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Best Control Surface?


EphraimP

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So, I broke my hand at the absolute worst time  for video editing ( is there ever a good time?).  I have at least four videos due this month and am about to take on 2 edit heavy video projects. with my right hand bundled up like a mummy, I'm limited to using a very uncoordinated left hand for who knows how long.

Luckily, I have found that a trackball is easier to use than a regular mouse, So my workflow has not ground to a complete halt. And thank goodness I've done all of the key shoots I had scheduled.

The trackball has me considering whether a control surface will speed up my editing and keep my deadlines on track, or even save me money in the long run because I'm estimating jobs and a flat fee vs charging hourly. I edit with Premiere Pro,  God help me,  and plan to switch to DaVinci when I have time to train on the system. I'm interested to know you professional editors out there  have found a device that plays nicely with both systems and is  worth the cost.

Thanks for your input.

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I'm still looking into this, and started a thread some time ago:

My little keypad thingy arrived but I haven't had a chance to look at it.

My initial impressions are that the only difference between dedicated editing controllers and normal keyboards is that 1) dedicated controllers have a jog wheel for accurately scrubbing forwards and backwards, and 2) dedicated controllers often have a specific layout and colour-coding or labelling of the keys.  Beyond those things they're pretty much just keyboards:

two-models.png?_v=1603345283

Zooming back out a little, sorry to hear about your injury, but great to hear you're trying to work around it and potentially take it as an opportunity to improve your setup.

I would go one step further and suggest that this is an opportunity to get an edit controller, learn to use it with your left hand, and that maybe you should think of this as a permanent way forwards.  You'll be building muscle memory, and (assuming you're right-handed), when your hand heals you will have your dominant hand free to do other things while you're editing.  In contrast to that I use my dominant hand for editing control and my non-dominant hand is pretty useless as I'm not as coordinated with it and I don't have any muscle memory for it either.

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Hello, a couple of months ago I bought the lopupedeck + console, I can tell you that it has been a quite pleasant experience. It does not improve the times, but having knobs and multiple programmable buttons, you can use it with one hand. I had a similar problem, I had tendonitis in my right hand and I was in the middle of editing a documentary film, I can say that I did 80% of the tasks with my left hand. I hope my story will serve you.

 

I forgot to tell you that it comes configured for the premiere edition.

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20 hours ago, andrgl said:

Grab a cheap used midi controller locally and use Midikey2Key for PC (not sure for Mac, something free is out there,) to remap the knobs, buttons, whatever, for keyboard commands.

Does that video have sound?

19 hours ago, kye said:

Itwo-models.png?_v=1603345283

Zooming back out a little, sorry to hear about your injury, but great to hear you're trying to work around it and potentially take it as an opportunity to improve your setup.

I would go one step further and suggest that this is an opportunity to get an edit controller, learn to use it with your left hand, and that maybe you should think of this as a permanent way forwards.  You'll be building muscle memory, and (assuming you're right-handed), when your hand heals you will have your dominant hand free to do other things while you're editing.  In contrast to that I use my dominant hand for editing control and my non-dominant hand is pretty useless as I'm not as coordinated with it and I don't have any muscle memory for it either.

Thanks, Kyle. I'm definitely taking it as a signal to crank up my editing speed. I'm about to take on a project to edit about 19 ~4 minute videos shot by amateurs and and another editing a ~45 minute news broadcast-style video where I might be the one to shoot presenters in a studio-type environment and stich it together with clips shot years ago by amateurs. To meet deadlines for both jobs and to make a decent return on my time I'll need to edit very quick and efficiently. I think it will warrant a small investment in equipment and time to boost my editing speed. The small BM keypad looks nice, but I'm not sure if you could program it for Premiere or other programs. I'm starting to think that the Elgato Stresmdeck XL can be programed to do all of the same functions and more, plus be usable for many more programs and might even work with my ATEM to run macros for livestreaming.

The trackball I just got has a jog wheel, so I can even have that functionality if I edit two-handed once I can again. I'm not sure why I'd want to edit one handed and use my right hand for something else... to pull a Jeffrey Toobin? Seriously though, research shows that splitting focus on two tasks lowers productivity. And I'm really not sure what I'd use the other hand for.

