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Editing and Grading - Reassuringly Inexpensive

When I started editing again a few years ago editing packages came in 2 flavours.  There were consumer ones aiming to suit the person wanting to cut out the foot shots from their 2 weeks in Majorca and add a few cheesy titles.  Then there were the Pro ones which added a nought to the end of the price tag and came with stern and complicated looking interfaces.  Most of these came with some form of colour correction built in.  Apple Color in the Final Cut Studio Suite was atypical being a hard-core grading suite.  At the lower end many of bought plug-ins like Red Giant’s Colorista or Looks.  More up-market productions would turn to applications like DaVinci Resolve which was a hardware/software solution capable of making a 6 digit hole in your bank account. 

On Tuesday all eyes were on the Supermeet to see what Apple might bring to the table.  Apple had been under-pressure from a strong, modern offering from Adobe and a returning to form and increasingly agressive Avid.  The rumour mill was running 24 hour shifts.  Was it going to be iMovie Pro, was it going to be 64bit and just a few short weeks ago even did Apple still care?  I was at the FXPHD party when the presentation started and the party went into suspension whilst the revellers turned to the blow-by-blow account on Twitter.  Well it turns out Apple did care - FCP X (at least what we saw of it) turned out to be more than most people expected.  It is a radically changed UI but not in a consumer direction.  Apple is looking for a paradigm shift in working and its clever and well-thought out.  There is still a lot we don’t know.  Experienced cutters in FCP with shortcut keys hard-wired into their brains are going to find it a shock but not as big as the price sticker.  $299 is what that last slide said which brought the room (and it was a BIG ROOM) to its feet at the Supermeet.  The vibe I got in the days after from people I spoke to was.  “It looks cool but I don’t know whether I can get used to it but for $299 I am going to give it a go”.

On the Colour grading front, two vendors announced free versions of their software.  Red Giant announced a free light version of Colorista.  Even more surprising was a free light version of Resolve.  Coming in July this will lack some features but is still a remarkable journey from super-high end through $1000 Mac version to gratis.  It should run on a laptop according to BlackMagic but remember Resolve really likes Nvidia Quadro cards, a fast raid array and a grading panel.  No-one is giving those away free but at lease Resolve is now supported on the lower cost panels from Euphonix.

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