Video Deck Is a Dedicated Controller for Making Video Editing More Efficient

Ren {Omnisai} Rose needed a way to improve their efficiency in After Effects video editing software and built this Video Deck for the job.

I am a firm believer in the “work smarter, not harder” philosophy and I think that one of the best ways to achieve that is to increase your efficiency when using your computer. You can do that by optimizing your workflow, by creating macros for repetitive tasks, and by finding ways to make your software easier to use. Most of the programs that professionals use have a variety of shortcuts to select the various tools, but those shortcuts can be a pain to memorize and activate. That is why Ren {Omnisai} Rose built this Video Deck to make video editing more efficient.

There are tons of similar projects out there, but the entire point of devices like these is that they are tailored to the specific user’s needs. Even if two people are using the same software, they could favor different tools or workflows and need a controller that reflects their actual usage. In this case, Rose needed a controller for video editing in Adobe After Effects software. Fortunately YouTuber Zack Freedman had already completed a similar project and had made his “Big Wheel” design files and code open source. Rose was able to use those as the basis of this project, though a few tweaks were made to customize the controller. That was mostly redefining each key’s function and swapping in the corresponding key caps.

Like Freedman’s Big Wheel, Rose’s Video Deck is built around a Teensy LC microcontroller development board. That was chosen because it can be configured to show up as a USB HID keyboard when plugged into a computer, which makes it easy to send keyboard shortcuts. The attractive enclosure was entirely 3D-printed and contains spaces for 14 mechanical key switches and four rotary encoders. Those control shortcuts such as selecting layers, moving through the timeline, pausing and playing video, and many others that are useful for working efficiently in After Effects. Rose programmed the Teensy LC with Freedman’s Big Wheel firmware, which can be very easily customized to send specific key presses. Those can be further customized with a second layer that is accessed with a modifier key. The result is a controller tailored to Rose’s needs that helps them work smarter instead of harder.

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