Magic Bullet Looks 2.0 – Awesome Comes With Some Opportunities

Red Giant just released the newest version of their awesome color grading software, Magic Bullet Looks II.  Naturally I nabbed it up right away, and have been color grading the short western “Courage” with it.  So far me likey… but with newer redesigns comes some bugs.  But first, let’s go over what’s new:

What’s New

  1. A redesigned interface that’s very similar to the last version, just a bit more slick looking and easier to use.
  2. More scope options.
  3. 64 new and updated presets.  (I don’t use presets, but many do)
  4. Added video out preview for an interactive single frame preview.  (Or at least this feature was attempted, see the “bugs” below)
  5. 6 new tools, including some of the stuff you find in Colorista II and something called “Cosmo”…which smooths skintones for beauty shots.  (Works very well!)

Newer redesigns of software can certainly comes with problems, but don’t worry, Red Giant didn’t pull a Final Cut Pro disaster with this release.  Despite some of the bugs below the software is a leap from the previous version, and with the workarounds I outline below, you’ll be able to navigate around the issues.  Some of these issues are open tickets in Red Giant’s support queue, and naturally I will update the list below with any fixes or explanations as they come in from Red Giant.

NOTE: I use Magic Bullet Looks as a plugin for Adobe Premiere CS5.5 almost exclusively.  These issues may not be a problem with other NLEs or computers.

Some Bugs

  1. Video Out:  This does not work for me on the plugin nor the stand alone program.  In “preferences” there is a drop-down area where you should be able to select what monitor you want to throw your interactive preview frame…but sadly there are no options in the drop-down.  Neither the online help materials nor tech support themselves have yet to explain this, and I’m not sure if it’s only compatible with certain cards like AJA and such since nobody seems to know as of right now.
  2. Single Frame Creation:  When you apply the MBL effect to a clip in the timeline, you must click on “EDIT” to open the interface and begin working on the grade.  When you do so, MBL “grabs” a still of the frame you are paused on in the timeline and displays it for previewing your work as you apply the tools.  But here’s the glitch: about 50% of the time when I click “edit,” MBL grabs some other frame, and usually not even a frame in the clip I am working on.  I have to keep deleting the effect and re-applying it to the clip until it works.
  3. Premiere Auto-Save Freeze:  If you’re like me, you have Premiere set to autosave your project every few minutes.  That has saved me from unfortunate loss of work several times.  But if you have the MBL interface open when Premiere initiates an autosave, Premiere will freeze with the “save” dialogue open and you’ll have no choice but to force close the application.  Best to turn off autosave while coloring and remember to hit ctrl-s every now and then.
  4. Upgrading From Previous MBL:  I found out the hard way that you should uninstall the previous version of MBL before installing 2.0.  Not only uninstall via add/remove programs, but go into your plugin folders and delete the MBL plugins.  Here’s the path to find them: C:\Program Files\Adobe\Common\Plug-ins Once these are deleted, you can install 2.0.  If you don’t do this, a duplicate plugin will still exist in Premiere and it seems the software will get confused as to which version of MBL your effects are referring to.  So, if you add MBL 2.0 to a clip and then close the program and reopen, Premiere seems to “point” the effect to the OLD version and not apply the effect correctly.

I’m sure Red Giant will fix these problems, and until then, I am still glad to use the software now that know the workarounds to the bugs.


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