At the latest AlphaDogs’ Editors’ Lounge, Apple reps stopped by to demonstrate Color. While we weren’t given permission to shoot the actual demonstration, here are a few reactions to the Color demonstration from editors, colorists and other pros, as well as the thoughts from a dedicated Avid user on what this all means to him.
If you haven’t seen a demonstration yet check out the demo from NAB…
Wood gave a detailed tour of Color’s features, pointing out that Color uses GPU-accelerated processing to produce RGB output up to 4:4:4 with 32-bit float processing. Not all attendees left the demonstration satisfied, since they had hoped to see the progression of an actual project before-and-after Color was applied.
In fact, workflow was the weak point of using FinalTouch when it was outside the Apple configuration. Now that the tool is integrated within Final Cut Studio 2, hopes are that the flow between toolsets will be seamless. With 800,000 registered Final Cut Pro users, if only a fraction of them upgrade to Final Cut Studio 2, we’ll soon have enough information as to whether pipeline issues have been satisfactorily worked out.
When I last saw FinalTouch, approximately two years ago, it was buggy. Most of the bugs seem to be gone, however, because at the Alpha Dogs demo Color only crashed once. Still, important to remember that it’s a first-time part of Apple’s Final Cut suite of tools and, as such, subject to changes and tweaks.
Apple is marketing Color much like it has marketed Final Cut Pro: an emphasis on tools that are so easy to learn that, yes, you can try this at home. Indeed, many of the features are very intuitive. Setup is automatic when a Final Cut Pro project is sent to Color; user can define special render settings or apply broadcast-safe settings. Secondary color correction tools include the ability to isolate parts of the image and track selection areas over time, which is a particularly cool functionality given the price point (a $499 upgrade from any Final Cut Studio product and $699 upgrade from any version of Final Cut Pro). Though there is a limit of up to eight secondary corrections per grade, a feature called Color FX allows color transformations and other effects. Other tools include a Still store for reference images (nice) and the ability to prepare a 4:3 version of a 16:9 project, with custom settings for zooms, scaling and rotation.
The feature that resonated the most with attendees was the ability to create a Vignette or mask for secondary color corrections-and to use motion tracking to pin Vignettes to an object over time. One caveat regarding Color, however: color decisions are baked in, which means you have to be really, really sure you’ve got what you want when you reach the color correction phase.
Color is a welcomed addition for the professionals devoted to the Apple toolset. Bunim/Murray Productions VP of post production Mark Raudonis was one TV executive who said he’s ready to adopt Final Cut Studio 2-and the use of Color-as soon as they install the software.
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