So one of my keyboard, Maestro shortcuts is my podcast context, where it will open Riverside in Chrome, resize it to the top quadrant of my monitor, open GarageBand, resize to the bottom quadrant, and then open Notion and make it the other half of the screen because that’s where I’m taking notes. That is a Stream Deck button that’s mapped to a Keyboard Maestro trigger scenario thing. Script. I’m gonna say script. I think it’s script.
Cat Mulvihill: Yeah.
Joe Casabona: But it’s really cool that you can do… It sounds like you do a lot of that opening the things out. Maybe window resizing, you need to figure out with the Stream Deck. I do the same thing with shortcuts. And I didn’t realize the multi-actions are so robust on the Stream Deck.
Cat Mulvihill: Well, I do think right now the multi-action probably wouldn’t do the resizing. That’s where you need to use a different tool, whether that’s shortcuts or a Keyboard Maestro. But it can do quite a lot in the file. And that’s new. I had tried to map the file pathway directly in the open and it wasn’t working. And then I learned you drag the file and drop it into the application little holder.
Joe Casabona: Oh.
Cat Mulvihill: And you can do it with folders and you can do it with files. And that was a game changer.
Joe Casabona: That’s awesome. There are a couple of ways you can execute shortcuts on the Stream Deck and there’s like a plugin that you can get.
Cat Mulvihill: I saw the plugin for shortcuts.
Joe Casabona: Yeah. That doesn’t work that well.
Cat Mulvihill: Okay. I saw the reviews were mixed.
Joe Casabona: Sometimes you have to restart the Stream Deck software, and that’s not great. What you should do is… Here’s a hot tip, I’ll link to a video in the show notes. In shortcuts, right-click on the shortcut and add it to your dock. Because what that does is make it an application. And then you can launch the application. That has been the most reliable way I’ve used to launch shortcuts.
Cat Mulvihill: Oh, I love that. That’s a great pack.
Joe Casabona: And then you can just drag it out of the dock. Like dragging it out of the dock doesn’t delete it from the applications folder. That has been the most reliable way for me at least at this point. Because I’ve tried doing… Keyboard Maestro has it and like Alfred/Raycast, which are two.
Cat Mulvihill: I have Alfred. Although I mostly use Alfred for snippets.
Joe Casabona: Longtime Alfred user, I switched to Raycast in December. It’s so good. So I’ll link to that too. It’s so good. The nice thing about Raycast versus Alfred is with Alfred you need to write like SC and then the name of the shortcut to launch a shortcut and Raycast just has that natively. Because I’ve got like… I don’t actually know how many shortcuts I have. But it’s probably over 100.
Cat Mulvihill: Wow.
Joe Casabona: Probably over 100. Which is like a lot for most people and not a lot for hardcore shortcuts users. Like Mac has Federico Viticci who are like, “I have 1000 shortcuts. I’m like, “Great. How do you know? How do you?” Obviously, mine aren’t filling out my Stream Deck.
You mentioned kind of context around the Stream Deck, you have your day-to-day. And then Stream Deck has a cool feature: the software where like you open an app and it switches profiles, right?
Cat Mulvihill: Yeah, I don’t do it.
Joe Casabona: Okay. That’s great. I was gonna ask because it hasn’t been super reliable for me.
Cat Mulvihill: Well, it works but it’s frustrating. So my biggest pet peeve with it is that there are very few applications where it’s always going to be the one front and center. And if it’s not the active application… So the example is that when I was first I thought, “This is brilliant.” When I’m running a Zoom meeting, I’ll have it on my Zoom profile. But then if I go to demonstrate a website and I go to the website, it goes back to the default and I thought, “No, no, no.”
Joe Casabona: “No, I still need this.”
Cat Mulvihill: I needed much more control and I got rid of that. So I do not use context specific. Same with the Loupedeck. Same thing where they said, Oh great, you can just depending on what’s open. And there are going to be some people for whom that makes perfect sense.
I think editing software is actually a good example where you’re not going to be using that globally. You’re not going to use controls for editing in the background while you’re doing something else. So that makes sense for a dedicated profile. But if you are doing a demonstration or you’re running a live stream, or you’re running a zoom call, and you’re going to go to another application, at some point while that’s still going, and you want the global shortcuts to work while you are on another application, you don’t want your Stream Deck bouncing around to a different profile or folder or page.
