Red Giant Magic Bullet Suite 12 Review

Red Giant Magic Bullet Suite 12 provides all the tools for color correction, finishing and film looks that a filmmaker could possibly need. Their latest Suite is more than just an upgrade. In addition to new versions of Looks, Colorista, Mojo and Cosmo, the new Suite includes one completely new plug-in, Magic Bullet Film. The Suite also includes Denoiser II and LUT Buddy which have not been updated.

Magic Bullet Film

I was eager to try Magic Bullet Film the moment I first read the press release. Looks has always done a fine job of creating certain moods and atmospheres and is a snap to apply to your footage but it always seemed like something was missing.

Magic Bullet Film fills the missing gap and gives you a number of negative films to choose from and four “print” films for output. Just like the Looks plug-in, Magic Bullet Film has slider controls letting you adjust pretty much any element of the film stock in real-time. It also lets you protect skin tones, something I haven’t seen in other film emulation plug-ins like the ones offered by DigiEffects.

Magic Bullet Cosmo 2.0

Gone are the days of messing around with Premiere Pro’s color corrector to get better looking skin tones. With Cosmo, you can easily adjust skin tones. Cosmo will show you areas that it has recognized and then you can fine-tune the results using sliders and apply both tint and smoothing.

Magic Bullet Mojo 2.0

Mojo lets you give your footage the stylized color grade of a Hollywood blockbuster film. Like Cosmo, Mojo also has skin detection which helps save time by giving you a starting point to fine-tune from.

Magic Bullet Looks 3.0

Magic Bullet Looks 3.0 is a whole new animal. This is one of my most used plug-ins and it seems that Red Giant has been listening closely to what users have been asking for.

At first glance, you’ll see a new interface and much improved font rendering but there’s a lot more going on under the hood. Red Giant has added 198 new customizable presets. There’s also some overlap with the inclusion of some of the Mojo presets.

Like Cosmo and Mojo, I found that the latest version of these plug-ins ran much faster by making good use of GPU power.

Magic Bullet Colorista III

Colorista III’s color correction tools and new 4-way color with ranges tool is very impressive. The wheels in this new tool are arranged in a diamond, with a Master color wheel in the lower middle position. The interactive Ranges graph allows you to change which colors are affected by the Shadows, Midtones and Highlight color wheels. Combined with tools like Cosmo, Colorista III is a color correction tool that is unparalleled.

Magic Bullet Denoiser II and LUT Buddy

Denoiser II allows you to easily remove noise and grain from your footage. LUT Buddy allows you to make, share and use Look Up Tables within your host application.

Conclusion

Sadly, the only plug-in application from the Suite that is still compatible with Adobe CS5 or 5.5 is Denoiser II. All of the other applications support CS6 through CC 2014. The Suite  also now supports Final Cut Pro X.

As much as I love Adobe I’m very much against their subscription model. It’s a bitter pill to swallow for an independent filmmaker, like myself, to have to pay an annual subscription when funding can often be difficult to come by. I know there will come a time when I’ll be forced to upgrade from Adobe CS6 (the last standalone non-subscription suite) but I’m hoping that’s not anytime soon.

It’s nice to see that Red Giant Software still supports CS6 and hasn’t forced the subscription model on to consumers. I do love Red Giant Universe (a library of free tools that also offers a subscription service – read my review here) though and appreciate that the subscription is optional.

At $799, Magic Bullet Suite 12 is more than affordable, a much improved and is a must have software suite for anyone involved with color grading video and film.

Leave a Reply