Mice, a Video Editors Guide

Mice, mouses, meece? Human interfacing device? Whatever. This is THE most important tool in your arsenal. Forget Avid, Premiere, After Effects or whatever other program or hardware you’re using. A server filled with Xeon CPUs and Quadro GPUs aren’t going to save you from RSI.

Repetitive Strain Injuries on your wrists will destroy your career faster than an arrow to the knee. No seriously. Do you like playing video games? Working steadily? Using your hands at all? Sit up straight, with your monitor in the right place and stop using that mouse. I know you’re fine now, but being in constant pain in your hands SUCKS. You can’t eat without being in pain, and to that end… you can’t edit with RSI.

RSI happens when you’re using your wrists in an unnatural way. Specifically twisting your wrists right and left, as well as putting pressure onto them. Knowing that, you need to know how to circumvent these movements while you’re editing. The two things I’m using right now is a Wacom Intuos 3 tablet and a rollerball mouse.

Wacom tablet – It’s awesome to have your hand in a more natural position for editing. The buttons can be bound to any button, or macro (combo of buttons) that you want and can switch on the fly for whatever program you’re currently working in. That’s nice. Really freaking nice. It’s just difficult to remember what macros I have bound to what keys… so… yea. That’s a bummer.

Roller ball mouse (brand: Elecom EX-G model: m-xt2drbk and Logitech 570) – both mice are great. They work essentially the same. You use your thumb to move the pointer around instead of your wrist. It kinda sucks a little bit that it’s not quite as accurate as a regular mouse which is a pretty big deal when it comes to editing frames at a time.

So, my daily driver is the Elecom for web browsing and gaming. For editing I use my Wacom and keyboard short cuts. There is another style of mouse called the “hand shake” type. Basically it puts your hand and wrist into the position it would be if you were shaking someone’s hand. This makes you use your shoulder to move the mouse. I have zero experience with this mouse outside trying it unplugged at a store. It was pretty comfortable for being on a shelf, way higher than I’d ever use it so… there’s that.

If you want to use your computer to make a living, start investing in how YOU interface with your surroundings. A mouse, keyboard, chair, and monitor stand all help you LIVE better. You might not be rendering as fast as the person with the newest, most expensive CPU/GPU combo, but you’ll be working a lot longer, and in less pain than they are, if they’re not taking care of their body. There are other more expensive peripherals you can invest in, like the Contour design ShuttlePRO v2, but it’s pretty much a dedicated editing gadget. Invest in yourself because shaving off a few minutes of render time isn’t worth your health, and well-being. Get after it.

For some information about exercises you can do to help RSI go here: http://massagetrack.com/how-to-treat-tendonitis/