Issues with Adobe SpeedGrade CC 2014

So I am a commercial editor and lately have really moved to Premiere Pro after the death of Final Cut Pro 7 (as you will know if you regularly read this blog). I do much of my work in Commercials and direct response and many of the houses I work at have moved over to Premiere Pro for it's speed and integration with After Effects.

We have been using DaVinci Resolve for color correction, but with the upgrades to Adobe SpeedGrade with CC 2014 I learned it and have been wanting to give it a try. Mainly because of it's integration with the adobe suite, and the fact that it puts the grade onto the clips as a plug in that can be easily removed, instead of having to render out a new sequence with clips with handles, which makes major changes to the sequence much harder. And with the addition of working with Black Magic Cards it was time to try it out.

So on the current 28:30 Direct Response show I have been editing I am doing the grade in SpeedGrade, and while some it has some very good features, it has some very glaring issues that adobe needs to fix immediately!

  • First and foremost if the fact that SpeedGrade is made to work on one monitor, with a second monitor being your view monitor. And if you use an AJA or Black Magic card, it still forces the whole interface into a single monitor. You can't peel off any of the segments and move them to a separate monitor. This is especially troublesome with a complicated timeline! I have 14 video tracks in my current show, so my timeline needs to be fairly large, but you still need the controls to be big enough to use, so what suffers are the scopes, which have shrunk to a minuscule size and are very hard to use! PLEASE ADOBE FIX THIS IMMEDIATELY! We need to be able to re-arrange the window and move things to a second monitor as we see fit. It really makes this program hard to use!

  • Number 2 is certainly the issues with Insufficient Resources dialogue which kicks out the video card, so you are only using the CPU to render. And sometimes it makes your images get a crazy clue cast. Now I am using an NVIDIA GTX 680 Mac Edition, which isn't the newest or greatest video card, but is pretty decent, but I don't think it is the cards issue, but instead is with effects and the Mercury Render Engine. The problem always happens on clips with effects on them, but it transitions other than dissolves or even Warp Stabilizer or speed effects on clips. SpeedGrade just can't handle them, and turns off your GPU and you have to at the least restart Speedgrade to get the GPU back on. The thing is that the problem will instantly occur if another filtered clips is hit when you restart. If the Mercury Playback Engine can't handle this in SpeedGrade, Adobe should figure out a way to turn off these FX when they come into SpeedGrade and turn them back on when you go back to Premiere. You can do it manually by turning them off or removing them in Premiere, but then you have to remember to put them all back when you return your grade to Premiere, but that is a workaround and may cause you to miss important FX or transitions.
  • Number 3 is issues with Multi-Cam clips in Premiere Pro. If you have multi-cam clips in your sequence you can grade them in SpeedGrade, but they do not show up as a plug in in Premiere, neither on the multi-cam clip or within it's sequence, though the grade does show up. To get around this I duplicate my multicam clips on another layer, and then flatten them. This creates another problem, which it makes each clip a separate instance instead of going back to the master clips, so for these clips you cannot do a single grade on a master clip. Now admittedly this is a Premiere Pro issue, but on that needs to be fixed to make SpeedGrade work better. As being able to user the Master Clip Grade is so much quicker and easier.
  • Number 4 for is the timeline. It needs to have better zoom controls instead on showing the whole timeline, 6 seconds or from your in to out. I want to be able to zoom in or out to where I desire.
  • Number 5 is a keyboard navigation issue. When I use the numerical controls for a grade and I type a number into a box, hitting the tab should move to the next box and activate the grade I have entered. Instead I have to click out of the box with the mouse, which is slow and not efficient. So Adobe, you need to let us navigate with the keyboard. This is faster and more efficient, especially for those of us without a dedicated color control board.
  • Number 6 is faster opening of Premiere Pro sequences. I am sure this has to do with converting the sequence to work, but it takes a long time, many minutes at times, and is especially painful if you keep getting hit with the insufficient resources bug from above.
That is it for now. The single monitor and Insufficient Resources could be deal breakers for many, but for now I love the conveniece, and love that it leaves my original sequence intact in Premiere Pro, but lets hope Adobe makes this program more adobe like in the near future (NAB please Adobe), so that the ease of going back and forth is complimented by a program that is easier to use and doesn't have some glaring issues.

Honestly if Adobe makes this better, I see no reason to use DaVinci Resolve with Premiere even if it is a superior program, just because of the ease of use of SpeedGrade.
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