Test Bench:Contour Design ShuttlePRO Multimedia Editing Controller
$125

Contour Design Inc.

10 Industrial Drive

Windham, NH 03087

(800) 462-6678

www.contourdesign.com

We love finding inexpensive tools, software or hardware, that truly make playing with video more fun. The sleek ShuttlePRO multimedia controller serves primarily as a jog/shuttle device, but also has 13 completely customizable buttons. This is a great tool that may dramatically improve your editing efficiency.

Jog/Shuttle

At the center of this almost flat unit is the jog/shuttle dial. The unit works by sending keyboard commands to your application via a USB connection. For example, with each incremental clockwise rotation of the jog dial, a single Right Arrow keyboard press is communicated to your software, moving the timeline cursor one frame forward. Likewise, counter-clockwise rotations send Left Arrow commands, moving the timeline cursor backward a frame at a time. The very distinct notches in the ShuttlePRO have a great feel and it is very satisfying to slowly move forward and back frame-by-frame, or zip a few tens of frames with a quick flick of the wrist.

The shuttle aspect was less appealing. While it worked as it should, it is not equivalent to an analog shuttle found on an editing VCR. It works by sending a single keyboard signal for small rotations and sending progressively more strokes as it rotates further. While the feel of the dial itself was good, no matter how much we tweaked the behavior, we just couldn’t get the shuttle to zip as fast as we’d like. This isn’t a flaw in the product, since we couldn’t get the timeline cursor to zip about as we’d like using the keyboard alone either.

Custom Keys

You can customize every aspect of the ShuttlePRO. Contour Design includes a number of templates for many of the most popular editing environments. So, if your application doesn’t use the Left/Right Arrow keys to navigate frame by frame through the timeline, you can still load the proper template and the jog dial’s behavior will match your particular software’s navigation keys. Or, you could program the jog dial to type "-" for a counter-clockwise turn and "+" for a clockwise jog, changing the behavior to zoom in and out on your timeline.

Customization is most important for the 13 buttons on the device positioned within fingertip reach of the jog/shuttle dial. Again, these are pre-programmed with useful editing shortcuts from your application according to a template. If you are still learning your editing environment, you may want to consider learning the thoughtful template that the Contour Design professionals created. Perhaps we’re just stubbornly independent, but instead of learning what each button did, we immediately reprogrammed all of the buttons to our liking. The process couldn’t have been much easier. We made the first row above the dial Undo, Cut, Copy, Paste and Delete. We then placed Redo (above Undo), C (for the cut or razor tool in Premiere), V (for the standard tool) and Ctrl+S (Save) on the top row.

We reserved the four keys on the bottom for Ctrl, Alt and Shift modifier keys as well as the Space Bar for playback. As you can see, modifier keys and key combinations are all possible. When we combined a slightly different setup in Vegas Video (different tool-change commands) with a mouse that had a scroll wheel, we only had to touch the keyboard to type file and marker names. We were addicted to this product at that point. What’s more, it can be programmed to automatically detect the active application and switch templates accordingly.

Your Tool

No matter what editing application you work with, you’ll find the ShuttlePRO useful. After just one editing session, you’ll find yourself wondering how you ever got along without it.

TECH SPECS

System Requirements

Platform: Mac or PC

Operating System: Mac OS 8.6-10.1; Win 98SE, 2000, Me, XP

Other Hardware:

USB port

STRENGTHS

  • Flexible programmability
  • Frame-by-frame jog wheel

    WEAKNESSES

  • Shuttle not quite analog equivalent
  • Dangerously addictive

    SUMMARY

    A truly functional tool that fits your editing needs.

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