Use your iPad or iPhone to control BoinxTV

by Bastian -

Disclaimer: This control set up requires paid 3rd party apps, that together cost about $23!

Controlling BoinxTV using your mouse or keyboard shortcuts works just fine, but sometimes it would be really handy to have an external control panel that would allow you to control the system from a distance. Enter the iPad (or iPhone), and third party apps TouchOSC and OSCulator. Originally designed for OSC (Open Sound Control) to control audio applications, they work just great for controlling virtually any application in some way, BoinxTV included.

The first thing you’ll need is TouchOSC editor for the Mac, which can be downloaded from hexler.net

When you first open it, be sure to select the correct device and orientation you want to use. For handling and screen size reasons, we will assume a horizontal iPad from now on, but everything described here also works on the iPhone (just on a much smaller scale), and also in vertical orientation.

To illustrate this concept, we’ll start with one single button, and then you can advance from there. Right click anywhere on the black canvas and select “Push Button” from the menu.


Enlarge the button a little bit so it is easy to hit. When you select it, there are various settings that can be set up in the left column. If you want, you can set a name here; that will make it easier to identify the buttons you send later on. I recommend naming it something unique that describes its action and has no blank spaces. In our case, we want to trigger the lower third of our studio guest John Doe, so we name the button “LT_John_Doe”. It is VERY important that you don’t use blanks, so either replace them by underscores or use CamelCase!


We also need a label to recognize the button later while operating. Again, right click on the canvas and select “Label V”. Drag the newly created label on top of the button and adjust its text using the text field. There is no need to adjust the name field here here as it doesn’t get transmitted anyway. Adjust both color and background for the button and the label to your preference.


Now save the file under a name that makes sense, as this will be name you’ll recognize it by on the iPad. Now hit the Sync button in the toolbar of the editor to start the sending process. Let the window sit there. Now it’s time to switch to the iPad.

The next step is downloading TouchOSC to your iPad. You can get it from the Appstore. It’s $4.99 very well spent, as this universal app will run on both your iPad and iPhone. Once you open TouchOSC, you’ll see this:


Unfortunately, the interface is a bit counterintuitive in the beginning, but you’ll catch on to the process very quickly. First, tap “Not set” in the “Layout” section. There, tap “Add”. In the following screen, you’ll see your Mac (they need to be in the same Wifi of course).


Tap your Mac and TouchOSC will import the file (if the file is present already you’ll be prompted to overwrite it). Now, you’ll get the list with all the available layouts again. Here, tap your Layout you just imported to load it as the active layout.


Hitting the “TouchOSC” back button on the top left brings you back to the main menu. Now we need to go back to the Mac to set up the application that receives the commands. Hit stop on the TouchOSC Editor sync dialog.

Now you’ll need OSCulator, which can be downloaded from OSCulator.net. To get a non-time limited version, you need to purchase it. OSCulator has a pay-what-you-want pricing model with a minimum price of $19. After downloading and installing OSCulator, it will automatically start to listen for incoming OSC connections, so it’s back to the iPad and TouchOSC. Tap on “OSC: Disabled” in the “Connections” section.


Now, enable OSC using the toggle switch. Once enabled, TouchOSC will find all the Hosts with running OSC receivers in your local network. Tap your Mac in the “Found Hosts” section, and head back to the main screen by tapping “TouchOSC” in the top left corner.


Now you will see that an OSC connection is established and that your previously selected layout is loaded, so all that is left to do is tap “Done”.


Now you have your one button control surface. Tap the button once and take a look at OSCulator, it will now display the button you just pressed in the button list. After that, we’ll need to assign an action to the button. So select “Key Combo” from the “Event Type” popup.


And after that select “New…” from the “Value” popup.


In the small popup window, enter your desired shortcut simply by pressing it. We recommend using the letters A-Z together with the modifiers Shift, Control, Option and Command. It is very important to create absolutely unique shortcuts that no other application uses. While you are in this window, we recommend creating more shortcuts for later use. Make sure you also create one that is just CMD+R for starting and stopping the recording. As the target, always select “BoinxTV” (if it doesn’t appear in the dropdown, make sure it is running).


After setting up your shortcuts, your settings should look something like this. For your convenience, you can also simply download an OSCulator file from here that has all the keyboard shortcuts predefined; all you would need to do is set up your TouchOSC buttons.


Once you have set up your keyboard shortcut for the TouchOSC button, we come to the last step: assigning the button to an action in BoinxTV. So, load your BoinxTV document, select the layer or layer setting and click the “Record Shortcut” button either in the “Layer” or “Layer Setting” column. If you want to toggle the entire layer, choose the “Layer” option. If you just want to toggle a specific layer setting (ideal for lower thirds), choose “Layer Setting”.


As soon as the button says “Type shortcut,” hit the button on your iPad and the keyboard shortcut you entered before in OSCulator. From now on you can toggle this layer or setting with the button on your iPad. The same works with every BoinxTV button that has the option to assign a keyboard shortcut (e.g. camera switching using the “Video Switcher” layer or toggling between speaker and slides using the “Presenter” layer).


All you need to do is create a layout that fits your needs and assign keys. Once you save a document, save the OSCulator settings and have your iPad handy. The next time, all you need to do is launch TouchOSC on your iPad, open OSCulator and re-open the previously created BoinxTV document and you are ready to go!


To give you an idea of what layouts could look like, you can download two example layouts here that we use in our live productions.

If you have any questions or suggestions, please leave them in the comments of this post and we’ll be sure to respond as quickly as possible. Enjoy!!