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Final Cut Studio: Color


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#1 Tenolian Bell

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Posted 19 April 2007 - 03:19 PM

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Apple bought Silicon Color and its Final Touch color grading software and folded the acquisition into Final Cut Studio 2. The 2K version of Final Touch sold for $25,000, now comes bundled in a $1299 production suite.

Color Features:

Real-time grading controls for SD, HD, and 2K without proxies, support for 4:4:4 2K as DPX or Cineon files, uncompressed 10-bit 4:2:2, uncompressed 8-bit 4:2:2.

Primary, Secondary, and Primary Out grading functions, color wheels with hue, saturation, and luminance controls for highlights, midtones, and shadows. Curves for individual adjustment to R,G,B and luma with B-spline control points. Advanced RGB and Printer Points controls for precise film printing and ASC-style Lift, Gamma, Gain controls. Live coloring, 3D Look Up Tables, and pre-saved looks.

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Keyframing, eight secondaries per shot with custom mattes, key blur, and motion tracking. Animated circle, rectangle, and user shape vignettes with inner and outer softness. Geometry Pan and Scan.

Renders at 8-bit, 10-bit, and 32-bit floating point. Customizable node tree for effects creation.

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3D Color Space scopes for RGB, HSL, Y?CbCr, and IPT display, interactive 2D waveform and vectorscope.

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#2 Robert Houllahan

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Posted 19 April 2007 - 04:12 PM

Saw this, very interesting and obviously very cheap. I have not heard all of the best things about Final Touch in the past but maybe it's improved, and now that it's basically free it does make it more attractive doesn't it?


-Rob-
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#3 Tenolian Bell

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Posted 19 April 2007 - 05:03 PM

From what I've heard about Final Touch and Silicon Color, the company consisted basically of five guys undertaking an ambitious project to bring high end color grading from a $100,000 system down to $10,000. From what I've heard its a great system built on a solid foundation, but was plagued with bugs. Because the development team was basically five people that did not have the sheer number of software programmers to test and debug all of the code as quickly as a larger company.

I would imagine Apple has been working with Silicon Color on Final Touch long before the purchase was publicly announced. Apple would have the resources to leverage a larger team of software programmers to polish up Final Touch for the transition into Color.
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#4 Robert Houllahan

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Posted 19 April 2007 - 05:07 PM

From what I've heard about Final Touch and Silicon Color, the company consisted basically of five guys undertaking an ambitious project to bring high end color grading from a $100,000 system down to $10,000. From what I've heard its a great system built on a solid foundation, but was plagued with bugs. Because the development team was basically five people that did not have the sheer number of software programmers to test and debug all of the code as quickly as a larger company.

I would imagine Apple has been working with Silicon Color on Final Touch long before the purchase was publicly announced. Apple would have the resources to leverage a larger team of software programmers to polish up Final Touch for the transition into Color.



Again it's certainly interesting and essentially makes 2K grading "free" Ha ha until you buy hardware, control surfaces and a Monitor/projector et all but the new Apple suite looks pretty crazy and a nice 8 core mac pro is not soo. much considering.

-Rob-
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#5 Michael Most

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Posted 19 April 2007 - 05:12 PM

Again it's certainly interesting and essentially makes 2K grading "free" Ha ha until you buy hardware, control surfaces and a Monitor/projector....


And talent? And the ability to actually produce a deliverable element? And the know-how as to how to set up that monitor/projector for the type of deliverable you're actually producing?

Apple would like everyone to believe that buying $1000 software makes you an editor. Or a sound editor. Or, now, a colorist. Hopefully, enough people still understand and at least somewhat respect the notion of talent and experience. I guess we'll find out.
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#6 Matt Workman

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Posted 19 April 2007 - 05:54 PM

"Apple would like everyone to believe that buying $1000 software makes you an editor. Or a sound editor. Or, now, a colorist."

