A couple of years ago I reviewed Crumplepop’s ColorKit plug-in for Final Cut Pro X. I wasn’t too impressed with it and criticised the plug-in’s interface and on-screen controls. Recently, I wanted to colour-grade some GoPro Protune CamRAW clips and started working in Da Vinci resolve first, then switched to SpeedGrade CS6 and ended up with Red Giant’s Magic Bullet looks. They all looked like overkill, forcing me to go through fat user guides again, because I don’t use these applications often enough to remember their workflow by heart. Then I thought: why don’t I try it with ColorKit again? I rediscovered that plug-in and found it fit my needs perfectly. Better yet, tuning the clips took me about 10 times less effort and time than with any of the other solutions.
I’m not going to say Crumplepop’s ColorKit is all you need. That’s simplifying things a little bit too much. But if you need to adjust something like contrast or literally patch up a smaller part of a clip with a colour overlay and Final Cut Pro X is your preferred NLE, then ColorKit is a relief. You don’t need a user guide, because the controls are self-explanatory. You don’t need to go through a workflow that is really conceived for hefty colour grading. It’s simple, effective and surprisingly powerful.
I still don’t like the on-screen clip overlay showing you dots to represent a visual clue as to where you’re compressing light values. I’m an interface design addict, and those dots just don’t cut it. But then again, neither do the ugly colour wheels in Magic Bullet Looks’ Colorista. Da Vinci’s interface, yes, but the rest of them: plain ugly.
But that is, of course, not what you buy those tools for. If they’re gorgeously designed like Da Vinci Resolve, that’s great, but the main thing is how well and accurately can you improve the looks of your footage. And ColorKit is really very good. I turned off the dots and even without them, you can instantly see the adjustments you’ve made. The ColorKit Leveler was all I needed for a recent “project” I did. On another I also used the Patch tool, which allowed me to add a sort of colour overlay to intensify Godrays.
All without the need to read a 1000-page user guide or an unhelpful Help file.
Those Crumplepop people know their stuff well!
Here’s a short movie of how I used ColorKit to adjust contrast with two settings and in under 15 seconds.