— Dane Creek

Using a BCF2000 With Paddy and Lightroom

UPDATE: The newest builds of Paddy now support programming BCF2000s directly, without the need for BC Manager.

I’ve also posted settings files that provide a complete MIDI mapping for Paddy and the BCF2000. See the settings page for details. This blog entry is really now only useful if you want to do detailed MIDI configuration with Paddy, which most people should now be able to avoid by using the posted settings files at the link above.

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Last week a pretty cool video made the rounds of the Interwebs. As soon as I saw the video I knew I had to get that set up. Lightroom is my primary photo editing tool, but I hate driving the sliders with my mouse.

My BCF2000 arrived today and I spent about an hour getting it all up and running. Since a lot of this is pretty recent the documentation on getting it working was, ah, thin. So I figured I’d write up a blog entry to simplify it for anyone else wanting to make this work.

Prerequisites

A Behringer BCF2000. I purchased mine from www.audiomidi.com. Normally I would buy through Amazon, but they didn’t have any in stock with Prime shipping. audiomidi.com was the source I found that had the unit in stock for $179 with free shipping.

Drivers for the BCF2000. Don’t panic out if you have Windows 7 64-bit like I do. They have drivers for it. Just scroll down to BCF2000 and click the link for the 32- or 64-bit driver.

BC Manager. You need this to set up what the BCF2000 will send to the PC. Don’t forget to donate a bit to the developer.

BC Manager Key Preset. The file is attached as a .zip to the linked forum post. It contains a default mapping for the BCF2000 that works with Lightroom. It’s a good starting point for this whole process and will save you a ton of time if you just want to get up and running fast.

Paddy v0.9.8 or later. This is the application that sends data back and forth between the BCF2000 and Lightroom. When I wrote this blog entry the version to download is the .exe file in the executable – unzip in a directory folder. Do not download the zip file. It contains version 0.9.7 and does not have support for MIDI controllers in it.

Part 1: Install Stuff

  1. Unpack the BCF2000. Run the driver installation software and connect the controller to your machine when instructed to by the setup application.
  2. Install BC Manager.
  3. Create a folder on your machine somewhere and put the Paddy application inside it.
  4. Extract Paddy For Lightroom.syx from the downloaded zip file and put it somewhere on your machine (the same folder as in step 3 works fine).

Part 2: Load the Key Preset

Before the BCF2000 can be used for anything you need to tell it what information to send to the PC when each button/slider/knob is used. You can certainly do this manually, one widget at a time, using BC Manager. However it’s much faster to load in a base config to start.

  1. Make sure the BCF2000 is on and plugged into the PC
  2. Run BC Manager. You may see some dialogs pop up as it enumerates devices. It may give an error about not being able to find a BCF2000 on channel 3. You can safely ignore that error.
  3. Select View > B-Controls
  4. In the resulting B-Controls window select File > Import and open the Paddy For Lightroom.syx file you extracted earlier
  5. Double-click on the BCF2000 that shows up on line 1.
  6. In the resulting BCF2000: Presets window select MIDI > Send
  7. When the download is complete close all the BC Manager windows. If prompted to save changes twice just say no both times.

At this point the MIDI controller is configured to send a variety of different number codes depending on the control you manipulate. In the default state with the top-left encoding group button active here’s how each thing is mapped:

KeyAssignments

Pressing the encoder group buttons controls the assignments of the knobs at the top. The ranges are 25-32, 41-48, and 57-64 for the spinning portion, and 33-40, 49-56, and 65-72 for the click portion.

Part 3: Configure Paddy

Now we can have some fun!

  1. Launch Lightroom v3
  2. Launch Paddy. If it’s the first time you run it you’ll get prompted about how it is creating an .ini file.
  3. Switch to the Library module in Lightroom
  4. In your system tray right click on the Paddy icon and select Assign Keys > MIDI Sliders
  5. In the resulting big scary dialog make sure the top left section looks like this:
  6. image
  7. Click the square marked 1
  8. In the two list boxes on the right of the screen click Map Sliders to Midi (Midi only) and then Temperature (Midi mapping)
  9. Click OK
  10. Right click on the Paddy icon and select Exit Paddy
  11. Run Paddy again

At this point you should have the first slider on your BCF2000 mapped to control temperature in Lightroom. To give it a try switch to the develop module. If all goes well the slider should zoom to the current setting and if you move it around you’ll see the image update in Lightroom.

Aw yeah!

Part 4: Go Crazy

At this point you can just go crazy configuring what all the buttons do. Basically, repeat part 3 and start setting each of the numbers to do something in Lightroom. Use the key diagram from part 2 to figure out what number maps to the physical keys on the device. I’m just starting to scratch the surface of this, but here’s what I currently have configured:

  • Slider 1: Temperature
  • Slider 2: Tint
  • Slider 3: Exposure
  • Slider 4: Recovery
  • Slider 5: Fill Light
  • Slider 6: Blacks
  • Slider 7: Clarity
  • Slider 8: Vibrance
  • Buttons 81-88: Reset to last setting for the corresponding slider value (e.g. 81 does Reset Temperature to Last Setting)
  • Button 91: Previous Image
  • Button 92: Next Image
  • Button 73: Reset Basic Sliders
  • Button 80: Toggle MIDI sensitivity

I have lots of other things I want to set up, but I’m sleepy so it’ll have to wait for another day. Remember to save your changes and then re-start Paddy to see them take effect.

Troubleshooting

Here’s a few troubleshooting tips if your BCF2000 doesn’t seem to be doing anything in Lightroom.

1. Go back and re-do step 2. It’s really important that the BCF2000 be configured with the appropriate key commands to send. I bashed my head against the desk for about 20 minutes until I realized I hadn’t properly sent down the key configuration file.

2. Make sure you’re in the Develop module. The BCF2000 won’t do anything unless you are in Develop.