It’s time once again for the the annual Christmas Gift Ideas for the Editor. This is a list of a few things that an editor might find useful either in the edit suite or in life. Some of these items may be for work, others may be for fun. With the rather short Thanksgiving to Christmas season here in the United States this edition of Christmas Gift Ideas for the Editor will also be a bit short as we’ve all got work to do. You can always check out the 2010, 2011 and 2012 edition for some other gift ideas as well (though they may not all be relevant in 2013).
Rampant Design Extreme Drive
I got my hands on one of these recently and examined the contents and was blown away by how much stuff is packed into this $999 USB hard drive. It’s pretty much every design element that Rampant Design makes sitting on a hard drive ready for use. That’s film and light effects, overlays, giltches, mattes, backgrounds, textures, type, music and a lot of other stuff. This could be the definitive go-to set of design elements for the editor or motion graphics person when they need to spice up their project.
These types of design elements are a dime a dozen these days as there are many companies that produce them (and apparently some companies that might steal them and resell them). It’s always handy for an editor to have this type of thing in their arsenal. The Rampant Extreme Drive might be all you need. While it’s not cheap it could be the perfect gift for the editor’s family to pool their Xmas money together. The Extreme Drive is the top of the line in Rampant’s drive collection but there are other more affordable options depending on what you might want from their collection.
Tangent Element … or at least the trackballs
While we’re on the topic of more expensive Christmas gifts, any editor who has to do a lot of color grading (either in Resolve or Speedgrade) would love to have a set of Tangent Element control surfaces. It’s 4 different USB connected hardware units that make up the entire set. At around $3,500 it’s not an everyday purchase but it sure makes grading in Resolve and Speedgrade a lot more fun and productive.
But truth be told, an editor could make do (and be very happy with) ONLY the trackball Element Tk Panel (B and H link). At $1,195 it’s not going to break the bank and the trackballs provide the best interface with the color application when grading a long project. That tactile feedback and the ability to adjust more than one parameter (like lift, gamma and gain) at a time is very nice. The Element Tk trackball panel is a great compliment to DaVinci Resolve as Resolve has nice keyboard support so adding the Tk panel to a well-memorized Resolve keyboard can increase you grading productive and make color work a little bit more fun.
I currently have a full Element panel set in the Editblog labs for testing so expect a full review in the new year.
Color Correction Handbook, 2nd Edition
Speaking of color grading, I’ve mentioned Alexis Van Hurkman’s Color Correction Handbook being a fantastic Christmas gift for the editor before. In 2013 the handbook gets a huge update that actually break the book in two. In addition to the handbook there’s also the more creative-based Look Book. That will be a fun one to read as it’ll be less about pushing buttons and more about the creativity behind the buttons. As an editor and not a colorist I’m looking forward to that one most of all. It should be shipping before Christmas.
Bamboo chair mat
If your edit suite is carpeted and you have a chair then you probably have a chair mat for the chair to roll around on. I have been through quite a few plastic chair mats and none of them were very good. Then I found a roll-up bamboo chair mat. That has by far been my favorite chair mat. The one I have came from Office Depot so if you want to see and feel the mat before asking for one for Christmas head to your local brick and mortar store. Apparently Staples has their own brand too.
Or you could just say screw sitting in a chair and do what all the cool kids are doing these days and stand up while editing. I have a motorized standing desk in my office that I love as sometimes I wanna stand, sometimes I wanna sit. Stand-up desks can be pricey (I don’t know how I was lucky enough to get an IKEA one years ago which is no longer offered) so here’s a few options (or just Google ‘standing desks’ for a thousand articles):
Or just make a $28 dollar one:
Razer Naga Epic gaming mouse
The idea of using a gaming mouse or gaming controller for video editing isn’t entirely new but it’s something I haven’t tried yet. I asked twitter if they had any good Christmas ideas for editors and this $129 Razer Naga Epic gaming mouse was a suggestion.
— Mark McCabe (@mmccabe26) December 5, 2013
If you think about what makes a gaming controller work (lots of buttons and controls) then it makes sense that it would be great for post-production as you can map a lot of NLE controls to all those buttons. This might be something I have to explore in the new year. If you’re interested check out the video below as there are quite a few options for the Naga mouse including a left handed one!
Print-on-demand editing swag
The print-on-demand phenomena means there’s never any shortage of silly swag with pretty much any saying available and video editing is no different. These kinds of things can be of varying quality but they can make for fun trinkets to toss around an edit suite.
Precompose T Shirt (ok that’s more effects and compositing)
Trash your Prefs t-shirt (this one is old but too funny not to link)
Color bars shouldn’t always be contained so a Color Bars Outbreak Tank Top might be nice for the female editor in your life. But you can get that design in other shirt styles as well.
And if you’ve grown tired of the old color bars on your swag then try this Abstract Rainbow as an option instead of color bars. It’s shown above on a laptop bag but might really be a nice gift on a coffee mug for your favorite colorist.
Several Apple Store gift cards to buy a new Mac Pro whenever they ship
Finally, why not direct all of your family to the Apple Store gift card online purchase page and have them max out a few Apple Gift Cards ($2000 is the max) that you can spend on a new Mac Pro … whenever they ship.
You’re going to need at least two maxed out Apple Gift Cards for one of these things.
Happy Holidays to editors everywhere!