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Shooter Suite

New set of super tools from Red Giant Software By Ko Maruyama

Shooter Suite
New set of super tools from Red Giant Software


Red Giant Software is a familiar name in professional post production circles.  Their current super set of software is called Shooter Suite, a package of several different applications that will help you get from production through post quickly and easily.


The latest update includes a workflow for RED media and several updates to the different components offered in the package of apps.


It's not a single application or hub, but instead, Shooter Suite is a range of different applications that will help you in different stages of your production - helping to get the most out of your shoot.  Overall, the Shooter Suite helps you to shoot 'smarter', giving you an opportunity to use the time you have on set for creative process rather than technical problem solving.


The kit is made up of 7 different tools.  Each of the tools may have a slightly different function based on the limitations of your OS, so there are some compatibility issues that you may want to pay attention to, but chances are you're already familiar with the idiosyncrasies of your preferred OS over another.


PluralEyes, Offload, Denoiser, Instant 4K, BulletProof, Frames, and LUT Buddy are the components in the set (although you may not use them in that order).  


THE QUICK REVIEW


These tools are great for the beginner and the pro.  Whether you're just starting out in production/post-production, or you know what you're doing, these tools are going to help you work more smoothly, and get your footage through the pipeline so you can focus on creative decisions. Skip the rest and try it for yourself? Sure: http://www.redgiant.com/products/all/shooter-suite/


THE DEEP LOOK


The tools are a curated suite of apps that address many of the hurdles that production teams run into each time they get into a new project.  If you're new to production, or if you're still trying to figure out the right way to negotiate the pitfalls of different production obstacles, the tools in this suite are going to help you out. (Side note: If you're a student, the package will cost only $199.  If you're a pro, a qualifying upgrade is only $99)





Let's take a look at the WHAT AND WHY inside the total package.


OFFLOAD


Although this seems like it performs a simple function, the key to Red Giant Offload is that it performs that function extremely well.


  • what: transfers data from your card to your laptop/hard drive

  • why: your production is burning through cards, and you need to make sure you have the right shot before moving on to the next setup



If you've ever heard someone say 'check the gate', then you're old school (like me).  The idea of checking your footage after each take can be done in camera, but making sure that you have the scenes backed up cleanly before you leave the set is crucial.  You want to make sure you have everything before you leave location. 


OFFLOAD has a nice big UI, showing progress of your backup, so you can read it easily, even if you're far from video village.  Even if you don't believe in reusing your camera media cards day of shooting, you're probably gonna want to get that footage somewhere safer than a little wafer thin card.  Get it? Got it! Good.  Moving on.


BULLETPROOF


It's not really the same as OFFLOAD.  Although it does back it up, BulletProof does a lot more.


  • what: Review cilps, Mark Selects, Embed Metadata, One Light color pass

  • why: Take a quick look at your footage takes before moving on, prep editorial


While there are many ways that you can annotate shots while on set, including hand-written notes, BulletProof can make your editorial process move more smoothly by providing an easy way to mark favorites, make annotations on each shot, and even color correct the clip with a quick look.  Now that BulletProof is integrated with PluralEyes, multi-cam footage can quickly get sync'd too.  If you just need to export the clips, BulletProof has you covered.



...back at headquarters....


Once you get back to base, you're probably going to rely on the other parts of Shooter Suite more.


PLURALEYES


This is really a heavy hitter.  If you're running a multi camera shoot, and haven't set Time Of Day or sync'd slates (or even if you have), PluralEyes does your multi-cam audio setup for you simply by listening to the audio in your clips.


  • what: Software to sync up your audio (and by relationship accompanying video)

  • why: You can shoot on anything, some devices don?t have timecode or ToD


So here's the quick bit on PluralEyes.  AUTOSETUP: Let it do the work for you.  GOES INTO NLE: It supports a bunch of NLEs. I'm guessing you're using PremierePro, FinalCut, Avid MC, Sony Vegas.  You're covered because PluralEyes will import/export a timeline for you.  If you're not using one of these host NLEs, you can export the audio and/or video clips.  There is support for XML/AAF too.  




Everything lined up?  Let's get the selects and footage looking better.

Yes, still using tools from the Shooter Suite.


DENOISER


  • what: Clean up digital artifacts that might appear in your shot

  • why: Some 'noisy' clips can be cleaned up to match the rest of your footage. Noise distracts your audience from what's going on in the scene.


If you don't have enough lighting in your shot, it's possible the compression on your camera can introduce some unwanted noise if you digitally boost the levels.  A well lit shot is probably not going to contain easily visible noise, but this will work on older footage to reduce the amount of noise in the clip. (If you want to upgrade to the new Denoiser from your previous purchase, you can do that right now).


