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Tools

Slugline. Simple, elegant screenwriting.

Red Giant Color Suite, with Magic Bullet Looks 2.5 and Colorista II

Needables
  • Sony Alpha a7S Compact Interchangeable Lens Digital Camera
    Sony Alpha a7S Compact Interchangeable Lens Digital Camera
    Sony
  • Panasonic LUMIX DMC-GH4KBODY 16.05MP Digital Single Lens Mirrorless Camera with 4K Cinematic Video (Body Only)
    Panasonic LUMIX DMC-GH4KBODY 16.05MP Digital Single Lens Mirrorless Camera with 4K Cinematic Video (Body Only)
    Panasonic
  • TASCAM DR-100mkII 2-Channel Portable Digital Recorder
    TASCAM DR-100mkII 2-Channel Portable Digital Recorder
    TASCAM
  • The DV Rebel's Guide: An All-Digital Approach to Making Killer Action Movies on the Cheap (Peachpit)
    The DV Rebel's Guide: An All-Digital Approach to Making Killer Action Movies on the Cheap (Peachpit)
    by Stu Maschwitz
Wednesday
Sep092009

Magic Bullet Mojo

One of my fxphd shots with nothing more than Mojo applied

If you watched my tutorial on achieving the “Hollywood blockbuster look” using various color correction tools, you probably noticed the consistent theme among the very different example films I showed you how to match—the ubiquitous cool shadows, warm highlights look. Whether the film is bleached of all color (like Terminator Salvation) or super saturated (Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen), and whether it is overall warm or cool, modern films have zeroed in on a color correction style that tends to preserve skin tones and set them off against a cooler backdrop.

The same shot before Mojo

It’s more than possible to achieve this look with Colorista or Magic Bullet Looks (check out the Blockbuster preset—it’s been there since day one). But sometimes you just want to spruce up your footage quickly and easily, without a hundred presets to peruse or a powerful colorist’s interface to manipulate.

Sometimes you just want to take your footage that already looks pretty darn good, and give it a little bit of… Mojo.

Magic Bullet Mojo from Red Giant Software is the pocket-sized screwdriver to Magic Bullet Looks’s cordless driver drill. It does one thing, and does it quickly and easily. It gives you that Mojo thang with just a few simple sliders to adjust, and ships with presets for popular looks.

Unlike Looks and Colorista, Mojo is a bit of a one-trick pony. It’s simple and easy and priced to be an impulse-buy at $99 US. One license allows you to use it in Final Cut Pro, Premiere Pro, Avid, After Effects, and Apple Motion [UPDATE: Now Sony Vegas as well!]. Mojo is also now a part of the Magic Bullet Suite.

Mojo has some cool new features that you’ll recognize from the tutorial video. Since it’s all about skin tones, Mojo has simple sliders for emphasizing, cleaning up, and adjusting skin coloration. It even features a helpful overlay that gives you the same kind of skin-tone guidance for which expert colorists rely on their vectorscopes.

Here are some preemptive answers to questions you might have about Mojo:

Q: Isn’t this look just a cheap gimmick? Just a trend that could pass in a few days/weeks months?

A: Maybe, but in another way it’s an evolution of practices many years old in color correction suites around the world. Is it overused? Sure, but that’s because it works. Personally, I love the way it looks, when done tastefully. We provide the tools, you provide the taste. Try turning the Mojo slider down instead of up when you first apply it.

Q: I applied Mojo but my skin tones aren’t popping.

A: Your faces might be underexposed a bit. Try reducing Mojo Balance—it’s the control that determines what’s a shadow and what’s a highlight. Skin tones tend to fall right in between.

Q: I tried the demo and Mojo makes my footage look terrible.

A: Mojo is designed to work with footage that’s pretty solid to begin with. If what you need is color correction, then reach for Colorista. If you love the way your footage looks before Mojo, try the “Mojito” preset—it’s just a little bit of Mojo.

Q: Why do the sliders have more range in FCP than in After Effects?

A: Actually, they have the same ranges, but in After Effects we can have the slider min/max be different from the absolute min/max. I wish FCP would let us do that too, because the ranges we show in AE represent a “sweet spot,” and the values outside those ranges are kind of pushing things into the red a little.

Q: I already have Magic Bullet Looks, why do I need Mojo?

A: Because you don’t open a walnut with a jackhammer. In my own experience, Magic Bullet Looks is occasionally a bit to much overhead for a quick-turnaround project. Mojo is so quick and easy that I reach for it all the time, saving Looks for those occasions when I want to invest some time into my color grading.

Q: Will you tell my clients I’m using it?

A: No. It’ll be our little secret.

Reader Comments (59)

Was wondering if Mojo works with Nividia video card or does it only work with ATI cards?

September 9, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterCalvin Sun

Any plans for a Sony Vegas version?

September 9, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterEugenia

Calvin: Mojo does not require any specific video card.

Eugenia: It's not impossible. We like Vegas, but it's not so easy to develop for. It's good for Red Giant to hear from Vegas users who would buy Mojo if they could.

