Final Cut Pro X is a great NLE but it lacks one thing: you can’t edit RAW files from BlackMagic Design’s or ARRI’s cameras without first having to transcode them. Apple’s own Compressor doesn’t support RAW formats and taking a detour via cloud-based services requires you to leave Final Cut Pro X which is a pain if you have many of those files to transcode. With Color Finale Transcoder, that problem no longer exists.
I installed a late beta on my system and got to transcode BMD files as well ARRI files. Color Finale Transcoder is a Final Cut Pro X extension, so it lives in the Final Cut Pro X toolbar. Clicking on the icon will start the app with a system-wide menu applet becoming visible in the Finder as well. When you quit Final Cut Pro X, that applet remains in the menu bar. From the applet, you check for new versions as well as your registration data.
Color Finale Transcoder transcodes from RAW to ProRes 422 Proxy all the way up to ProRes 4444 XQ. The extension gives you the option to select the transcoded resolution from ⅛ for BMD files and 1/16 for ARRI files to full. For example, my BMD footage was 6K, but I could also transcode to half that (3072 x 1728), a quarter resolution (1536 x 864 — a resolution you would choose for a 1080p project) or even smaller.
Furthermore, for BMD files, the extension lets you set your colour space to Rec. 709, ARRI Log C, several BMD spaces, and Rec. 2020 including PQ and HLG. It has checkboxes to turn on highlight recovery and gamut compression. Finally, it supports you setting the white balance in Kelvin and Tint, an ISO setting from 100 to 1250 and an exposure from -5 to 5. For ARRI files, the options included a DeBayering mode, an ISO setting that went up to 3200, a sharpness and a detail slider, and a ND filter.
You can apply all of these settings to individual clips or to all of them at once.
There’s a preview panel that initially shows you the RAW footage with no alterations, but at the top there are buttons to apply a LUT to the view. Another button lets you view the footage in a Rec. 709 or one of the Rec. 2020 colour spaces. If the footage is anamorphic, you can also enable correct viewing on your workstation in the preview window.
Once you are happy with your settings, you simply click the Import Selected Movie button and Color Finale Transcoder will start creating the transcoded files.
That process took about 40 seconds for a 40 second ARRI clip. It took 2.38 seconds for a bundle of three BMD clips totalling 2.30 seconds. That’s pretty fast due to everything done with your GPU and in RAM. If you have a clip that you want to set In/Out points to, you can do that as well in the Color Finale Transcoder panel and the transcoded result will only transcode the required footage.
In short, Color Finale Transcoder lives up to expectations. It transcodes fast and with all the options you expect to be available from the original footage — it’s as if Final Cut Pro X is finally able to natively process all those RAW files with all of its functionality and that of the camera manufacturer in place.
Color Finale Transcoder is available now from the Color Finale website for $55.99 for a limited time.