Luminair for iPad – multi-touch DMX lighting control – A Quick Preview from Synthe FX on Vimeo.

Controlling lighting has been caught in a kind of Stone Age – expensive, inelegant, awkward, and antiquated. But while the iPad’s impact has perhaps been overstated with some problems (“it’ll save publishing! it’ll replace all other computers! it will transform how you think about life!”), here in this far more limited but important niche, I think it could be downright revolutionary. You can thank the app developer.

Luminair showed potential on the iPhone and iPod touch, but on the larger real estate of the iPad – with an extraordinary effort to make the user interface more mature – it’s looking like an actual replacement for other control schemes. For lighting and show control over the standard DMX protocol, Luminair gives you touch control of presets, colors, sequenced events, the lot.

I could say more, but I think the video tells it all. It’s also the kind of elegant, attractive UI design that embodies everything iOS is supposed to be. The reality is, despite Apple’s terrific tools and SDK for designing for the screen, a lot of UI design isn’t all that great. (Don’t blame the tools. Doing great UI design, whether on a website, a desktop, or any mobile platform, isn’t easy.) Here, my only regret is that because this is a DMX app, the larger mobile app community likely won’t see how slick the UI looks. Oh, well, no matter – if you run shows on DMX, you don’t care.

Word is people have already begun to work with Luminair on iPad in the real world. I hope to cover that – and perhaps even get the attention of people who don’t know what DMX is – soon.

Just don’t be surprised if you see this app at a show near you.

By way of comparison, here’s the iPhone/iPod touch version. It’s still very usable, and a terrific handheld remote; just look to the iPad version as one capable of becoming the main DMX control rig.

Luminair 2.0 – wireless DMX lighting control for iPhone + iPod touch from Synthe FX on Vimeo.