September 9, 2009 | Registered CommenterStu

This and the 7D will be a nice kit to create some compelling material. Love the price too!

September 9, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterJames Benet

Just curious, when you said "Mojo does not require any specific video card." does that mean it uses Open CL or that it jsut does not use any video card CPU to do its processing?

Downloading the trial right now!

September 9, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAlain

Mojo renders on the CPU, not the GPU.

September 9, 2009 | Registered CommenterStu

Thanks so much for this great product. Been testing it for months now on my movie and feels great that I can actually use it in the movie now.

Getting that email calling me a rock star beta tester and a free copy really made my day.

It's great that it's the only RG plug-in that retains it setting when opened in After effects from Premiere or vice versa. Keeps with the rebel workflow. Sucks that I loose any LOOKS or COLORISTA when I take the project from Premiere to AE for final grade.

Being able to do little Colorista power windows (ahead of time knowing it'll be in the final cut grade) or even give the footage a rough look makes editing easier for me and looks better to a client.

Nice that you listened and had the rebel finish in AE working with MOJO.

Also MOJO is has loads more uses like the preset that lets you adjust only skin tones. Or the ability to just add a nice film curve without going CYAN, It renders really quick and is real-time in Premiere which makes grading a breeze.

Great work Stu and Micah

September 9, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterjosh townsend

Hi Stu

Nice pluggins, I will buy it for sure. I think that I will oun a lot of time that before was spend with Look.

One silly question ??, Why MOJO ??, is this a name for a avid hardware addon ?

I say this only by issues of marketing, This name create noise in my system jeje, which does not mean that is an invaluable tool.

September 9, 2009 | Unregistered Commenteratd3d

No Mojo ist chosen because of the magic it does :) (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mojo)

It's great to hear that it will work with my graphics card. I really would buy Colorista but no chance to get that running here.

September 10, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterOliver Jeskulke

Looks good, but I'll be happier once there's a version of Colorista that works in PPro CS4! I do touch-up and render in AE but sometimes an edit that never looked like it was going work really sings once the colours match, and I just like to see that quickly in the editor.

September 10, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterSam Stickland

+1 for Mojo in Vegas please.

September 10, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterNick

Is it any good for colour correcting black and white footage?

September 10, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAdz

Isolating skin tones takes a lot of time.
Mojo seems to be the perfect solution for fast projects.
Excelent relation between price and benefits.

Great work Stu!
Congratulations to all people at RG development team, specially micah sharp!

Stu got the mojo!

September 10, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterPato Veloso

Stu,

Ok, I'll buy Mojo, even if Looks is so much fun to work with and not at all a big deal. however, before I (happily) dump another hundred of my hard earned dollars into Magic Bullet goodness, the fact remains that after purchasing the whole suite, I can only use Looks and Instant HD (for which I don't have much use) on CS4 and Vista 64. Cannot use Colorista or anything else, with Windows 7 around the corner, when will I be able to use the full suite on Vista 64/CS4? I have spent months waiting for updates and it gets frustrating when I see new products and I'm still unable to use old ones...

September 10, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterRudi Herbert

I hear you Rudi, I know that it is frustrating for RGS as well. If you check John Nack's blog you'll see that even a big company like Adobe struggles with keeping up with platform changes and new operating systems. Still, you paid for something and it should work. Send me a note via the contact form and I'll make sure RGS takes care of you.

September 10, 2009 | Registered CommenterStu

Rudi: +1

I've been sitting on Colorista for a couple months now, unable to use it. If it weren't for Stu's awesome Rebel CC that comes in his book, I dont think my film would have been completed. As good as it worked, it's not really a 1for1 substitute for Colorista. I hope they find a solution soon.

And Mojo looks great... just not the tool I want to use.

September 10, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterBrian

If we already own the Magic Bullet Suite is there an upgrade price to get Mojo?

Thanks,

James

September 10, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterJames Taylor

I wish they had spend this time to fix Magic Bullet Colorista to work with CS4 rather than develop a new MB product.

September 10, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterKevin

Kevin, fortunately for all of us that is not an either-or proposition.

September 10, 2009 | Registered CommenterStu

Hi,
I was wandering if Mojo would work with final cut express?
If not,are there plans for it to work in the future?
I appreciate an answer.
Thank you.

Claus

September 10, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterClaus

Stu do you have any opinion on adding grain to a film look? I noticed
another forum talking about this. I assume Mojo doesn't do this,
right? But, do you cover this in one of your Ae tutorials?

thanks

September 10, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAlan J.

Another Vote for Vegas.

September 10, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterstephen v2

The Colorista patched version I got from john at RG has been working just fine in CS4 for a few months now. The GUI isn't as responsive (can't scrub the color wheels) and none of the settings carry over into AE (thank god Mojo got that right) but it's more than useable.

September 11, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterjosh townsend

People keep saying "CS4". "CS4" is a SUITE. Is there a particular APP you are referring to?

September 11, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterBrian

I was expecting a new version better of Colorista... :-(

September 11, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterManuel López

Sorry meant Premiere CS4 obviously colorista works fine with AE CS4.

