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Coolness Roundup: The Well-Appointed Edit Suite

Cool off this summer with neat stuff in our annual nest of quick-draw reviews By Charlie White
Here we are in the middle of another long, hot summer. But relief is on the way, because here at Digital Media Net we're going to bring you coolness of all stripes. It's time once again for our twice-annual special Coolness Roundup: Suggestions for a well-appointed personal edit suite. We'll help you equip your edit-shop with appurtenances that are not only efficient, but comfortable as well.

ShuttleXpressShuttle Xpress
Here's the little brother to Contour Design's ShuttlePro, and at its low price of $49.95 this control surface for editing gives you that solid feeling of products that cost a lot more. Equipped with settings for almost any nonlinear editing software including our favorites Final Cut Pro 4, Avid XpressDV and Vegas 4, this little doo-dad helps you edit faster and move around in a timeline without even thinking about it. Whether you're shuttling back and forth with its spring-loaded wheel, or creeping frame-by-frame with the inner jog wheel, its controls feel like they belong on the front of an old Sony one-inch VTR of long ago. Where else can you get the feeling of a $50K tape deck on a gizmo that costs less than $50? Such a deal. Five buttons are arrayed around the wheel for marking ins and outs and more. If you don't like what's already programmed, configure it however you like. And, when you're not editing, it works with almost any Windows or Mac software. I especially like the way its little rubber feet make it stay put on the desktop.

Apple HD Cinema DisplayApple HD Cinema Display
I know this is not new, but how could any Coolness Roundup be complete without the most fabulously beautiful display on the planet? Sporting enough pixels for the highest of HD, the 1920 by 1200 pixel monitor practically smacks you upside the head with its 23-inch diagonal view at a wide-screen 16:10 ratio, perfect for those 16:9 productions you might be working on -- with room for your buddy list on the side. With a light touch on the bottom right, turn on your Mac with little fanfare, and then get to work with nary a squint. And hey, editors: For the ultimate in timeline-liness, get two! It's simply the sharpest, truest display that has ever graced the halls of the Midwest Test Facility. And the best news of all is that Apple has decided to cut the price to an almost-manageable $1999. If you're working all day staring into a computer monitor, consider it an improvement in your quality of life. You deserve it.

Dr. Bott DVIatorDr. Bott DVIator
After salivating over that previous item, I'm sure all the PeeCee users in the crowd are now kicking themselves for swearing their allegiance to the Dark Side. No HD Cinema Display for you! But wait. Can it be? Salvation for the PC hoards has arrived with Dr. Bott's DVIator, a special cable and power supply that can do the computer equivalent of changing water into wine. That's right, you can now use any of the gorgeous Apple ADC (Apple Display Connector) monitors like the HD Cinema Display with your PC. If you're using a Mac, your ADC connector carries USB, power and the video signal to your monitor all in one sleek cable. To make this work for PC users (and for pre-Cube Mac users without ADC), Dr. Bott's DVIator (pronounced "deviator") brings power, USB and the video signal to the beloved Apple HD Cinema display in a form it can understand, as long as your PC graphics card can handle it -- so far I've tested it with an ATI Radeon 8500 which works like a champ and an NVidia Quadro 2 which doesn't. Anyway, why would a PC user want to use this piece of candy-coated Mac paraphernalia? I can tell you this: You do want this, whether you know it or not. Get over your McReluctance! Not even a $6000 IBM monitor we tested here is as good as the HD Cinema Display, especially for video editing.

Microsoft optical mouseMicrosoft Mouse
OK, you must think I'm nuts, but hear me out. I have tried about a dozen mice, trackballs and numerous other various and sundry pointing devices in the past year, and for reasons many and varied, I have come full-circle back to the Microsoft Optical Wheel Mouse. I like its drivers (unlike the flaky drivers you always get with Logitech mice), it feels perfect in my hand, it is highly precise, and the most remarkable thing is, I saw one the other day priced at a mere $9. Sure, choosing a mouse is a very personal decision, akin to deciding which kind of toothbrush will find itself inside your mouth. Even so, I figure if I'm stuck using Windows, I might as well use the mouse that the drivers were written for. As they say in my ancestral home down south, "Dance with the one that brung ya." And for my bedrock Mac work, the thing is a perfect substitute for that absurdly useless one-button Apple mouse included with every Mac. It works perfectly with Mac OS X, too, allowing right-clicking and what I think is the most workflow-enhancing invention of the past five years, the scroll wheel. Better yet, its scroll wheel has a perfect feel to it, with just the right ribs on it -- not like a cat's tongue and not like a racing slick either. Just right. Sometimes it's the simple things that make a huge difference.

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Related Keywords:long hot summer, relief, Digital Media Net, coolness, Coolness Roundup, well-appointed personal edit suite, appurtenances, efficient, comfortable, products, Midwest Test Facility, editing, fun, Charlie White, editorial


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