For the filmmakers that have become accustomed to creating and editing footage and music digitally, it might be a welcomed change to do your work utilizing knobs, sliders, and buttons instead of a mouse and keyboard in order to get the pinpoint accuracy you're looking for. However, if the thought of abandoning the systems you're used to scares you, no worries. Canada-based engineers Calvin Chu and Ashish Bidadi have designed Palette, freeform modular controllers that allow users to build and design their very own hardware interface and designate their software functions according to their workflow needs.
Palette can be utilized by a range of professionals, including DJs, music producers, sound engineers, and video editors. Coming in an assortment of knobs, sliders, and buttons, each module can be connected together, along with the Power Module, to design a unique interface called a "palette". Your palette can be a set of only a few modules, or can be an extensive and intricate station. Once you find a design that fits your needs, you then use the desktop app to assign module inputs to software functions.
This could come in handy for sound and video editors who use certain keyboard commands regularly, but want to get more hands-on with their work to make it more intentional. For example, scrubbing through footage, color correcting, or altering audio in any kind of precise way is a challenge if you're only using a mouse and keyboard. Palette could allow you some tactile control, which might help with accuracy.
Once connected to your computer, Palette recognizes installed software, and "automatically pulls functions that you can map to the modules." Eventually, support will be offered for a range of plug-ins, scripts, and third-party software. In fact, the team is working on offering Adobe Creative Suite support right out of the box.
They plan to release a software development kit (SDK) to allow hackers and developers to "contribute, build and release support for more third-party applications." Also, seeing as individual modules are so customizable, Palette has plans to add motorized faders, joysticks, jog-wheels, and custom buttons.
Palette is currently running a Kickstarter campaign to raise $100,000, which will go toward production. The rewards system works like other similar campaigns -- a pledge equals a preorder of a Palette kit, which come in different editions and packages:
An aluminum starter kit, which comes with one power module, button, dial, and slider is the least expensive at $99. The apprentice kit ($149) comes with an additional button and dial, and the professional kit ($399) comes with one power module, four buttons, five dials, and six sliders. The Wood Limited edition, though the module distribution is the same as the aluminum, will cost you a little bit more: apprentice kit ($239) and professional kit ($599).
Check out Palette's Kickstarter campaign for more information.
What do you think of Palette? Could you utilize the modules/software support they offer for your projects? Let us know in the comments.