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If you want to impart a filmlike quality to your digital video, Red Giant Software’s Magic Bullet Editors, a special-effects plug-in for Final Cut Pro, may help you realize your vision.
Magic Bullet Editors includes Look Suite, the color-correction controls of its After Effects sibling, Magic Bullet Suite (; April 2003), and it includes Misfire, a new tool for creating realistic film-damage effects. These effects are impressive, but rendering times are painfully slow.
Look Suite offers controls that let you create film “looks” like those seen in popular movies. Drop a preset on your clip, and instantly you’ve got anything from the soft, colorful look of Amelie to the bleached, contrasty look of Saving Private Ryan. There are 50 preset looks, including basic effects (such as Warm and Cool) and presets that emulate the look of your favorite film. Look Suite lets you tweak the look of your footage endlessly. Twenty-five controls let you prep your video, emulate lens filters and various film stocks, and balance the final image. All controls are keyframable, so you can vary the effects over time. You can select and deselect individual sections to isolate the effects.
Misfire helps you rough up your video to create an aged look. There are 13 Misfire filters, including Dust, Grain, Scratches (basic, micro, and deep), Splotches, and Vignette. Misfire can also simulate projection artifacts such as flicker and gate weave, the distinctive side-to-side shakiness of ancient flicks.
While you can approximate some of these effects with Final Cut Pro’s built-in filters, Magic Bullet Editors offers finer control and richer, more professional-looking results. But you’ll need a fast Mac. On my dual-800MHz G4 with 1.25GB of RAM, rendering a 30-second clip took more than 15 minutes. Adding Misfire prolonged rendering. Fortunately, unlike with Look Suite, you can apply Misfire as a single filter or apply each effect as an individual filter; this minimizes the performance hit. Red Giant says that the tools are accelerated for the G5, and that performance and rendering times should be substantially faster on a G5 than on older hardware.
Macworld’s Buying Advice
Magic Bullet Editors 1.0 is the perfect tool for achieving a stylish film look or an authentic-looking “classic.” Just make sure your hardware is up for some heavy lifting.The right half of this video has been treated with the Warm & Fuzzy effect, one of 50 presets included with Look Suite.