Back in March 2020, I created an On Air Light for Microsoft Teams and Zoom Meetings. I got a great response from this project. Some people built their own version and others even made a product (or trying to make a product) based on the idea. And, I also got a lot of messages looking for help. I realize that coding is not for everyone, so I came up with a different way of controlling your On Air light or even background lights while your live streaming without writing any code – just a bunch of configuration steps.
Here’s the idea. We are going to illuminate a box using a Wi-Fi controlled LED Strip. The LED strip that we are selecting uses Wi-Fi to connect to your home router and this allows you to control the LED strip (colors and state) using an IoT home automation site called Tuya Smart Life. In order to control the lights, you can either use your smartphone or buy a Stream Deck. The Stream Deck gives you push-button control of the light. So, when you start up your meeting or online meetings, you just touch a button on the Stream Deck and your live streaming lights turn on, including your new on-air light.
Configure Wi-Fi LED Strip
The first major hurdle is getting your new Wi-Fi LED Strip connected to your Wi-Fi network at your house. You need to know the network name and password. To configure the LED lights, you have to start with the Tuya Smart Life mobile app on your phone. Download the appropriate app for Android or Apple. A side bonus is that the Tuya Smart Life app supports lots of home automation things you might have around the house. When you are searching around Amazon, make sure in the Q&A or the reviews area to see if the product supports Tuya. If so, you can have everything controlled by one app. Sign up for a new account and then add your LED Strip to your account. Give the LED strip an easy-to-remember name. Admittedly, this might now go very smoothly. I have found that I need to try the process a few times to get the app to detect my lights. If you run into any trouble, make sure that your lights are in pairing mode and that your Wi-Fi access point supports 2.4GHz.
Visit IFTTT.com and sign up for a free account. With a free account, you can create three applets. IFTTT allows you to connect things to other things. In our case, we are eventually going to connect a Stream Deck to the LED strip. A Stream Deck doesn’t normally connect to the LED strip, so we are going to use IFTTT to bridge this gap. Create a new Applet. Under This, add a webhook. Under That, connect the Smart Life service. A webhook is a trigger that the Stream Deck will use to cause a command on the Smart Life platform. In our case, we are going to toggle the state of the LED strip (turn it on if it was off or turn it off if it was on). Note the key and name of the webhook when you create it at IFTTT. You will use this info for your Stream Deck.
Configure Stream Deck
The Stream Deck has a bunch of buttons that you can press to automate your live stream studio, control things while you are streaming, or quickly open apps at a touch. I use my Stream Deck to control PowerPoint while I give presentations and webinars.
Within the Stream Deck software, open Store. This will list all of the integrations that are possible. Search for IFTTT. Install the plugin. Drag the custom button to a new button your Stream Deck and configure it with the name of the applet and key from the IFTTT website. I grabbed an image of an On Air light from Google Images and added it as a custom icon.
I have been using this configuration for about a year and it has worked every time. Right before, I start a live stream event, I tough the Stream Deck and my On Air light comes on a few seconds later. Stream Deck also supports events that cause many things to happen with one button press. You could add this IFTTT event to a list of other events that happen all at once. We didn’t have to code anything to make this LED controller but it is a little complicated to configure. And, every part of the system is not well documented out there. This is truly for the maker, but you can get it going if you persist. Now that you know about this general workflow, you can control anything during your live streams. Maybe, you have a light turn on in the background when you get a new sub. Let me know what you build with this!