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Could LEAP Change The Way We Edit Images and Videos?

Danny Greer

LEAP is a revolutionary gesture based input device that may have the potential to change how you work with video editing and photography software.

Minority Report

Earlier this week the ‘net was abuzz with the announcement of Leap, a new gesture-controlled computer input device that is manipulated by hand motion.  Similar to the technology built into the Microsoft Kinect (but reportedly 200 times more precise), the Leap compact infrared device sits in front of your computer and allows you to control on-screen action using your hands, fingers or a pen/pencil.  We’re talking about Minority Report style control here.

Wired sat down with the Leap gesture-control system and confirmed just how fast and accurate it is.

The Leap Sensor

LEAP Sensor

Recently, we profiled a video editor that turned his Apple trackpad into a gesture-based input system for editing in Final Cut Pro X – to impressive effect.  What if the Leap could expand on this idea of gesture-based video editing?

Efficient video editing is reliant on using keyboard shortcuts (try to find one pro editor that’s NOT using them).  Therefore, it’s unlikely that the keyboard will be totally replaced by the new Leap technology anytime soon.  But, it’s entirely possible that the LEAP may be a useful secondary input for certain stages of the editing process.  Imagine how fast it would be to drag clips down to a timeline…quickly rearrange and assemble them to make a rough cut sequence.

For photographers, the LEAP may be able to take on editing tasks that are currently done with a Wacom tablet or mouse.  You’d be able to quickly zoom into an image and retouch it.  Using your hand, you could trace the area of an image that needs an adjustment.  The LEAP could really speed up your time in Photoshop, as you digitally finger-paint your image corrections.

Leap Motion, the company behind the device, will soon be making a software development kit (SDK) available that will allow developers to create new LEAP focused apps or offer support with their current applications.  The big questions is, will they?  Will enough users be interested in LEAP that Adobe, Apple, Avid, etc are encouraged to make it available for use with their applications?  If it’s really a game-changer, will one of the big tech companies buy up LEAP and offer exclusive support?  It remains to be seen.

When it’s released for public sale later this year (at a low $70 price point) LEAP could really shake up the way we traditionally interact with our applications.  It’s potential in the video and image editing space could be a game-changer.  Keeping fingers crossed that users and developers feel the same.