My initial testing of Magic Bullet Editors for film look on DVCRO HD footage attracted a lot of interest, and attention. Not long after I posted the results I was contacted by a representative of Red Giant Software and asked to test the newest version of Magic Bullet Editors due out shortly. I leapt at the opportunity.

For a long time people have known that Magic Bullet film effects was a good piece of software to have in their collection. The color correction, film stock emulation and scratches are top notch and produce many desired looks. The most common complaint, however, were the long render times. It often took not only hours, but DAYS to render a 90 minute project.

No more.

With the release of Magic Bullet Editors 2 all that has changed.

I took the same sequence of shots in my initial test of Magic Bullet Editors 1 (taken offline, sorry) and treated it with MBE 2, again using the Bleach Bypass preset. The footage I used was DVCPRO HD, shot with the Panasonic Varicam, 720p30 running at 59.94fps. The computer used to perform this render was a Dual 2.0Ghz G5 with 2.5 GB RAM with an ATI Radeon 9800 Pro video card with 256MB memory. According to Red Giant, the video card aids in the rendering process. The better the card, the faster the render. So if you had, say, an ATI Radeon X850 XT, then your render times would be tons faster. According to Red Giant, up to 50% faster.

OK…so let’s get to the numbers. The first pass, again, was done with the Bleach Bypass filter using the default settings. The previous version of MBE rendered out the 40-second sequence at 22:14 (bear in mind that was the demo version, but the only difference was the added watermark). 22 minutes, 14 seconds. MBE 2 took 7:55. That’s right…7 minutes, 55 seconds. I tested a few other filters on the same sequence with these results:

Curahee: 5:30
No. 85: 3:42

Next, I used the included MISFIRE filters to add some grain and basic scratches to the No 85 (again, the default settings), and it took a bit longer: 29:55.

So there you have it. Magic Bullet Editors 2 has greatly increased their render times for their film look filters. And not only that, but they added some new film look presets, Compression Correction for HDV and DV footage to lessen artifacts, support for Apple’s Motion 2 software and realtime preview. The realtime preview works only on Windows systems that fall within the system requirements, and is available only for Premiere Pro, Sony Vegas and Avid AVX systems. However, that is a lot of systems. What I should say is that the only system left out of realtime is Final Cut Pro. But that may soon change.

Magic Bullet Editors 2 can be had for $349 retail, or as a $99 upgrade (If you purchased MBE 1 after July 1, 2005 then the upgrade is free!). A slight price increase, but well worth it.