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Best Control Surface?


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On 12/10/2021 at 8:27 PM, kye said:

I'd suggest that you investigate controller options for FCPX.  I say this because:

  • You tried Resolve before and it didn't take
  • The Speed Editor is designed for the Cut page, and while certain things work in the Edit page a lot (most?) functions don't work there, or don't work in the way you'd predict / want
  • The Cut page seems to do rather odd things sometimes (maybe this will be fixed in future versions, but I'll believe it when I see it)

I have a love/annoyance relationship with Resolve and with BM.  On the one hand, the power of the colour page is unquestionable and the sheer quantity of features in the other pages is undeniable.  On the other hand, BM are a very take-it-or-leave-it company:

  • they have a way they expect you to work and even though they could alter features to let you work a different way they keep the features so they work their way and make zero sense any other way
  • they are a hardware company first and "cripple" Resolve to push you down the path of buying their hardware
  • they are focused on the big studios and the "little guys" are the poor cousin who isn't well catered for

I'm starting to really get acquainted with the controller and my work workflows and editing style now and I'm actually contemplating starting to hack together a controller setup of my own to "bypass" some of the Resolve restrictions.  Specifically, Resolve has a number of UI features that can't be assigned to Keyboard Shortcuts, or are usable in one page but not the other (eg, Cut page vs Edit page).  I'm pondering if it's worth my time to look into developing custom macros or whatever to get around these.

All good points. I've never warmed up to the magnetic timeline - usually I put music on that track and just edit like any other NLE (hence my liking the Cut page and wanting to use the Speed Editor) and FCP is a little weak on the audio side - which is why I've been split. But I've never had the time to really do a deep dive into Resolve. My wife is about to deliver our first, so I'm going to be off for most of the next two months with no deadline driven work projects. I can spend the time to properly learn Resolve and work on my grading skills with a mountain of baby girl videos. Resolve's recent updates made it really fast on the M1 Mac, so there's little to no speed advantage using FCP anymore and ACES is really slick with a7sIII Slog3 footage.

Thanks for all the advice. Its always nice to get other perspectives.

Cheers

Chris

 

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In case anyone is interested, I've just set up a £40 Korg NanoKontrol2 for colour correction in FCPX, using the free Command Post app (which is a new discovery for me and fantastic if you're using FCP).

I followed the vid above to set it up initially but spent yesterday afternoon on my own configuration using the Color Wheels (just brightness & saturation) rather than the board (which I've mapped for my own reference - see image below).

KORG_COMMAND_POST_FCPX.thumb.jpg.655e50b5a8b22217cba9117268802baf.jpg

So far I'm very happy - it's a pretty solid MIDI controller and Command Post seems pretty stable. It's only useful for correction - I won't be doing much grading with it - and couple of other things (clip volume, keyframes, timeline zoom) but to have physical controls and not have to fiddle with the mouse and keystrokes so much is great.

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  • 1 month later...

Interesting, if slightly repetitive, article on portable post-suite..

https://ymcinema.com/2022/01/20/building-your-editing-grading-suite-in-a-hotel-room/

This is something I'm moving towards gradually as I upgrade and upgrade equipment.  My goal is to have a portable setup that could do solo-shooter projects at a professional level.  I travel with a carry-on and single checked suitcase, and this would have to contain my cameras/lenses, clothes/toiletries/etc, as well as the post-suite.  I typically travel for 3-6 weeks at a time, shooting and editing and releasing videos while "in the field", and stay in hotels, air-bnbs, etc.

Currently my portable setup is designed to include:

  • GH5, GX85, 4-5 lenses, Rode VMP+
  • MBP with Resolve
  • BM UltraStudio Monitor 3G (Thunderbolt to HDMI controlled by Resolve)*
  • BM Speed Editor
  • Beatstep music synthesizer with Beatstep Resolve Edition hack from Tachyon Post
  • Portable HDMI monitor**
  • X-Rite i1Display Pro calibration probe
  • Platform***

* = about to order this
** = will order this when I get to travel again
*** = currently investigating options on this

The combination of the BM UltraStudio Monitor 3G and portable HDMI monitor will enable Resolve to bypass the operating system colour management and resolution/frame-rate controls and give an accurate representation of the video.  

I include the calibration probe in case I want to use the TV in the accommodation as the external monitor.  This would be dependent on the layout and ergonomics of the location, but would be useful to include and isn't that big or heavy.

The "Platform" is something that is unlikely to be relevant for others, but is useful to me.  I like to sit next to my wife on a couch or recliner and edit while she watches TV or is on her phone or computer.  This means that I have the setup on my lap, and in order to have a flat surface for the controllers and also to ensure that there's gaps for airflow from the vents in the laptop, I use a flat surface of some kind.  I currently use a bamboo cutting board, but this would likely be too heavy to travel with, so I'm contemplating other options like balsa wood, aircraft aluminium, or maybe a thin ply of some kind.

