These are our favorite new tools and upgrades to improve life after you step off set.
We all love life on set, but the truth is that the majority of both our movie production's life and our own lives are spent in post. Here are the best tools and upgrades of 2016 that we think will help that make the time after the shoot more creative and fun.
One of the few things we love more than "cheap" around here is the even better price of "free." Blackmagic has consistently done a great job of finding the right features to hold back to make the "paid" version worth the upgrade for pros, while still keeping the "free" release a highly useable tool. With Fusion, the visual effects platform purchased by Blackmagic several years ago, we knew there would be a free OSX version eventually, and now it has arrived.
After Effects is clearly the monster competitor to contend with in the independent VFX space, and Fusion uses the node model, instead of the layers most users are familiar with from AE. However, given its tight integration with Resolve and—we'll say it again—that wonderful "free" price point, Fusion is going to be taking some ground from Adobe in VFX in the near future.
2. FCPX 10.3
Notably not covered in our MacBook Pro review was Final Cut X 10.3, the newest release of Apple's signature nonlinear editing software, released in conjunction with the new laptop. FCPX has lost a lot of ground both in the market and in our minds over the last few years, with Premiere taking up the "indie" space that FCP 7 owned, and Avid retaking its place at the top end. But FCPX is hanging on and, with version 10.3, Apple seems poised to try and take back some of the market. Now with external monitoring back in the picture, native automatic LUT support, and Rec. 2020 workflows, it feels like Apple might be trying, a bit, to get back the "Pro" part of Final Cut Pro.
Will they pull it off? Apple has come back from near death before, and we hope they do it again and put FCPX back into the conversation.
3. Adobe Creative Cloud updates
Adobe's subscription plan, Creative Cloud, has been controversial, but one of the perks of signing up is near constant updates and improvements. This is an ongoing plus for subscribers, but it makes it hard to really point to one specific "killer improvement" this year from Adobe. There have just been so many.
Maybe our top choice is the set of new social media tools in Premiere that allow for amazing monitoring of your video's performance across platforms from within Adobe's software. Or the new VR tools? Soon enough, we'll see the results of the prototype for Project VoCo, the "Photoshop for audio" that can help filmmakers create new lines or dialogue or smooth out hiccups in the recording by analyzing a performers speech. The pace of Adobe's innovation has been exhausting pretty much all year, making for a very promising 2017.
ACES has been around, and slowly rolling out, over the last several years, but the technology had its real coming out party with Cafe Society, the collaboration between Woody Allen and DP Vittorio Storaro. ACES was the technology that helped Storaro convince Allen it was time to embrace digital, because it enables a proper image chain to be maintained from production all the way through to post, and thus you can finally have confidence in the image you saw on set. It took the Academy and a team of scientists and filmmakers years to get here, but we're finally starting to see the results of their efforts show up in workflows large and small.
5. Resolve 12.5
As with Fusion above, free is really hard to beat, and with the App Store version of Resolve that came out in January, even the "studio" upgrade is very affordable. App Store Resolve has some limits on what panels you can use with it, and is available for Mac only; it can't be installed on Windows or Linux machines. But it has some seriously great features, too. It can be installed on up to five machines from the same purchase (so you don't have to remember to drag around the dongle from your home machine to the office machine), and it's half the price of the dongle version of Studio at only $499. This was even before the 250 new features of Resolve 12.5 came out over the summer (free upgrade for Studio users), continuing to keep up the tremendous pace of innovation Blackmagic is known for. It would be exhausting if it wasn't so exciting.
Blackmagic is doing everything they can to make Resolve the single piece of software used from on-set image capture through delivery, and while they aren't entirely there yet, the tools already on hand are powerful, and are making lives easier throughout the post chain.
Those are the biggest post tools and stories of the year. Let us know what your favorite was and if we missed it!