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  • Build Your Own Editing Foot Pedal

    Build Your Own Editing Foot Pedal

    December 19, 2010, 5:15 pm
    Subbing in for Tej this week Gordon shows you how to build a foot pedal that will allow you to play/stop your footage in FCP/AVID for less than 20 dollars.

    Tej has added to his brood and has a new little one named Alexander. So while he takes care of his wife and children for the holidays I (Gordon Burkell) will be filling in.
    I’ve been working for the last month on a small little project that will be perfect for Tej’s Tech Blog. Please note that I had to dismantle the project to do this blog so it won't look perfect. I was fortunate enough to begin my editing career on the cusp of the digital revolution and because of this I got to work hands on with film, cutting on Steenbeck’s, Moviola’s and Kem’s. Working on the Moviola I grew to love having more than my arms involved in the process. The foot pedals added to the editing experience for me.
    Build Your Own Editing Foot Pedal
    With this in mind I decided that I needed foot pedals for my computer.

    Therefore, for this week’s Tej’s Tech Blog, how to make your own foot pedals that interact with FCP, AVID or even Edius.
    What you’ll need:
    -Footpedal (A-1 in Canada and McMaster-Carr in US)
    -old USB keyboard
    -24 gauge wire

    -Screw Driver
    -solder iron
    Build Your Own Editing Foot Pedal
    If you’re a mac based editor and most of you are, I’d recommend using an old mac keyboard. Otherwise you’ll have to connect your PC keyboard to the mac, tell the mac to recognize it and then take it apart. For my pedal I am using my old G4 keyboard. I’m keeping the two USB ports intact so that I can add two more pedals later (Which, if Tej is Busy next week we’ll discuss).
    Build Your Own Editing Foot Pedal
    The pedal is relatively simple, what you want to do is choose your key that the foot pedal's click will represent.

    In my case I want the letter L represented. In FCP and Avid this will allow me to play. I could use the spacebar but I plan to add two more pedals in the coming weeks which will represent the letters J and K so that I can rewind and stop.

    Step one: Take apart the keyboard and keep the USB board intact.
    Build Your Own Editing Foot Pedal
    Step Two: Locate the dark lines on the chip. These are what the keys connected to. You’ll notice that there aren’t enough for all of the alphabet. This is because each key is a combo of these lines. We’ll get back to that in a second.

    Build Your Own Editing Foot Pedal
    Step Three: Solder your twenty four gauge wire to the push button inside the foot pedal.

    Step Four: Back to that chip, using the gator clips place one wire onto a single black strip. Open a word processor and with the other wire your going to go from one black line to the next, your testing to find the combo. In the word processor you’ll start to see letters appear. In my case I want L so when the L appears I’ll stop and mark my line.

    Step Five: Next Solder the 24 gauge cable to those two spots.

    Step Six: In case your chip in the foot pedal and away you go!

    The nice thing about this is when the directors, producers and general frame fuckers come along they’ll see you using pedals, keyboards and mice and will think it’s out of their working knowledge range.

    SO, next week if Tej is still helping the little family, I’ll show you how to add two more pedals and expand your pedal system. If your afraid of building your own you can always purchase one from here. However, it cost me less than 20 dollars and these cost 60 plus shipping and handling.


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