Special video keyboard editing might seem like overkill for most casual users, but don’t write it off until you try it Blackmagic DaVinci Resolve Speed Editor. This little gadget packs so much performance, including Studio’s proprietary software, into one small package that could be worth the money.
Blackmagic Da Vinci’s Determination it is the best free video editor you can find. Experienced editors may find the migration a little tricky as the program has some workflow quirks that are different enough to confuse muscle memory, but in my experience converting my workflow was worth the transition.
Speed editor, one of Blackmagic’s tools. own editorial boards, is a custom device designed to seamlessly integrate with Resolve. It has six sets of buttons mapped to functions within the editor, as well as a giant wheel to scroll through clips. If you’ve ever spent time in the mounting bay, it will feel familiar (albeit very small). For people interested in shooting indie films and beyond, a tool like this can help.
The $395 sticker price might seem shocking, but the company is also throwing in a copy. DaVinci Resolve Studio, which usually costs $295. While the free version is already more than enough for most people, Studio adds a wide library of visual effects tools, 10-bit video support, and the DaVinci Neural Engine to speed up a range of effects tools.
Portable Mounting Bay
The most striking aspect of the Speed Editor, aside from its eye-catching dial (more on that below), is its compactness. It’s slightly smaller than the iPad (although obviously much thicker), but has six sets of keys that cover a surprising number of essential features that most video editors need, such as basic editing and multi-camera controls.
On the back, it has one USB-C port for connecting to a mounting rig and charging. Yes, this editing board is wireless, but there is no power switch or any Bluetooth pairing method without first connecting to a computer via USB-C. This is especially annoying if you’re editing on multiple devices. I use a Windows desktop and a MacBook Air, both of which have DaVinci Resolve installed. Technically, the board is compatible with both, but changing them is quite difficult, and I would not advise trying. It seems like the only way to do this is to completely unpair the board, but even that isn’t reliable. It would be nice to have a board that supports multiple systems, as most wireless keyboards do.
Although this feature is disappointing, Speed Editor is a fantastic portable editing tool. It’s light enough to fit in a bag and sits comfortably next to a laptop on a small table in a coffee shop, and I was even able to use it while mounting on an airplane. It’s hard to overestimate the flexibility to take studio-level tools with you wherever you go.
Portability aside, the watch face is the star of the show and I can’t express how much better video editing is when you use it. The machined metal handle in the middle of the device rotates smoothly, yet provides very precise control. You can click it to make it spin (not that you want) and stop it on a dime. A single dimple allows you to move the watch face with just one finger, and the rubberized edge ensures you never lose it.
The dial has three modes: Shuttle, Jog and Scroll, each of which is activated by the buttons above the wheel. Each of them has a red LED indicating which mode you are currently in. They may be familiar to seasoned video editors with professional experience, but for everyone else, they work like this:
shuttle: In this mode, the dial controls the playback speed. This can range from 0.25x to 32x, depending on how far from the starting point you turn the dial. This works both ways, so you can move backwards through the timeline up to 32x.