Color

Apple’s Color application certainly looks impressive, and it offers lots of power for low bucks. But I wonder how often I would actually use it in a typical “offline” situation. Moreover, it turns out that it’s not realtime at all, according to this very interesting post from Stu Maschwitz, one of the founders of the Orphanage and author of The DV Rebels Guide.

Maybe it’s a weakness of mine but I find it damn near impossible to color correct effectively if I can’t go back and play through a scene or a few cuts and look at what I did while video plays. I tend to go back and forth repeatedly — play, adjust, play, adjust and the faster that cycle is, the better the work. Apparently, you can’t do that in Color. You have to render the whole sequence and then play it in Final Cut. You also can’t run Color on a 15″ MacBook Pro, which is going to frustrate a lot of people. And I’m not clear about how it deals with picture changes.

Avid’s color corrector isn’t perfect — it’s worst feature, by far, is that you have to jump out of the color correction mode to play from one cut to another — but you have a lot of control and the corrections are all realtime.

Apple’s game plan is to give you all the tools you need to completely finish your film in the Final Cut environment. For folks who never plan to enter an online bay or DI suite that’s pretty exciting. But I don’t work that way. For me, it’s much more important that color correction be simple, effective and instantly available.

Nevertheless, Apple has once again shaken up our workflows and job descriptions. As Maschwitz points out, Apple is doing what it has done many times before — making high end tools available to everybody. We’re going to see a lot of bad color now, just as we saw bad graphic design at the beginning of the desktop publishing revolution. And we’re probably going to see more competition for colorist positions and, long term, an erosion of rates. Colorists, welcome to the revolution.

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Explore posts in the same categories: Avid vs. Final Cut, Avid Wish List & Bugs, Final Cut, Workflow

6 Comments on “Color”

  1. Liam Says:

    Real time or not color correction is probably one of the most under-rated jobs someone can do. it really is an art. I think using the standard 3-way color tool in FCP in real time is all u need and when u go to finalize the film/project u start looking to do stuff in Color. My firm belief is there are no editors who are good at color timing and no color timers that are good at editing…They are totally seperate things, What is that saying…user of all, master of none????

  2. Matias Says:

    QUOTE: Avid’s color corrector isn’t perfect — it’s worst feature, by far, is that you have to jump out of the color correction mode to play from one cut to another — but you have a lot of control and the corrections are all realtime.

    > You don’t need to step out of Color Correction mode to play from one cut to another, just create a New Video Track, selecto ONLY that track, press Play and Avid will play.

  3. Rivai Chen Says:

    Very nice blog Steve. It’s quite sad that Color doesn’t do realtime. Even, Final Touch HD gives you that capabilities. And Color doesn’t even come close to Iridas SpeedGrade HD. But looking at the price, i think it makes sense.

  4. Chi-Ho Lee Says:

    Color isn’t even released yet. It’s too early to say what it does or doesn’t do. From my personal experience at NAB, Color was somewhat realtime on a 17″ MacBook Pro. So given a MacPro tower, I think there will be a good chance of realtime performance. Also realtime depends on the format that you will be grading.

    Let’s wait until the product is out and real world tested before we jump to any conclusion.

  5. Rivai Chen Says:

    Realtime on what resolution and what codec ? How many layers, secondaries, mask, etc. Does it support AJA or Blackmagic natively with realtime supports ? The way i see from the demo, they don’t playback anything to show its realtime capabilities. They should’ve show it if it’s part of their strength.

    Maybe it’s realtime up to certain point and certain codec, not like Iridas. I still hold up to Iridas as the best application for realtime capabilities. Will see soon.

  6. Chi-Ho Lee Says:

    As I said, realtime will most likely depend on the format you’re grading and the machine you’re working on.

    Iridas may well be the best app for realtime color correction but how much is it?

    Many small and medium size shops will be willing to trade realtime for price. Or they never could afford and decent grading software/workstation before. Color will give them an entry to decent/good grading capabilities.

    Like I said, we’ll see soon.


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