View Full Version : Recommendation on color correction software

07-30-2012, 08:17 AM
Hello! I'm an avid reader of this board, and enjoy reading about everyone's ideas about everything filmmaking. I am not a professional but would like to advance myself. I currently edit in Sony Vegas Pro (ver. 8, I believe), and will be putting together a new workstation so I can advance my editing capabilities (Vegas Pro 8 has a hard time handling the AVCHD files on my current laptop). Is it safe to assume that there is not a 'bad' color correction software on the market, but what would someone recommend as a nice starter package? I don't want low-end, however, but price is obviously important since i'm not making money with my videos at this time. It seems that Magic Bullet Looks is a very popular package, but I noticed that they also have Colorista II. For those that are familiar, how do these products differ? It was hard for me to tell on the Red Giant website, but is Colorista a more scaled-down version of Looks? Or is there something that would be a better choice? I don't want to just do basic color correction (like white balance tweaks) but it's hard to say exactly what I want to do since i'm still learning the art of post production.

Many advanced thanks! I really do enjoy the enthusiasm that the posters on this message board exude!

Robbie Comeau
07-30-2012, 09:02 AM
I've recently switched to premiere because final cut is just falling out of place with their ugly new updates. But either way, Magic Bullet is available for AE, FCP, and Premiere (someone correct me if I'm wrong)

It really depends what kind of projects you are coloring, and how in depth you want to color.

Magic Bullet Looks is a cool software offering many looks, and you can adjust them accordingly.

I usually do my color correcting in the editing program I'm working in. (again, this is usually for weddings, and corporate gigs)

If it's for a film, I'd suggest getting an actual colorist to do your grading.


Robbie Comeau
07-30-2012, 09:03 AM
Learn post production before you begin to color :)

Bruce Watson
07-30-2012, 09:43 AM
...would like to advance myself.

Easy. Read this: Color Correction Handbook (http://vanhurkman.com/wordpress/?p=503) by Alexis Van Hurkman. It will tell you a huge amount about color correction, grading, etc. And it's software / hardware agnostic, showing you how it works on a number of different platforms. IOW, this book will give you the tools to help you decide what you want to do in the field of color correction.

07-30-2012, 10:03 AM
Awesome-- thanks Bruce!


Victor Nhat Nguyen
07-30-2012, 11:58 AM
da vinci resolve lite is free and it is one of the industry standard for color grading.

07-31-2012, 05:28 AM
There can be quite a bit of difference between color correction and color grading. To oversimplify, correction is used to correct white balance and exposure. Grading is used to provide a unique 'look' to a scene or complete project. Most tools can change the color of a scene but some, like Looks, are specifically made to provide a given look. Indeed Looks comes with presets vaguely named after the look of some well-known movies. While you could probably do correction with Looks, it is easier to do correction with tools like Color Finesse, Resolve, or Colorista than with Looks. Conversely, Looks has some other tools, like vignette, haze, and shutter that are not available in a pure color-correction tool.

As far as color correction, it would be hard to find something more versatile than Color Finesse, which is included with After Effects. It usually requires a separate installation and is probably on one of the 'extras' disks that come with AE. Finesse has nearly every color manipulation tool that I have heard of, plus the usual scopes, curves, etc.

ColorBurst Video

07-31-2012, 06:02 AM
Resolve is hard to beat for free. There are Windows and Mac versions posted. But you need to make sure that you have a compatible video card. It is very picky about work station configs so check out the technical requirements first.

I would say correction is the first step of grading. Grading encompasses many potential levels of alteration to the image to achieve a desired result, not just color and level adjustments. The possibilities are infinite.

Working with powerful high quality tools like Resolve can be very liberating, but it won't by itself make you an artist. Good colorists are fine artists.