Joe Casabona: Yeah, that’s exactly what I was gonna… David Sparks talks about this. Like he’s using his Stream Deck XL… He has context. So when he’s in Safari, he has a profile for Safari and He uses the knobs to I think scroll the page. I think he’s just experimenting with him keyboard-
Cat Mulvihill: Okay.
Joe Casabona: But then like ScreenFlow, like he has a ScreenFlow profile for his Stream Deck XL and he uses the knobs to scrub and do that ripple delete. That’s how I learned about Ripple Delete. So that membership has officially paid for itself for like three years.
Cat Mulvihill: I think that’s a great example where probably when you’re in ScreenFlow, you’re only using that and the keys. You’re only in using it when it’s the active application. That to me makes perfect sense. I just don’t have a lot of contexts where I need that.
Joe Casabona: That’s exactly where I’m at too. Now something I’m wondering is do you have like buttons then to switch profiles or pages?
Cat Mulvihill: I used to have them and then I did the switching around of which ones I’m using, and then I don’t have it and now I’m mad at myself for not. So I need them back. So at least for the 32 key, I would say the Loupedeck is built in where you can just press numbers and it will take you to the different screen. It’s already set up that way.
Joe Casabona: Oh, that’s cool.
Cat Mulvihill: And with the new plus, the fact that you can just swipe pages is really convenient. You can swipe profiles but you can swipe pages. So if you did have a different profile, you can’t just jump to another page in a different profile.
Joe Casabona: Right.
Cat Mulvihill: But I would say if you just have a dedicated Stream Deck with only keys, I do recommend using a key for that. Now, if you have the pedal, you can actually switch profiles with your pedal for your Stream Deck on your desk.
Joe Casabona: Okay, I was gonna ask about that. Because something that has made me think is I have an extra dial on my Stream Deck+, can I use that dial to switch between profiles on the Stream Deck XL?
Cat Mulvihill: I don’t think so. Right now as it stands with the current configure your Stream Deck for the plus, the dials are super limited. You can do hotkeys, but you can’t do a hotkey to change your profile.
Joe Casabona: Interested.
Cat Mulvihill: So dials don’t have Stream Deck navigation built in.
Joe Casabona: This is gonna be-
Cat Mulvihill: At time of recording.
Joe Casabona: Right. At the time of recording. Right after we record, I am going to try a little experiment where I use Keyboard Maestro to map a hot key to switching a profile. I’m gonna see if I can do that.
Cat Mulvihill: I don’t know if profiles have a hotkey.
Joe Casabona: I’m wondering. Keyboard Maestro has Stream Deck integration. So I’m wondering if that’s something maybe they expose in the API. I’m going to try. This is my toxic trait is try not to automate things that should never be automated, I think.
Cat Mulvihill: I’m just thinking to myself, curious who’s still with us? And if they are, they are definitely our people because we’re going deep on this and stuff that many people don’t care about.
Joe Casabona: Yeah, absolutely. These are our people right here. So we have been talking for, oh, my gosh, almost an hour about this stuff. Let’s wrap up. We’ll talk more in the Pro show. I’m going to ask you two questions here. One, I prep you on and one I didn’t.
The one I didn’t prep you on is what are your favorite Stream Deck actions. I think you probably just talked about a few of them. But what’s your favorite thing to use the Stream Deck for outside of live streaming? To give people some ideas on how they can use
Cat Mulvihill: It’s got to be that nerdy multi-action that I mentioned. So programming the thing you repeat over and over opening all the windows or all the applications with one press of a button that just a chef’s kiss.
Joe Casabona: That’s awesome. Since I haven’t talked much about my setup at this point, I will mention a couple. Running shortcuts is my favorite. I have like a shortcut to log ideas, I have a shortcut to open my forecast and OmniFocus, and things like that.
I also use the Apple Music buttons on the Stream Deck. So I have like previous, play, pause, and next for two reasons. The play shows, the artwork when you’re playing… It does it for Spotify, too, because I was using both for a while. So I had like six buttons on my Stream Deck just for controlling music apps.
