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Contour ShuttlePro

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The nine top buttons, the four lower buttons and the shuttle ring and jog wheel are all programmable, universally or by application, via the ShuttlePro Control Panel. At present, it ships with presets for Adobe Premiere 5.1 and Apple Final Cut Pro and iMovie. But any application can be programmed fairly easily, and I suspect more presets will be available via the company's support site soon.

The jog wheel, of course, is designed for precise frame by frame advancing and rewinding. It can also be programmed for virtually any other action (such as scrolling or applying keystrokes) based on the direction of the turn. The shuttle wheel, which, by default, fast forwards and rewinds, can be programmed for other actions as well, based on 15 percent and 10 percent increments, left and right, as well as incremental positions for when the shuttle ring returns to its rest position. The top buttons include clear overlays, so you can slip labels (not included) under them to remind you of their functions. All inputs and positions counted, there are 44 programmable parameters with this device.

The bad
There were three disappointments, though, that should be noted. First, the USB cable is short, so you'll either need a hub or an extender cable. It works fine plugged into the keyboard, unlike most USB peripherals, but, then again, that port is probably occupied by a dongle, if you're doing professional editing or compositing. The unit I received also wobbles a bit, which can be somewhat distracting. Finally, the ShuttlePro could be weighted a bit more heavily, as it tends to slide a little at the top.

The bottom line
On the whole, I find ShuttlePro to be an excellent controller at a breakthrough price. Its functionality is exceptional. It's entirely stable. And, in short, it works. Final recommendation: buy.

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Dave Nagel is the producer of Creative Mac and Digital Media Designer; host of the Creative Mac, Adobe InDesign, Adobe LiveMotion and Synthetik Studio Artist WWUGs; and executive producer of Creative Mac, Digital Media Designer, Digital Pro Sound, Digital Webcast, Plug-in Central, Presentation Master, ProAudio.net and Video Systems sites. All are part of the Digital Media Net family of online industry hubs.

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