Getting started with the Tangent Element. An overview of this modular colorist control surface.

Tangent Element Control Surface: Getting Started

January 22, 2014

Learn about the Tangent Element colorist control surface and see how one professional colorist sets it up in his color correction suite.


This Insight is the first in a series we’re doing here on

Getting Started with the Tangent Element Colorist Control Surface

The Tangent Element is one of the newest and most versatile control surfaces on the market today. It’s a modular set of four panels that can be bought individually, allowing you to add to the set as your budget and needs dictate. The full set currently costs about $3500US.

For a detailed set of pictures – as well as its size compared to the other control surfaces in this roundup – be sure to check out our free Insight, Unboxing the Tangent Element.

Understanding the Tangent Element

  • Who is Tangent Devices, and what is their history with colorist control surfaces?
  • How does the Tangent Element compare with their entry-level Tangent Wave?
  • What are its main features?
  • How might you set up these panels in a color correction suite?

These questions are all answered in this Getting Started video. Patrick and Robbie start in the Studio discussing the Element, and then Patrick takes you inside his color grading suite and shows you his ‘non-traditional’ panel arrangement. He also explains why he sets it up the way he does.

We will have follow-up videos in this series that will show how the Element is mapped in SpeedGrade CC and DaVinci Resolve.

Member Content

Sorry... the rest of this content is for members only. You'll need to login or Join Now to continue (we hope you do!).

Need more information about our memberships? Click to learn more.

Membership options
Member Login

Are you using our app? For the best experience, please login using the app's launch screen


Homepage Forums Tangent Element Control Surface: Getting Started

  • Margus Voll

    I love that you guys are taking it to the next level in personal touch sense. It is always nice to relate guys who talk and act as persons eliminating stiffness that we have seen in ’90 corporate stiffness. Good job! Switching small panels is nice tip!

  • Rajab Yahya

    hello, would you still recommend Tangent element now in 2022?

    • Patrick Inhofer

      That depends: If you regularly work between apps that support the Tangent, then yes. In fact, Premiere’s support is very strong. Also, the Big Iron color grading apps also have strong support for Tangent. But if you’re working exclusively in Resolve – and have zero plans on using other apps for color grading, then the Mini Panel is far more integrated into Resolve and is the solution I’d recommend at that price point.

  • I own both the Tangent Element and BMD Mini Panel. The TL is now in storage.

    I bought the Mini Panel because the support of Tangent Element by Blackmagic has been stopped around Davinci Resolve 15. There is no HDR palette support, among other new Davinci Resolve features.

    The control of further support for the Tangent Element is in the hands of Blackmagic Design, not Tangent.

    The only feature I’m missing in the Mini Panel that the Tangent Element has is Resolve Image Wipe, which the Tangent Element has assigned to the Transport Wheel. To cover this missing feature, I bought BMD SpeedEditor. After years of using the Tangent Element transport wheel for this operation, I couldn’t use the mouse.

    As a companion to the Tangent Element, I used  Stream Deck 32. I do the same with the Mini Panel. As Patrick has said, I will only recommend the Tangent Element for Davinci Resolve users who also use FinalCut, Premiere, etc., for editing.

  • Remco Hekker

    I recently purchased a used Tangent Elements Bundle since the mini panel was nowhere to be found in Western Europe.
    I was able to get a good price and had it completely refurbished by Mazze from Angry-face (dot) com. The quality of the panel has improved immensely because of it. (The new rings make a huge difference, and the finish of the panels it self makes for a nicer experience.)

    I agree that in a head to head the mini panel is far more useful in the current version of Resolve. However I’m still very happy that I’ve bought it. Its still a lot better than mouse and keyboard. One big side-effect is that, since I’m mainly using the tools that I have quick access to, I’m now grading a lot more like I did years ago. None of that fancy Resolve 16+ magic 😉
    It’s really not as bad as it sounds.

    If I had the choice then, I would have definitely bought the mini panel. But now that I have this, I’m not looking to upgrade anytime soon.

    I’ve worked with the Tangent Elements years ago. And the muscle memory came back within one session! Did not expect that.

  • I personally find BM’s attitude understandable … but very, very frustrating.

    Their profit model is totally built around providing cheap/free software to get us buying hardware, and the software is a loss-leader. The hardware pays the bills and salaries. So it is understandable that they want to tilt towards their own hardware.

    At the same time, for those of us who work in several apps, the BM hardware is intentionally designed not to work with any other app. So to use a BM panel, I’d have to move my full Elements setup off the desk and move the Mini panel in. Then back out to go work in Premiere.

    I’d be a TON more likely to look at buying a mini panel if it could be mapped in Premiere.

    And yea, in Premiere, my Elements controls the Track mixer knobs & sliders. I do placement, sizing, rotation of graphics elements while working on graphics. Resize/position clips on the sequence.

    Oh, and yea, I’ve got that panel mapped the way I want it for color.

    If I could do that with a BM panel, well … might buy one.

Log in to reply.

1,000+ Tutorials to Explore

Get full access to our entire library of over 1,100+ color tutorials for an entire week!

Start Your Test Drive!