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Zoom iPad Keypad Control

While it’s possible to use a Bluetooth keyboard with an iPad, you can also use a USB keyboard (or keypad) with an iPad. Some quick tests revealed that the 8K Controller worked just fine. In fact, we programmed it for the following Zoom controls:

  • Mute/Unmute my audio
  • Start/Stop my video
  • Display/Hide Chat
  • Minimize meeting
  • Display/Hide manage participants

While “Minimize meeting” only minimizes and does not maximize, all the other controls are toggles. Press a button to mute yourself, press it again to unmute yourself, etc.

The command to “Close the front window” (which works fine on the macOS desktop application) did not work on iOS. (This may be due to being the host of the meeting… more testing is needed.) Everything else worked great!

So how do you connect a USB device to an iPad? It doesn’t exactly have USB ports… While Apple’s Lightning to USB Camera Adapter and USB-C Digital AV Multiport Adapter should fit the bill, I used a cheaper option, an OTG USB Adapter that was less than $11 USD.

Reminder: The 8K Controller is a USB controller. By default, it’s programmed for function keys F13 through F20 (which are not found on most keyboard.) You can get one at the 2XL Networks Shop.

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Zoom Power User 8K

Are you forced to use Zoom for work? Or worse, do you love to use Zoom for work, or fun, or whatever? No worries… with the 8K Controller we can enhance the experience. Zoom makes great use of keyboard shortcuts and they’re customizable, which means we can assign them to F13, F14, etc. that the 8K Controller uses. Let’s walk through the process…

Note: While the following screenshots were taken using macOS, this all works fine on Windows as well. (And once we install Zoom on Linux we’ll test it there.)

In the Zoom Settings you’ll see Keyboard Shortcuts. It lists the actions that can be controlled by key commands. One of the most popular things people want to do is mute and unmute themselves. You can do this with the key combo Command-Shift-A on macOS, or Alt-A on Windows and Linux.

You can even set some of these key commands to be Global Shortcuts, which means they’ll work even when Zoom isn’t the frontmost application. This is handy if you’ve got a browser or some other application in focus. It’s up to you which shortcuts you want to be global.

Nearly all of the shortcuts allow for customizing. Just click on the already populated shortcut and it should allow you to edit it.

Once it’s highlighted and ready to be changed you can just press a button on the 8K Controller and it will populate the field. Let’s press the F13 button.

Boom! We’ve now got F13 (the first button on the 8K Controller) set to mute/unmute Zoom, and it will work globally, no matter what application has focus. But wait, there’s more! We can keep going… Here’s a list of all the shortcuts I set.

  • F13 Mute/Unmute My Audio
  • F14 Mute Audio for Everyone Except Host (Host Only)
  • F15 Start/Stop Video
  • F16 Start/Stop Screen Sharing
  • F17 Switch to Speaker/Gallery View
  • F18 Show/Hide In-meeting Chat Panel
  • F19 Enter/Exit Full Screen Mode

Well, there’s seven, which isn’t too bad. Zoom on macOS does not recognize F20, though on Windows 10 it works fine. This was all done with the default F13-F20 that the 8K Controller uses. If you really wanted something custom, we can program the controller to use any key commands found on the Zoom Hot keys and keyboard shortcuts page, including the commands that are not customizable in the settings.

Reminder: The 8K Controller is a USB controller. By default, it’s programmed for function keys F13 through F20 (which are not found on most keyboard.) You can get one at the 2XL Networks Shop.

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Boom Pole Mount

Boom Pole Mount

Recently I’ve been on a few shoots where I’m doing the audio, and if you’re holding a boom pole and trying to keep the mic out of the shot, it can be a bit difficult to adjust the recorder, which you’ve typically got resting on something nearby, or if you’re moving around, holding in your hand. Obviously I needed a “BPM” and this time it’s not “Beats Per Minute” but “Boom Pole Mount”, which will hold the Zoom on the boom pole freeing up one hand to made adjustments or, you know, help steady the boom pole. (Maybe it needs a better name, like “Zoom2Boom” or something.)

