The Contour ShuttlePRO v2 Editing controller review
To be honest, I had never heard about Contour or any of their products. So when a representative of Contour asked me to test the ShuttlePro v2, I had to use Google to find out what it is. I searched for ‘Contour ShuttlePRO v2 Editing controller’ and found this on the Contour product page:
“Working alongside your mouse and keyboard, ShuttlePRO v2 is designed to minimise keyboard confusion and improve workflow with its innovative design and intuitive range of controls.”
So, basically it’s a classic, programmable multimedia controller. Sounds and looks very promising, so let’s find out if it really improves my editing workflow.
The ShuttlePro v2 works with a lot of mainstream or common applications. Just to name a few:
- (Almost) all Adobe apps like Premiere, After Effects, Lightroom, Photoshop, Audition, etc.
- A lot of Apple apps like Imovie, Iphoto, Itunes, Safari, Final Cut Pro, etc.
- Autodesk Maya and Autocad
- Boris FX
- Corel VideoStudio Pro X5
- Cyberlink: PowerDirector
- Magix: Studio, Video, Samplitude Pro, etc.
- Microsoft office: Word, Excel, Outlook, etc.
- Pinnacle: studio, Edition etc.
- Sony: Vegas, Screenblast, Sound, Acid etc.
You can find a complete list of compatible applications here. Although it supports a lot of apps, I have only used it for my editing workflow inside Adobe Premiere Pro. Please keep that in mind if you read the rest of this review.
About ‘External controllers’
A few months ago I did a review on another external controller, the Palette Gear modules.
I really like the Palette gear modules, and they have been on my desk ever since I did that review. But now it’s tome to make room for the Shuttle Pro v2.
After a few weeks of testing I can safely say that I have got experience to write a review. Let’s start with this… It takes time, a lot of time, to make the controllers a part of your routine and workflow. In the beginning I had to force myself to use it at all. The best way for me was to start with one or two basic but most used functions of Premiere, like ‘Cut’ and ‘Ripple delete’. After a while it get’s in your system and you will start to appreciate the tools more and more. Add a new command to a new button as you get more comfortable using it, like a button for copy, paste and quick-save (very important for Premiere users, if you are, you know why).
Looks vs Functionality
Both the Palette Gear and the ShuttlePro V2 are great products! I prefer the looks of the Palette Gear, but I really like the compactness of the ShuttlePro v2. It has a lot more buttons (15!) and a rubber jog/shuttle wheel in a very ergonomic shape that looks like a over sized mouse. The design works well for both right and left handed users.
And if we look at pricing, there is a clear winner and that’s the ShuttlePro V2, priced at £89.99/€99/$109. The Palette Gear Expert kit starts at $299.
Packaging and Unboxing
The outside of the packaging looks good, on the other hand the inside was less inspiring. But in the end, it all comes down to the product.
Inside the package you will find 3 things:
- The ShuttlePro V2 itself
- The instruction manual
- A page of perforated and printed buttons to place under the shuttle’s removeable plastic key covers.
These printed buttons cover most of the functions that you would use in Adobe Premiere Pro. But in case you want to assign other functions to the buttons, there are also some blank buttons included that you can write on.
The ShuttlePro v2 feels solid and well built. I would not call it a premium finish, but it’s good enough for a product at this price point. After using it for a while I noted minimum of greasy fingerprints, but the rubbery wheel does collect some dust and dirt.
Driver installation and initial setup
To install the latest driver and software of the ShuttlePro v2 you need to go to the Contour forum. There you will find a single post with a removed YouTube instruction video including the download links. Hmmm…
After download you run a single .exe installer file, click a few times on ‘next’ and you’re done!
The layout of the software is quite simple and works intuitive and does exactly what you’d expect from it.
You can program your own functions to any button, or you can pick a pre-configured layout from the drop-down list.
On the forum you can also find a lot of custom made application settings for a variety of programs. I found a good preset for Premiere, which I can recommend to check out if you are using the ShuttlePro v2 combined with Adobe Premiere Pro.
The software crashed once, but overall it’s stable and does the job.
Ultimately, the ShuttlePro v2 is a great add-on for anyone who wants to speed up their workflow. It is (kinda) portable, which is especially useful in a mobile setup.
It’s well priced for a product with so many options and features. But in some places it feels a little bit too cheap, like the buttons with cardbord printed functions on it. I hope that the ShuttlePro v3 will have a small display function in each button, instead of the cheap printed buttons. I understand that this might cost a lot more, but I would be happy to pay for it. But that’s my only complaint on price vs quality, because it simply is a solid build controller.
Overall the ShuttlePro v2 really can do a lot, but it’s completely up to the user to program it to their specific needs (or use the best available template). Like I mentioned, there is a steep learning curve and it will take quite some time to make it part of your routine and workflow. That’s why I can only recommend it to users that spend the majority of their time editing in programs like Premiere Pro and After Effects. For those users I can give a solid recommendation to buy this controller!