Rock and roll

Quite why I bought a Griffin PowerMate has always been something of a mystery. It’s a lovely piece of milled aluminium with a glowing blue LED in the base, that plugs into a spare USB port and is used as a rotary controller. It’s been jacked into my desktop for a couple of years, but while I’ve admired it, I’ve never really used it. It’s quite pleasant for scrolling web pages, but that’s about it.

On the face of it, it’d be a fine controller for Final Cut, allowing one to zip through clips at a rate of knots. However, I never found it terribly satisfactory for this, as a result of a driver quirk. Having it emulate the left and right arrow keys worked fine, and allowed frame-accurate control – but when you stopped winding through the frames the software overshot massively, playing back all the queued-up keystrokes. Useless.

Today I finally noticed something that’s (most likely) been in the software since day one, which is having the thing emulate a mouse scroll wheel instead. Setting it to scroll left/right has two wonderful effects. Firstly, it no longer overshoots. But secondly, it winds through the media when the mouse pointer is over the viewer or canvas windows… and it winds through the timeline when the pointer is there.

Oh happy, happy day. I have an analogue controller with focus-follows-mouse, in Final Cut.

Lesson to self: RTFM.


  1. don’t know if you got my message, don’t know if i’ve got the right phone number… I need to get up to speed with digital filming and indeed Final Cut [is the elements version worth it or should I go for the full pancake?] been asked to do a documentary of an arts project in Kosovo, Adrian said you were the man to talk to [about the kit, not necessarily about the cultural situation in the Balkans, but then, why not?] anyways up can you give me a ring if you have a minute?

  2. The PowerMate rocks. I use mine as a volume control/pause button for video playback; it’s so much better than +/- buttons for volume control [1]. Now to find a way to use the PowerMate to control my AV receiver…

    1: even better would be adding a compressor/limiter to my audio system, so I won’t be blown out of my chair every time the producer decides to include some stupid sound effect at +20 dB over the voice track.

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