Denoiser works inside Adobe After Effects, PremierePro, and Apple FinalCut Pro to remove those little unwanted pixel zits that can buzz around your clip.  It does require a little finesse in order to make it look the way you may want, but there are plenty of controls to allow you to dig into.


INSTANT 4K


  • what: Change the resolution (size) of your clip

  • why: Y our camera may not shoot 4K video, but you may need that resolution.  Simple scale change won't cut it alone.


While Instant 4K can work on your current footage, or footage that you're about to shoot, where the plugin really comes in handy is when you have a favorite clip, or an event that you can't shoot again, and you need it in a higher resolution.



If you're an editor - or even a motion graphics compositor - you know how terrible some of the simple size/scaling results can be.   This isn't merely a transformation effect.  Sure, you could change the size of your footage in PremierePro, FCP, or After Effects using size, but Instant 4K analyzes the data much more dynamically than pixel scaling alone.  You can change these settings for many different situations, and if you don't need to upscale your footage to 4K, there are lower (even custom) resolutions that are possible.  A bunch of presets will get you on your way.  A really nice feature in the Instant 4K plugin is that it allows you to set the performance to 'Quick' or draft, so you don't have to process the final 'best' quality until you're ready to render out the final project.



LUT BUDDY

LUT (Look Up Table) Buddy?


  • what: Look Up Table.  Helps to convert color spaces

  • why: Good for creating a standard for your color grading pipeline. Make your digital video look like film (or make your crappy camera footage look better)


If you're using LUTs in your color grade workflow or even your compositing language, you're well into your game.  You probably know a few different LUT formats that work for you (or your clients).


The Cineon LUT was one that we had to use often in After Effects when compositing for film, but LUT Buddy allows you many more options, including 1D and 3D LUTs.


LUT Buddy helps you bridge the color gap between a host (something like Adobe After Effects) and your colourist's grading software (something like DaVinci Resolve or Adobe SpeedGrade).  If Adobe After Effects isn't your main tool, LUT Buddy works within PremierePro, FinalCut, and Apple Motion too.   Yes, it's a little more techy than the other tools, but it's your first step into getting comfortable with a serious production pipeline, allowing your digital footage to look more rich with color correction (more like film).


FRAMES 1.1


  • what: Makes interlaced footage progressive

  • why: If your device only shoots 30i, 60i, you need clean data for filmic look, for compositing, for color correction, for a serious pipeline.


Now, you may have seen some of the sledgehammer solutions that host NLEs offer, allowing you to rip out fielded frames (3:2 Pulldown) or interlaced frames (half of the frame), but those options usually allow you to perform the task with oven mitts on.  Sometimes you need a delicate solution.




Some digital shooting produces interlaced images only.  If your camera produces interlaced footage, you want options that allow you to carefully analyze the image and deinterlace (pull those mixed pixels apart) into single, progressive frames.  One of the best characteristics of Frames is that it allows you to not only blend fields, but alternatively asses pixel motion for blending/motion blur.


There are some additional features in this plugin, including removing some artifacting and simple color correction that ensures that your chroma/luma values are within FCC 'broadcast safe' spec.



PROS:

  • Offload works with nearly every digital camera type/format

  • Offload has HUGE UI makes it easy to see transfer without babysitting computer

  • Multiple copies of PluralEyes can run at once

  • PluralEyes can process longer pieces in the background.

  • Denoiser does a good job with its default values

  • Instant 4K in your NLE doesn't require prerendering the old footage into new source material.

  • Frames also helps to clean up the artifacts in your image (if any)

CONS:

  • Denoiser relies on GPU processing

  • Denoiser is not supported in every NLEs

  • Instant 4K is a plugin rather than a standalone application

  • LUT Buddy is a significant tool. You?ll need to understand LUTs and probably use a properly color calibrated monitor to get the best performance from the plugin.


OVERALL


If you're involved in any digital film production pipeline, this is for you.  Getting from production to presentation involves a lot of attention. This will help you along the way.


You can get each of these tools individually, but the entire package is going to save you money - even if you don't use every tool in the set.


Some tools are more utilitarian than others, but the Shooter Suite will help you get all of your shots in a row, so your creative process will run more smoothly, and even give you the opportunity to save yourself from poorly planned shots.


Get it or Try it at Red Giant Software: http://www.redgiant.com/products/all/shooter-suite/



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Ko Maruyama is a freelance animator in Los Angeles.  In addition to working on film and broadcast animations, Ko teaches at Pasadena's Art Center College of Design - focusing on motion design.  When working, writing or testing software allows, you can find him lending a hand in the After Effects board and lurking among the Cinema4D, Visual Effects and Photoshop posts within the DMNForums.
Related Keywords:apple, finalcut pro, premierepro, after effects, camera, film, entertainment, red giant software, production, animation

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