What is Companion Satellite?
Companion Satellite is a sister-application that connects your Stream Deck back to your original Companion installation, allowing you to control your production equipment over the local network, or even across the internet.
Before we get to the Satellite application, Companion itself is an application that runs on Mac, PC, and even Raspberry Pi to control over 200 brands of live production equipment on your local network – think ATEM Switchers, PTZ cameras, video playback, audio faders, timers, PowerPoint presentations and more. It centralizes the control of all your production gear into a single (or multiple!) Stream Decks.
The computer you choose to install Companion on to needs to be accessible to the other production devices on your local network. For example, Companion is installed on my Mac, which has the IP address 192.168.8.138, and it speaks to my ATEM Mini Extreme ISO which has the IP address 192.168.8.223.
Typically in this scenario, the Stream Deck is connected via USB directly to the host computer. Therefore, the distance between the two is limited by the length of the USB cable (3-10 feet).
However, I can access Companion’s interface on my Mac installation from any other computer connected to the network, by opening up a web browser and typing in the address 192.168.8.138:8000 (the “:8000” indicates the port number).
If this is new to you, here’s a previous blog post I wrote about how to install Companion.
Install Companion Satellite
But what if we want to use the Stream Deck surface at a different desk, or in a different room, or in an entirely remote location?
This is where the magic of Companion Satellite comes in.
Similar to how we could use a remote computer’s web browser to connect to the original Companion installation, we can use Companion Satellite on a remote computer to connect your Stream Deck’s USB surface back to the original Companion installation.
On the remote computer (connected to the local network):
- Connect your Stream Deck via USB to the remote computer
- Open Companion Satellite (the icon will appear in the upper right task bar on a Mac)
- Click “Change Host”, and input the IP address of the computer running the original Companion installation (remember, in my example, this was 192.168.8.138)
- Double check that “Change Port” is set to the default port number of 16622
Now the buttons on your Stream Deck attached to the remote computer will reflect the layout of the original Companion installation, and you can control your production remotely across the network.
If you are outside of your local network, connect via your VPN to be able to control your production over the internet.
MultiViewer Over Zoom
One last bonus step, if you use an HDMI-to-USBC webcam adapter (such as the CamLink4K), you can send your MultiViewer through a video conferencing service like Zoom (for low-latency), and you now have a truly remote switching solution so you can direct a live production outside of the studio.