Slugline. Simple, elegant screenwriting.

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

  • Sony Alpha a7S Compact Interchangeable Lens Digital Camera
    Sony Alpha a7S Compact Interchangeable Lens Digital Camera
  • 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)
  • TASCAM DR-100mkII 2-Channel Portable Digital Recorder
    TASCAM DR-100mkII 2-Channel Portable Digital Recorder
  • 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

Magic Bullet Grinder

OK, another blog post to pimp a Red Giant product. To those who wish for a little more balance between these kinds of posts and my more philosophical rants, I hear you. But Red Giant’s been busy, and I think a lot of you are going to like this.

Grinder is an easy to use batch processor for footage from your Canon DSLR. It can convert to ProRes, add timecode, and even create low-res with window burn proxies for offline editing. You can also use it to conform (not convert, i.e. no frame blending or motion interpolation) a bunch of clips to one frame rate, so your 30p and 60p shots can become slow-mo clips at 23.976fps.

Grinder 1.0 is US$49 and available now.

Reader Comments (70)

Saw this demoed at AENY when I was with Phil. Looked very efficient, wish you and your team the best with it.

May 27, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterRomanM

Just wondering, but how is this better then Cineform NeoScene? I would've loved this a few months ago, before I bought NeoScene, and before CS5 edited this footage in real time without conversion.

May 27, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterFloris

mac only? :(

May 27, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterdcloud

I finally got to use my Magic Bullet Mojo and WOW, awesome stuff! Thanks for all the work you guys are putting into this, Stu.

I do have a question about Grinder though and I'm sure it will be the same question that many people have: In what way(s) is Grinder different than _______ (insert MPEG, Canon E1, or whatever your current software of choice is here)? I use the E1 plug in and have success with it. On the surface I can't see the advantage of spending $50 for Grinder, hence the reason I'm asking you as I'm sure there are things this plug-in does that E1 and others don't.

Thanks for all you do Stu and keep up the good work!

May 27, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterDustin

This is exactly what I have been waiting for. Everything I need in one tool. Thanks Stu. Im very curious to see conversion speed benchmark tests vs mpeg streamclip.

May 27, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterBryan Rowland

I am a little confused about this product, Since Grinder creates Prores it must be targeted to the Mac since I believe that PCs only have access legally to the Prores codec for playback only. I dont know who would be interested in this when Canon provides a wonderful and FREE EOS 5d FCP log and transfer plugin (E1 - made by Gluetools) that converts to Proes, creates timecode for the clips,adds xml info as well as the ability to assign a source number to each card that also can be archived by this software.
Tom Daigon
Avid DS / FCP/After Effects Editor

May 27, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterTom Daigon

Even though I'm a PC/Neoscene user, I don't mind the pimping posts - Red Giant has excellent tools and I have a bunch. However, I've not gotten any response lately from Red Giant on the long, long, long overdue 64-bit version of Magic Bullet Looks Vegas. 64-bit Vegas has been out for years and still no love. I'm going to have to abandon Magic Bullet (which I love but I love Vegas slightly more) completely if they won't even cough up a date. I always get a "we have nothing to announce or can't comment". Can you enlighten us on Red Giant's support for Vegas?

May 27, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterstephen v2

Dustin and Tom, I understand your confusion. Why did we make something to compete with all the free options out there?

Grinder's strength is its singularity of purpose and its simplicity. Yes, there are many free ways to convert media files. Some are easier to configure than others. Grinder is a zero-config, drag-and-drop app with a few carefully-chosen options custom-tailored for the needs of HDSLR shooters.

It doesn't do much that's unique, but one feature it has that I like a lot is the parallel proxy rendering. I like to work with low-res offline clips with TC window burn and then master back to my camera originals. Grinder makes that a breeze.

Frame-rate conform is another biggie. I love that I can go shoot 24, 30, 50 and 60p and conform it all back to 23.976 without any effort. Makes slow-mo a simple thing.

In the specific case of the Canon FCP plug-in, I personally never use it because it requires the media to be on a CF card. I prefer to copy my shots to a safe place and the batch-process them later.

Grinder is not expensive. It's for people who want something that works right every time with no fuss.