9 hours ago, Katrikura said:

Hello, a couple of months ago I bought the lopupedeck + console, I can tell you that it has been a quite pleasant experience. It does not improve the times, but having knobs and multiple programmable buttons, you can use it with one hand. I had a similar problem, I had tendonitis in my right hand and I was in the middle of editing a documentary film, I can say that I did 80% of the tasks with my left hand. I hope my story will serve you.

I've thought about loupedeck. It seems that it's primary benefit is for color grading. I'm not 100 sure it will save lots of time. I guess you can program a lot of its buttons as hotkeys, but the Elgato interface is better in that regard.

7 hours ago, Kisaha said:

Kensington trackballs are amazing, the wheel can be used as a jog wheel. I am so psyched about them that I have 2 big ones and a smaller one to take with me when/if edit with my laptop.

That and a good mechanical keyboard are enough for me.

Get well soon!

Thanks, Kisaha. The trackball my wife bought for me to try out is a Kensington with a jog wheel. It makes a significant difference and now I wonder why I haven't had one all along.

So far, it looks like the Elgato Stream Deck XL is going to give me the best bang for my buck. If I was a colorist primarily or if I had tons of photos to edit I'd probably pick up a Loupedeck. I'm still on the fence about it.

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I have to admit that I am a constant sucker for these control systems. I seem to have bought just about everything out there.

In terms of recommendations the Elgato Stream Deck is simple but excellent and another oldie but goody is the shuttleXpress.

Really the two biggest disappointments were the products I had most hope for. First, palettegear - constant connection issues and really not that user friendly (although I will probably be stupid enough to give their monogrammcc offering a go (if they can get their website to work.) Biggest disappointment for me (and collecting dust at the back of some cupboard) was 'loupedeck' that on the face it seems 'perfect' but in reality was a huge disappointment...

This guys review of the Loupedeck is so spot on....

And just like him - I so wanted this control deck to good - it was just so disappointing....,

 

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12 hours ago, EphraimP said:

Thanks, Kyle. I'm definitely taking it as a signal to crank up my editing speed. I'm about to take on a project to edit about 19 ~4 minute videos shot by amateurs and and another editing a ~45 minute news broadcast-style video where I might be the one to shoot presenters in a studio-type environment and stich it together with clips shot years ago by amateurs. To meet deadlines for both jobs and to make a decent return on my time I'll need to edit very quick and efficiently. I think it will warrant a small investment in equipment and time to boost my editing speed. The small BM keypad looks nice, but I'm not sure if you could program it for Premiere or other programs. I'm starting to think that the Elgato Stresmdeck XL can be programed to do all of the same functions and more, plus be usable for many more programs and might even work with my ATEM to run macros for livestreaming.

The trackball I just got has a jog wheel, so I can even have that functionality if I edit two-handed once I can again. I'm not sure why I'd want to edit one handed and use my right hand for something else... to pull a Jeffrey Toobin? Seriously though, research shows that splitting focus on two tasks lowers productivity. And I'm really not sure what I'd use the other hand for.

I've read many times that an investment in a control surface repays itself many times over in increased efficiency, so I think it's a good way to go.

I wasn't suggesting the Resolve keyboards, quite the opposite in fact.  The link I provided in the other thread (and repeated below) is what made me think the "DIY" option might be the best.  From the article:

Quote

HID Macros is the software we will need to get everything working.

http://www.hidmacros.eu/

This is the only macro software that comes ready to use with the ability to take commands from ONE specified keyboard while ignoring another.

This means you can command macros with the numbers on your USB number pad without having them activate when you press numbers on your main keyboard.

I haven't tried it yet, but what I interpret this to mean is that you can program your extra keyboard to have different hotkeys than your normal keyboard, potentially doubling your controls, or more if you are using more than one additional extra keyboard (not sure if that's possible?).  Combined with the keyboard shortcuts within your NLE I'm imagining this should make a setup as flexible as you like.  I watched a few reviews of various controllers and the downside was never the hardware, it was always the limitations of customising things, which I thought the above would get around.