But the media keys on the Apple keyboard sometimes get confused and hijacked by anything that plays media, like Twitter videos. The Stream Deck buttons don’t do that. They are only going to control Apple Music.
Cat Mulvihill: And that’s the plugin.
Joe Casabona: Yes, yeah. So that’s only going to control Apple Music. So I really love that. I have a page dedicated to eCamm Live and I have all 32 buttons for that because I’ve got like a bunch of scenes. But then I also have an eCamm Live, I have a short-form video profile. Because I was like, I’m gonna do TikTok, but I’m going to do it on my computer and not on my phone because that’s weird and I don’t like editing and I’m scared of it. So I set up a vertical video view based on your videos. So I have some buttons to control that too.
Cat Mulvihill: Nice.
Joe Casabona: I haven’t done a lot of that, like the short-form videos. But big fan of that. And then the last one I’ll mention is I have a button for Twitter to tweet that I’m live streaming.
Cat Mulvihill: I’ve seen that one, but it always make me nervous. It’s like, what if I really pressed this?
Joe Casabona: What if I accidentally hit it. I got nervous about that too. But low stakes on Twitter. First of all it’s an external link. So it’s probably not even going to get shown to people. So I have that right above my “go live” button. So I usually go one, two, sort of thing. But I can set up a multi-action now to go live and tweet.
Cat Mulvihill: Yes, absolutely.
Joe Casabona: I’m gonna do that.
Cat Mulvihill: I like that idea because the multi-action of if you press “go live”, you’re going live. So then the tweet going out that’s because you’re going live. And it’s rare that you would go live accidentally.
Joe Casabona: Now the one thing I need to think about is because I record in eCamm Live, the “go live” button is just the record button when you’re recording.
Cat Mulvihill: Oh, yeah. Yeah, you’re right.
Joe Casabona: So I would probably have two buttons that almost do the same thing.
Cat Mulvihill: You can have two different profiles, one for live one for recording.
Joe Casabona: Oh, yeah, that’s true. That’s true. That would be better. Yeah, I think that sounds good. Great. We’ve worked through a problem here. Well, my last question for you, is if people want to get started, we started off shallow, we got super deep, if people want to get started with eCamm Live and or the Stream Deck, what do you recommend?
Cat Mulvihill: I would say, I mean, I love teaching this stuff and I’ve got a bunch of tutorials. So to come over to my YouTube channel. I do also have some free graphics. So if people are just getting started with creating scenes and adding graphics, or you want to add graphics to Zoom, then I’ve got some free graphics that you can pick up. Those are right on my website. If you go there, you can pick them up.
Joe Casabona: Can you say the website for us? I’ll include it in the show note but for those listening.
Cat Mulvihill: It’s catmulvihill.com. Probably use the show notes for spelling.
Joe Casabona: Yes, yes.There are a couple of Is and several Ls in that. So I’ll include all of that in the show notes, which should be in your podcast player. But if they’re not, over at howibuilt.it/305. Cat, this has been so fun.
In the pro show, we’re going to talk about our camera setup and the pros and cons of using teleprompters. It’s gonna be a short conversation, I think because we went super long here. You already mentioned it, but is there any place else that people can find you if they want to learn more?
Cat Mulvihill: Well, I’m also sharing tips regularly to LinkedIn. So you can find me over on LinkedIn as well.
Joe Casabona: Yes. We are… Can I say this? We’re in a little like LinkedIn accountability group where we’re checking out each other’s posts and commenting.
Cat Mulvihill: Yeah, making sure… And it’s also just nice to check in. If you say you’re going to do it to actually have a group of people who might notice if you don’t do the thing you said you would.
Joe Casabona: Yeah, exactly. Which totally helped me this morning. I almost fell into a rabbit hole. And I’m like, “You know what? There are people who were on the Zoom call with me who are gonna be, What did you do? And I’m gonna be like I Googled alternatives to type fully.”
Awesome. Well, cat. Thanks so much for joining us today. I really appreciate it.
Cat Mulvihill: Awesome. I’m glad to be here. Thanks for inviting me.
Joe Casabona: Awesome. Thank you so much to you for listening. Thanks to our sponsors, GapScout, Groundhog, and LearnDash. Again, you can find all the show notes over at howibuilt.it/305. And until next time get out there and build something.