Join Richard Harrington for an in-depth discussion in this video Alternative input devices, part of Corporate Video Weekly.
- Now Rich, comfort in your workspace is a big thing. Ten years ago, 15 years ago, everybody talked a little bit about these things, but all you have to do is go on Facebook or online these days, and it seems like everybody is showing some sort of ergonomic product, right? The fact is that we do spend, as content creators, an amazing amount of time at our desks, and we can develop pretty serious nagging injuries from repetitive stress and positioning and all sorts of stuff. - Well, and the issue here too is like, for example, on your laptop here, Rob, your keys are pretty close together, so you're bringing your hands in, you're twisting the wrists, and that leads to a big issue over time.
You might wanna be able to spread that out, so even though I sometimes use a laptop, I'll often pair the Mac keyboard and the trackpad and just split these apart. This is just a holder, but I can actually spread that apart a little bit more, so it's a little bit easier, and now yeah, I can type, but usually when I'm editing, I use one hand on the keyboard and one hand on a trackpad because I've got most of my keys mapped, so I'm just picking my shortcut keys and driving over here. - Yeah, and when it comes to the actual keyboard, I've gone a little more radical in some places, right? Here this is a Microsoft sculpted keyboard.
You can see it's split on two sides, and the benefit of using a keyboard like this is that it kinda has a little bit of a wave to it, and because of that wave, my hands are separated, the wrists are much more straight than they would be on a normal keyboard, and this palm rest kinda lets my palms kinda rest at a natural position. I found even though it's really awkward at first to get a hang of this, I found that that's really nice comfortable position. - You might notice here that it's actually got a little bit of an angle. That creates this, your hands are reaching down much like playing a piano.
It feels more like I'm playing a piano here. They're at a natural angle as opposed to like this, so now the curvature of your wrist here just naturally falls on it and these are cross platform. This is a Windows version, it'll work with Mac. You might get a little confused over what key's what, depending what you're using, but they can be paired either way. - Now, Rich, we talked about this in an earlier movie, but your angle of your hands and your wrists relative to the desk are an important thing as well. For the purposes of recording this movie, we had this desk a little lower than it normally should be.
I wanna try to maintain a little bit of a, yeah, there ya go, there ya go, a nice motorized desk. I wanna try to maintain a nice straight angle of my wrists to that keyboard. Now, when it comes to other input devices, of course, mice have been kings for a long time, and there's no shortage of different thoughts and designs when it comes to mice. One of my favorite mice, and the one that I use daily in combination with some other input devices, is this one. This is the MX Master from Logitech. Logitech is well known for their mice.
This is a top-of-the-line device. It's not cheap, it's about 85 or 90 bucks. Bluetooth or it can operate also with the little USB dongle that goes in there. The reason I like this so much is that is the number of buttons and controls. Obviously it has the standard scroll wheels and buttons on top, on the side here, it also has horizontal scroll, backwards and forwards buttons, but the really cool feature about this is that this is a touchpad. - Yeah, you gotta a cool whole control panel for it, right? - Right, exactly, so Rich, I just downloaded this application called Logitech Options, and it works with of their different devices, but you can see that if I click on one of these circles, I can control what these various buttons are doing, including going into the gesture button where I can say hey if I hold this button down and go to the left, right, up, or down, it does different things.
I can use it to control things like volume or open a certain app, that kind of stuff, and it's nice and sculpted. One last really cool feature about this. There's actually three different numbers here on the bottom, one, two, and three. That means you can actually use it with three different actual computers, so instead of having to KVM or something like that, you can just go hey, I wanna go over to computer number two, press two, and now controlling it. - You can pair it with multiple machines. - Correct, that could be quite useful cause a lot of us work at a multimachine environment. - Right, your laptop, your desktop, you're going back and forth. - Yeah, I do that all the time where like I'm touching one thing and it's like oh, that's that computer over there.
And there are lots of other mice like this. Here, it looks like a traditional two-button mouse with a scroll wheel, but it's just changing it, so that it's changing how you interact, so again, a more natural grip. If you put the grip on the device here, it just sorta naturally falls like it's resting, and that makes it very easy to move the device, and if you look at the natural angle of the wrist, that's just gonna make it so much easier as you move to not have the wrist twisting. You can basically feel, as you start to twist, how this changes the orientation. - Yeah, and that's kinda all about wrist angle or wrist design, right? You don't wanna have that kinda bendy motion and tweak it.
Things like this, this is a graphics tablet, and this one's by Intuos, and they come in different shapes and sizes. It's something that very popular for graphic design and visual effects set but also for people looking to get a little more ergonomic. The way that this works is the graphic tablet connects through the wires, so you're wired to your machine, and then there is a pen, and this pen, obviously like a regular pen, is nice and comfortable to hold, and you simply just use this as a mouse. Because it's a pen, it allows you to do things like draw shapes and masks and all that kind of stuff in really fine detailed way.