As often is the case… 3D Printing to the rescue!

3D model

I measured the second segment of the boom pole and it came in at 30.2mm in diameter, so I fired up OpenSCAD and started to design a piece that would mount to the pole. (I should also note at this point that I’m not the greatest at math.)

2D test

I thought that instead of printing a test piece I would make a paper prototype to test the fit, so I converted my 3D STL file into a 2D DXF file in OpenSCAD. I figured that wasting a bit of paper was better than wasting a bunch of plastic. It’s also much faster.

Silhouette cutting

I used the Silhouette Cameo to cut my DXF file using a page from an old calendar. (Reuse! Recycle!) Of course once it was cut I realized that I used 30.2mm for the radius instead of 15.125mm. Drat! Lesson learned, you can use d for diameter instead of r for radius in OpenSCAD.

Final 3D model

Back to the old drawing board, by which we mean the “constructive solid geometry” software. This is version 2 of the design. Version 1 was lacking the holes for the hex bolt heads to fit into on the flanges, and was a little thin. Version 2 seems to have resolved all the issues that version 1 fell short on.

Boom Pole Mount

A few bolts, nuts, and knobs (just like the arm uses) and we’ve got a pretty solid piece that I trust to hold the recorder to the boom pole with. The one thing we may need to watch out for is over-tightening the knobs, as that could lead to cracking the plastic. I can probably solve this by adding more infill to the print (it’s at 35% now) or by a slight redesign. We’ll field test this one first though, to see how it holds up.

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Hot Shoe Audio Mount

Since I’ve got the RepRap I can start on some projects I’ve been meaning to tackle, one of which is printing some camera accessories.

Hot Shoe Audio Mount

Thingiverse is full of weird combos of objects smashed together, such as the Lepus Colberus (The Colberabbit), but you can also combine individual objects in other ways.

I grabbed this 1/4-20 Thumb Screw and this Nikon DIY GPS Holder and combined them into a new thing.

Hot Shoe Audio Mount

The nice thing about the “Nikon DIY GPS Holder” I printed was that I can see it being a generic part I can modify in the future. I can easily import the STL file into Google Sketchup and built on top of it. (I did find this camera mount accessory, but the assembly was a little more complex than I wanted to deal with.) It did take a little bit of work with a file to get the part to fit the hot shoe on my Nikon, but that’s probably a good thing. I got it to fit just as snug as I wanted after minimal filing and sanding.

Hot Shoe Audio Mount

I’m still calling this one a prototype. I ended up drilling out the hole for the bolt, and I cut the head off the bolt to be able to make it all fit together. It works, but I can see some improvements for next time. (I’m also expecting better quality from the RepRap as I get better at calibrating and operating it.)

Hot Shoe Audio Mount

Here’s the mount on the hot shoe of my camera. I haven’t done a ton of video shooting with the Nikon D3200 yet, but I know that most DSLR microphones are not very good, and secondary audio is pretty standard, so by mounting the Zoom H2 on the camera I can get better audio, and I can also monitor the audio, which you can’t do with the Nikon D3200. (The Nikon D800 does allow you to monitor audio from the camera, but we still haven’t received ours.)

So besides two nuts and a bold, there’s probably 10 cents worth of plastic. I think this shows the power of 3D printing in making things you need. I wouldn’t have been able to make this out of wood or metal very easily, but a 3D printer and a hardware store made this a pretty trivial project.

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Convo Droid

Convo Droid

I’m not sold on the name “Convo Droid” but this thing is a friend of Time Lapse Bot that will be used to capture audio at BarCampMadison.

It consists of a mic stand and a Zoom H2 Handy Portable Stereo Recorder which can be used to capture a full day of audio. The idea here is, we put this in session rooms and let it record the discussions so that we can publish them later. It is battery powered, but in order to get a full day of use, we’ll probably need to go with AC power.

(And if you have a better name than “Convo Droid” please let me know!)