May 27, 2010 | Registered CommenterStu

Here is my quick speed test results on an 8core MacPro with 6 GB of RAM running OS X10.6.2
Original Clip: 2min52sec, 1080p 23.976 shot on 1Dmark4

time to encode to Prores (no proxy or timecode burn in, Just Main Format transcode):

Grinder: 9min 6sec
Mpeg Streamclip: 3min 9 sec

Does this look right Stu??

May 27, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterBryan Rowland

Bryan, it's entirely possible that Mpeg Streamclip can use all 8 cores on one conversion. We use one core per conversion. I wonder how we'd fare in a test of eight clips of similar length?

May 27, 2010 | Registered CommenterStu

Just a heads up.....

You say in YOUR description of GRINDER it is to CONFORM (not convert) 60 and 30 to slow motion 24 but on the RED GIANT page they say exactly this:

CONVERTS 30p and 60p media for quick and dirty 24p slow-motion effects.

You might wanna have them fix this.......just a heads up.

Or am I missing something here?

May 28, 2010 | Registered Commentermark dossett

Thanks Mark, that's wrong on a couple levels. There's nothing dirty about Grinder's slow-mo. I'll have it changed.

May 28, 2010 | Registered CommenterStu

This program looks great! Prores is nice but it creates massive files! Is Prores the only format it converts to? I use mpegstream because I can get a workable FCP quicktime using the "APPLE XDCAM EX 1080p" settings. No rendering... great picture ... awesome size! I want to buy this prog but I dont want to buy more drive space.

May 28, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterrev,

Rev, try ProRes LT. Or, if space is truly a concern, try an offline/online workflow.

May 28, 2010 | Registered CommenterStu

+1 for 64-bit Magic Bullet Mojo & Looks support. I only own Mojo, but have essentially given up using it because 64-bit stability is more important.

Grinder looks like a great product for the price. I've been looking for something like this and it's cheaper than a couple of other similar tools I've tried, but Mac only is no use.

May 28, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterGlenn Thomas

That's 64-bit Vegas I meant.

May 28, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterGlenn Thomas

I think those who will see the real benefit of Grinder are those that use and understand the offline to online workflow. That and its speed and simplicity are refeshing. I've had a beta for a couple of weeks and wrote a piece about it at Pro Video Coalition:

@stu - i don't see ProRes LT as an encode option, contrary to what the Red Giant site says in the features. There's that and a question of the added timecode behavior in applications outside of Final Cut Pro. How exactly does Grinder add timecode to clips it creates?

May 28, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterScott Simmons

Stu, great product at a nice price. Really like the proxy with TC concept. But I do have three questions:
- What are the steps to take to automatically replace the proxies with the originals. Since Grinder renames the files I assume a search and replace on a XML export of the sequence should work. Any other tips on this?
- Will Grinder be able to create ProRes clips on a Mac that does not have the Final Cut Studio installed?
- Any reason why it is targeted to Canon only? Any reason it should not work on any other .mov footage?

Thanks, Joost

May 28, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJoost van der Hoeven

Stu, great piece of software... i do like it... the only thing i miss in Switzerland is to convert the 30frames to PAL 25frames. Will this be possible in a future release?

Thanks, Denis

May 28, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterDenis Spycher

Denis, that's a great feature request.

Scott, maybe ProRes LT is only an option for proxies? I'll look into it.

Joost, we'll post a tutorial on re-linking. Yes, you need Final Cut Studio installed to write ProRes. And the Canon-only thing is just what we support in v1.0 — you can try other formats and they may work. We need to know what other formats we should formally support in future versions.

May 28, 2010 | Registered CommenterStu

I've been wanting to figure out a good proxy workflow and this looks like it will save me the time figuring out how to script it which is totally worth $49.

I AM concerned about the conversion speed though. If it multi-threaded, I would have already purchased it. Does it do multiple conversions in parallel? Still, I don't want to cue up at least 8 clips on my mac pro to get comparable speeds to free software. What is the outlook on multi-threading?

May 28, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJosh

Now if it only worked for AVCHD files from my GH1. It doesn't, does it?

May 28, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJay Shaffer

Josh, Grinder is absolutely multi-threaded. It does one conversion per core, in parallel. It certainly is at its best when processing multiple clips.

Jay, GH1 support is a good feature request.

