Problem: I have something that demands a bit more grading work than I usually need. Often I'm able to make any basic corrections directly in the edit software, but on this occasion, more is required. On a Premiere timeline I can do the usual curves, three-way, and other grading operations, all nice and easily in realtime, but there's no easy way to refer back to a reference still without just shunting up and down the timeline, there's no tracker, and even doing a soft-edged shape is an exercise in multi-layer futility (because, for some reason, alpha blurring is still bugged to hell after something like seven years). And the scopes don't work properly. So that isn't really an option.
The obvious solution is Resolve Lite, but frankly I find it pretty awful. The software itself is clunky - you have to log in, fer chrissake, and there's no merely importing a chunk of video, you have to create a library, then move the file to it, inflating storage requirements and costing a lot of time for no reason whatsoever. There isn't really a working round-trip route between Premiere and Resolve in any case - the only really reliable way of getting a Premiere timeline into Resolve is to render out a flat file and do auto scene detection, which is just inexcusably feeble. It doesn't even seem to support importing a basic, nothing-special CMX EDL to define the cuts. In use, there is no way to use a second monitor as a full-res preview display without plugging it into a Blackmagic Intensity or something, and while, yes, I do have one of those, it's an absurdist mime show of a workflow to keep manually plugging back and forth between that and the desktop display. And it's slower via the Intensity. You can't even tab out very easily - it tries to turn your entire machine into a grading station, permanently and forever. This might have been OK when people were paying for a suite at $750/hour, but it's very much not OK in the modern world of people who have realised that grading HD is something you can now do on a Playstation. And most damningly of all, it doesn't actually work very well - depending on the time of day, either there's black frames dropped randomly into playback, so it appears to flicker, or the sound is stuttery. I've never seen it work correctly once, and this is on ungraded material, just playing back a damn file. Not even full screen! Hopeless.
So, screw Resolve - yes, it may have been used a lot on big shows in the past, but that isn't an excuse for its not actually working properly. I just realised how long that paragraph of moaning really was. Good grief.
Speedgrade is now part of Adobe's monthly-fee package, and I've vowed never to have anything to do with rental software.
Colorista looks nice, but as a plugin it doesn't seem to solve any of the problems I have with the inbuilt grading tools - the tools are fine, but the lack of scopes, reference stills and tracking aren't solved by something that's just another plugin.
Please, someone tell me I don't have to tweak this up in - shudder - After Effects.
PS - Oh, right, "Reference Monitor" in Premiere. Didn't know about that.