Review: Contour Design ShuttlePro v2
iMovie and Final Cut Express have given consumers the ability to edit videos on the own Macs. One thing missing, as compared to a professional setup, is a jog/shuttle controller. Contour Design’s ShuttlePro v2 provides consumers (and professionals on a budget) with a high quality, programmable controller complete with 15 programmable buttons, a jog dial, and a shuttle wheel.
ShuttlePro v2 Control Dial
While a mouse might be good for pointing, clicking, and scrolling in most applications, it is pathetic for video and audio editing. A keyboard gives quick access to certain commands, but it is rather difficult for moving the “cursor”. The ShuttlePro v2 allows the best combination of both controllers allowing you to keep one-hand on it for editing and the other free for adjusting sound levels, using other controllers, or using the keyboard.
Priced at $99, this ergonomic device communicates with your computer via a USB port. The ShuttlePro v2 works with OS 9, OS X, and Windows, and includes pre-configured settings for many popular applications (including many non-A/V apps). The included utility also allows users to create settings of their own.
Anyone who’s used professional audio or video equipment would immediately recognize the jog/shuttle dial. The center alloy jog dial can be used for frame-by-frame cursor movement, or some sort of continuous movement, such as scrolling. Three indentations allow a good finger grip when spinning. The outer rubberized shuttle ring only turns part way in each direction, facilitating fast forward and rewind controls. The further turned in either direction, the faster the control. The spring-loaded ring returns to a center position when not being turned.
The included buttons can be used for almost anything, although the placement of some make them better suited for certain tasks. Looking down at the ShuttlePro v2, 9 silver buttons above the jog/shuttle control have removable caps, allowing the user to place paper inserts to label their custom controls. As a nice touch, Contour Design included an entire sheet of inserts, both blank, and with many common commands printed on them for easy use. Buttons located on either side of the jog/shuttle control can be used for marking points on clips. The buttons located below the jog/shuttle control are easy to press with the thumb, allowing frequently used tasks to be chosen quickly.
The controller feels very solid, and is comfortable to use for long periods of time. Editing is a lot easier and more convenient, as is scrolling (for those who do not have a scroll-wheel mouse. The software, although intimidating at first, is explained with an included fold-out diagram. Once familiar with it, we were able to customize existing settings and create our own, allowing better web browsing with Safari, improved graphics editing with Photoshop, and more.
Professionals wanting to complete their setup should purchase the ShuttlePro v2. Consumers might shy away from the $130 price tag, but anyone who does any video editing for long periods of time will find this a helpful accessory.
The One-Sentence Verdict™
Video and audio editing is much easier with this customizable, well-made controller.
Pros: Durable, allows better control over many tasks, highly-customizable
Cons: Software somewhat clunky (an image-based method for choosing buttons, rather than a drop-down list would improve it a lot)