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Contour ShuttlePro

USB shuttle/jog & multimedia controller By Dave Nagel
Shuttle/jogs are, on the whole, a bit more pricey than they need to be. After all, they're targeted toward the professional video market, and ... well, need I say more? However, there's a little thing called the Macintosh desktop video revolution going on right now. While this revolution might seem to be dominated at the moment by dads digitizing footage of their kids running on the beach, it does, on the whole, have some happy implications for video pros as well. The most important of these for our purpose here are pricing and availability. This means, in short, more stuff at better prices.

In the controller arena, the first to address these recent realities is Contour Design, maker of ergonomic input devices and accessories, such as mice, wrist rests and the like. Their latest offering, which began shipping in volume not too many days ago, is the ShuttlePro, a USB shuttle/jog and multimedia controller selling for $125.

The good
Like other Contour products, ShuttlePro is ergonomic. It has length and girth enough to feel solid, but it's slim enough to fit next to the keyboard on many keyboard trays. It has an outer rubberized shuttle ring and an inner jog wheel positioned just so you can reach its top nine buttons with your fingertips and two of its four lower buttons with your thumb. Quite comfy.

With 13 buttons, a jog wheel and a shuttle ring, the ShuttlePro offers a
total of 44 programmable parameters via the ShuttlePro Control Panel.

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.

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