I’m grateful there are so many keyboard shortcuts in Final Cut Pro because moving my hand between the mouse and keyboard is terribly inefficient and slow. Unfortunately, functions I’m using on a regular basis don’t have keys mapped to them making it a hassle to mouse over. Customizing the keyboard is easy and although it’s very crowded, there are a number of F-keys available if you don’t mind some modifiers like Option. For me, “Export as QuickTime Movie…” is mapped to Option-F1 and “Export OMF…” to Option-F2.
Although I’ve been memorizing keystrokes to no end, what I find lacking is the keyboard itself. Not the feel of the keys but the movement my hands makes across the keys. Picture this: your right hand is grasping the mouse and your left shoots across to press I or O. You could let go of the mouse and use your right hand but if you need to use the mouse immediately afterward it’s impractical.
The same goes for other command keys like F9, F10, J, K, L, and ; and ‘. In fact, it seems the most popular keys put your left hand across the keyboard quite often. These keys could be remapped in a mirror image but that will require remapping existing keys. Swap mouse hands? Ugh, no way.
Inefficiency aside, what about Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI)? It’s less stressful on your hands to keep them parallel with your body, not crossing your body. This is where I wonder about the benefits of a keypad to use alongside the keyboard. A keypad to the left could be programmed with common functions keeping your left hand in one place and your mouse hand on the right – both arms/hands parallel to the body.
P.I. Engineering makes a variety of USB keypads suitable for this task. Prices vary ($119 to $249) for something “editor” friendly. It’s unfortunate their X-keys Desktop (with 20 keys) is the price of a full 101+ key keyboard. The X-key Jog and Shuttle Pro seems the best device, but jog/shuttle devices can be found for much less.
For me, it will come down to this: how much do my wrists hurt after many hours in the clutches of Final Cut Pro?