Company: Red Giant Software
Pros: Fast and high-grade colour tools. Swift masking controls. High-quality output.
Cons: Final Cut’s colour-correction tools are already pretty good.
Red Giant Software is best known for its popular Magic Bullet Suite plug-in set, which gives footage the look of classic film and TV styles – from Technicolor to CSI.
Colorista is aimed at almost the opposite operation, colour correcting and matching footage. This is an integral part of using the Suite – you need to balance your footage before applying ‘Looks’ so the end result is consistent across shots – but Colorista has wider appeal for all colour correction tasks.
Colorista is built around a three-way colour-correction system that initially looks suspiciously similar to that already found in Final Cut Pro and Premiere Pro – though notably not in After Effects.
The software’s terminolgy of Lift, Gain and Gamma is used by high-end colour-grading software such as Da Vinci or Final Touch – but the effects are broadly similar to that from FCP’s system.
How Colorista differentiates itself, though, is with its underlying colour engine, DeepColorRT. This always uses a 32-bit floating point colour space for more accurate and consistent results – even if your project is in a lower colour space – and takes advantage of your computer’s graphics card: utilizing the power usually reserved for 3D acceleration and putting it to better use. This provides usable real-time performance with SD footage and fast renders with HD.