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Of Mice and Human Interface Devices

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Andrew Kimery
Of Mice and Human Interface Devices
on Nov 3, 2016 at 7:39:20 pm
Last Edited By Andrew Kimery on Nov 3, 2016 at 7:39:44 pm

With the recent conversations about keyboard shortcut modifiers, Apple's TouchBar and Microsoft's Surface Dial I'm curious as to what input devices everyone uses and why.

I'll get this ball rolling. Currently my primary input devices for editing are a Logitech G13 video game controller (LINK) and an Evoluent VerticalMouse (LINK) (I still own a Wacom tablet, but I don't use it as much as I used too though I'll bounce back to it if I feel my wrist/forearm starting to ache). The G13 is probably the best investment I've made in terms of increasing my speed and comfort while editing. It took a couple of weeks to work out how I wanted the keys mapped, but ultimately it was a great exercise to figure what I really needed and used the most. My big breakthrough came when I mapped "command", "shift" and "option" to buttuns under my left thumb. This allowed me to map up to four commands to all the other keys. Whenever I have to use a keyboard instead of my G13 I feel like I'm editing in quicksand.

The Evoluent VerticalMouse was more of a ergonomic choice because I already had a 6-button Logitech mouse (don't remember which one). I think it's comfy to use and the most used short cuts I have programmed are cut, copy, and paste. Aside from typing and commands I don't use often I barely touch my keyboard anymore. I'm looking at getting a bluetooth numberpad that I can place to the right of my mouse so that it's quicker/eaiser for me to key in TC.

I also have a Tanget Ripple (LINK) for when I'm coloring. I've used larger panels in the past (JL Cooper CX, Avid Artist Color, Tangent Wave), but I don't color as much as I used to so a smaller panel like the Ripple fits my needs better currently. For a while I tried going back to grading with my Wacom but it's just so slow compared to using a panel (even a small panel like the Ripple). It's like playing a piano with one finger vs using all 10.

It's obviously not out yet, but I'm curious to see how people will use the TouchBar and the Surface Dial. At least for editing I don't see the Dial being all that useful. Sure, it could be a jog/shuttle, but I've yet to use a jog/shuttle I like with an NLE because of having to constnatly move my hand from the keyboard or mouse to the jog/shuttle. Too much energy for a one trick pony, IMO.

I'm more interested in the TouchBar, but since I already have both hands off the keyboard I'm not sure how useful it will be for me. If Apple made a stand alone TouchBar I'd probably be more interested in that since I could place it where I wanted it.

So, what does everyone use?


-Andrew


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Michael Hancock
Re: Of Mice and Human Interface Devices
on Nov 3, 2016 at 7:51:01 pm

Fun topic.

I also have a G13 but use it primarily to launch specific folders in finder, or to run macros for stuff I do a lot (like uploading to Vimeo). I haven't mapped it to use with an NLE yet.

My mouse is the Logitech G700. It has a lot of buttons and I've mapped them all to make browsing the web better, like opening/closing tabs, tabbing between them, going back/forward on webpages.

For color I have the Avid Artist Color and Avid Transport, which I've mapped a handful of macros to. I'm working my way into doing more and more color work so eventually I'll have every button on the transport mapped. That's been a lot of fun and it's amazing how much time you save when you start mapping macros of actions you do a lot of. I'm looking to add an X-Keys XK-24 or XK-80 to map even more macros to, for both editing and color work.

The touch panel on the new MacPro looks like it might have potential, depending on just how much you can customize it. If there's already a keyboard shortcut I don't see the value in mapping that to the touch panel. But if you could map menu items that can't be mapped to a keyboard, or anything that requires a right click it could be amazing. I'd love to have a "Roles" button to hit, then it shows all the roles I've mapped so I can very quickly select multiple clips and assign a role with the touch of a button. Or have every custom export settings displayed so you can just touch the one you want without having to dive through menus - that would be fantastic. I doubt that level of customization will be available, but i really, really hope it is. And if it is - I hope they make an external keyboard with a touch bar. I'd pay good money for that. It could replace the G13 entirely, and be more functional.

----------------
Michael Hancock
Editor


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Andrew Kimery
Re: Of Mice and Human Interface Devices
on Nov 3, 2016 at 8:59:07 pm

[Michael Hancock] "For color I have the Avid Artist Color and Avid Transport, which I've mapped a handful of macros to. I'm working my way into doing more and more color work so eventually I'll have every button on the transport mapped. "

Yeah, there is an element of fun in experimenting and re-thinking your setup. The keyboard layouts we use today were designed in the mid-1800's for typing. They certainly aren't the best HID for editing, but they are everywhere and everyone knows how to use them so here we are.

I've always changed my keyboard settings, but there were always keys at left as default because... why not? But when you start with a totally blank slate then it really makes you look hard at your choices. As I said in my previous post, it took me a couple of weeks to really dial in a setup I like with my G13, but the muscle memory took a big longer change. For example, on a keyboard my left pinky hits "shift". On my G13 it hits "delete". So there were a lot of times I wanted to use shift as a modifier and my muscle memory said, "Okay pinky, do your job" and I'd delete something by accident. It was frustrating at first but then just became comical (and finally I developed muscle memory for the G13). When I get a chance I'll post a pic of my G13 layout.

A bonus side effect I didn't mention in my first post is that the G13 is always a conversation starter wherever I work and seems to impress producers.


