Post production application convergence: Want an ‘all-in-one’ app?

Bart Walczak thinks there’s a race towards a unified video editing and colour correction application:

With the introduction of Resolve 12, suddenly the race towards a unified NLE/Grading tool become very interesting. It’s hard to argue, that colour correction and grading became an integral part of post-production workflow.

He’s written a very detailed post about the state of colour in Adobe, Avid, Apple and Blackmagic Design software. His summary:

In the race for NLE/Grading application combo, the main competition at the moment seems to take part between Adobe Premiere Pro and Blackmagic Resolve with Avid Symphony lagging behind, and FCP X coming around but looking in a different direction. With the release of version 12, it seems that BMD really delivered. Even though Resolve has yet to prove itself as a successful NLE, it is quickly getting there, and if you consider the price tag, there is really not much to argue with.

I don’t think that it is inevitable that colour grading will be done in editing applications.

Colour grading could end up like audio, titling or encoding. Three parts of the the post production process that have been integrated to varying degrees into NLEs.

Grading could be like audio: the point of collaboration is that you leave some things to experts using tools that work for them. I don’t think a majority of editors working on high-end jobs want all the features of Logic or ProTools in their video application. If you are going to do it yourself – even when doing work as a placeholder for that you will transfer to brief the expert – you need tools that match the sensibilities of the application you use.

Grading could be like titling: not every editor wants to be a motion graphics designer. When it comes to titling even motion graphics designers are intimidated by many advanced aspects of typography. That’s why we don’t see all of After Effects in Premiere or Motion in Final Cut. Most editors would rather choose between a good selection of design templates, add their text and go back to editing.

Grading could end up like encoding: although we have separate applications to come up with custom encodes, most of the utility of those apps are now built into NLEs.

Bill Roberts, Sr. Director of Product Management for Video at Adobe doesn’t plan to add all the colour grading power of Speedgrade to Premiere. From an interview he gave to Julien Chichignoud at a SMPTE conference in July:

Our philosophy is not to input the full complexity of a ‘craft’ tool in the NLE user interface. We are looking at a full workflow, the connection between creative disciplines and then designing the optimized workflow from that perspective.


The Adobe team believes giving optimized controls in the editing experience and deep controls in a dedicated interface is the natural approach.

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