Company: Red Giant Software
Pros: Fast, easy-to-use colour-correction tools for punching up footage.
Cons: Limited presets.
Red Giant’s Magic Bullet Suite is one of the most popular colour-correction tools on the market, combining sophisticated tools in the Colorista plug-in with the innovative Looks preset system based on movies, TV shows and film genres and stock types. The latest addition to the suite is Mojo, which offers a simple way to ‘punch up’ footage.
Mojo’s effect is based around a trick often used by action moviemakers to make shots more appealing by warming up skin tones and cooling off the background. Mojo automatically finds areas of flesh in your footage, boosts the saturation of these and reduces that of the rest – then gives you a few controls to refine this.
Rather than overloading you with tweakable parameters, Mojo has only six main sliders (plus three more for skin treatment). These are tailored to the task at hand, giving control over the overall effect, its tint and balance, and three well-named controls for changing colour temperature (Warm It), contrast (Punch It) and saturation (Bleach It).
The three skin controls are Skin Colour for changing skin hues, Skin Squeeze to normalize a range of skin tones and Skin Solo to desaturate areas that aren’t skin for extra punch. These controls show that it’s always better to have fewer tailored settings than a whole host of generic parameters, as it allows you to get the effect you want quicker.
Mojo provides a speedy way to make your footage punchier, and when deadlines are really on your back, there are presets based on the looks of recent action blockbusters – though these don’t offer much range, spanning Transformers to Termination: Salvation.
Mojo is more versatile though: from the most un-blockbuster-like footage of two children above we took the original footage (1), apply a general boost (2) and even quickly create an aged look (3). You can overlay a grid so you can check it’s correctly spotting skin areas (4).
Mojo is an excellent, swift tool for day-to-day colour correction tasks, and is affordable enough even for those who don’t work with live-action footage regularly.