In terms of my reference to two hands, I wasn't suggesting that you spend time drinking beer or doing some other task with the other hand, more that you could use the other hand to have access to more controls in editing.
In practical terms, you get speed by having one-key access to a function, but even more speed when you don't have to look.  There's a limit to how many keys you can reliably hit without looking, probably something like 12 or 16 per hand.  I don't know about your editing hotkeys, but mine are typically JKL for back/stop/forwards, IOP for MarkIn/MarkOut/Insert, leaving only a few remaining keys for other operations such as ripple trimming etc.  If you have a jog wheel then you'll probably have a hard time operating it and reliably hitting a few extra buttons with the same hand without looking.  
However, if you have two hands active at once, you can use one for the basic navigation and operations you'll need to do in bulk, and then the other hand can have access to another dozen more sophisticated editing commands, or alternate methods of navigation like next and previous clips, navigating between markers or flags or whatever, etc. 
If you're anything like me you will have very little muscle memory on your left hand, so your injury has kind of forced you to work through the frustration of learning to navigate and do basic operations with your left hand, making it likely that by the end of it you'll be fresher with it than your current dominant hand, especially if you get a control surface of some kind, which your dominant hand won't have experience with.
The end-game if you go down this route is to be able to edit a project from start to finish without looking away from the monitor basically at all.

Depending on how you work, you may even want to map some basic colour adjustments to your right hand, like WB or exposure, so you can kind of correct as you go.  As Resolve is so nicely integrated and I use it for my whole workflow I tend to bounce back and forwards between the Edit and Colour pages, as I find that Colour impacts how I edit to a certain extent.  For example, I might make a selects by eliminating all shots that are crap, but then I would do a Colour pass adjusting WB, levels, and conforming to rec709 so I can see the shots (instead of them being in LOG, for example).  Then I would go back and make as assembly with more decisions based on how lovely the shots look.  Then I'd do a colour pass really working with the clips, especially the 'hero' shots.  Then adding music and doing the timing of the edit I would be looking at how great each shot looks from the colour grading to determine how many 'beats' to keep on a particular shot.  Sometimes a shot really comes alive in grading and so I might linger on it longer, or maybe even slowing it down slightly, etc.  These grading things all contribute to the edit, but I don't want to colour grade every clip before I start editing as that would be a huge waste of time.

Anyway, food for thought about keyboard shortcuts.

The other thing to think about is your overall workflow.  I've seen that there are really two methods for editing. 
The first is to review all the clips and make selects, then make another pass eliminating more clips and refining timing, etc etc until you have a final edit.  This means once you eliminate a clip you shouldn't need to look at it again, but has the downside that you end up looking at lots of clips several times that won't make the final edit.
The second is to log footage properly, and then just make a timeline by pulling the best clips in.  This is more efficient if you have higher shooting ratios and are organised, but if you have poor organisation skills and a poor memory then you could end up spending minutes/hours looking for each clip that you pull onto the timeline, which would be less efficient overall than the first approach.
Essentially the first approach is that you start with everything and delete clips until you have the edit, and the second is starting with nothing and adding clips until you have an edit.
Most people have a hybrid of these approaches, so it's whatever works for you, but I'd suggest that getting this sorted would contribute more to your overall efficiency than a control surface would.

Anyway, food for thought.

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5 hours ago, Robert Collins said:

I have to admit that I am a constant sucker for these control systems. I seem to have bought just about everything out there.

In terms of recommendations the Elgato Stream Deck is simple but excellent and another oldie but goody is the .

Really the two biggest disappointments were the products I had most hope for. First, palettegear - constant connection issues and really not that user friendly (although I will probably be stupid enough to give their monogrammcc offering a go (if they can get their website to work.) Biggest disappointment for me (and collecting dust at the back of some cupboard) was 'loupedeck' that on the face it seems 'perfect' but in reality was a huge disappointment...

This guys review of the Loupedeck is so spot on....

And just like him - I so wanted this control deck to good - it was just so disappointing....,

 

so, you reccomend Εlgato Stream Deck (the XL?) and ShuttleXpress? 

