From the reaction to the two part “Grading The Graders” series, it was a topic that needed to be covered. The differences between the professional systems are not always clear, which is the reason I wrote the articles in the first place. I did want to present the systems in a quasi-comparative way, in which I wasn’t really trying to point out how each has changed over the years as much as I was trying to point out the specific strengths and weaknesses of each in relation to the others. However, I got some very valuable feedback, so I thought I’d address it here rather than in private emails to each of the respondents.
First, some of the comments on Part 1:
Gergely Vass pointed out that the tracking in Lustre is not from the systems products (Flint, Flame, Inferno, etc.) but from the Lustre development team. I believe that is true for the area tracker, but not necessarily for the point tracker. But, as Gergely points out, it doesn’t really matter much…
Timofey Goloborodko commented that the Lustre has “advanced gallery, users, and project manager.” Well, I would say that every program has a version of all of those things, it isn’t really an advantage or a disadvantage in the comparative sense. He also mentioned that in secondaries, Lustre cannot desaturate. While it might be true that there is no directly accessible saturation control on the secondary layers, Lustre does have curve based saturation controls, based on either luminance or hue, that let you do everything you can with a singular control and more. So it’s a matter of perspective.
Jeff Charles commented that I left some things out on Lustre, including among other things 3D capabilities and an open plugin architecture, and that is true. 3D capabilities, however, are present on every system I included, so in a comparative sense, it’s not an advantage or a disadvantage except where the support is really exceptional and unique, as is the case on, for instance, Pablo’s depth based color isolations. Plug-in support is also present on most of the evaluated systems, but I agree that I probably should have included that. Jeff also mentions file format support via a gateway, but personally, I look at that as something of a hack to make up for the lack of wide file format support in the primary program, and an attempt to make up for a serious weakness in the program’s previous versions. As a Smoke user, I appreciate what Autodesk is doing with this, but as a Baselight user I see much simpler, much better integrated native file format support in other devices. He also mentions color management flexibility, but once again, except for Baselight (which includes Filmlight’s Truelight color management as an integrated part of the product), all of the evaluated systems have support for LUTs produced by Truelight, Cinespace, and other color management systems. The Linux based Resolves even have Cinespace support built in. So once again, I don’t consider that a competitive advantage or disadvanatage.
Arturo requested that I evaluate Mistika. That won’t happen because a) I have no experience whatsoever with the product, and b) I know very few people in Los Angeles who do. If a system suddenly shows up I’ll take a look at it. But at the moment, those looking for an evaluation of this product will need to look elsewhere.
And some of the comments on Part 2:
Thanks to Lucas Wilson for his positive reaction to the piece. Lucas and I are long time friends, and (insert disclaimer here) I have done some demos for Assimilate in the past, and enjoyed doing it very much. As an independent blogger, I write ‘em as I see ‘em, and Lucas understands and appreciates that. So again, thanks to Lucas for his gracious comments.
Jack Jones talks about his preference for Film Master, and mentions the image processing tools as one of its best features. I agree. Digital Vision was wise enough to leverage its long time expertise in cleanup tools and other image processing into a companion toolset for the finishing system that is a very valuable component of that system. That, to me, is a very good way to create a value added toolset, something also done to some degree by Autodesk, although personally, I wish Autodesk would do a bit more of that.
That’s about it. I might revisit this topic in the future as new developments warrant. For the moment, I’d like to thank all who have responded for their kind comments, it’s greatly appreciated.