Earlier this year, Red Giant updated several plugins in the Magic Bullet Suite for its version 12 update. There is also a new film simulation tool in the suite, aptly called Magic Bullet Film. The updated apps include:
- Magic Bullet Looks 3.0
- Magic Bullet Colorista III
- Magic Bullet Mojo 2.0
- Magic Bullet Cosmo 2.0
In addition to the updated products, Magic Bullet Suite 12 also features Denoiser II and LUT Buddy.[vimeo https://vimeo.com/117964767 w=700]
Magic Bullet Looks 3.0
Magic Bullet Looks 3.0 adds 198 completely new presets based on popular film and TV shows. Additionally, there are over 40 tools to customize the presets or build your own looks from scratch, which you can then save as custom presets.
New tools build off other Magic Bullet products and include:
- Mojo Tool
- Colorista Tool
- 4-Way Color Tool
- Lens Vignette Tool
- ColorSpace Tool
- Shadows/Highlights Tool
- Duotone Tool
Magic Bullet Film
Magic Bullet Film includes 22 negative stocks and 4 print stocks, giving you 88 possible cinematic combinations. It provides quick access to great looking film stock presets, which are a also included inside of Magic Bullet Looks 3.0 as a separate tool.
Magic Bullet Colorista III
Colorista III has a new and simplified design that is easy to access directly in the effects panel of Premiere Pro CC and now Final Cut Pro X as well.
Key Colorista III features include:
- Streamlined User Interface
- Strong integration with Adobe Creative Cloud
- More Host-Apps – PPro, AE, FCPX, Motion
- Shadows & Highlights controls
- Strength Slider
Magic Bullet Mojo 2.0
Mojo 2.0 has been rebuilt from scratch to support GPU acceleration. It remains a simple tool for creating the deep green shadow and yellow highlight look that is common in Hollywood blockbusters. It already worked very well. Now, it’s just faster.
Magic Bullet Cosmo 2.0
As with Mojo 2.0, Cosmo 2.0 gets GPU acceleration and updated support for FCP X, Motion and Sony Vegas Pro. Cosmo 2.0 allows you to quickly select skin tones and reduce wrinkles and blemishes.
Although not updated, Denoiser II remains in the MBS 12 collection and provides one-step noise reduction while retaining detail. It is a solid tool for shooting HDSLRs in low light and/or high-ISO settings.
LUT Buddy is a free LUT tool from Red Giant but is packaged with the Suite as an easy tool to import, create and export Lookup Tables.
Using Magic Bullet Suite 12
There are a ton of new features and presets in Looks and Colorista; however, the thing I noticed right away is that Red Giant listened to feedback from its customers when tweaking the user interface. While the layout inside Looks is very familiar, the little things like the preset and controls now lock out if you want them to. Previously, they would retract when your mouse hovered off of them.
The overall look and feel of the interface is just more natural and user-friendly than before.
Colorista’s quick access in the effects panel of Premiere Pro is seamless and so fast to make adjustments in a clip. It works well with Premiere’s built-in masking feature that continues to be more and more useful.
Magic Bullet Film is a another easy tool for finding a starting point with your footage to yield a more filmic look. As noted, Red Giant has assembled 22 negative stocks and 4 print stocks to create dozens of combinations of film looks.
There are several popular Kodak and Fujifilm film stocks to choose from.
After selecting a particular negative and print stock, you can further customize the look using a variety of color, exposure, grain and vignette sliders in the effects panel.
Most recently, I used only the Magic Bullet Film plugin to quickly add some needed punch to this flat footage I shot with a GoPro HERO4 at a friend’s CrossFit box that’s opening soon.[vimeo https://vimeo.com/129951879 w=700]
Magic Bullet Film is perhaps the easiest way to get up and running with a tried and true film look. It is flexible enough to apply to a vast number of situations but it is not so intimidating to tweak to your own tastes.
Even though I am inside of Looks more often than some of the other included plugins from the Suite, I will frequently pull in the Cosmo and Film tools within Looks to apply to a clip. That’s one of the nice things about building your overall look inside of Magic Bullet Looks.
The same power you find in the standalone Cosmo is also available in the full Magic Bullet Looks 3.0. The same applies to Magic Bullet Film. While the Colorista tool is available in Looks 3.0, I prefer to use it standalone for any initial color correction because of the quick access in the effects panel. That way, I don’t have to open up the Looks 3.0 interface to make minor color adjustments.
Cosmo is so very powerful for those of you who edit and color correct everything in a single application. It provides such a quick fix for skin corrections that it should be a no-brainer for anyone shooting and editing footage of people. The sliders to find the exact skin tones make it almost idiot-proof to isolate skin. Although, the default settings are pretty darn close in most situations.
You can certainly go over the top with Cosmo in smoothing out skin; however, if you use it in moderate doses, then chances are good that no one will ever know you touched up the talent’s skin and the talent will be impressed with just how good they look on screen.
I frequently use Cosmo with some talking head sequences that I shoot on a regular basis for both men and women. It makes life so much easier and gives the talent confidence with their appearance – even if they don’t know why they look so good on camera. I have tried a number of other techniques, including diffusion filters/plugins, and haven’t used another tool that works so well at isolating skin and judiciously correcting skin flaws.
Mojo is the first Red Giant plugin that I ever tried. I bought it when the first version had just been released. It was a fun plugin to use at the time. While I don’t use it as often as I once did, it will sometimes find its way into some GoPro footage or another quick video that I want to share but don’t want to leave bare bones ungraded.
Mojo provides that gritty cinematic action look with cool shadows and warm skin tones that we see in so many modern action films. It is actually pretty customizable and has its place as a quick grading tool, but is often lost in a powerful suite of tools alongside the likes of the Looks and Film tools.
Overall, Magic Bullet Suite 12 is a powerful and comprehensive set of tools for color correction and grading in post-production. If you are shooting and editing your own videos, it is an essential software package that works in today’s most popular editors. You don’t have to be a professional colorist to get good results with MBS 12. However, if you know your way around color correction tools, then you already understand how powerful this suite can be.
You can learn more about Magic Bullet Suite 12 and download a free trial here on Red Giant’s website.