TECH TIPS – THE WACOM BUTTONS

TECH TIPS – THE WACOM BUTTONS

THE WACOM BUTTONS

By Timothy Hadwen

One of my most used tools in the past 12 months has been the Wacom Intuos Pro S tablet. However, only a few months ago, I discovered its use far beyond the benefits of precision and mitigating the wrist strain that some might get from using a mouse.

I was aware that the tablet had the function to add keyboard shortcuts to the buttons, but if you are like me, you rarely click the buttons as anything you need is often accessible through the keyboard.

My opinion (and workflow) changed when I discovered that you could use each button as a shortcut to a combination of keys in a chain. The function as of early 2021 is labelled ExpressKey.

Editors and Assistants use keyboard shortcuts or a combination in succession every day, so it’s always nice to find a way to work smarter instead of harder to give more focus to other areas of the job.

When accessing the ExpressKey settings, you can select from many functions, but for this explanation, I will only explore one of these; the “Keystroke…

Once you select “Keystroke…” a window will open and provide you with the option to press a key (and numerous others) into the button command. When put into practice, we can potentially make applications do things that were otherwise not possible.

For example:
• Add keyboard shortcuts beyond the “F/Function” keys on the keyboard
• Add shift/alt/command key shortcut keys to the buttons
• Quickly add things to columns such as using the “Enter, Cmnd/Cntrl+V, Enter” combination
• Quickly extend an edit point by programming an IN point followed by extend edit command

All this requires is a little forward-thinking and knowledge of your personal keyboard shortcuts (as well as bit of trial and error!)

Below are some examples I have quickly thought of for Avid Media Composer:

Find Bin for clip on sequence playhead and load its metadata*:
(with playhead over clip and correct track selected on timeline)
1: ; [MATCH FRAME]
2: F2 [FIND BIN SHORTCUT]
3: Cmnd + i [REVEAL INFO SHORTCUT]
* Take note you can do some of this by holding alt before clicking the “Find Bin” button on the Record/Preview monitor side of the “Composer” panel.
Prep a sequence for export:
(with timeline panel selected)
1: Cmnd + a [SELECT ALL TRACKS]
2: HOME [GO TO START OF SEQUENCE]
3: i [CREATE AN “IN” MARKER POINT]
4: END [GO TO END OF SEQUENCE]
5: o [CREATE AN “OUT” MARKER POINT]
6: Cmnd + / [ZOOM OUT TO SEQUENCE LENGTH]

Mark up an action point of a clip in a sequence and do the same for the source clip*:
(with playhead over point in timeline and correct track selected)
1: F1 [ANY COLOUR MARKER SHORTCUT]
2: ; [MATCH FRAME SHORTCUT]
3: F1 [ANY COLOUR MARKER SHORTCUT]
4: Cmnd + 0 [SELECT TIMELINE IN AVID]
5: s [GO TO NEXT CLIP]
*Only works if you disable the “EDIT MARKER DIAGLOGUE ALWAYS” alternatively just include the “Enter” key on a numpad to close the marker dialogue.

Here is an example of the Avid shortcut to add a marker on a clip in the sequence and the original source clip at the same time.

There are also plenty of uses for this on Premiere Pro. For example, after selecting a sequence in a bin you could easily add a keyboard shortcut combination to load it into the source monitor and “Open Source in Timeline” to quickly view the sequence in a source timeline. Patching, Selecting/Deselecting or Muting a combination of tracks would also be useful (beginning with alt/opt 9 & alt/opt 0 keyboard shortcuts).

One of the only flaws I’ve noticed is that sometimes the programmed key presses are a little too quick as it attempts to run through the command on loading screens/progress bars so I’d be interested to see future updates (or find a workaround) to give 1 or 2 seconds of time. It’s only a small issue given most commands work well.

If you found this article useful or discovered a great shortcut (or a series of keyboard shortcuts) that can be mapped, I’d love to know of this so we can look into sharing them with the wider community through an online event and/or through the ASE newsletters.

It’s probably also best I note that I have no affiliation with Wacom and I believe tablets beyond the one I own have this function. Feel free to email me (provided below) and thank you for reading. I wish everyone an enjoyable and prosperous 2021.

Timothy Hadwen
t.hadwen@outlook.com

(eNews 102 - February 2021)

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