I wanted the Shuttle before, but after using the wheel of my Kensington as a jog wheel, I left it behind in my priorities, do you think the Elgato's will be a better option for me?

Do they work ok with Premiere and Resolve (I believe you work FinalCut, more?). 

Is it convinient to buy both brands, or an exaggeration? 

Thank you if you have the time to reply.

https://www.thomann.de/gb/elgato_stream_deck_xl.htm

https://www.thomann.de/gb/elgato_stream_deck.htm

https://www.thomann.de/gb/contour_av_solutions_shuttlepro_hardwarecontroller.htm?sid=c398e6b5cc9843280c7a5b19ef455448

https://www.thomann.de/gb/contour_shuttlexpress_black.htm

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22 minutes ago, Kisaha said:

so, you reccomend Εlgato Stream Deck (the XL?) and ShuttleXpress? 

I wanted the Shuttle before, but after using the wheel of my Kensington as a jog wheel, I left it behind in my priorities, do you think the Elgato's will be a better option for me?

Do they work ok with Premiere and Resolve (I believe you work FinalCut, more?). 

Is it convinient to buy both brands, or an exaggeration? 

Thank you if you have the time to reply.

https://www.thomann.de/gb/elgato_stream_deck_xl.htm

https://www.thomann.de/gb/elgato_stream_deck.htm

https://www.thomann.de/gb/contour_av_solutions_shuttlepro_hardwarecontroller.htm?sid=c398e6b5cc9843280c7a5b19ef455448

https://www.thomann.de/gb/contour_shuttlexpress_black.htm

I would without a moment of hesitation recommend an Elgato Stream Deck. I have the mid sized one which is 15 keys. But you can work in layers - so press photoshop and have 15 shortcuts in PS, same for Premiere, LR, or Chrome (with website shortcuts.) It is just super easy and intuitive to setup... 

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@EphraimP No sound, no. It's just a demo of what's possible with any MIDI controller with appropriate software.

And to be honest, looking through this thread, look how expensive everyone's "solutions" are. Crazy to think people are willing to spend hundreds if not thousands on some dedicated device that will be much slower at the start. Chances are too they will not use it enough, or simply never relearn a workflow around a specific piece of gear.

Why relearn anything? You can get midi controllers localy for literally $10-20. All it takes is a small investment in time to learn how to map the inputs and then you can dedicate buttons, knobs, sliders, etc, to commands (or a combination of commands,) you use all the time.

No relearning someone else's workflow. No spending insane amount of money.

Even the Elgato which offers flexibility is way too fucking expensive. (Terrible software and god awful hardware btw.)

Imagine spending the equivalent of a used lens or light on a glorified keyboard.

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4 hours ago, andrgl said:

@EphraimP No sound, no. It's just a demo of what's possible with any MIDI controller with appropriate software.

And to be honest, looking through this thread, look how expensive everyone's "solutions" are. Crazy to think people are willing to spend hundreds if not thousands on some dedicated device that will be much slower at the start. Chances are too they will not use it enough, or simply never relearn a workflow around a specific piece of gear.

Why relearn anything? You can get midi controllers localy for literally $10-20. All it takes is a small investment in time to learn how to map the inputs and then you can dedicate buttons, knobs, sliders, etc, to commands (or a combination of commands,) you use all the time.

No relearning someone else's workflow. No spending insane amount of money.

Even the Elgato which offers flexibility is way too fucking expensive. (Terrible software and god awful hardware btw.)

Imagine spending the equivalent of a used lens or light on a glorified keyboard.

My solution is about $10 🙂 

61b25ksnUlL._AC_SL1000_.jpg

Of course, my colour grading setup is hugely more expensive, but that's because it has to drive Resolve, which is a proprietary hardware interface, and it controls things that aren't keyboard mappable either, so it's a different proposition.

In terms of spending lots of money for something you'll be slower at to begin with, if you get something that works then the payback is huge.  

