Loupedeck CT: The New Way to Edit Photos, Videos, and Music

Today, Loupedeck launched the new Creative Tool or "CT." They sent me a pre-production unit a month ago, and I've got some thoughts. 

The original Loupedeck was a keyboard sized input device that turned all of the digital sliders in Adobe Lightroom into physical buttons and knobs that were easier to find and faster and more accurate to use than a mouse. The Loupedeck CT (short for Creative Tool) is a continuation of that idea, but instead of being the size of a keyboard, it's now a smaller device with customizable touchscreens. And now, with the help of these touch screens, the CT allows the unit to control almost any application, not just Lightroom. 

Build Quality

The original Loupedeck was pretty affordable, and it felt like it. The buttons and knobs felt light and flimsy. The Loupedeck+ was a big step in build quality. The entire unit felt more solid, and the buttons and knobs more secure. The Loupedeck CT feels like another huge leap in build quality. The top of the unit is made of black aluminum, the buttons press with a satisfying click, and the knobs turn silently with secure-feeling stops. The buttons are capable of changing colors, and of course, the touchscreen buttons can completely change as well. Although the build quality is impressive, the Loupedeck CT does not have smooth animations like Apple's Touchbar. 

Ease Of Use

I'm happy to report that after installing Loupedecks software and plugging in the CT with USB, everything instantly worked. Without me doing any customization, the CT knew which application I was in as well as which part of each application I was in, and it would change the touch screen buttons accordingly. I was worried that a product with this much complexity would take hours to set up, but you will have yours up and running in a few minutes. 

In Use

The CT is far more versatile than the original Loupedeck, but at the same time, it isn't as intuitive. When all of the buttons are physical and locked in one place, you will quickly learn where everything is. But the CT may have different options every time you look down at it, depending on what you're doing. This is good and bad. It's good, because the CT can do so much more, and you can customize it in any way that you like, but it's bad, because it will take longer to learn. 

Loupedeck did an amazing jobs making something as complex as the CT instantly usable without reading or watching any tutorials, but for this to truly speed up your workflow, you're going to have to use it for a while. 

Customization

To fully unlock the power of the Loupedeck CT, you're going to want to customize it for your personal workflow. Maybe you will want the CT to show tools and features that are buried in your software, or maybe you will want the CT to show only the tools that you use most. 

I personally didn't spend much time customizing this, but I'm sure that Loupedeck is going to be releasing a ton of new videos with tips and tricks for customizing and editing with the CT. 

Who Is This For?

The Loupedeck CT is not for everyone. I'm sure many of you reading this think using a mouse and keyboard is plenty fast, and if so, this product isn't for you. The CT is for professionals that find themselves doing the same tasks for hours at a time. Saving a second here and there hundreds or thousands of times a day will save you hours in the long run. The CT will work right out of the box, but the type of person who is probably going to buy it will be excited to customize every detail of it. At $550, the CT isn't cheap, but for those of you who need something like this, you're probably more than willing to pay this price for something as polished as the CT. 

Conclusion

The Loupedeck CT is an exciting product, but it is not a replacement for the Loupedeck+. If you spend most of your time in Adobe Lightroom, I think the Loupedeck+ is the better option. But, if you're like us, and you spend time in Lightroom, Photoshop, and Premiere, the CT is the better option. Not only can it work with almost any application, it's also much smaller and easier to travel with. 

As is the case with most ultra-specialized tech, most consumers won't have a use for it and therefore won't be able to justify the price. But, for the creative professionals who this was built for, you know who you are, and you're going to love it. 

Log in or register to post comments

28 Comments

Mark Alameel's picture

I would have preferred that they incorporated these "upgrades" into a Loupedeck Pro. As opposed to making a new device concept, expand the original concept to be able to do more. Yes the Pro would be more expensive, but the original Loupedeck doesn't need to go anywhere. Imagine how much further a Loupedeck would be consider by just adding a jog wheel and a few extra buttons dedicated to video.

I fkn love it but can I connect it to an ipad pro?

Przemek Lodej's picture

It's a pretty neat toy...but damn, $550?? My custom desktop cost me $1850.

Alex Herbert's picture

I recently bought something cheaper and a lot more basic from Kickstarter and I can't tell you how much more convenient it's made my workflow. If I spent more time (and earned more money) editing video I would definitely buy one of these. Shame about their online advert though, it's terrible.

Marc Perino's picture

What exactly did you buy? I am interested. ;)

Marc Perino's picture

I heard of that and then forgot about it.😉
Are you happy with it?
Does it work with C1?

