A while back I wrote a post that suggested Apple might have been better off developing Color into a more stable application, selling as a stand alone like Shake and integrating some if its technology into Final Cut Pro. I still believe that would be the best route. Today I sat with our staff colorist (a DaVinci artist) and asked him to help me color correct a few shots in a project I was working on. I had used the 3-way Color Corrector in FCP and had gotten something acceptable. Instead of limping around with FCP we booted up Color and went to town. With me pushing the buttons and driving the mouse, he told me where to go and what to do. Exactly where to pull my saturation slider and what number to plug into the Master Lift. He was able to step through an application he had never seen before and in just a couple of minutes get a much better correction than I had gotten in half an hour in FCP. This isn’t surprising as the application was originally written as an interface that is meant to be familiar to a colorist … but maybe not an editor. Isn’t that the point of a professional application like Color? And even more so isn’t that the point of a professional colorist?

In the end we didn’t use these nice corrections as the application kept crashing when trying to get a sequence back to FCP. So much for a useful app. As was once said, “we will sale no wine before it’s time,” maybe Apple should have let Color germinate a bit more before bundling it with an application suite that actually works pretty darn well. And while I wasn’t the only one having trouble with Color recently, some people are having good luck with it as you can now buy a Creative COW Master Series DVD about Apple Color! It’s still an early version product and it must will get better, but in the meantime there’s the newly released Magic Bullet Looks and that really looks like a cool alternative.