The other thing that I might include is an ultra-high CRI calibrated 6500K light-globe or two.  These mean that the light in the environment can be controlled to have a neutral colour temperature and tint and not provide a non-neutral reference for the rest of the room surrounding the display.

I like the Beatstep Resolve Edition but it's not perfect and I'd be curious if BM released a basic colour grading console that was comparably sized to the Speed Editor.  As seen in the article above, the Micro Panel is huge compared to a laptop and Speed Editor combo, and really doesn't need to be, as something that was the size of a full-size keyboard would be sufficient to hold 3/4 trackballs, a row of knobs and some buttons.

Is anyone else looking at more portable solutions?

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7 hours ago, kye said:

The "Platform" is something that is unlikely to be relevant for others, but is useful to me.  I like to sit next to my wife on a couch or recliner and edit while she watches TV or is on her phone or computer.  This means that I have the setup on my lap, and in order to have a flat surface for the controllers and also to ensure that there's gaps for airflow from the vents in the laptop, I use a flat surface of some kind.  I currently use a bamboo cutting board, but this would likely be too heavy to travel with, so I'm contemplating other options like balsa wood, aircraft aluminium, or maybe a thin ply of some kind.

 

This is an interesting product that has dual slide outs for holding other equipment. 

Might be a bit heavy though but something that could be used as, erm, "inspiration" for something DIY.

laptop_tra.thumb.jpg.d816d5d13f30b44e01e64625615f7674.jpg

https://www.amazon.co.uk/AboveTEK-Portable-Retractable-Non-Slip-Notebook/dp/B074473Z6T

7 hours ago, kye said:

I like the Beatstep Resolve Edition but it's not perfect and I'd be curious if BM released a basic colour grading console that was comparably sized to the Speed Editor.  As seen in the article above, the Micro Panel is huge compared to a laptop and Speed Editor combo, and really doesn't need to be, as something that was the size of a full-size keyboard would be sufficient to hold 3/4 trackballs, a row of knobs and some buttons.

Tangent, who make hardware control surfaces for Resolve, have something that might be worth looking at.

1631042019_ScreenShot2022-01-21at14_17_15.thumb.png.76529c20535b1dc72dc19371d15836c0.png

Its a virtual control surface that runs on iPad or Android tablets so it would satisfy the criteria of it being compact as you can scale it by dint of what size of tablet that you run on it.

You can even run it on different units at the same time so you could have one tablet running the screen with the control wheels on it and another the transport page etc.

2031845660_ScreenShot2022-01-21at14_22_18.png.2929aaad091d62ff73dbee89cf0754d8.png

It doesn't have any mad requirements on the tablet side so it will run any cheapo 7" no brand model so a couple of those will still give you a sub €150 solution.

There is a free version available to try out to see if it suits and the full version is €8.99 (you only need one copy for multiscreen operation).

https://www.tangentwave.co.uk/products/

If you don't fancy the idea of virtual surfaces, Tangent's compact Ripple controller might be worth a look if you can find one.

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On 11/16/2020 at 9:02 AM, kye said:

 

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.

 

I recently upgraded to a mouse with a scroll wheel.  The poor old mouse got arthritis or something similar and had to be put down.  Imagine my excitement to read about all these control surfaces / aids.  i do have a couple of questions although. 

 So @kyeIt seems to me you have two setups, one for colour grading and the other for general editing  ? thats the impression i get.

One other question i have for the group in general is, how easy are these to set up ? I checked amazon and they give you the opportunity to review stuff. Seems like 50% of people have trouble with the manufactures software to add the extra functionality to these beasties once you get past two buttons. 

Also i'd like to dabble with fusion eventually, i presume that a trackball would work ok in the fusion page ? Since i have probably clicked on the fusion page twice accidently i have no idea what's involved.  So may as well ask the question.

Being a stingy bugger i kinda like the idea of starting out with a kensington trackball with the scroll wheel. The normal wired two buttons model would probably suit my modest intentions. However i'm open to suggestions 

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7 minutes ago, leslie said:

 So @kyeIt seems to me you have two setups, one for colour grading and the other for general editing  ? thats the impression i get.

Yes.

For editing, I now have the BM Speed Editor:

DaVinciResolveSpeedEditorTop.jpg

It is BM official product and has a bunch of features that can't be done with any other hardware.  These are actually quite useful and make editing a really intuitive process.

For colour grading I have the Arturia Beatstep, and the Beatstep Resolve Edition software:

beatstep-image.png

The Beatstep device itself is a music production synthesiser and has absolutely nothing to do with Resolve or video editing at all.  The Beatstep Resolve Edition is a suite of software that assembles several different pieces of software to essentially "hack" the controller so that it works with Resolve.  