May 28, 2010 | Registered CommenterStu

Just did a quick test with 4 clips ranging in length from 5-50 seconds (total of ~100 seconds) on my macbook pro. Grinder runs two encodes simultaneously on this machine, so I tried MPEG streamclip with both 1 and 2 simultaneous tasks:

Grinder - 5:12
MSC 1 task - 3:41
MSC 2 task - 3:18

50% longer is a pretty huge difference - it seems like a high price to pay (not even counting the actual price) to save yourself the 5 minutes it takes to create a few presets of your own.

May 29, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterEvan Donn

How about support for the GoPro MP4 format. I intercut with 5d, 7d and t2i footage frequently. Same type audience for usage and similar workflow.

May 29, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterBo Parker

Even, thanks for doing that test. I think you and I might be using different math, but still, looks like we can be faster.

Aside from speed, which I agree matters (but I don't think is the only thing that matters), we have some features that the free options don't, and in the future we'll have more.

In the meantime, please feel free to not buy Grinder! We know it's not for everyone.

May 29, 2010 | Registered CommenterStu


Cool product. Some suggestions for additional options:
1. ProResLT for a main format would be good.
2. It was also be good to write a Reel Number as well as TC.
3. Also good if the TC could be taken from the time stamp of the file.
4. A nice feature would be to write the proxy without the main.

I did some testing with existing converted ProResLT files and these also converted nicely, using the "original" format in main. The only issue was TC. The new main file had overwritten the TC track. It would nice to have an option to use or keep existing Reel Numbers and TC when they already exist in a file. Thanks.

- Oliver

May 29, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterOliver Peters

Great suggestions, thanks Oliver!

May 29, 2010 | Registered CommenterStu

Ehmm, could we have some "RG Real Shadows for Photoshop > Plugin" FINALLY!!!!!!!!!!!!!
As far as i concerned i was asking for real-time preview in MB Looks Bulider vial BMD, AjA, Matrox and what soever I/O Hardware A VERY FEW MONTHS AGO!
Show that you care and listen!!!!!

Thank you for listening.

May 29, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterThomas

support for other formats would also be a cool feature e.g. (avchd, xdcam, dvcpro, avc-i etc...)

May 29, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterdcloud


May 30, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterdcloud

This is great! They are stepping up their game lately. I like it.

May 30, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJeff

> I personally never use it because it requires the media to be on a CF card<

Not true, as long as you keep the .THM file, the E1 plugin will log and transfer footage from any external hard drive.

May 30, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterSteve

These are all great new tools, but why is RGS leaving 64-bit Vegas users behind? Updates are overdue.

May 30, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterWill

Is Grinder a part of the Magic Bullet Suite?

I understand that it can be purchased on its own... just wondering if its available as an upgrade to my current suite.

May 31, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJordy

got it, thanks Stu

June 1, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterDustin

Yes I wonder too... Wonder for what this tools is good for?
I can edit and work with H264 right from my Canon in AE or Premiere (using CS5), so why should I first convert it?
Actually the H264 is quite noisy (there is a pattern too) and I use Neatvideo's denoise to improve quality. So I have to apply that anyway, no matter if I convert the file format first or not. Also I recommend to record the HDMI output directly from the Camera instead of using the recorded H264 files.
So, in the end, that tool seems to be a Quicktime Pro alternative for FCP users???

June 1, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterRobert Lechl

Great version 1.0. Hope to see the possibility to conform 50/60fps to 25fps for all those PAL-country users in the next version, also, what about ProRes HQ? And it would be nice to have an option of adding another burn-in on top of the movie for a reel / file-name - something you can enter yourself before grinding...

Any idea when you guys get those 25fps going? Would love to sell this thig to my students :)

June 1, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterTobias

Cool stuff. A couple options would get me to switch from Streamclip:

1. More codec options.
2. Main and proxy become simply outputs 1 & 2 so you can output only a proxy if you want.
3. Image sequence output.

June 3, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterGary Jaeger

Say I have to manage and convert a large amount of data.

At present, I lean to starting a rough assembly of H264 .movs in Final Cut Pro, sending to color, first lighting the masters, and then batch converting to ProRes Lt within Color, sending back to FCP.

However, when prepping for others, I have to batch convert full cards using mpeg Streamclip or Compressor Droplets for Batching using ProResLT codec. For most jobs, LT is perfect balance, so a higher res file isn't necessary. Still, there will be need for master/proxy.

