Upgrade Your Editing Station with Accessories

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For most purposes, editing software and a decent-enough computer are all one needs for video editing. But if you want a precision workflow, require optimal image quality, or are simply looking for a gift for an editor friend or relative, below are some key accessories that will upgrade an editing station to a more professional one.

Most of these add-ons are compatible with all the popular editing applications, such as Apple Final Cut Pro X, Adobe Premiere Pro, and Avid Media Composer. To verify compatibility, please click on the provided links and find out more in the product description pages, or contact B&H for live help.

Control Panels

A control panel not only allows for precise and efficient use of editing software, it also looks stylish next to the editing station on a desk. There are many available, from small ones aimed at specific sets of tasks to large ones that do everything.

The ShuttlePRO v2, a top seller from Contour Design, is a compact controller that looks like a computer mouse but has 15 programmable buttons. The jog/shuttle control in the center allows for frame-by-frame control of the footage being edited, providing huge convenience.

Contour Design ShuttlePRO v2 - NLE Multimedia Controller

The Contour Design Shuttle-Xpress is another top seller and is similar to the pro version, but has five programmable keys and a jog wheel.

The company Palette, a recent newcomer to the video world, offers an innovative modular system. Multiple individual button, dial, and slider control modules can be purchased separately and magnetically connected to one another, in various arrangements, into a single system. A total of 18 modules can be connected into a comprehensive control surface. The Palette system was introduced as a successful Kickstarter-backed project.

The above controllers are designed for all aspects of video editing, but there are also those that are specifically for color grading. A top seller among them is Tangent's The Ripple, which provides tracker balls and other controls for use with color-grading software, as well as color-grading features in standard editing software.

Tangent The Ripple Color Correction Panel

A more recent arrival is the Codex Keys, a complete control surface designed to work exclusively with Codex’s ColorSynth color grading plug-in for Final Cut Pro X. A Premiere Pro version of the plug-in is expected any day. Codex is well-established in the Hollywood industry for its professional encoding recorders and other products and services, and it has designed this controller for the mainstream market, but it’s about as professional as they come.

Codex ColorSynth for FCPX

Keyboards

When switching to new video editing software, one of the first things to do is learn the keyboard shortcuts, because they save a lot of time and energy. As an alternative, there are keyboards designed especially with shortcut keys to make things even easier. LogicKeyboard is a big player in this game, offering a dedicated shortcut keyboard for just about every editing application. They’re available in various Mac and Windows versions, some featuring color-coded keys and some color-coded and backlit.

LogicKeyboard Adobe Premiere Pro Astra Resolve 12 Backlit PC Keyboard

These keyboards also combine well with the controllers mentioned above, and B&H has paired some in kits, like the LogicKeyboard/ShuttlePRO Kit for Final Cut.

There are also keyboard covers available from LogicKeyboard, KB Covers, and other brands that work in a similar way while also protecting the original keyboard from spills and dust. The LogicKeyboard Final Cut Cover for Apple Keyboard, for example, provides more than 80 shortcuts.

LogicKeyboard Final Cut Pro X Cover for Apple Magic Keyboard with Numeric Keypad

Storage

Storage is a big part of filmmaking and video production. Backing up footage is a major consideration. Ideally, in a professional workflow, the same footage is backed up to three drives: one that the user works with, one that’s archived, and one that’s sent offsite for additional archiving. The reason for this caution is that storage cards and drives can fail, in which case the original footage on them gets lost. For many users, two backup drives will do the job, and for most users, even one drive is a good starting point. The following are some popular external drives.

The Samsung T5 500GB SSD, also available in 250GB, 1TB, and 2TB versions, is excellent for shuttling footage from one location to another, thanks to its highly portable form. It’s also great for editing directly from. Once arriving at the editing station, you can just pull it out of your pocket or bag, plug it into the computer’s USB port, and begin editing.

Samsung 500GB T5 Portable Solid-State Drive

The SanDisk 500GB Extreme SSD is a similar option, but with a different look.

SanDisk 500GB Extreme Portable USB 3.1 Type-C External SSD

The LaCie Rugged Hard Drive is one the most popular drives because of its ruggedized housing, which highly protects against drops, bumps, pressure, and rain. It’s not as fast as the above two because it’s a hard drive instead of an SSD, so it’ll get the job done a little slower (which is fine for most projects), but it provides a lot more storage capacity at around the same price, and the rugged design is a significant factor for many who’re constantly on the go.

LaCie 4TB Rugged Mini Portable Hard Drive

The LaCie 6TB d2 Thunderbolt™ 2 Drive is a desktop version from which users can edit directly and that’s also suited for archiving footage. Aside from a USB interface, the d2 also features Thunderbolt connectivity, which opens many more possibilities.

LaCie 6TB d2 Thunderbolt 2 External Hard Drive

Calibration

Different monitors have different color profiles. For consistency between monitors, or simply for selecting the most universally-accurate color profile on a single monitor, professionals always use a calibration system.

Datacolor is a popular go-to brand for this purpose. Its Spyder5 system is a hardware/software solution that successfully calibrates desktop and laptop displays in a fairly automated process.

Datacolor Spyder5PRO Display Calibration System

Audio Considerations

Correction tools, such as video stabilization, are a big part of editing. Here, I’d like point out two great mini-applications specifically for dealing with audio in video.

To get clear sound, external microphones are used to record all the audio in video. But this external audio must then be synced up correctly to the footage in editing. Otherwise, for example, a subject’s lips would move out of sync with his or her speech. Red Giant, a brand known for the many video effects it offers for editing software, is also highly renowned for its PluralEyes 4 audio-sync application. PluralEyes automatically syncs video with separate audio by aligning the waveforms of the external and in-camera audio. PluralEyes is used by everyone from film school students to professionals.

Red Giant PluralEyes 4

iZotope’s RX 7 is also used by editors of all levels. The RX 7 is a more complete audio restoration and enhancement software that has saved many video projects and polished many more. The application allows editors to fix issues, such as audio hiss easily, by applying automated presets which analyze and quickly fix the audio in video.

iZotope RX 7 Standard Audio Restoration and Enhancement Software

Miscellaneous

Some bigger-ticket items to consider are Eizo monitors, AMD graphics cards, and Boris FX plug-in packages. If you’re looking to get or gift the actual video editing software itself, B&H carries both professional and easy-to-use consumer options. Popular consumer software includes Adobe Premiere Elements and CyberLink PowerDirector.

Adobe Premiere Elements 2019

Did we miss anything that you consider a key item? What are your experiences with the products mentioned? Please share any and all thoughts in the Comments section, below.

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