It isn't supported at all by BM and controls Resolve by faking mouse movements and keystrokes so basically Resolve thinks you're just moving the mouse and typing super fast.  It has a huge amount of functionality built-in but is a little clunky to use in some instances.  Don't get me wrong, you could absolutely use this professionally, and I've been in contact with the developer and he's mentioned that its used by many professional colourists and from my experience with it I would suggest that is very likely to be true.  I've been able to rip through timelines and perform basic corrections to match shots and apply grades and it's quite straightforward to average 10s per shot, even if the shots are from different cameras.

The Beatstep Resolve Edition doesn't provide any editing features and the buttons aren't the right kind of buttons for that (they're touch-sensitive pads designed for music making) so I'd prefer clicky keyboard type buttons for editing anyway.

7 minutes ago, leslie said:

One other question i have for the group in general is, how easy are these to set up ? I checked amazon and they give you the opportunity to review stuff. Seems like 50% of people have trouble with the manufactures software to add the extra functionality to these beasties once you get past two buttons. 

In Resolve, I see that there's basically four "levels" of control:

  • Devices where you can assign a key on the device to a shortcut in Resolve
    This is the case with many third-party devices, but you'll be limited to what functions Resolve will let you map to a keyboard shortcut.  
  • Devices and custom utilities where you can assign a key on the device to run a sequence of events on the computer like multiple keypresses or mouse movements etc
    These are hit and miss and difficult to use and I've downloaded a few and uninstalled them almost immediately because they don't do what I want them to do.  Note that Apple products and some third-party products aren't recognised by these apps as Apple doesn't let third-party apps capture keystrokes, probably a security mechanism
  • Setups like the Beatstep + Beatstep Resolve Edition where there's custom hardware and software that control the mouse and keyboard to operate Resolve.  Beatstep + Beatstep Resolve Edition is the only one I'm aware of, which makes sense because it's months/years of work to code something like this
  • Dedicated BM hardware
    This can do things that none of the above can do because the device is seamlessly integrated into Resolve.  Note that on the Speed Editor the custom utilities that can change keyboard shortcuts etc can't see the Speed Editor and Resolve itself also doesn't let you re-map any of the keys on the Speed Editor.  There are threads on the BM forums of people asking / complain about this.  The main thing is that the Speed Editor has 9 dedicated keys for multi-cam use and they can't be used for anything else, so if you don't do multi-cam then they're completely useless to you, even though there are other things that would be really great if they were mapped to the device

Resolve is a bit like Apple in the sense that it's a closed eco-system and they don't really support third-party devices that much and on their devices it's their way or the highway essentially. 

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15 hours ago, BTM_Pix said:

It doesn't have any mad requirements on the tablet side so it will run any cheapo 7" no brand model so a couple of those will still give you a sub €150 solution.

There is a free version available to try out to see if it suits and the full version is €8.99 (you only need one copy for multiscreen operation).

https://www.tangentwave.co.uk/products/

If you don't fancy the idea of virtual surfaces, Tangent's compact Ripple controller might be worth a look if you can find one.

This is very interesting actually.  I know you mentioned it before but now I understand my workflow better.

The use-case for this is that when I'm editing I want to be able to do basic colour adjustments to correct WB and exposure but without having to swap controllers and without having to swap from the Speed Editor in the Cut page to using the mouse/keyboard in the Colour page.  

The only functions that Resolve provides for shortcut keys are the Printer Lights keys, which don't really suit the way I work as they're Offset based which is designed for Log and not 709.

Do you happen to know if a controller app like Tangent-Vs can adjust the LGG wheels while Resolve is in the Cut or Edit pages?

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@BTM_Pix Got it working and it doesn't do anything in the Cut and Edit pages - just in the Colour page.  Bummer.  I'll have to re-think my workflow.  

Currently my workflow is to pull selects into a timeline and rearrange appropriately to make an assembly, then duplicate the timeline and add music and cut ruthlessly, touching up shots I like as I go.  Then I'll continue cutting and refining, and at some point I'll go across to the Colour page and do a "proper" colour session where I do primaries and secondaries etc.

The advantage of that is that approach is that I only colour grade the shots that survive a couple of passes, and I only really go to town on the Colour of shots that are basically in the final edit.  The downside is that it involves lots of trips to and from the Colour page during the editing process, which means I have to change from the Speed Editor to the mouse and keyboard and back again.

The alternative would be to do a colour pass on all the footage in the assembly, but it would result in lots of work for shots that get culled early.  

It's interesting that the officially supported panels have the same Colour-page-only limitation as the Beatstep.  I also noticed that the Printer Lights don't work in the Cut or Edit pages either.  Hmmm.

