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Apple acquires Silicon Color

post #1 of 32
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Apple Computer has acquired Silicon Color, a San Diego, Calif.-based company responsible for developing FinalTouch color correction software.

Following the sale, which was first reported by MacNN, Apple will be responsible for honoring all maintenance agreements held by current Silicon Color customers until they expire.

Under the terms of the deal, the Mac maker also acquired the rights to all Silicon Color technology as well as its intellectual property.

"We are pleased to announce that all Silicon Color technology and intellectual property, including FinalTouch color correction software, was recently sold to Apple," reads a message on the Silicon Color website. "Maintenance agreements held by current Silicon Color customers will be honored by Apple until they expire."

Financial details about the acquisition were not made public.

Silicon Color had a strong reputation for catering to video professionals through its FinalTouch 2K, FinalTouch HD, and FinalTouch SD packages.

The FinalTouch 2K package, priced at $25,000, was designed for the demanding needs of professional film colorists, offering direct support for 10-bit, log-encoded Cineon and DPX files without requiring time consuming conversion or proxy-generation steps.

A scaled down version of the software, called FinalTouch HD, retailed for $5000 and interfaced with Apple's Final Cut Pro video editing software via XML. The package included direct support for QuickTime media while offering many of the same features as its larger sibling.

The most recent product to come out of Silicon Color was a $1000 software package called FinalTouch SD. Designed for production facilities that have yet moved to high-definition, it offered color correction for users working with DV-CAM, Digi-Beta, or any other SD format.

Apple next year is expected to roll the assets it acquired from Silicon Color into the next-generation of its Final Cut Studio digital video editing suite.
post #2 of 32
Isn't copy/paste the best!
http://www.macnn.com/articles/06/10/...silicon.color/
post #3 of 32
It wasn't just a copy-paste, and AppleInsider did credit MacNN as the original source.
post #4 of 32
blimey, quite an expensive package
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post #5 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by mbaynham

blimey, quite an expensive package

Exactly what i was thinking. But Apple will probably lower the price as they usually do..
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post #6 of 32
Whoa this really shows how serious Apple is about video post production.

Color correction is a highly specialized talent that is generally performed by skilled and trained professionals with expensive hardware and software.

Acquiring Silicon color puts them right into the digital intermediate market pitting Apple against huge color companies such as Autodesk and Davinci.

Hopefully Apple will have open API's so Final Touch can import color correction instructions from preview software such as Gamma and Density 3CP or Kodak Look Manager System.

Color correction instructions made in Final Touch should be exported to high end systems such as Davinci 2K plus and Discreet Lustre.
post #7 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by mbaynham

blimey, quite an expensive package

For crying out loud... In the article they mention a plan to include the tools in the new FCP Suite. It sounds like we will get FCP, Soundtrack Pro, DVD SP, Motion and these color tools for less money than the original cost of the silicon software alone.
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post #8 of 32
Quote:
blimey, quite an expensive package

Considerably cheaper than the $200,000 systems.

Quote:
But Apple will probably lower the price as they usually do..

Apple is a much larger company than Silicon Color. Apple will sell millions more copies and can afford to sell it at a lower cost.

Quote:
In the article they mention a plan to include the tools in the new FCP Suite

I believe this part is conjecture. I don't think Apple will include FinalTouch in FCP Studio.
post #9 of 32
I've never owned their software, but I've used it. It's very good, but complex.

Apple will, in some fashion, integrate this.

whether they will remain as separate products remains to be seen. But Apple doesn't always buy products to sell separately. The concept from the beginning has been to add value to the products they already sell. This gives them a wider audience, and thus, greater sales.

Don't forget that FCP has been criticized for it's relatively simple color correction abilities which have been handily beaten by competing products, such as Avid's "Express". I can agree with that. This will not only end that embarrassment, but turn the tables completely.
post #10 of 32
It was so expensive because of fewer customers. The hardware color rollerball device was some serious bucks as well.

That Silicon Color guy is a gifted programmer -- I caught one of this demonstrations and he said that he programs to the lowest levels of the graphic chip for greatest performance.

There are some incredible capabilities that FCP could use from Final Touch. You can select the background and bring down the brightness, and then have the adjustments track with the image as it pans across. Good stuff, and I hope Apple can improve the user interface.
post #11 of 32
Quote:
whether they will remain as separate products remains to be seen. But Apple doesn't always buy products to sell separately. The concept from the beginning has been to add value to the products they already sell. This gives them a wider audience, and thus, greater sales.

My doubt was motivated by the fact that its likely Apple will sell only one version of FinalTouch that scales from SD to 2K. A 2K color corrector would be a huge application to squeeze into FC Studio.

If it were bundled Apple would also force current owners of FinalTouch to buy the entire FC Studio suite.
post #12 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by TenoBell

My doubt was motivated by the fact that its likely Apple will sell only one version of FinalTouch that scales from SD to 2K. A 2K color corrector would be a huge application to squeeze into FC Studio.

