I'm sure most armchair colorists (myself included) have been oooh-ing and aaah-ing at the cool look and modular design of the new Tangent Element color-grading control surface since it was announced. We've followed their development for months and, now that they've begun shipping, the chances of seeing one in the wild (and at NAB) have greatly increased. And, of course, the biggest news in Tangent Element land was word that DaVinci Resolve 8.2 would support this newest control surface.

Now we get our first up-close and detailed look at the unit, courtesy of Tao of Color and a 20-minute video they produced at the video-production Mecca B&H Photo. There's a range of topics covered in the video, including (from the Tao of Color website):

  • Physical size versus the Tangent Wave
  • Portability
  • Functionality vs. Wave in DaVinci Resolve
  • Live demo – with DaVinci Resolve
  • Overall Impressions
  • Buying advice for Resolve colorists
  • Buying advice for Scratch ad Scratch Lab colorists

The modularity of the panel is what intrigues me most of all. The four different units look to snap together magnetically to make a quite professional-looking panel. All four panels will set you back around $3,500. I'm very curious about what it might be like to only shell out $1,195 for the trackball and ring unit if you're just a part-time Resolve user. It's really the only option out there for a trackball surface. Of course if you're only going for the $1,195 trackball then add another $300 and you've got a Tangent Wave with all its buttons and knobs. But the guys in the video point out that one drawback of the Wave in Resolve is all the buttons you have to constantly press to navigate the menus and change button functions. I was thinking that if I could only have two then the trackballs and transport controls seem most logical and that's what the video recommends as well for a "starter" kit. I wonder if Tangent might have any production issues of people start buying just one or two parts of the Element panel and not the whole thing. But as of this writing all the parts of the panel are in-stock at B & H. 

I don't remember Tangent Devices having a dedicated booth at NAB but their products are always around the show floor and I'm sure the Element won't be any different. The B&H booth will probably have one set up for demo as well so if you're there next week you can check it out then. I know I will. The Tao of Color Tangent Element video is embeded below and check out the comments on their Vimeo page for some further discussion.

First Look: Tangent Element from Patrick Inhofer on Vimeo.