I actually use a graphics tablet and the mouse. I find that when I really wanna be detailed or I've been working for a long time, I'll go for the pen and the tablet. When I just need to do things, ya know, quickly scroll through things or whatever, I'm going to the mouse. - What's also nice is that these buttons here tend to be programmable with macros or functions based on the application. We can do things like scroll a timeline or adjust or browse here, and the newer versions of the tablets can actually use this entire surface as a giant touchpad, so you can either use it with a mouse that they give you, and it gives you a simple mouse, or you could just use your finger to draw or move or double tap with these larger surfaces, much like you would on a laptop.
- Now, you had shown earlier your Apple Magic Trackpad there, which is another viable alternate for a lot of people who kinda like that laptopy kinda finger feel to things. This will work on a PC as well, just don't have necessarily all the gestures support, but other companies like Dell, for example. I have a Dell little trackpad like that, works on my PC just fine. - Yeah, and this just gives you that ability for an alternative device. I find I like the ability not have to grip something so much. Now, an alternative to all of this instead of using a mouse, there is a type of technology that's been around for a long time, and that is a trackball.
Do you use a trackball any more? - I do not use a trackball, but all the audio mixers in our facility can swear by them. These Kensington mouses, you have actually two different examples of theirs. They come in different sizes, this is a smaller one versus a bigger one, more buttons available there to do things, but the way that this basically works is that you're, like a mouse trackpad, you're kinda controlling the mouse by using this ball. One cool thing about this is that it's using multiple muscles in your hand, so you can put your palm on it like you're doing it there. You can use it with your fingers, so a lot of people get injuries to their wrists and their forearms and stuff from repetitive actions because you're forced to hold the device in one way.
This gives you some options for that. - If you are feeling a lot of pain, they do make wrist guards that you can wear to help immobilize the wrist. If you start getting Carpal tunnel syndrome, those go a long way, I've had carpel tunnel a few times in my life where the wrist just locks up, getting it immobilized there and using this can be an alternative or allow you to switch hands. And even, besides trackballs being in this size, you can even get a handheld one that you can just simply hold, and it's gotta mouse and everything else. - It's like a game controller. - Yeah, and you can adjust the sensitivity, but you can see here, Rob, I'm able to move around your computer pretty accurately there, grab what I need to, ya know, and it works pretty simply.
This is really designed for more someone giving a presentation, but for simple browsing, it's pretty comfortable. - Now, as we mentioned in the movie when we're talking about standing desks, one of the things I think get ya have be aware of is how much back and forth you're doing towards the computer, right, whether your position, your posture, you're back, you're going forward, you're back, going forward. I find that one of the reasons that I approach my desk and lean forward and get outta posture position a lot of times is because of my keyboard. I wanna go and type on that, well, one of the things that I've used cause I'm a DaVinci Resolve user, and it works perfectly for that, but it uses or works really well for other tools is that guy right here.
Lemme kinda undeck it out of its stand here. This is made by a company called Elgato. This it the Stream Deck, and what the Stream Deck is, it's actually one kinda four, five inch LCD here with these separate buttons. These buttons are all programmable to do different things that you might be doing on your system all the time. The cool part about it is if I take a look at the app here, is that you can program these buttons to do simple keyboard shortcuts, so for example, if I click on one here, you can just see this is to grab a still frame in DaVinci Resolve.
It's control one, right, but you can also get really kinda sophisticated about it. You can say, hey, ya know what, I actually want you to do something a little bit more complicated like, lemme go back to one of my options here. Let's go, sure, into printer lights. I can say, hey, run a script, so this will do basically a macro to be able to operate that particular task. - So what's great here is as you go into different options, the buttons actually change, so it's not like it's keyboard shortcuts you have to memorize. - Yeah, and all of this artwork and these buttons, I designed them, Elgato actually has a button designer that you can use on mine.
If you look over here on the right hand side, this is where they have kinda a built-in native integration with other apps, right? It works really well with things like StreamLabs and OBS, right, for example, Open Broadcaster, does stuff with Twitter, and you can save different profiles, so you can have different sets of buttons that you're gonna use in different situations. - Will it recognize what app is running and switch? - Absolutely, you can set that right up in the profile. The thing I like about this as well is that you can actually run multiples of these together, so the ability to have two or three of these at one side of the keyboard or another.
You start to feel like a flight controller or like flying a plane, do-do-do-do-do, the next thing you know you're firing off very complicated tasks which could have taken you three, four, five mouse clicks. - Even if you are just on a budget, sometimes a simple number pad, I use this all the time in editing, particularly for multicamera editing, the ability to sit back from the screen to look and just do a multicamera edit. When we come back, we're gonna give you some extra habits that you can implement to make things a bit healthier and a couple other things you can do to change your environment so it's better for your body.