Review: Contour Shuttle Pro NLE Jog-Shuttle Controller

updated 09 September 2003

Contour Shuttle Pro NLE Jog-Shuttle Controller
with Sony Vegas, an article by Edward Troxel

For about a year, I heard about this interesting input device but had never had an opportunity to test its capabilities. Well, I finally attached one to my laptop and gave it a test drive in Vegas. In a word, I think I can simply say “Wow.”

Upon opening the package there is the Shuttle Pro, a very brief installation and instruction pamphlet, and an installation CD. I connected it to the computer, it was immediately recognized as a device, and I installed the driver from the CD. Seeing a newer driver on their website, I downloaded it. Upon attempting to install the newer driver, I received a message that a previous driver was active and must be uninstalled. So I uninstalled the first driver and the newer one installed with no problems. The controller itself connects to your computer via its built-in USB cable.

After starting Vegas, naturally the first thing I had to try was the big wheel in the center. The shuttle wheel worked perfectly for playing forward and backward at various speeds. The jog wheel moved smoothly between frames. Now, what are all of the buttons for? To find this answer, a trip to the control panel is necessary.

The Shuttle Pro control panel can be accessed directly from the control panel on the start menu or by right-clicking on the Shuttle Pro icon in the docking bar. Once there, you must select which application to be affected and then you can scroll through the various buttons to determine their settings. Unfortunately, I don’t use the tasks of most of the default button settings. This was easily changed by simply entering the action to be performed by each button.

Across the top are four buttons. I changed these to Previous Edit point, Tsunami, Excalibur, and Next Edit Point. The next row has five buttons. At this point, I still trying to figure out exactly what I want to change them to to be most useful for me. I’ve experimented with a couple of different things and haven’t yet decided on the “final” layout yet. Sometimes it’s tough getting out of old workflow habits. However, the second row seems to be preprogrammed to aid in the keyboard editing of clips. Instead, I always adjust sizes with the mouse. Since I changed the “Move ??? by Marker” buttons to “Move ??? by Edit Point”, I may move these down to the second row. I’m still experimenting but I really like using the controller, especially the jog/shuttle wheel. Then there are four more buttons below the wheel, which gives a grand total of 13 buttons that can be programmed as needed.

If you have additional computers, it would be nice to move these settings without having to re-enter them. The control panel application allows the settings to be exported and imported. However, I saw another export option that wanted to save to an HTML (web page) file. Curiosity won and I had to see what that file would contain. To my surprise, it was a picture of the Shuttle Pro with labels pointing to each of the buttons indicating how I had programmed each. This was a nice unexpected touch. To help ease use, the top nine buttons also have removable caps so labels can be placed inside also aiding your memory.

I now find it very handy to press a single button instead of having to remember things like CTRL-ALT-Left Arrow. The jog/shuttle wheel is also useful for quickly or slowly moving back and forth on the timeline and may replace my use of J-K-L keys. The bad news? I’ll have to buy additional units for my other computers!

Written by Edward Troxel.
Thrown together by Chris Hurd.

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