Designed for Lightroom, the Loupedeck console is the first product from a company that plans to develop similar products adapted to other post-processing software, including video editing.
Some of the best solutions are born from the worst experiences. For the team behind Loupedeck, the idea for a console to be used as an interface to Adobe Lightroom came from the urgent need to find a more intuitive way to control the photo editor. They were and still are in love with photography, but the editing part, as they wrote on Loupedeck’s blog, “…well, we noticed that wasn’t as easy or creative as it could be. We started thinking – how can we make editing intuitive? How can we put the power back into your hands?”
That’s the story behind Loupedeck, which now has a distributor in the United States, ExpoImaging, known for their range of products, as the ExpoDisc or the Rogue Gear lighting products. Priced at $209.00, the Loupedeck console is compatible with Adobe Lightroom 6 and Adobe Lightroom Classic CC. It is not compatible with Lightroom CC with cloud sync, something to keep in mind if you want to explore the potential of this interface.
The interest for this type of products was immediately shown during the Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign in November 2016. The first 24 hours of the campaign saw Loupedeck reach half of its €75,000 (+/- $93,000) and when the campaign closed, December 2017, 1436 backers had raised €366,000, that’s to say an amount totalling 488% of the €75,000 fixed goal.
So, in July 2017 the finished product started to be distributed to backers, and soon after the console made it to the market. With over 50 controls on the console, and programmable preset buttons you can assign to less commonly used editing tools, or your own scripts, Loupedeck replaces your keyboard and mouse, allowing for a more precise control of Lightroom’s tools for exposure, contrast, clarity, tint, white balance, image ratings and more. The intuitive layout of dedicated control dials and knobs map to Lightroom once you install the software available at Loupedeck’s website.
Loupedeck connects to your computer through an integrated USB 2.0 cable, and once everything is set, you just need to open the Develop module in Lightroom and you’re ready to work in a completely new way. Now, making standard adjustments to your photos is quick and easy, reducing your more tedious workflow and freeing your creative spirit to get your photo just the way you want it. Loupdedeck is compatible with Windows 10, Windows 8.1, Windows 7 and Mac OS 10.13, Mac OS 10.12, Mac OS 10.11, Mac OS 10.10.
The Loupedeck story does not end here, though. On the road to create the product, the team invested heavily on the research of a design that aimed at optimum usability. As product designer Heikki Kangasmaa writes on the company’s blog, “we didn’t leave any stones unturned”, and the team even visited “a DJ shop to check out different types of dials and functions, and their look and feel. We spent a long time analyzing what would make the best dimensions for Loupedeck. This was an inspiring way to work, and it created a real buzz amongst the team.”
The long investigation that led to Loupedeck started in 2013 in the mind of Mikko Kesti, when the CEO and founder of the company discovered he loved photography but didn’t like the ways available to control Lightroom. Mikko realized that editing was time consuming, impractical, ergonomically poor and the full potential of the software was easily forgotten, so he began for a tool that could solve these problems. His focus was on finding either a keyboard or a mechanical device where all controls could be seen at once and the use of Lightroom would consequently be easy and fun.
The elegant console resulting from the efforts of the team is dedicated to photo editing and Lightroom, but Loupedeck does not want to be a one product company, so they are exploring other options and new products. When launching the crowdfunding campaign for Loupedeck the team confirmed that they were concentrated on Lightroom, because “it has the widest user base and we also have a personal background of using it” but suggested, then that Loupedeck would be, in the future, compatible with other photo editing tools.
The potential is there for other uses, and anyone familiar with video editing will easily perceive that a product similar to Loupedeck could be used with any video editor, with the right software to make them work together. Loupedeck recently announced that they are recruiting new talent, “with the aim of building an in-house R&D team in order to ramp-up development of the various new projects currently being considered” and that plays together with the suggestion that “as the company moves forward with the development of possible new consoles that can be adopted to other formats, like video-editing, for example, or consoles dedicated to other post-processing software types too.”
The photo editing market, with the series of new solutions available as alternatives to Adobe’s products, may well be a good field to explore with new versions of the Loupedeck console, and the fact that many of these programs – ON1 Photo RAW, Luminar or Affinity Photo, to mention some – share many functions with Lightroom, make it probably easy to adapt the console for other options. But the potential doesn’t stop there, and we may well see the Loupedeck enter the world of video editing.