New Look

It's been over five years since I designed Look Suite, the look creation tool that has become the most important feature of Magic Bullet. The "magic" of the Bullet used to be its ability to convert interlaced video to 24p, but as 24p cameras hit the scene the Bullet stayed relevant and, in some peoples' eyes, necessary, because of Look Suite.

So what have I been doing in the years since the original Look Suite design? I've been using Magic Bullet of course, on my own video and on professional projects. I've been talking to users and staying active on forums. All the time pondering and experimenting with better ways of making video look more cinematic. Meanwhile, Red Giant updated Look Suite to run in hardware, for a massive speed boost.

At NAB, we'll reveal the result of combining Red Giant's work with hardware-acceleration and my new design for a look creation tool. It will be called Magic Bullet Looks, and it will be available both as a part of an all-new Magic Bullet Suite or on its own.

Rather than a regular plug-in with a ton of sliders, Magic Bullet Looks features a standalone application with its own UI. Called Looks Builder, this application is launched when you apply the Look Suite 3 plug-in in After Effects, Premiere Pro, Final Cut Pro, Avid, or Motion. Within Looks Builder, you build and edit looks using Look Tools; modular mini-effects for things like bleach bypass, gradient filters, and film stock simulation. All of these tools work in realtime and can be tweaked and edited in context. All processing is done in floating-point color. With over 30 Look Tools to assemble however you like, you can create an infinite variety of Looks.

Or choose a preset. Pop open the Looks Theater to see 100 different preset looks applied to your image (not a canned thumbnail) in realtime.

Magic Bullet Looks was designed to be easy and fun to use, but it's powerful enough for pros too. Filters and exposure adjustments work in real-world units. Color corrections obey industry standards. Cineon film scans and digital cinema images, such as those from the Panavision Genesis camera, are interpreted correctly and can be converted to video or left in their native color spaces. The same look that you develop on an Avid rough cut in video color space can later be applied to a 35mm scan.

That's a lot of talk, but this is obviously something that must be seen to be appreciated. Magic Bullet Looks will be unveiled for the first time at NAB on Tuesday morning. I can't wait to show y'all what we've been up to.