A forum topic popped up recently: “is it better to use a tablet, or a mouse and keyboard to edit?” – and the obvious answer is ‘whatever suits you best.’ But it got me thinking.
Over 15 years of mucking around with video on Macs, I’ve tried tablets, mice, trackballs, touchpads, external ‘surfaces’, huge knobs, voice control…
I now exclusively edit on a MacBook Pro, using its built in trackpad, with a combination of keyboard shortcuts and mousing. Much to the horror of my fellow editors, who cannot believe I don’t carry an external keyboard and mouse with me. To be honest, after a while, once you learn the interface, it disappears.
In that contemplative stage of editing, doing your selects, trying out ideas, it’s ctl-V to slice up the long sausage, and mousing to ‘lift’ (literally bump the track up a layer) your good bits, and lift again on your selects.
In that honing mode, I think (I have to watch myself) I’m doing more dragging of cut points.
Last year, a fellow editor was watching me edit and was shocked – almost upset – that I was dragging stuff around. Why didn’t I use the keyboard? Because it’s quicker, I replied. He wasn’t having it and saw mousing as a sign of unprofessionalism – yet he didn’t quite see the multitude of keyboard shortcuts for slipping and rolling that I moved between.
Honestly, it really is what suits you best, and having worked with laptops since the first PowerBooks, it’s genuinely faster for me to do what I do. I love the visualness of dragging stuff around, but I’ll still do a TTTT to select everything to the right and move it over before doing an RR to get the ripple tool out, then a ctrl-V to trim all the tracks together.
The only thing I still miss are the big heavy jog/shuttle wheels on the BVE3000 and BVE5000 – great feedback, hardly any latency, and although the way audio is scrubbed and trimmed nowadays is probably better, I still miss the ‘wibbly wobbly’ sound of jogged audio.
Seriously, though, a mouse (or touchpad!) can be more accurate than a tablet because of its scaled movement and ‘gearing’ (fast movements are big, slow movements are small) and take up little space. Tablets are good for ‘muscle memory’, tapping virtual buttons like the paintbox days. But even then, the keyboard was never far away. A tablet-only interface is hard work.
That’s why, I guess, our two tablets became mouse mats. Sigh.
Besides, I find Harry-style circular scrubbing a bit too much like children’s nursery rhymes and even a little more hard work than dabbing at J K L.
But I stil miss that knob!