Come on Apple knows what they are doing. FCP, Shake, and Color are now very affordable and its giving it to anyone who wants to give it a go, whether or not they are "talented" enough to use it or not.

If we work with an editor or colorist it isn't becuase their system cost $100k or $1k, its because they do good work and most likely because they are cool people. The same mentality works with RED and DP's.

Just be excited to play with the new software and cameras!

Cheers,

Matt :ph34r:
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#7 Michael Nash

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Posted 19 April 2007 - 06:07 PM

Hopefully, enough people still understand and at least somewhat respect the notion of talent and experience. I guess we'll find out.


I think Final Cut Pro has been in the marketplace long enough to give us a realistic answer to that (whatever we may conclude)...

Look at it this way: if everyone's working with the same caliber equipment, then it's ONLY the talent and experience that will show through...
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#8 Tenolian Bell

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Posted 19 April 2007 - 06:09 PM

And talent? And the ability to actually produce a deliverable element? And the know-how as to how to set up that monitor/projector for the type of deliverable you're actually producing?


I'm not too concerned about this, it'll shake itself out.

I think its true to a degree that having these cheaper and accessible tools does help really talented people who either do not have access to or can afford the more expensive tools. I know several editors in the low budget world who are really good and stay busy. They would not be able to practice their trade if they had to invest in a $250,000 Avid system.

For me as a DP with cheap DV being around for about 10 years now. Many expected that directors would shoot their own films and attempt to cut the DP position. But that has not really happened. I shoot a lot of narrative shorts in the low budget world, using DV, HD, and Super 16. Every director I work with fully understands that they do not have the skill to create the images I can and very much respect my abilities. That respect generally filters into all other parts of filmmaking.

I agree that sometime you run into a young director with a Robert Rodriguez complex and thinks they can do it all. And the end result speaks for itself.

Apple would like everyone to believe that buying $1000 software makes you an editor.


I don't believe that's true. Apple is simply providing a tool. I see no where Apple telling people FCP can make anyone into an editor. At least not in the same way Nike attempts to make everyone feel that with their shoes they can play basketball like Michael Jordan.
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#9 Robert Houllahan

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Posted 19 April 2007 - 06:12 PM

And talent? And the ability to actually produce a deliverable element? And the know-how as to how to set up that monitor/projector for the type of deliverable you're actually producing?

Apple would like everyone to believe that buying $1000 software makes you an editor. Or a sound editor. Or, now, a colorist. Hopefully, enough people still understand and at least somewhat respect the notion of talent and experience. I guess we'll find out.



Come on Mike don't you know by now that computers make the need for talent completely irrelevant obviously guys like Brad and Bob who work here who have been hand timing prints for 30 years are totally covered by the 14 preset "big feature" film looks built into the software. Everyone can now have a "Layer Cake Bad DI" and have it for free, which may be more than it's worth.

Furthermore you clearly have not heard of the new calibration standard which all new grading sets are precisely set to these days, that is the "Best Buy Showroom floor sell what is in stock or has a spiff standard" which is clearly superior to any so called fancy adjustments which are just hype.

:D :D :blink: :( :angry:

-Rob-
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#10 Sakari Suuronen

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Posted 20 April 2007 - 02:59 AM

According to apple you can't run Color on a Macbook Pro 15" because of the monitor. 17" should be fine but it would be intresting too see some actula test results. Mac Pro is a bit out of my budget...Still the news are great and I'll seriously have to think about upgrading.

BTW: can you buy the actual Final Touch control table separate for Color? I didn't notice anything about it in the apple pages.
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#11 Robert Houllahan

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Posted 20 April 2007 - 11:25 AM

According to apple you can't run Color on a Macbook Pro 15" because of the monitor. 17" should be fine but it would be intresting too see some actula test results. Mac Pro is a bit out of my budget...Still the news are great and I'll seriously have to think about upgrading.

BTW: can you buy the actual Final Touch control table separate for Color? I didn't notice anything about it in the apple pages.



