Loupedeck Revisited (Part 2)

A few weeks back we had a first look play with Loupedeck, the editing consoloe from the Finnish company of the same name. Well, we have further delved into the Loupedeck, and here, along with a reprint of our first piece, is what we found and think now.

First Looks: Loupedeck+

Over the years I have played with many an add-on device to assist in video editing. Despite the number – and they have varied from control boxes to faux channel mixing desks seen in TV studios to specialised mice and joysticks – I have stuck with the trusty Contour Shuttle Pro.

This might all change now though as I have just received a new player in the game, the Loupedeck+ from Finland.

(How many Finnish inventions can you think of?  Well actually there is a few such as the wearable heart rate monitor, the safety reflector used on clothing, of course the sauna and even the humble web browser is a Finnish invention – but I digress …)

Loupedeck+ is a dedicated photo and video editing console putting everything you need at your fingertips – with a caveat. It comes preconfigured only for Adobe Premiere Pro, Photoshop, After Effects, Lightroom and Audition, Final Cut Pro X, Capture One and Skylum: Aurora HDR.

So, at this stage, if you are say, a Vegas Pro, AVID or Blackmagic Resolve user, it seems you may be out of luck. But as we speak, I am checking with the developers as to self-configuration and / or future development in this area and it mostly seems to down to user demand driven.

The Loupedeck+ Console

On the Loupedeck+ console all the functions available are grouped by category eliminating the need to continually navigate between panels, sub-panels and menu options as say Adobe like to use. On top of this you can customise the console to suit your own specific or particular workflow with four separate layers of functionality with its various buttons, dials and sliders.

As an example, with Adobe Premiere Pro, there is complete compatibility with the Lumetri Colour workspace for colour grading and support for LUTs. Any settings you create specifically for you can be saved in a config file and used on another computer if you wish. There is flexible timeline navigation and trimming and adjustment availability plus you can customise buttons to Premier Pro short cuts.

Requirements

To install the driver software from the Loupedeck website is a 60 second thing and painless. And while there is a PDF included, specific instructions for the supported programs are all online.

For Windows based machines you need a minimum Windows 10 and for Mac, OS 10.12 or greater. Loupedeck do say on its website “Loupedeck software is compatible with MacOS Mojave. However, new security features were added to Mojave and these need to be allowed for the Loupedeck to function”.

Full step by step instructions then follow.

In Use

I seriously looked forward to a good play with Loupedeck+ (meaning I had to brush up on Premiere Pro and After Effects which is not a bad thing of course).

When the time came, using Adobe Premiere Pro 2019, my first thought was “this is somewhat daunting”. With the different layers of command depending on what mode the Loupedeck+ controller is in, remembering them is simply not feasible or possible. On the Loupedeck website thankfully are downloadable PDFs with key mapping diagrams as well as text descriptions and this makes it a little easier.

I wonder if the company has thought about creating some overlay templates that could be purchased relating to each application supported? I am sure they would be onto a winner there if they were a few bucks each.

I found the best way was to take it slowly, getting used to the novelty of not using hot keys or the mouse, and just (initially) sticking with basic commands and the “top” layer of the Loupedeck+ command structure. In this case, that meant restricting myself to such things as switching from panel to panel, transport controls, Next / Prev Edit Point, Trim Tool, Ripple Delete and so on.

After a day or so this became, whilst not exactly second nature as yet compared to my Contour ShuttlePro, at least workable. If I’m honest, the biggest issue was lack of desk real estate as simply having a mouse and mouse mat, keyboard, Contour ShuttlePro and Loupedeck+ all on my smallish workstation desk wasn’t practical.

What would work longer term I think – and I might investigate this – is to “rack” the Loupedesk+ above the keyboard and behind it similarly to the way keyboard players such as Rick Wakeman have multiple keyboards stacked (he modestly claims to inventing the concept).

Rick Wakeman and his keyboard “rack” setup

Where I can see Loupedeck” of major benefit, and an area I do not pretend at this stage to be less than a little familiar with is in the colour grading workspace with Luminetri in Premiere Pro which is using the Loupedeck+ in the FN Layer mode. (There are 4 modes altogether giving hundreds of potential combinations as mentioned earlier.)

Reading reviews from people who have w-a-y more experience in this than I, apparently to make it work better, it is preferable to change a few of the control / command mappings, but I suspect many will do that anyway as they become more and more familiar with the unit and modify it to their preferences.

And again, out of my experience, many reviewers suggest that where Loupedeck+ REALLY shines is when you are an Adobe Lightroom user. Having never used it, I’ll have to take their word for it.

Conclusion

Am I going to stick with using Loupedeck+?

If my primary video editing package was Adobe Premiere Pro, then yes I would. But it isn’t, I tend to use Vegas Pro for 90% of my work for the simple reason that I know it (however my quick play with Premiere was fun, and I may use it on occasion in the future).

But I have not used After Effects for a long time, and now have a reason to go back to it, as I did enjoy creating motion graphics and compositions back in the past.

So, the longer answer is yes, I will use Loupedeck+ and it certainly will not be relegated to the “interesting gadgets” shelf of my office.

But I do hope that the good folk at Loupedeck realise Vegas is a legitimate player in the field, as is Blackmagic Design Resolve for that matter, and deserves their attention.

For more information, go to www.loupedeck.com

Loupedeck+ is €233

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