Silicon Color, makers of the well-respected Mac-based color grading software FinalTouch, recently announced that it was purchased by Apple. When I contacted Apple about their intentions, they pointed me to the statement on the Silicon Color Website (www.siliconcolor.com), which says that all intellectual property and technology was sold to Apple, and that maintenance agreements will be honored by Apple until they expire. As of press time, that is the only official statement available.
So the questions begin... with the most obvious being: Will it go away as standalone software and become part of Final Cut Studio?
"Apple will logically lower the threshold price of the product to expand the user base or fold it into another product," hypothesizes Axel Ericson, owner of NYC's Digital Arts, which offers DI with FinalTouch as part of its workflow. "They should also be able provide an even tighter integration with their current Final Cut Studio product line. To date, this is an area that can be improved upon, so we are really looking forward to this. In essence the Final Cut pipeline is getting stronger, and there is nothing bad about that."
He adds that Apple seems like the right company for Final Touch "as color correction has lagged behind in most editing systems while the horsepower has been there to make the advances that the market wants. This should make NAB '07 quite interesting."
Matt McFarland, owner of LA's Cranium Filmworks, believes that "Apple has the team in place to make it a very viable tool in the DI marketplace. However, there is no word yet as to their intentions. If they use FinalTouch to color correct HD and SD material only, it will make Final Cut Pro an even stronger tool. If they keep it as a 2K color corrector and bring it to market at their very affordable prices, it may change the DI landscape dramatically for the independent filmmaker. If they fully support 2K with DPX and Cineon files, I believe it will push the independent DI facilities like mine more quickly toward 4K for the independents."
McFarland expresses a little concern about making FinalTouch available to the masses. "There is so much more to a digital intermediate than the tools you own; it's the people you have in place. When Final Cut Pro became widely accepted as a nonlinear editing system, everyone thought they could be editors. I imagine the same will happen if everyone can suddenly afford a 2K color correction system. I'm certain that the end result will be that those who cannot afford a full DI will have a powerful, affordable tool, but those who can afford 2K scans, film-out and full support will still like to sit in a large room with someone who can guide them properly through all of the layers."