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Bill Davis
Re: Of Mice and Human Interface Devices
on Nov 3, 2016 at 10:40:20 pm

I've written elsewhere that when X was released, my cheese grater had the wrong GPU to run it, so I started learning it on my newer MacBook Pro.
Without being aware of it, I was re-training my editing brain for a touchpad.
I was shocked at how much that changed things for me.
So much so, that even with a VERY robust system like the top of the line iMac I was editing presentations on at NAB - I went out and bought an APPLE Magic Touchpad and set it underneath my keyboard so I could continue to edit fluently.
I haven't touched a mouse in more than 3 years now.
I find it WAY faster to NEVER have to move my right hand - I just drop it 2 inches to the trackpad for all my ballistic cursor tasks. Multi-touch zoom and two finger swipe movement along my storylines comes along for the ride.
I suspect the TouchBar will simply ADD more movement to where I already go for my function keys - but for software specific modal commands. Should be fun.
YMMV.

Creator of XinTwo - http://www.xintwo.com
The shortest path to FCP X mastery.


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Mark Suszko
Re: Of Mice and Human Interface Devices
on Nov 4, 2016 at 2:15:55 pm

These interface experiments remind me of when I brought in my Thrustmaster A-10 Warthog flight sim HOTAS throttle and stick and ran the wiring alongside the editing controller to see what my brother editors would say. They were disappointed that it wasn't real.

The gaming keyboard with hotkeys looks like an interesting add-on... and you can do Starcraft with it on your break time:-)

One of the things I liked about the magic mouse was that it enabled me to swish the timeline left and right with my thumb, even as I used the rest of the mouse to click and drag/ enable edits. For me, touch interfaces are good for broad tasks like timeline manipulation, as well as for fine control of sliders/knobs. While the Microsoft Surface computer stunned for a lot of reasons, the multi-knob that was offered as an accessory is what caught the most of my attention.


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Steve Connor
Re: Of Mice and Human Interface Devices
on Nov 4, 2016 at 5:40:21 pm

[Bill Davis] "Without being aware of it, I was re-training my editing brain for a touchpad.
I was shocked at how much that changed things for me.
So much so, that even with a VERY robust system like the top of the line iMac I was editing presentations on at NAB - I went out and bought an APPLE Magic Touchpad and set it underneath my keyboard so I could continue to edit fluently.
I haven't touched a mouse in more than 3 years now. "


I did exactly the same, certainly helps stop "claw" hands


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Andre van Berlo
Re: Of Mice and Human Interface Devices
on Nov 7, 2016 at 7:21:55 pm

I have the same experience with my trackpad. I don't even remember in which box I put my mouse. It makes much more sense to me to use the pad in most apps I use.


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Andrew Kimery
Re: Of Mice and Human Interface Devices
on Nov 7, 2016 at 9:14:17 pm

I've never been a fan of editing with the trackpad on my MBP. I find having both hands on my laptop (one trying to use the keyboard and the other using the trackpad) to be uncomfortable cramped. Even when I'm using my G13 (under my left hand) I'll still use a mouse as opposed the the MBP's trackpad. If I was going to use a trackpad it would have to be the Magic Trakpad and placed to the right of the keyboard where a mouse would normally be.


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Bill Davis
Re: Of Mice and Human Interface Devices
on Nov 8, 2016 at 12:12:35 am

[Andrew Kimery] "I find having both hands on my laptop (one trying to use the keyboard and the other using the trackpad) to be uncomfortable cramped. "

Boy my experience is 180 degrees opposite that.

Fingers on the homerow - all it takes is a gentle drop of my right thumb to mouse around on the trackpad. Add the index finger for pinch moves.

It's hardly more movement than moving your right hand up a row for JKL transport.

In fact, since my thumb stays on the space bar for constant start and stop - it's position is halfway to the trackpad by default.

Hours of editing daily for years now and not the tinyist hint of RSI.

The mouse is dead to me now, I'm afraid.

Creator of XinTwo - http://www.xintwo.com
The shortest path to FCP X mastery.


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Andrew Kimery
Re: Of Mice and Human Interface Devices
on Nov 8, 2016 at 12:31:45 am

[Bill Davis] "Fingers on the homerow - all it takes is a gentle drop of my right thumb to mouse around on the trackpad. Add the index finger for pinch moves. "

Might be the difference in hand size. On my 2011 MBP if my fingers are on home row it's an uncomfortable reach to drop my right thumb onto the trackpad and 'mouse around' (even with sensitivity turned al the way up). I have to move my whole hand down.


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Jeremy Garchow
Re: Of Mice and Human Interface Devices
on Nov 4, 2016 at 5:29:40 pm

Still on a Wacom and Keyboard. I am constantly searching for a better way and haven't found it.

Part of it is that a regular mouse will cause too much pain, so the Wacom is a pain reliever, even though it's not as efficient.

I really want a TouchBar enabled keyboard with a trackpad on the side, like this but with a trackpad: http://imgur.com/a/07XlY


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Bill Davis
Re: Of Mice and Human Interface Devices
on Nov 6, 2016 at 7:24:29 pm

I'm going to mildly disagree about the side positioning. Anyone who uses a laptop regularly (and that's a LOT of people) expects the trackpad to be below the home row and under your thumbs. I think it's optimal to leave it in that position. I know it would make for a bigger external keyboard - but I think the benefits of a unified computer input experience would be worth it.

My 2 cents.

Creator of XinTwo - http://www.xintwo.com
The shortest path to FCP X mastery.


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