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Editing in Premiere With Gaming Controllers

When it comes to editing, speed can be everything.  Nothing is more powerful (or impressive) than when you can zip through a cut with lightning speed   There are lots of tricks for reprogramming your keyboard to gain that extra efficiency, but I found a better 1, 2 punch team.

Meet the Logitech G13 and the Razer Naga.

Some of the devices created for the gaming world are actually the editor's best friend.  I was initially turned onto the Logitech G13 after hearing how editor Alan Bell (Amazing Spider-Man, Hunger Games: Catching Fire) uses it regularly.  I decided to try it out and the difference in my editing was like night and day.

The keyboard is fully programmable, meaning you can assign whatever key combinations you want to a single button on the keypad, and also make it application dependant.  That means you can have one set of shortcuts for Premiere, another for Avid, another for After Effects, and so on...

Using this device means never moving your left hand from a comfortable rested position and having 60% of your keyboard needs readily available.  It will take awhile to learn muscle memory of where everything is, so I keep a cheat sheet taped to my monitor in case I'm not 100% sure where the buttons I don't use constantly are.

Here below are the shortcuts I setup for working in Premiere.

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Once I got up to speed with this keypad, I honestly wondered how I had gone without it for so long.  It's now my #1 tool to take with me to other jobs and an integral part of my studio setup.  I can't recommend it more highly.

The Razer Naga mouse is a more recent edition to my studio.  I saw an Avid panel with editor Eddie Hamilton (Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation, Kingsman: The Secret Service) where he showed how the Razer Naga was a big part of his setup and how he was able to work so fast.

The thing that sets the Naga apart from other mice is the 12 button programmable keypad at the thumb.  I said that the G13 covered 60% of my keyboard needs?  Well, meet the other 40%. Below is the current configuration I've got for using the Naga in Premiere.

At first I was worried that having a 12 button grid layout at my thumb with no specific ergonomics to help feel my way around would be more frustrating than helpful, but thankfully I found it's not really the case.  By staggering low/high buttons like zoom and nudge on the outside buttons and placing another function in the middle, it actually became quickly intuitive to use.  So much so that I don't even need a cheat sheet for this mouse taped to my monitor.

So now between these two devices, I'm literally only touching my actual keyboard when I have to name bins or create titles.  With my left and right hand locked on these two controllers, pretty much everything I need to edit is at my finger tips.

There's no hard and fast rules for how to set these things up either.  Use whatever is going to work best for you -- whatever is going to help you work fastest.  If programming in ripple edits is your jam, do that.  These programmable devices are still an evolving process for me too.  Every couple months, I change out a few buttons as I refine what's going to best help me work faster in the way I like to work, but this current button layout so far feels the most solid to me.

The other beauty is both of these devices work equally well with Windows or Mac.  I've used them on both without issue.

Logitech G13 at Amazon

Razer Naga at Amazon