“CTRL+Console”, by Red Bird Rising, LLC – http://ctrlconsole.com – is an iPad digital Video Controller or Editor Console for Quicktime, Final Cut Pro and Premier Pro. The Quicktime controller is provided with the iOS App free download. In App Purchases provide controllers for Final Cut Pro and Premier Pro at $4.99 each. For $29.99, there are editing controls for Final Cut and Premier, and there is a Lightroom Sorter as well.
Comparing the prices for physical controllers, I found a simple aluminum wheel for $35 which only moves my play head. For $60 I could buy a plastic jog/shuttle with 5 function buttons. At $100, I found a model with 15 buttons.
Bottom Line Up Front, CTRL+Console has made my editing process easier. It gives me the ability to control my playback and edit point, moving forward and backward, at high and low speed, without using my keyboard or mouse. I can lean back in my chair to review footage, a nice break for my tired back.
The iPad requires more room on my desk than the physical jog/shuttle controllers I looked at. On the other hand, the lower priced controllers were all wired.
CTRL+Console requires a small application on your Mac or PC to connect with the app on your iPad. It is downloaded from Red Bird Rising at no charge. There is on-line interaction with their site, both from your computer and your iOS device, in using this app. That raises security concerns, so common in today’s software.
For me, the operation of CTRL+Console was fairly comfortable. I initially tried the Quicktime controller and then communicated with Co-Founder, Jeff Chow, with some questions. He was very responsive, and provided me with a copy of the Final Cut Pro controller for evaluation.
Other reviewers felt an iPad controller would not work, the user would have to continually look away from their work to operate the controls on the flat surface. For some of the buttons, this might be true, although a concert pianist can tell you where all 88-keys are without counting them from middle-C.
I found I could easily find the play and stop button in the middle of the controller, and the shuttle wheel ring around the button. I tended to return to my trackpad for other tasks, since there were only five other buttons on the controller. The FCP Editor has 22 additional buttons.
To make its use even easier, CTRL+Console has a set of one, two and three finger gestures that can operate many of the functions of the controller when applied to the screen.
The 1X, 2X, 3X and 4X forward and backward lever seemed to glitch occasionally. I think I was resting the bottom of my palm on the screen, which may have caused the problem. Perhaps a future edition will only accept input from the control regions.
I have not had the opportunity to try a physical jog/shuttle at this point. CTRL+Console works well for me and I will use it for now. I find $30 very expensive for any iOS app, and even more so for one of several modules within an app. However, if this application really helps your workflow, and Red Bird Rising keeps the software current, then it could be money well spent.
While evaluating CTRL+Console, I found one other iOS App that seemed similar. PROCUTX, by Pixel Film Studios, looked worthy of comparison, but their Mac module would not connect to the iPad app. I found that neither one had been updated in years. I asked Pixel about the app and they assured me that they hoped to “have a working version up soon”, that was April of 2015. PROCUTX has yet to be revised, its last update was 2013.
CTRL+Console has gone through three updates in April of 2016, and I found errors in the connect screen of the Mac application in the latest OS X software. It was just an appearance issue and the software works well. I have reported the bug and, as I said, Mr. Chow has been very involved in improving the product in the past, although the website has adopted a much more corporate appearance over the past year.
I certainly recommend that you try the free version of this product, see if it works for you with Quicktime, and then consider its application to your editing flow.
If you have worked with any of the products mentioned in this review, please let us know what your experience has been. Thank you.