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October 2014
Issue: September 1, 2011

Review: Red Giant's Magic Bullet Suite 11

By: David Basulto

PRODUCT: Red Giant’s Magic Bullet Suite 11

WEBSITE: www.redgiant.com 

PRICE: $799

- Cosmo offers realistic-looking clean-up

- Photolooks is included in the suite.

- Full 64-bit compatibility makes this suite speedy

Red Giant has always embraced the little guy, a.k.a., the indie filmmaker. When they first introduced Magic Bullet years ago, I used it on my very first indie film. It made the distributors sit up and take notice: “This looks like film,” they said.

Flash forward. The Red Giant folks invited me on a call to discuss the newest version of the flagship app. However, it’s no longer a little app. It’s a full-blown suite of tools called Magic Bullet Suite 11. Designed from the ground up by Red Giant and effects stud Stu Maschwitz, this is one hell of a set of tools.

COLOR CORRECTION MADE EASY

Sure you need to know your color schemes, or do you? Looks 2 boasts an intuitive and highly customizable user interface, and it includes 64 new and updated presets designed by the pros. Looks 2 also has new scopes such as hue/saturation, skin and hue/lightness. 

Red Giant also put the easy-to-use Colorista three-way color corrector in the UI. I use this quite often to tweak my presets. It’s fast and powerful. If you ever had a movie that you loved the coloring of, you can use these tools to mimic that look. It’s not brain surgery either! 

COSMO 

New to Magic Bullet Suite 11 is a nifty app called Cosmo, a cosmetic clean-up tool that will smooth out skin blemishes faster than you can say Proactive. It uses auto skin detection technologies also found in Mojo and Looks 2. 

I now have no fear of getting old and wrinkled. Cosmo greatly reduces the time needed to do skin retouching. I had a fitness client over the other day and showed her a close-up clip I had of her, applied Cosmo, did a few tweaks and she was sold. 

Unlike real life, with this tool, it is hard to detect if someone has had work done. The footage stays natural looking. You can however dial things up to create an airbrushed look, too. 

THE DAILY GRIND

I shoot a lot of footage with my Canon 7D. Sure I can drag it into my Premiere Pro CS5.5 timeline and edit it right away, and that’s usually fine. But what if I am working on a film or documentary? What if I want the timecode burned in? What about proxies for the Web?

Luckily for DSLR shooters, Red Giant created Grinder 1.5. This is a tool to convert DSLR footage into good-looking and edit-friendly Apple ProRes HQ, LT or 4:4:4, and PhotoJpeg, too. And it’s fast. 

Grinder 1.5 will burn in timecode and also use EXIF files. You can create custom file names, set render priorities and create great-looking proxies for blazing fast editing on a laptop.

FINAL THOUGHTS

The Magic Bullet  Suite 11 is worth its weight in gold, and it doesn’t cost too much gold either. For $799 you get nine helpful tools: Looks 2, Instant HD, Grinder 1.5, Mojo, Photolooks, Cosmo, Denoiser, Frames and Colorista 2. 

You can use Red Giant’s Magic Bullet Suite 11 with Adobe’s Premiere Pro and After Effects CS5.5, and Apple’s Final Cut Pro 7 and Motion. Mojo now works with FCP X, and Red Giant will release the other products for FCPX one by one.