September 11, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterjosh townsend

Well, I was bored and watched my Mojo DVD last night and it is a very nice look. Certainly more than meets the eye.

September 13, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterJonne

How does it work if U use bullet looks and Mojo togheter? If u with looks give it the look u want and then bring out the skin tones with Mojo. Is that possible in a good way?

September 14, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterThomas

Hi Thomas, that is totally possible. There is a preset for Mojo that has only the skin stuff turned on, so you can easily use only that part of the effect.

September 14, 2009 | Registered CommenterStu

(another vote for Vegas Pro and for colorista/premiere pro full compatibility)

Will mojo be avail with the academic discount? It is not in the academic store. Or is this a question for RGS?

September 15, 2009 | Unregistered Commentered

That's a question for RGS, but they do read these comments, so we may hear from them here.

September 15, 2009 | Registered CommenterStu

Will be there a version for Sony Vegas too?

September 16, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAlan

My name is Mandi and I am QA with Red Giant Software. Stu brought these post to my attention when multiple posters were saying they are having problems with Colorista in Premiere Pro. We do have a fix for these issues with CS4 and Vista 64. If you go to this website: http://www.redgiantsoftware.com/getsoftware and download the latest Colorista installer your issues with Premier Pro CS4 and Vista 64 should be fixed.
Thanks,
Mandi

September 17, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterRed Giant Software

any chance for a simple tutorial on correcting white balance with mojo? It seems like it should be easy with it but, not being that experienced at CC, I have come to rely on the dropper in the 3-way and or colorista.

September 17, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterScott

Mojo is for setting the mood of already corrected footage, it isn't meant for initial correction such as exposure, white balance, and contast. You are completely right by using the 3-way or colorista. Do that as always, then drop on mojo and set the mood you want!

September 18, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterJon

mojo does not look fully compatible with PPro CS4 on WinXP 32- there are no presets avail to choose from.

September 18, 2009 | Unregistered Commentered

I don't mean to belabor this but it looks like the potential to adjust contrast and color temp with mojo is there, which makes it potentially a 1 filter solution for our Same Day Edits (for weddings)... being able to apply just the mojo filter, then adjusting color term, contrast, adding any "mood" that is needed would be incredibly appealing. I'm just unsure about what the parameters are doing exactly so I can figure out how to adjust the temp. I would love to hear your take on this Stu. Thanks!

September 20, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterScott

Scott, I think Mojo could be prefect for what you describe. Color temp is adjustable using the "Warm It" slider, which goes negative to create a cool look if you like (although it's designed to primarily be used as a warming effect, hence the name). Contrast is adjustable with the "Punch It" slider.

September 20, 2009 | Registered CommenterStu

The fixed colorista in CS4 Vista 64 is not what you get when you download the update from RED GIANT the file even says it was made JULY 28 2009. The new one must not be posted yet.I tried and it doesn't work at all. Glad I saved my 'patched beta' I got months ago.

September 20, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterjosh townsend

Stu, wouldn't using mojo to adjust white balance change the white balance of everything but the skintones, leaving them unproperly white balanced and the overall frame looking quite weird?

September 20, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterJon

Thanks Josh for that update on the alleged fixed Colorista. I absolutely hate to have this discussion on Stu's blog, but I've gotten no response on this from RGS for over a month. At least there is a response here, but even then, it's faulty info. Be glad you have the beta, I'm not so lucky. I'm just a tad disappointed that even owning a $200 app, I had to resort to using the free Rebel-CC for my film. Good thing that Stu is awesome and Rebel-CC works great, but that doesnt really make things any better.

September 21, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterBrian

Look great, but no Vegas compatible, so not an option for me. Sorry.

September 21, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAndrew

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September 21, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterThe Daily Reviewer

Please for VEGAS.

September 22, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterDoug

Mandi, helped me out with Colorista. I messed up by not uninstalling my old colorista install. Didn't think I needed to because the fix I got months ago I only had to replace the plug-in file.

However it fixed the problem completely. Colorista works great even with my win 7 64 install. Also the GUI is more responsive and everything carries over to After Effects EXCEPT the color wheels.

I've never had problems with RGS at all. The best way to reach them is to post on toolfarms red giant forum.

September 22, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterjosh townsend

Brian, sorry for misleading you about the colorista fix. It works fine just uninstall your old install. It's not even like I have a special inside connection with Red Giant other than being a public beta tester.

I got the original fixed colorista from an email link I saw on toolfarm. Looks like the Premiere fix works on Vista 64 and Win 7 64.

Again sorry for being just plain wrong.

September 22, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterjosh townsend

Thanks Josh! Brian, I hope you can get things working, but if you cant, please fill out the contact form or DM me on Twitter and I'll make sure you get direct support.

Just so you know guys this comment thread about the 64-bit Colorista update has created a discussion within Red Giant about how to better communicate updates and fixes like this one.

September 22, 2009 | Registered CommenterStu

+1 for Vegas support

September 23, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterSjur Pollen

Wow, Mojo works really well with red footage.

September 23, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterLuca

Another Vote for Vegas

September 24, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterVajk
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