By Neil Bennett | on August 14, 2008
Company: Red Giant Software
Pros: Top-notch colour correction and styling tools; excellent interface; great colour presets; price includes all plug-in formats.
Cons: Lacks scrubbing and monitor output.
This review is taken from our group test of visual effects plug-ins collections.
The Magic Bullet Suite 2007 combines two core colour-correction plug-ins – Looks and Colorista – with two helpful utilities: Frames for deinterlacing video and converting it to 24fps for a film look, and Instant HD for increasing the resolution of SD footage.
Designed by VFX guru and founder of The Orphanage Stu Maschwitz, the two main plug-ins offer different takes on colour correction: Colorista is for ‘fixing’ colour, while Looks is where you get creative to apply stylistic modes.
Colorista includes a wide range of traditional colour correction tools, including three colour wheels – here called Lift, Gamma and Gain – which work in broadly the same way as the tools inside Final Cut and Avid systems.
Where Colorista excels is in its DeepColorRT engine, which taps your graphics card to stay nimble and responsive even with HD footage, and supports up to 32-bit colour spaces.
Magic Bullet Looks is a redesigned version of Red Giant’s long-standing software for stylizing video. It’s the
only plug-in here to feature its own GUI, the LookBuilder, which takes over your screen when you press the effect’s Edit button. This allows you to work in a tailored environment, where you can create looks or modify built-in looks, which mimic the colour styles of classic films, TV shows and techniques.
The LookBuilder has one of the best-designed interfaces around, with pop-out panels for selecting looks or tools. It’s not a hardcore colour-grading tool like Apple’s Color, but feels more creative. There are some great features – the Looks browser gives you a preview of how your current frame would look – but a few flaws too, such as the inability to preview to an external monitor, or the absence of a way to scrub through your footage.
Supported hosts: After Effects 7/CS3, Final Cut Pro 5.1/6, Media Composer 2.6/3, Motion 3, Premiere Pro 2/CS3; Frames and Instant HD don’t support Media Composer, Instant HD doesn’t support Premiere Pro.