Can’t wait for Blackmagic’s new Speed Editor? How about building your own DIY version from scratch?

Nov 25, 2020

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

Can’t wait for Blackmagic’s new Speed Editor? How about building your own DIY version from scratch?

Nov 25, 2020

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

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Control decks and consoles for various pieces of software are starting to really become more of a standard on our desktops these days. Whether it’s one of the various devices by Loupedeck, a TourBoxBlackmagic console, Stream Deck or even a MIDI controller. Perhaps you’ve even been eyeing up Blackmagic’s new Speed Editor for DaVinci Resolve?

Well, have you ever thought about making your own? That’s what Zack Freedman did when he decided he wanted to start making regular videos for YouTube. He knew he’d need some kind of editor, and as most of his videos are about electronics and programming, it made sense for him to make his own and he made a video walking us through his process.

Zack’s goal was to build it in a weekend using his 3D printer, laser cutter and a soldering iron (and a bunch of components). Of course, he’d actually been doing little bits of research here and there for a while on how he might be able to make it all actually work. He also did a bunch of tests to figure out various aspects of the mechanical design and ergonomics.

The device essentially emulates a regular computer keyboard, but it allows him to code the buttons in any way he pleases, and it provides him with a nice big dial for scrubbing through footage as well as a few smaller ones for various other tasks. And as it emulates a standard keyboard (he even uses Cherry MX-compatible keys) using a Teensy microcontroller, there’s no need to write any drivers for your operating system, and it should work with Windows, Mac, Linux or anything else that accepts a normal USB keyboard.

As well as being a cool and interesting project in its own right, Zack’s video also shows a good workflow for planning and building your own… well, anything, really. He goes through all of the steps of the project, and recaps at the end with a high-level overview that can be applied to making just about anything.

If you want to have a go at building your own, Zack’s uploaded the whole thing to GitHub, including all of the models for 3D printing (or laser cutting, where applicable, if you prefer) along with the wiring diagram and the code that powers the Teensy board to make whatever you plug it into think it’s a keyboard.

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John Aldred

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

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