If you edit video, even for your school projects, you know all too well the wonders of DV and Final Cut Pro. Final Cut Pro is so good, it’s being used by many of the industry’s biggest pros. Of course, many have still held out, and continue to use older analog systems – film, reels, and all of that huge expensive equipment, even though it often costs much more than the digital setup.
Why? Well, the reason these film-makers stayed away from DV is because of the appearance. Regular old film runs at 24 frames per second, whereas the regular DV cameras that you can buy will run at roughly 30 frames per second. You may think there’s little difference, but your brain will pick up on the subtle differences. In addition, things like lightning, color, or audio can also attribute to the “feel” of a professional production instead of a home movie.
That’s where “Magic Bullet Editors” from Red Giant Software comes in. It functions as a set of “plug-ins” for Final Cut Pro (or other editors – like Adobe Premiere on Windows), and is easy to drag and drop onto any clip you have in your sequence.
To test it out, I unfortunately didn’t have ready access to a DV camcorder, but I did the next best thing: I pulled out an old project I did in high school, consisting of two classmates fighting with lightsabers in the school gym. (I had used QuickTime and iMovie to do the animation, frame by frame through Photoshop). Taking the old footage from the tape, back into the computer, I saw that it didn’t look too bad, but you could definitely tell it was done on a DV camera. I drew the sequence through Final Cut Pro, and proceeded to mark in and out points, and edit the timing and things that would typically be done.
Then came the fun part: we can find the Magic Bullet Editors filters in our “Effects” tab in the Browser. We proceed to click and drag the filter that we want on top of the clip, and it can then be viewed/rendered/etc. The fact that these are filters rather than separate programs is very convenient, since a number of people already use Final Cut. It’s really easy to use these – just click and drag from the Browser to your sequence and render, that’s all that can be said. It can create the effects you want to make for film, dust, projection, artifacts, and more. In fact, while studios are trying to restore their old films to clear digital, you can make your digital movies look like old film.
In my project, I was able to do a couple different tricks: first, I was able to change the frame rate, the color, and many other things that ended up giving my bright, over-saturated DV footage a look kind of like a prime time sitcom. I was also playing with the other filters, which give your footage the look of Saving Private Ryan, or you can get the look of Technicolor – like one of those old epics from the 1950s. There are a number of filters like that designed to give you the professional results to imitate any one of those styles. In fact, a number of professional filmmakers have used it to match their newer footage to existing footage, and make sure that the audience believes that it came from the same source.
If you’re interested in seeing more about “Magic Bullet Editors”, or to download the demo, go to their site at www.redgiantsoftware.com. The list price for it is $300. They have downloads or CD versions that you can buy.