Out of the box, and updated to the most recent software, the Contour ShuttlePRO has an abysmal default setup for Final Cut, undoubtedly the majority of the customer base for this particular device. For the uninitiated, the Coutour ShuttlePRO has a jog/shuttle wheel, reminiscent of the A/B tape decks of yore, which allow an editor to pinpoint a particular frame, or scrub through large amounts of footage quickly, with a certain degree of accuracy and intuitiveness. This utilized a dual pairing of two wheel mechanisms, one, the centrally located jog, is notched internally, representing a frame of movement, and is spun with the thumb or finger to manipulate the control. The other, the shuttle, is spring loaded to return to center when spun 90° left or right, degrees from center representing greater amounts of speed, in the forward and backwards direction. Even with this ancient technology, one could pinpoint a particular time with a good degree of accuracy, and then let the video hardware catch up by unspooling it’s analog linear goodness to the timecode you specified.
Fast forward to the present (yuk yuk), and you have a variety of jog/shuttle (transport) options for the modern video editor. In addition to the jog/shuttle as described above, the ShuttlePRO 2 has (counting) 15 buttons which can be configured in software for optimal use scenarios. Fortunately, the designers had sufficient foresight to include the ability to set layouts to applications, switch layouts via button commands, and even a rudimentary macro utility. Unfortunately, any poor cutter who decides to use the ShuttlePRO out of the box without extensive customization and experimentation is plagued in Final Cut by unresponsive and inaccurate controls.
Most of these are due to a reliance on the keyboard buffer for every part of the transport controls. Lots of right and left arrow keyboard commands get queued up, so as one tries to identify a point with precision, the past is always catching up with you, even on the fastest computers. The solution is three-fold:
1) To generate a proper jog function, you must set the “Frequency” option for the “Turn Jog Left” and “Turn Jog Right” to Once Only. After extensive testing, I have found this setting to be the most accurate for how I do things. Play with “Hold Down” and “As Fast As Possible” to see if you get more satisfactory results for you. Stay away from “X Times per Second” for the jog.
2) To create a functional shuttle is fairly simple, to create one that works to your preferences is another matter of experimentation. What I have found to be helpful is to map the built-in FCP speed rate commands ( Keyboard Layout > Transport, normally cntl-F1 through cntl-F12 ) to zones ±2-6 and for zone ±1 to be mapped to left/right arrow “10 times per second”. I have yet to find a good use for the “Transition” Action, anyone?
3) Finally, you want the playhead to stop when you return the shuttle to baseline. I’ve assigned “k” to Shuttle Zone 0, because it generates a more reliable stop then spacebar. I suppose if you wanted to be sure, you could assign a custom keyboard command to stop, and then apply that here.
Motion is a different beast, but similiar in it’s execution. Jog to left and right arrow (Once Only), and the same for Zone 1, and for Zone 2, shift-left and shift-right make a 10 frame skip.
So that’s it for Part 1.
Part 2 & 3 will dive into several different FCP workflows using a ShuttlePRO.
Part 4 will tie together these workflows using “Switch Settings”.
When we get finished with all this, there will be downloads.