Behind the Screens: Jeff Benjamin’s video editing workspace
Behind the Screens is a new weekly 9to5Toys series that takes you through our writers’ setups, be it mobile, desktop, gaming or home theater. Next up is Jeff Benjamin, producer of video content at 9to5.
In my first Behind the Screens post, I take a look at some of my favorite items that are a regular part of my desktop editing workspace. Software like Final Cut Pro X and ScreenFlow are two essential tools that I use every day for video editing, and obviously the cameras play a big role as well. But my desktop editing workspace is essential to providing a comfortable and productive area to get stuff done. Have a look at some of my favorite items in this latest Behind the Screens.
The best wireless keyboard for the Mac?
It only makes sense to start off with the glue that holds my editing workspace together. The PowerUp standing desk from UpDesk provides me with tons of desktop space in a wide form factor. But the most important thing about this desk is that it can easily be raised or lowered with the press of a button.
I can’t speak to the health benefits of standing desks, but I definitely feel better when I haven’t sat all day. The UpDesk allows me to remain productive without needing to sit for long periods of time.
I’ve owned a Luxo Lamp (see top image for photo) for years and it remains a workspace staple. I don’t often use it for lightning, it’s mainly there for the looks, but I have it paired with a Philips Hue bulb to add a splash of color when filming my desk.
Speaking of color, the Philips Hue Lightstrip Plus has become my go-to method for adding color to my workspace area. I have the Lightstrip Plus mounted to the back edge of my desk out of sight. It’s a great way to change up the look of your workspace on the fly.
I sometimes utilize string lights in my videos and shots to add a bit of extra flavor to a scene. String lights are particularly effective when shooting with fast lenses, and are a cost-effective way to spice up your content.
The LaMetric Time is a desktop clock and Wi-Fi connected device that allows you to easily monitor social media statistics and other pertinent online activity via its unique dot display. It makes for an interesting conversation piece, while allowing me to keep an eye on my activity.
Keeping my iPhone X topped off while I work is important, and Mophie’s Wireless Charging Base allows me to do so by means of a simple and well-built wireless form factor. There are plenty of other chargers available on the market, but Mophie’s design is my favorite, and complements the look of the iMac Pro.
I’m still not 100% sold on the iMac Pro, but I do like its sleek Space Gray exteriors, 8-core Xeon W CPU and 32 GB of RAM on the base model edition. The iMac Pro is especially helpful for my video editing workflow, as those extra cores and powerful Radeon Vega 56 GPU put in the work to help me blaze through edits on Final Cut Pro X timelines.
That said, I’m starting to tire of glossy screen displays, and the iMac Pro’s super-glossy display is causing me a bit of eye strain. It would be hard to give up the iMac Pro after experiencing its power, but I may end up doing so for the sake of my eyes.
Of course, one of the big features of the iMac Pro has to do with its included space gray peripherals. The Space Gray Magic Mouse and Magic Keyboard complement the look of the iMac Pro, and matches the overall theme of my workspace area.
Perhaps my favorite piece of desktop kit is my Sennheiser MKH-416. It’s a shotgun mic that sounds great with voiceovers. It’s fairly expensive, but it’s a piece of equipment that I will likely use for the rest of my career.
I’ve been using the Yellotec M!ka microphone arm for a few years, and it has been amazing. First of all, its looks far surpass some of the cheaper arms that you’ll find. Along with stellar aluminum design, the M!ka also eliminates the risk of pinching your fingers, like other mic arms do.
Onyx Blackjack USB Recording Interface
To connect the MKH-416 to my iMac, I use the Onyx Blackjack USB interface from Mackie. First and foremost, it’s built like a tank. It features quality Onyx preamps, and features rear-side XLR inputs for a clean look on my desk. Unfortunately it looks like the Onyx Blackjack is no longer being sold, although you can still find it online in some places. As an alternative, I’ve heard good things about the Focusrite’s Scarlett interfaces.
The last item on my desk is the ATH-M50x Headphones from Audio-Technica. This is an excellent pair of headphones that I’ve used on a daily basis for the last couple of years. I like the fact that it features a detachable cable, and several interchangeable cable types are included in the box. Just a solid overall performer, and comfortable to wear as well.