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Magic Bullet for Editors

The look of film without the cost By Stephen Schleicher
Just over a year ago I reviewed the Magic Bullet Suite 1.1 plug-in for Adobe After Effects. This quickly became the must have plug-in for anyone wanting to make their video look like it was shot on high quality film.  With a steep price tag, it did keep many from jumping at the tool, yet everyone still wanted a way to get that magical look on their next production.  The Orphanage and Red Giant Software have answered that plea with Magic Bullet for Editors 1.0.

What makes Magic Bullet for Editors different from the MB Suite?  For starters you are not getting Magic Bullet, the fantastic plug-in that converts 30i to 24p.  Nor are you getting the de-interlace, de-artifacting, opticals, and letterbox plug-ins.  While all of these are nice and a really valuable portion of the Magic Bullet Suite plug-in, most who want to achieve the look of film on video are really only after one thing the ?film look treatments.  And thats just what this application is; the look without the high price tag.

Magic Bullet for Editors is, as the name implies, targeted at those people who are editing not compositing, and is currently available for Final Cut Pro users (Mac), and is soon to be released as a Premiere Pro 1.5 (PC) plug-in.  While I do have Premiere Pro on my PC, I do not have version 1.5 (not shipping yet), so this review is based on my Final Cut Pro use.

Youve Got the Look
This collection includes the Look Suite technology that made Magic Bullet Suite a must have plug-in.  With 26 different controls, the Look Suite allows you to tweak your image to create your own custom looks.

At first glance the Filter Tab may be overwhelming, but once you spend a little time with the plug-in, you will see that the Look Suite is actually four different sets of controls all under one roof; Subject, Lens Filter, Camera, and Post.

The Subject category allows you prep the footage before subjugating it to damage.  As I have pointed out in my previous review, Magic Bullet really likes footage that has been shot natural meaning that you dont do any fancy mucky mucking with your camera when you are shooting (filters, weird color balance, etc.).  However, if you do find your exposure is a bit off, or that your saturation is a bit too intense, the Subject controls allow you to bring the image more in line with what Magic Bullet likes.

The top image is the video clip as it was brought into Final Cut Pro. It is a bit dark for Magic Bullet for Editors to yield dramatic results. By making adjustments in the Subject category (bottom image), a more neutral image results.


The Lens category allows you to simulate what it would be like if you HAD used filters during your shoot.  This section includes some of the most popular filter types used on video cameras today.  The advantage of using the Lens category is that you end up with more control over your filters.  If you want to push the White or Black Diffusion (or even the standard Diffusion setting) for a more dramatic look, you can certainly do that here.  If you were to filter your video during a shoot, you might have several differently powered diffusion filters and using the wrong one could leave you with footage not looking the way you had hoped.  With the Look Suite, you can push it to just the point you want.

In addition to diffusion filters, you also have the ability to add a Grad filter to your image.  If you are looking to achieve a CSI: Miami look, or something more subtle like bringing out more blue in your sky, the gradient controls allow you that creativity.

Create a hot southern climate (top) or a day for night shot (bottom).

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