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i found another option called midigrade thats the softwars side of things.  You'd also need the midi fighter for the hardware side. It seems quite nifty to me,  its still not a budget option but probably cheaper than the bm option. 

 

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5 hours ago, shooter said:

Are we condemned to buy the BM Speed Editor? 

Yes.

3 hours ago, leslie said:

i found another option called midigrade thats the softwars side of things.  You'd also need the midi fighter for the hardware side. It seems quite nifty to me,  its still not a budget option but probably cheaper than the bm option. 

 

Interesting solution.  It's another example of where there's hardware and software that control the mouse and keyboard to operate Resolve.  You can see it when he adjusts the power-window - the mouse is skipping around.
It's based on ControllerMate, which is one of the pieces of software that the Beatstep Resolve Edition also uses.

If you were interested I'd suggest doing a price comparison between the two options as they seem broadly similar in price, although the functionality of the Beatstep looks to be significantly more expanded.

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13 hours ago, kye said:

For colour grading I have the Arturia Beatstep, and the Beatstep Resolve Edition software:

@kyeWith that software, does Resolve have to be in a specific layout? For example, if I undock my curves window, can it still find the curves and adjust it, or does it rely on knowing the exact positions of various buttons on screen? Does it work with an arbitrary sized window or only full screen?

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8 hours ago, kye said:

Yes.

Interesting solution.  It's another example of where there's hardware and software that control the mouse and keyboard to operate Resolve.  You can see it when he adjusts the power-window - the mouse is skipping around.
It's based on ControllerMate, which is one of the pieces of software that the Beatstep Resolve Edition also uses.

If you were interested I'd suggest doing a price comparison between the two options as they seem broadly similar in price, although the functionality of the Beatstep looks to be significantly more expanded.

It was on the wish list, till i googled the prices of both pieces and added them up. At this point i'll most likely add a kensington track ball with the scroll wheel and one of those numerical keyboards with macros or a korg nano control. I kinda like how that can be used to automate the sound and mixing levels.  I have gotten by with a two button mouse till now, so any improvement will probably be quite a leap forward. 

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8 hours ago, KnightsFan said:

@kyeWith that software, does Resolve have to be in a specific layout? For example, if I undock my curves window, can it still find the curves and adjust it, or does it rely on knowing the exact positions of various buttons on screen? Does it work with an arbitrary sized window or only full screen?

Yes, the layout absolutely matters.

The Beatstep Resolve Edition comes in different resolutions and you have to use the right one.  When you start it up it does an initialisation routine that resets the layout and puts Resolve into Full Screen mode.  I don't find it that much of an imposition but if you'd moved the windows around (in the Colour page) a lot then that might be an issue for you perhaps.  Depending on your screen resolution you might not be able to adjust the Colour page that much though.

I run Resolve in three ways:

  • on my laptop using only the laptop display, so viewing the clips/timeline in the GUI
  • on my laptop using only my UHD panel, so viewing the clips/timeline in the GUI
  • on my laptop using an external monitor as a "Clean Feed" and only using the GUI for controlling things

I heartily recommend the latter "Clean Feed" option if you have an external monitor you can use.  It's how you set things up if you have a BM hardware device (which I have just ordered and would recommend) but you can also do it with just a normal dual monitor setup through the menus - I think it's called something like "Clean Feed" - but you just choose which monitor it goes to.  It's a great way of working.

1 hour ago, leslie said:

It was on the wish list, till i googled the prices of both pieces and added them up. At this point i'll most likely add a kensington track ball with the scroll wheel and one of those numerical keyboards with macros or a korg nano control. I kinda like how that can be used to automate the sound and mixing levels.  I have gotten by with a two button mouse till now, so any improvement will probably be quite a leap forward. 

It's a tricky one as these things are absolutely worthwhile if you're billing your time, but hard to justify if it's only a hobby.  As there isn't one controller that does Editing and Colour it seems like the more controllers you get the more you're forced into the studio system way of working where each "page" in Resolve is done separately, rather than jumping around as I tend to do while I'm exploring and shaping the material.

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  • 2 weeks later...

after a little bit more searching i found out that the korg midi controller interfaces quite well with resolve in the audio page as well. It seems you can automate a bunch of things to do with the audio.

 

Don't know if all midi controllers can do this with resolve. However it seems quite nifty. On that basis i have bought one. I have also noticed @Matt James Smith ?  has one for fcp , which is mac right ? Hoping there's an windows version or similar software. it would be nice to kill two birds with one stone. metaphorically speaking of course. 

 

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9 hours ago, leslie said:

Don't know if all midi controllers can do this with resolve. However it seems quite nifty.

I haven't played with this side of Resolve, but I'd say it's likely.

MIDI is a very standardised protocol, and one of the most used and longest running standards around I think, so it's likely that most MIDI controllers will provide a significant benefit.

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