You can run the Tangent panels or JLCooper panels with Color as a control surface the JL Copper is the cheapo around $5k and the tangent panels will run you $20k or so for all 4, still not too bad. Figure $50k for a system, panels, storage, and some kind of low end "grading" monitor like that new JVC lcd ($5K) not that I entirely believe in LCD for this task. There are some good Lcos projectors but bulb falloff is a problem and there are now 1080p plasmas which might be a choice if you can calibrate them. I think running a Color Correction suite on a laptop is going to be a no go as there is really not the computing horsepower for the task.

-Rob-
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#12 Sam Wells

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Posted 20 April 2007 - 11:37 AM

I think running a Color Correction suite on a laptop is going to be a no go as there is really not the computing horsepower for the task.

-Rob-



It's a GPU issue, having / not having the horespower to reasonably preview right ?

I see my 7800GT is "qualified" per Apple's web site - but I'm thinking it's at the low end power-wise. It strained with the Color Finesse demo I tried recently..... we'll see. .

-Sam
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#13 avocadeius

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Posted 20 April 2007 - 12:10 PM

I think running a Color Correction suite on a laptop is going to be a no go as there is really not the computing horsepower for the task.


Actually, a 17" MacBook Pro (which has a good GPU) connected via DVI to the LCD "grade" monitor () would probably be plenty enough for on-set and even in-house color grading (ProRes 422 is specifically designed for this kind of stuff). And with an external control interface it would probably not be very far from an ideal "movable grade" studio (previously unheard of).

Remember that Final Touch (which Color is based on) paired with a control-surface had gotten very nice reviews from colorists used to DaVinci systems. The downside was the amount of bugs and the somewhat poor integration with Final Cut Pro. Some found that UI a bit weird as well (doesn't look like Apple has changed much there yet, perhaps Color 2 at next NAB).
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#14 Robert Houllahan

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Posted 20 April 2007 - 01:23 PM

Actually, a 17" MacBook Pro (which has a good GPU) connected via DVI to the LCD "grade" monitor () would probably be plenty enough for on-set and even in-house color grading (ProRes 422 is specifically designed for this kind of stuff). And with an external control interface it would probably not be very far from an ideal "movable grade" studio (previously unheard of).

Remember that Final Touch (which Color is based on) paired with a control-surface had gotten very nice reviews from colorists used to DaVinci systems. The downside was the amount of bugs and the somewhat poor integration with Final Cut Pro. Some found that UI a bit weird as well (doesn't look like Apple has changed much there yet, perhaps Color 2 at next NAB).



This is true but probably only for a primary grade as soon as you try to apply anything like a multiple grade or windows the laptop is going to crawl. A LCD grading monitor is $5k and up and all are 8 bit devices but I guess people are starting to use them for grading work.

I think people have had mixed feelings about Final Touch beyond just the bugs, i.e. weird "rooms" interface and non realtime performance in complex grades (a issue with all software cc systems) but a DaVinci 2K is a bit more money :lol: than this setup even with a properly configured system.

This is just my opinion but I think that on set grading is a ridiculously stupid idea.

-Rob-
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#15 Tenolian Bell

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Posted 20 April 2007 - 02:13 PM

Actually, a 17" MacBook Pro (which has a good GPU)


Honestly Apple is not winning the race for cutting edge GPU. The ATI Mobility Radeon X1600 currently used in the MacBookPro is decent for most tasks, but is pretty old and not anywhere near the best.

There is a trade off. PC laptops that use better GPU are generally larger, heavier, with loud fans to cool the hot interior, and have less battery life than Apple laptops.

For Apple to have its thin sleek laptops the components inside cannot draw too much power or produce too much heat.

I'm looking to buy a new MacBookPro sometime soon, I'm hoping Apple will update the graphics card to at least an ATI Mobility Radeon X1700, the X1800 would be great.
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#16 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 22 April 2007 - 02:08 PM

I think this is interesting - there wasn't previously anything like it available for home-user prices. Certainly ought to beat trying to grade in After Effects, which is clunky as hell.

