In Review: Red Giant Software Magic Bullet Suite 11

DV by Ned Soltz

Red Giant Software is taking both a bundled and unbundled approach to its latest update of the Magic Bullet line of plug-ins. The Magic Bullet Suite consists of nine applications that can be bought separately or in the $799 bundle. The bundle represents the best buy, since individually those packages would cost more than $1,500. Included are Colorista II, Denoiser, Grinder, Instant HD, Looks 2, Mojo, Cosmo, PhotoLooks and Frames.

We’ve reviewed Colorista II (DV, September 2010), and I concur with my colleague Oliver Peters, who ranked it above other color correction plug-ins. Within FCP, it is my go-to color corrector.

I have found Denoiser a bit temperamental in FCP 7 when dealing with long clips. I made the mistake of applying Denoiser to a 30-minute point-the-camera-talking-head clip (I know—it’s what the client wanted and I aim to please) and FCP was simply unable to render it. It worked fine on small clips, and that long clip was able to render in AE CS5. (It took 10 hours, but it rendered.) The results were stunning: noise removal with very minimal softening of image. Lesson here is to apply Denoiser to shorter clips. The better lesson, however, is to convince your client that a 30-minute shot of a talking head is deadly.

Grinder 1.5 is my transcoding app of choice for DSLR footage. Granted, some of this workload has been obviated by FCP X and its ability to ingest DSLR files. But there remains a use for Grinder wherever direct reading of DSLR and other H.264/AVC files is inconvenient or impossible.

The two new components of MB Suite are Cosmo v1 and Looks v2. Cosmo is one of several “digital makeup” apps in the marketplace, but it stands apart from its competitors by the great amount of control it offers.

Magic Bullet Looks 2 is the centerpiece of the suite. Its power mask parameter allows keyframeable masks so you can apply a look to a specific portion of the image. Note the presence of scopes as well as extensive categories of looks. Apply a basic look and tweak the image by clicking on a category at the bottom of the screen and adjusting its controls. When you’re satisfied, click Finished to return to the host application. In this case, I created a very grainy, high-contrast look—which I would never use for anything other than illustrative purposes! read more...

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