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I already have Color Finale Pro and Chromatic, and of course FCPX has now color wheels. Ignoring the cost for Cinema Grade, does it give any extra benefit other than a new user interface??? Is it worth having, or is it just a gimmick?
In many situations I'm finding I can get basic adjustments done fast and easy. Half the time I use it I am also using FCPX's native color wheels to adjust coloring overall afterwards. It's nice for fast, quick adjustments to good images. For problematic images, depends on the image if it's faster or not. The GUI is really nice, though. I think there's a free trial version, use that, see if you like it. I'll say IMHO that I do not think it is for everyone, nor for every situation. This is very much a personal preference item. You will love it, or you won't, but there's nothing mechanical or universal that dictates you own it or not.
My test week was about ten days after Denvers announcement that scopes were to come to the first view/pane "later this week". Without scopes though, any primary CC is useless. Wasn't a wise move to publish CG without that ready. Played with it, was pleased so far, but realized I couldn't use it.
For serious color work (anything beyond mere "correction"), you need to have a rock solid workflow, one that's consequent and transparent. Perhaps CG now offers this. I'd say it's good if there never was the need to fire up FCP's own tools at any time.
I spent many hours over the last days with 10.4.4. There is little documentation yet on recommended workflows for grading (perhaps I will write down and publish my own), and if one uses the tools without one, the results will disappoint. Being accustomed to roundtrip with Resolve, I now find no more reason to do so. There is of course still room for improvements (i.e. a capable tracker would be dope), but from now on, color in FCP feels round.
I've been using Cinema Grade for nearly a month, now. Though it's still being developed, I have found it to be extremely valuable in my workflow.
The thing that makes it well worth it for me is the ability to group shots together. This feature alone saves me about 20% of time spent on my grade. The bigger my timeline, the greater the savings of time I'm seeing.
Here's my CinemaGrade workflow right now:
1. Get Edit Roughed in (GFX, Music, Timing)
2. Do my Color Grade inside Cinema Grade
3. Use FCPX Color Tools with masks to add focus to my shots (ie vignettes)
I've been very impressed with how well it's been working for my facility so far.