Also, I feel the need to reiterate my objection to the deification of colourists. The job is entirely subjective and the only reason that certain people are accepted is that they've worked on a lot of popular shows - it's not (much) to do with ability. The next time I see an episode of Lost with cyan highlights, purple midtones and orange shadows (and juggle those colours around for the next cut) I'm going to scream.

Phil
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#17 Alexander Joyce

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Posted 22 April 2007 - 02:19 PM

£849 price tag for a package like Final Cut Studio is certainly an achievement. Then again I guess Apple can do and in a way have to do this for a few reasons.
They tie the package in together with hardware which is where they earn their money, they are really really keen to get a foothold in this market, so they can sell even more hardware. XServe RAID's, XServe's, Macbook Pro's, Mac Pro's, displays, +++.
Also I think Apple got tired of others leaving the platform every time they hit a slump. How many times has Avid been back and forth on the Mac platform?!

It'll be nice to see how it holds up though. I'm not even sure they took everything from Final Touch into Colour. Perhaps they are keeping something for this Phenomena app they are doing. I think we'll see a Shake/Final Touch app at either IBC or the next NAB.
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#18 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 22 April 2007 - 03:38 PM

Also, I feel the need to reiterate my objection to the deification of colourists. The job is entirely subjective and the only reason that certain people are accepted is that they've worked on a lot of popular shows - it's not (much) to do with ability.


You only say things like that because you're a certified genius, Phil (and I'm not making fun of you.) Working with computers, color-correction software, whatever, all comes easily to you. It looks easy to you from where you're sitting, but not from where I'm sitting.

I'd be lost in a typical color-correction suite if left alone in there, and I don't feel its worth my time as a DP to master a DaVinci console if I'm only going to be visiting one four times a year as a feature DP.

The average colorist only does color-correction for a living, eight hours a day, year after year, so how could I even possibly know these systems on the level that they do? Forget talent or artistry of the individual for a moment, it's simple math.
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#19 Jaan Shenberger

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Posted 22 April 2007 - 03:45 PM

I think this is interesting - there wasn't previously anything like it available for home-user prices. Certainly ought to beat trying to grade in After Effects, which is clunky as hell.


using color finesse in AE is quite primo... just not (anything remotely close to) realtime. if you know what you're doing, you'll love it.
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#20 Tenolian Bell

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Posted 22 April 2007 - 05:20 PM

Also, I feel the need to reiterate my objection to the deification of colourists.


I have to agree with David, Phil. I've had colorist perform wondrous tricks that I would not have been able to do with the same software tools. You (Phil) have the natural talent, knowledge, and respect of the tools that most people don't have.

I agree with Michael Most in that most people are lazy. There likely will be a thriving plug-in market around Color. People will use the "Sin City" plug-in or the "Saving Private Ryan" look up table and at the push of a button have that look without the knowledge of how to create it, or earned the discipline of how to most effectively use it. I believe we will always see the difference between a canned effect and the nuance of a professional colorist.

Also I think Apple got tired of others leaving the platform every time they hit a slump. How many times has Avid been back and forth on the Mac platform?!


Not necessarily, Final Touch was Mac only and had no intention of being ported to Windows. Every (except Motion) application in Final Cut Studio Apple acquired from other companies that designed the software for the Mac.

Apple was extremely profitable for nearly 20 years and in the late 90's hit one big slump. At that time and was the only time Avid threatened to leave the platform. Avid's health is tied closely with the Mac. In the late 90's when Apple was doing bad Avid was doing worse. Its sales were down and stock price plummeted 50%. Much of Avid's management team was fired or restructured.

More recently, last November Avid's stock price took a hit because they were too slow in releasing universal applications for the new Intel Macs, specifically Pro Tools sales were down.
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