If you’ve never heard of Stu Maschwitz you’ve definitely heard of the products he helps design and sell, notably: Colorista and Magic Bullet Looks for Red Giant Software. Just before NAB 2015 he wrote a blog post about evaluating color correction software. Near the end he makes a comment that I’ve got a problem with:
If a color correction tool feels hard to use, it is. It’s not your fault for not learning how to use it. If a demo artist can’t make an image look great in less than a minute—in a way that matches how you expect to actually work, they are wasting their time and yours, and revealing something about their product and the culture that created it.
In the comments a good colleague of mine, Steve Hullfish, takes Stu to task on this notion that ‘if it looks hard it’s because the developers don’t give a damn about you’. Now—I completely respect Stu’s, ‘make it easy’ design philosophy but he seems to fail to recognize that even his products can be tough to use if you want to go beyond merely picking presets.
I LOVE Magic Bullet Looks but I’ve seen editors absolutely struggle over, “Is that effect I’m looking for a Subject, Matte, Lens, Camera or Post effect?” Looks takes a Cinematographer’s thought process and puts it in the hands of editors… who then struggle mastering it because it uses a paradigm they don’t understand.
I pride myself on being able to master (and teach) really complex software and I often get lost in the Colorista and Looks interfaces
Back when I launched my first Masterclass in DaVinci Resolve 8, I did a follow-up on color correcting in the Apple ecosystem with training on using Colorista. I found it such a powerful interface that I was always getting lost (a pro, getting lost 🙂 so I taught people to use that filter for one task at a time… otherwise you’ll never be able to come back 3 weeks later and deconstruct your grades. It’s an approach that’s become a mainstay for my NLE teachings.
Stu has some great thoughts on evaluating color software
And I encourage you to read his post on the subject. But I do think he goes a bit ‘off the rails’ at the end there… over-estimating the simplicity of the tools he helps design if you want to go beyond picking presets.
I’ll conclude by saying, I have plans to develop training on using his products… so let that knowledge inform your thoughts on my thoughts about his thoughts! But I’ve got to get my next Grade-Along out the door first…