Alex Herbert's picture

I'm not entirely sure, It's very customisable though, I made my own set of controls for After Effects as it didn't have a preset. Pop an email over to the manufacturer, they're pretty hands on.

Jim Bolen's picture

I bought the TourBox but am pretty unhappy with it. You can't customize it as much as I thought you could. You can only do shortcuts that are already set up in a particular program. I would like to do more with it, like set the main dial to exposure (without actually clicking on the exposure slider first), and other ones for specific tasks. It has potential, but so far it is very limited.

Alex Herbert's picture

Ahhh, I get what you mean. To be honest I've not fully explored all of the available options. Is this something that could be implemented with a software update, or is it a limitation of Lightroom?

Jim Bolen's picture

Nope, software update. I tried the Loupedeck+ and it had all those built in.

Matthew Teetshorn's picture

Have they improved Capture One integration at all?

It doesn't appear to have Capture One support at all, for now. I find it odd that they would not work with them to integrate all the same applications from the launch date. It means that Capture One/Loupedeck+ users have nothing to be excited about. Maybe the integration will never come? Who knows? At least they could have confirmed that it is "coming soon" or something like that. I think it looks like a cool product, but without Capture One support... I'm not going to get excited.

Matthew Teetshorn's picture

Same. That's too bad.

Hello,
I got in touch with Loupedeck support and they're waiting for Phase One to give them access to Capture One internals.
No internals = no integration by Loupedeck.
This is easy to understand as using shortcuts in not a good solution (Palette Gear did this in the beginning and it was not working properly).
On top of this, C1 Pro is already 100% compatible with Tangent and Palette gear.
Do they really want to add a third company in the loop... ?
Wait and see.
Philippe

Marc Perino's picture

I supposed there was no technical but a political reason behind this decision. But I guess after a while Phase One might cave in. For years they did not support Fuji cameras and then they made a deal with them.
In my opinion Phase One should start to look at themselves as a software company rather than a hardware company. These (expensive) highend medium format cameras will become a smaller and smaller niche market with competition like e.g. Fujifilm.

And the more versatile they make their software and open it up for different third party manufacturers the more successful they will become. Sometimes the user and/or the market decides what kind of company you become.

Paul Lindqvist's picture

Keep in mind that the CT does not rely on simple keyboard shortcuts, but needs the SDK with API's to fully integrate and control the software. First off you need to have access to the SDK (which for Resolve Loupedeck does not as Blackmagic has decided to not share it anymore) secondly you need to program it and that will take some time, it's not as easy as making a profile as you do with a simple controller like the ShuttlePRO V2 i.e.

I find the CT to be a welcome upgrade in terms of build and quality over the Loupedeck+ which isn't bad but it does feel very plastic. In terms of functionality, the CT is simply in another league, opening photoshop and Premiere gives A LOT of control and not simple keyboard shortcuts.

Karl-Filip Karlsson's picture

I guess it will come soon. what I know when they released the Loupedeck+ it didn't support Capture one I the beginning

Andrew Leman's picture

I love this idea and concept, but dang, $550 is rough. Maybe my wife will buy it for me for Christmas!

Ty Poland's picture

Are those your feet hangin over NY?! Next time you guys are up here we seriously gotta have an Fstoppers meetup :)

Let me rewrite this post to save you time, "The Loupedeck CT is not for everyone at $549."

Adam Palmer's picture

If the price came down I might give it a try.

Rob Mitchell's picture

Thanks for taking the time to write an full article to go along with your video.
Some of us prefer to read than be presented to at times.

Hands-down beats the latest fad of copy/paste links to wannabe youtube stars who manage to take 15min to say 2min worth of content.

Thanks Lee, appreciated.

I like the fact that it seems to just know what you're using, very pricey but as you say, if you're an editor doing the same things, day in, day out. A winner.

Anthony Cayetano's picture

$550? Make it user customisable with any software, or at least add Da Vinci Resolve at least. Making it more compatible to a wider range of software will instantly increase your customer base.

Ryan Stone's picture

This will always be limited to keyboard shortcuts, it’s a fancy way of converting them to a midi messaging layer. I use a BCR 2000 and it may not be as pretty but it has more functionality and no submenu diving.

Jason Dream's picture

interesting ! So you had to programm every key on the midi controller ? How did you affect them ?

Rakesh Malik's picture

Looks like a rather nice update. Hopefully they'll get support for professional software implemented, like Scratch and Lightworks. Resolve support would be nice, but I doubt very highly that Black Magic would be willing to facilitate that.

Unfortunately no Capture One and Affinity Photo software integration so far, but they are working on it, so it will come.