Best Buy
  • Price: 175

  • Company: Red Giant Software

  • Our Rating: We rate this 9 out of 10 We rate this 9 out of 10

Magic Bullet Editors is a NLE plug-in version of the film stock-mimicking tool Magic Bullet. Whilst previously Magic Bullet lived alongside After Effects, the ‘Editor’ version runs within an NLE – Final Cut Pro, Adobe Premiere Pro, or Sony Vegas 5. Only the Final Cut Pro version was available for testing but expect similar results from the Windows-based versions.

The interface uses the same style as other FCP effects, so getting stuck in is easy. Effect can be dragged-&-dropped onto footage in the timeline and then either rendered immediately or customized. Plenty of variables are available, but Editor ships with a host of presets too. The included PDF manual gives a description of each, and chances are there will be at least one that matches desired look. The presets range from ‘Grad filter’ style effects (a nod towards Tony Scott and Michael Bay films) and go as far as a complete ‘bleach skip’ look – as favoured in just about every war film since Saving Private Ryan.

Annoyingly, the presets have to be copied over manually from the install directory into the favourites bin of a project. Hopefully, this will be addressed in future versions, as it makes the installation process a little untidy.

Render performance is as expected. Our test machine (Dual G4 867, 768MB memory) took 7 minutes 23 seconds to render a ten-second test tracking shot with the Skip Bleach preset. The Amber Grad preset clocked in at 4 minutes 32 seconds, while Basic Cool Max took only 3 minutes 54 seconds. These times aren’t bad considering the complexity of the colour-correction and quantity of passes.

The creation of the Editors version of this software is an astute move. While the previous Magic Bullet has been a no-brainer for many busy and affluent post houses, single users have been put off by the steep price tag and the product’s dependence upon After Effects. Editors, however, is very keenly priced, creates no hassle professional looking results and is far easier to get to grips with than equivalent products like Cinelook.