I recently purchased a Logitech G13 after hearing how Editor Alan Bell A.C.E. uses one in combination with his Wacom tablet as his primary film editing devices. It sounds like a slick way to work and as an editor who is locked in to using keyboard shortcuts as often as possible and finds it a joy to memorise or devise new ones, I snapped up a G13 to give it a go myself.
In this post I thought I’d put together a fairly comprehensive ‘quick-start’ guide to anyone looking to use a G13 in their post production workflow. It really is a very versatile device and would speed up any creative working in After Effects, Premiere Pro CC, FCPX, DaVinci Resolve, Avid Media Composer etc. (or all of them!) There really are no limits to what you could use the G13 for, with a bit of imagination.
UPDATE – Check out this extensive round up of Affordable Colour Grading Control Surfaces, including G13 mappings for DaVinci Resolve!
Headline Features of G-13
Map each of the 22 G Keys to any keystroke, system shortcut, function key, macro, keystroke combination, alisas and mouse move you wish. Each profile contains three sets of mappings giving you 66 keys, plus the joystick and joypad buttons give you 7 more buttons to map in each set, totalling 87 programmable keys.
Customise the backlighting colour of each set of keyboard mappings, with three colours per profile, to help you visually keep track of what mapping you are in.
The LCD display will also toggle through several ‘applets’ which by default include profile selection, time and date, countdown/stopwatch, CPU and RAM usage as %, RSS Feed updates and email notifications.
You can also save up to 4 Profiles to the internal memory of the G13 to take them with you wherever you go. You can also export and import them via a simple XML too.
Logitech G13 Quick Start Guide
If like me you just want to plugin and find your way without too much fuss, then all you need to do is download the Logitech Gaming Software for Mac or Windows from the official site and get customising. You can also grab the pdf manual/guide here too.
If you watch through the video above you’ll see just how easy it is to set up and that it is pretty much plug and play. In a short amount of time, and with a little bit of experimentation, I’m only just starting to discover how much the G13 can do.
The first thing you need to know about the G13 is that you will want to set up a ‘Profile’ for each piece of software you want to create a custom keyboard mapping for, and that each Profile has 3 layers to it, wherein each layer’s 22 keys can be individually mapped and colour coded. The hard-coded M1, M2 and M3 illuminated buttons jump you through each layer of your mapping.
When you open an application for which you have created a Profile, the G13 will automatically switch to that Profile, which is very handy. It also then helps to keep your colour coding app relevant so you can visually remember what profile you are currently in.
The free Logitech Gaming Software is very intuitive to use and allows you to either drag and drop keystrokes from the Commands panel or through a little drop down menu on each key hit ‘Assign Command’ which brings up the command editor (image on the left) which lets us access the huge range of sources from which you can map a key.
Small things often make a big difference, and it’s a nice touch that the LCD display shows you what track is currently playing in iTunes, with the track length and progress bar, even when you’re in another application.
Setting Up G-13 For Video Editing
Now you know how to set up your profiles and got them all colour-coded to taste, how should you map out your keys for faster film editing in your NLE of choice?
Possibly my best bit of advice on setting up the G13 would be to say that before you jump into mapping all the keys you think you’ll need, that you should take a bit of time to watch yourself edit. Pay attention to the keys you are actually using on a regular basis. I thought I’d need IN and OUT all the time, but actually when I’m in the thick of an edit I’m using Zoom In and Zoom Out and Cut and Paste all the time to rearrange clips and zip about the timeline.
As you can see in the image above (which is my top layer-set of mapped keys for Premiere Pro CC) I’ve mapped my modifier keys down the left edge of the keypad to help me make the most of the other keys. So for example Cmd+C/V for Copy and Paste. Shift+V for Paste Attributes etc. I’ve also centred my J K L keys in a comfortable place where I can easily reach H (Add Edit) and (with my little finger) Slash for Ripple Delete.
I’ve only been using the G13 for a little while but it two things are pretty obvious from the start.
1. You’ll need to keep experimenting with the layout – which keys are mapped where and on which layer. This will in turn help you to keep refining your layout and ‘must have’ mappings.
2. Having a print out or a screen grab of your Profile mapping is essential until you’ve got the whole thing memorised – which if you keep adjusting things, might take a while.
UPDATE – Peter Stewart shared a very useful tip on Twitter with me recently, so I’ve included it here too. This way you can keep track of what keys you’re actually using on a regular basis.
— Peter Stewart (@peteristewart) February 10, 2015
@jonnyelwyn I'm away from my suite now, I searched for a free one. Was a good way of watching yourself without consciously thinking about it
— Peter Stewart (@peteristewart) February 10, 2015
To check out how editor’s Alan Bell and Twain Richardson have mapped their G13’s, peruse the tweets below. If you have any great suggestions, downloads or links for own G13 mappings then please share them in the comments section below!
Alan Bell’s Avid keyboard configuration above. Twain Richardson’s FCP7 settings below.
UPDATE – Editor Dan Wolfmeyer shared his Avid Media Composer set up featuring three different banks of mappings, one for editing, trimming and effects.
Alan Bell replied to Dan’s tweets saying that he’s purchased three of the G13’s!
— Alan Bell (@AlanEBell) May 22, 2016
Using a Logitech G13 with DaVinci Resolve
If you’re looking to make use of a Logitech G13 programmable keypad in DaVinci Resolve then here are a couple of resources to help you get started.
First of all jump over to this extensive post comparing several different colour grading control surface options, from the full Tangent Element 4 panel suite to controllers like the G13.
There you will find downloadable custom set ups and a plethora of further tips.
Second, you will want to check out Mixing Light colorist Patrick Inhofer’s free insight (normally the site is only open to subscribers – check out my review of Mixing Light here), in which he runs through step-by-step how to set the G13 up for the first time.
Patrick looks through all of the functionality of the G13, including the applets that run on the LCD display. He also compares it to the Razer Orbweaver in a follow up insight (coming soon!)
It’s great to see just how a professional colorist sets up a G13, to enable the mappings that he wants to make use of every day.
The whole video is well worth a watch and it’s great that it’s entirely free!
G13 Settings for Avid, FCPX and Garage Band
Editor Dan Katz emailed me with this G13 settings for Avid Media Composer, FCPX and Garage Band. You can download all of Dan’s layouts to use with your G13 as a zip file here.
I’m still tweaking the settings as I go along, but so far these have stuck. My goal was to keep as many of my common functions and tools across editing apps in the same zones. Coupled with an Apple Trackpad and a stylus, it’s all working rather well.
UPDATE – Editor Darren Hallihan also sent me these pics of his more ergonomic set up featuring an Orbweaver. You can also get some great tips from Darren in the comments below!