Imagine that you have a controller that saves 1s on a basic operation.  If we do that operation twice on every clip, have an average clip length of 3s, and edit a 45 minute show then that's 30 minutes.  However, that's if we only saved that time on the shots that made the final edit, but we do lots of editing on clips that don't make the final edit, and for the shots that do make the final edit we will adjust them multiple times, so let's conservatively multiply that by 5.  This doesn't count versions with a client where we create something that is finished and then have to move stuff around again for the next version.  This gives us 2.5 hours on one project by saving 1s on a single operation.  Multiply that by your hourly rate and you can see this starts to add up.

In reality a good controller will save time on many operations, but will also cut down on distractions while editing, saving the little moments of having to re-orient yourself, potentially making edits less stressful and potentially making you a better editor.

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  • 4 weeks later...

monogram.thumb.jpg.aca87190ebeb0e775e216ab5be536fc1.jpgmonogram.thumb.jpg.518db74e958bf29032aedf2ea9453b30.jpg

Ok, I have to add this one Monogram CC (essentially Palettegear 2.0). It is very expensive - this setup US$499 (although discount coupons available) but it works incredibly well.

The key is the jog wheel and the dials. The jog wheel seamlessly moves from 1 frame to rapid scrubbing (and its sensitivity can be adjusted). The same with the dials they just feel right (and sensitivity can be adjusted). For Premiere i have the dials set to position x, position y, scale, rotation, zoom timeline, next/previous edit. The dials can also be pressed so scale/reset scale.

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18 hours ago, Robert Collins said:

monogram.thumb.jpg.518db74e958bf29032aedf2ea9453b30.jpg

Ok, I have to add this one Monogram CC (essentially Palettegear 2.0). It is very expensive - this setup US$499 (although discount coupons available) but it works incredibly well.

Yeah, 5 bills for a job wheel and 6 dials plus a few buttons is spendy. Since I started using a track ball with a jog wheel, I couldn't imagine going without one. I definitely want to find a control surface with dials and maybe sliders to add to my setup. I'm enjoying my Stream Deck XL, how does  the Monogram system fit in your workflow with your Stream Deck? Any connectivity issues like you were having with the original Palettegear?

The more I think about it, the more the Loupedeck idea of combining Stream Deck-style programable screen buttons with dials and preset/function type buttons would be the way to go. Add a few sliders, jog wheels and a track ball with the regular buttons and you'd have a pretty amazing setup, given the right software to make it work. Too bad the Loupedeck CT don't work very well. 

Has anyone had experience with the Loupedeck+? It seems like it would pair well with a Stream Deck for anyone married to the Adobe ecosystem. 

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42 minutes ago, EphraimP said:

Yeah, 5 bills for a job wheel and 6 dials plus a few buttons is spendy. Since I started using a track ball with a jog wheel, I couldn't imagine going without one. I definitely want to find a control surface with dials and maybe sliders to add to my setup. I'm enjoying my Stream Deck XL, how does  the Monogram system fit in your workflow with your Stream Deck? Any connectivity issues like you were having with the original Palettegear?

The more I think about it, the more the Loupedeck idea of combining Stream Deck-style programable screen buttons with dials and preset/function type buttons would be the way to go. Add a few sliders, jog wheels and a track ball with the regular buttons and you'd have a pretty amazing setup, given the right software to make it work. Too bad the Loupedeck CT don't work very well. 

Has anyone had experience with the Loupedeck+? It seems like it would pair well with a Stream Deck for anyone married to the Adobe ecosystem. 

I have the smaller stream deck (15 key) and love it. The Stream Deck works in layers - so press photoshop and move to 15 shortcut/macros, press lightroom and move to 15 shortcut/macros, press chrome and have links to 15 websites. It can also control my sound, aircon and lights. I have well over 100 shortcuts/macros mapped to my stream deck. It works very well for me....

Against this - the 3 macro black macro tabs on the monogram seem somewhat redundant although their location does make them useful. As I said before it is the jog wheel and dials that monogram has done really well (my guess is the sliders would be good too...) Monogram has learnt from their mistakes with palette gear and this set up works really well with a premium feel. In terms of complaints - sometimes the profile doesnt change automatically when you switch programs (so you have to switch manually.) Secondly there seems very limited program profiles available - it is very adobe centric. I would have liked to see profiles for Photo Mechanic and Kyno for instance.

 

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