So- is the value in that the timecode matches between the full res and LT/Proxy allow you to conform at a later time? Is there any gamma shifting anymore, or ways to avoid it? Does it bring in the camera metadata as well (does anything do that at present?)

The price point is great- I've paid more than $50 for less useful applications. However, I love that the Canons store all that metadata, and would love to preserve it through post (if only to view it in Canon's ImageBrowser).

June 3, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAnthony Torres

Great suggestions Gary, thanks!

Anthony, I hear you about ProRes LT and yes, one of the advantages of using this proxy/main workflow where both are transcoded through the same system is avoiding gamma shifts.

June 3, 2010 | Registered CommenterStu

Really great program but you hit it out of the park with the name. Fantastic.

June 3, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAlex

Stu, I really dig the idea of the program and understand that development may only continue relative to demand.

First, Conform to 24p didn't take on MainFormat Original+Timecode. The proxy conformed to 24p. The original+timecode was 59.94. Given that cinema tools does the conform to originals, is this a glitch, or Grinder doesn't conform original + Timecode?

ProResLt is not represented at all. and this was just released.

On one hand, the demo has great visual workflow. I want to use this, but I can't without ProResLT.

If I buy today, I may be sending the message that it's perfect as is. If I wait, it may be dropped altogether. Point is, I do want to use this. If updates are low priority for Red Giant, cool. I'll forget about it.

I can only assume this was dev'd for the FCP6 market, though FCP7 has been out since July 2009. ProResLT was a strong reason to upgrade, along with Color.

I understand it's a 1.0 product, and the trend is to get things out the door and fix them per customer demands (I hate you Rework book). Alas, fixes are not always coming.

As much as I loved the idea of DV Garage's Conduit, and bought it upon release, it didn't work on my system despite matching their specs. That happens. However, there probably wasn't the critical mass for DV Garage to fund further development (or whatever their business arrangement was). Given that Grinder is aimed at Canon Final Cut Pro users, that's a very specific market. I guess no one surveyed ProResLT adoption.

So, I hate to ask, but are they dev'ing an update, and how soon to add ProResLT? (That's like asking an indie filmmaker who just wrapped post on a 2 year project..."So... you working on anything NEW?")
Best, Anthony Torres

June 4, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAnthony Torres

I just purchased grinder, and also own neo HD.
To my disappointment, both softwares crashes when I apply batch transcode to
99 h.264 (5d mark2) movs (which total up to 14.34 GB).

So far only mpegstream which is free seems to not crash with this sort of job.

I hope Neo HD or Grinder fixes this quick. I hate having to re organize my files into smaller batch chucks, it's borin and I rather be doing something more creative.

June 4, 2010 | Unregistered Commentercharles

same here... crashes when I batch more than 10 files at a time... plus... won't batch them in order of file name so when I go and rebatch I have to not choose the out of order clips that did complete their conversion.

I don't think I can use this product unless it works.

info: 5d2 files... macpro quad with 10.5 whatever... 12 GB ram...

June 5, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterwitzke

Quick feature request! I just picked up a GoPro HD camera and would love to use Grinder with the GoPro files. They are h.264 mp4 files but Grinder says it does not support the files. If the gopro file support is added, i'm a buyer!

June 5, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJosh

If FCP runs the native footage, isn't your advice in your book to not recompress? Is this only for those whose machines are not powerful enough to run h264 in real time in FCP?

June 8, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJay

Recompressing to ProRes is generally thought to be OK, but if you don't want to we allow you to simply add TC to the original footage files. Personally I offline with proxies and the conform the originals in AE, per the DV Rebel workflow.

June 8, 2010 | Registered CommenterStu

Perhaps release a public beta next time.

If anybody can make this program superb, it's the community as a whole. There are many great suggestions in this thread that should be implemented in the current version.

However, this application currently doesn't stand up in value to the two other free options out there. (MPEG Streamclip and the official Canon FCP Plugin).

Still, it's a great step in making the DSLR workflow nicer. Please take all of these suggestions to heart and make this the hands down obvious choice for transcoding DSLR footage.

June 8, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterjames tupper

I shoot 720p with a HVX and would like to be able to turn off the convert 720 to 1080p feature.

June 8, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMichael Sacci
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