To video editors, few things are more exciting than devices that save time. Video-editing controllers such as Contour Design’s ShuttlePro and Focus Enhancements’ CommandPost do just that, by combining frequently used command shortcuts and precise control in one unit. Both are USB-powered and compatible with a variety of video applications including Apple’s Final Cut Pro and iMovie, and Adobe Premiere. But the OS Xnative ShuttlePro, with its streamlined design, solid feel, and practical features, is the better choice.
The elegantly designed ShuttlePro feels as comfortable as it looks. With its 13 well-placed, fully programmable function keys, you can activate frequently used editing shortcuts with one hand. The outer ring of its jog/shuttle knob lets you fast-forward and rewind through video material, while the inner portion gives you frame-by-frame control.
We had the ShuttlePro set up within minutes. The drivers for OS 9 and OS X are available both on the CD that ships in the box and at Contour Design’s Web site, where you’ll also find sets of key functions for most popular applications, including Final Cut Pro and Adobe Premiere, After Effects, and Photoshop. You can also easily program your own set of key functions.
Focus Enhancements’ similarly priced CommandPost controller offers less stylistic finesse. Taking its design cues from a video switcher, the bulky unit provides a jog/shuttle knob and 15 programmable buttons like those on the ShuttlePro. The CommandPost also has customizable key-function sets for a wealth of applications, as well as a fader arm, which controls system volume in Final Cut Pro, and a joystick that can replace a mouse. Though the fader arm was occasionally useful to us, the joystick proved to be flimsier and less accurate than a mouse.
Once we rectified some setup snags due to outdated software, editing in Final Cut was a breeze. And the CommandPost’s internally illuminated base makes it easy to read the buttons in dark editing rooms, a nice feature the ShuttlePro lacks.
Macworld’s Buying Advice
For a video editor or multimedia professional, either the ShuttlePro or the CommandPost would be a time-saver. In OS 9, they work equally well, although the CommandPost has a broader tool set. But with OS X support and a sturdier feel, the ShuttlePro has the edge.