Adobe SpeedGrade CC reached end-of-life this week, as Adobe ceased all development on the powerful standalone color-grading application.
The move doesn’t actually come as a surprise. Since Adobe acquired SpeedGrade in 2011, customers had often complained that the software was difficult for non-colorists to use, but Adobe never seemed particularly dedicated to updating or streamlining SpeedGrade itself. Instead, it worked on integrating some of SpeedGrade’s color science in Premiere Pro’s editor-friendly Lumetri color panel. Support for round-tripping with SpeedGrade was removed from Premiere Pro last summer, and now the Lumetri panel is where Creative Cloud users are now expected to do all of their color work.
In a blog post at Adobe, Senior Product Manager for Video Editing Patrick Palmer (at one time the COO of SpeedGrade’s original developer, Iridas) said the use of Lumetri tools by Premiere Pro users has increased dramatically and “the vast majority of SpeedGrade users” have migrated to the Lumetri Color panel, leading Adobe to abandon SpeedGrade and focus instead on the Lumetri panel. “There’s still a lot we plan to do to increase productivity for everyone working with color and light,” Palmer wrote, “and we’re also laser focused on keeping the promise of the Lumetri design approach true for all the emerging standards adding HDR and WCG to the pipeline.”
The move underscores an industry trend away from point products that encourage rigidly segmented workflow and toward a paradigm that includes an improved range of VFX, color and audio tools inside the NLE. It’s a great model for allowing editors to make a broad range of relatively simple color decisions quickly, but it doesn’t sit well with SpeedGrade’s committed power users, who now have to figure out an alternate workflow to manually render media out of Premiere Pro for use in a years-old version of SpeedGrade and then reverse the process to get media back into the NLE. (One user developed PrProBCC, a tool for converting Premiere Pro CC 2017 projects to work with versions of Premiere and SpeedGrade from 2015.)
Another option, if the Lumetri panel just doesn’t cut it for you, is to switch to another color-grading application, such as Blackmagic Design’s powerful (and free!) Da Vinci Resolve, which becomes a more capable Swiss Army knife for post-production with every new release.
Adobe addressed some of the issues surrounding continued use of SpeedGrade in an FAQ posted at its support site. Users with an existing license for SpeedGrade CC 2015, the last released version of the software, can continue to use it, but it will not be available to new customers, Adobe said. SpeedGrade can still be used to open .ircp projects, which can be rendered to DPX or H.264. Looks can be exported from SpeedGrade to .look files or 3D LUTs, which enables interoperability with Premiere and Photoshop, as well as with software and hardware from other vendors.
Adobe Creative Cloud: www.adobe.com