FCP-NES Nintendo Editing System!

Ever since I was a wee lad, and I outgrew my NES for a turbografx 16 (don’t ask) I have been yearning to get back to using that classic rectangular controller. With this project I was finally able to do so.

This project came simultaneously with the cheapskate version of the creative controller. I decided to do both, because they have different results and levels of difficulty. To sum up the premise: in an edit I want to give the reviewer the ability to stop and start playback and scroll through the edit. If they can specifically show me the section / clip / edit that they are referring to, then the conversation will generally go much more smoothly. I call it the “creative controller”

This NES controller is set up so that the A button is the space bar (play/pause), the d pad left/right scrolls through the timeline, up / down jumps to the next / previous edit point, and select and start jump to the end and beginning.

The nitty Gritty details.
The NES controller is hooked up to an arduino. The arduino is a microcontroller that I have programmed to convert the NES controller signal into something that my mac can understand. On my computer I am running a java app (written in processing) that listens for the signal from the Arduino and then translates those signals into keypresses. The java app also has a picture of the controller on-screen to show you what buttons you are pressing. That’s it! Here is the arduino code.

To download the java source code and apps click here mac, linux, and windows. If you want to remap the buttons to different keys it is really pretty simple. This could also be used for playing video games, or as an itunes controller. Use your imagination and post your results in the comments.

Price Breakdown:
Arduino: $29
NES Controller $6.50
Bamboo Box $8
NES Controller port $1.99

For wiring pinouts and more background on the code check out prodigity’s code on instructables I modified his code to send the key presses I wanted, but he did the heavy lifting on this project.

This setup is based on the nintendo controller protocol, so you ought to be able to plug any nes controller (well, every one except for the zapper) in and it will work. Processing is relatively easy to understand and it is free, so if you want to poke around in the source code feel free to change buttons or timing. As I mentioned on the last post, you could also duplicate much if not all of this functionality with a powermate, or a shuttleXpress, but it’s nowhere near as much fun that way. Let me know what you come up with!

~ by ross on March 15, 2010.

9 Responses to “FCP-NES Nintendo Editing System!”

  1. Now you just need to place a mac mini in an old nintendo, place fcp on it, and when your clients come over it’ll be like playing a game.

  2. [...] the cheapskate version of this device: I have a much cooler (can you BELIEVE IT!?!) version of this in the works, but this is the quick and dirty one. If you want to only have stop/start then there is a really [...]

  3. Love this. Awesome and hilarious. Can I repost a picture and your first paragraph and then link to this?

  4. Bryce: by all means! I’m glad you’re digging it.

  5. [...] read a really cool post by Ross over at You Down With FCP? about making a client controller out of an original Nintendo controller. With his permission, I [...]

  6. [...] Earlier this year you may have seen YDWFCP’s version of a “cheapskate FCP creative controller”.  Well, to take gadget tinkering to the next level he’s got a new Final Cut Pro controller…made using an old 8-bit Nintendo controller….and yes, it’s totally rad.  We grew up with an 8 bit Nintendo controller in one hand, so using this cool gadget would probably come as second nature.  He gives details on how it works (and how to build!) so get that soldering iron hot and hop on over to the site to check it out. [...]

  7. Oh the irony!

  8. [...] for those who haven’t been following long at home, this is the third creative controller that I have put together. I promise this isn’t going to become a “Combine X [...]

  9. Hello please can, re upload the soft “java” for windows??? Please is really thank!

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