If it were bundled Apple would also force current owners of FinalTouch to buy the entire FC Studio suite.

Yeah. It's difficult to tell though. They could sell a feature cut down version like FCE. Or they could include that version in the package. Or later, they could integrate it into FCP.

All the while selling the high end version separately.
post #13 of 32
I've said this elsewhere, but Final Cut NEEDS this level of color correction out there, either as an Apple app or a 3rd party app. Final Cut has a terrible color corrector, without Final Touch, your options for HD color correction on the Mac are non-existent. Those of us who produce HD content for television need the depth of features that Final Touch has, and if Apple dumbs it down, or only transfers a few features, Apple will be hurting Final Cut Pro with high end professionals. We don't really have another alternative except to buy a competitor's machine. I really don't want to do that. Please leave the feature set intact!!! Please!!!
post #14 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by pixelcruncher

I've said this elsewhere, but Final Cut NEEDS this level of color correction out there, either as an Apple app or a 3rd party app. Final Cut has a terrible color corrector, without Final Touch, your options for HD color correction on the Mac are non-existent. Those of us who produce HD content for television need the depth of features that Final Touch has, and if Apple dumbs it down, or only transfers a few features, Apple will be hurting Final Cut Pro with high end professionals. We don't really have another alternative except to buy a competitor's machine. I really don't want to do that. Please leave the feature set intact!!! Please!!!

I agree. I've been saying this as well.

But I think the full feature set is too imposing for most users who need much simpler correction than this offers.

A large percentage of FCP users are wedding shooters. All of these controls would overwhelm them.

Perhaps as an ancillary program that is called up when you need the extra features, but that won't have to be bought if you don't need them.

But, of course, FCP does need some of them as standard.
post #15 of 32
There's also the possibility of a higher end version in the Shake replacement application, due 2008.
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post #16 of 32
Wow... I was thinking of buying FinalTouch. I guess I'll wait to see what Apple has up its sleeve now
post #17 of 32
Quote:
Yeah. It's difficult to tell though. They could sell a feature cut down version like FCE. Or they could include that version in the package. Or later, they could integrate it into FCP.

All the while selling the high end version separately.

Yeah that sounds logical.

Use the technology to improve the basic FCP color corrector.

Sell a full featured version separately.
post #18 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by TenoBell

Yeah that sounds logical.

Use the technology to improve the basic FCP color corrector.

Sell a full featured version separately.

That's my vote. Color Express as an upgrade to FCP's resident color correction, and Color Pro for the market currently served by Silicon Color.

I don't think we have to worry about Apple "dumbing down" the app. They really don't do that. They might offer a lesser, easier to use version, but no way they just toss the most capable part of what they just acquired.
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post #19 of 32
Well I've got my 25k ready
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post #20 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by TenoBell

Whoa this really shows how serious Apple is about video post production.

Color correction is a highly specialized talent that is generally performed by skilled and trained professionals with expensive hardware and software.

Acquiring Silicon color puts them right into the digital intermediate market pitting Apple against huge color companies such as Autodesk and Davinci.

Hopefully Apple will have open API's so Final Touch can import color correction instructions from preview software such as Gamma and Density 3CP or Kodak Look Manager System.

Color correction instructions made in Final Touch should be exported to high end systems such as Davinci 2K plus and Discreet Lustre.



it sounds like you've had some experience in the video post production field. what are the chances of a photoshop color specialist landing a position correcting color for video?
post #21 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by TenoBell

Yeah that sounds logical.

Use the technology to improve the basic FCP color corrector.

Sell a full featured version separately.

That really does sound like the best idea.

Or maybe use this to improve the basic fcp cc
sell a full featured version
and bust out that final cut extreme that was rumoured with an even crazier fcp+final touch full mixed together.
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post #22 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by melgross

Don't forget that FCP has been criticized for it's relatively simple color correction abilities which have been handily beaten by competing products, such as Avid's "Express". I can agree with that. This will not only end that embarrassment, but turn the tables completely.

Acutally the CC abilities of Express are on-pair with that of FCP. Barely enough for casual cc but not for real profesionnal.

The real missing link for fcp to give a serious alternative to Avid into the professional word was a Symphony answer. The CC GUI of Symphony is a real winner and you get all real time in 1:1.

Now, with the acquisition of Final Touch, I've very exciting to see the next release of FCP. Maybe, finaly, there will be a very serious alternative to Avid in he broadcast word...
post #23 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by melgross

I agree. I've been saying this as well.

But I think the full feature set is too imposing for most users who need much simpler correction than this offers.

I agree. I don't want to see what has happened so far with Shake, where, while it is, from industry experts, an incredible application, it's nodal system is still mystifying to many (well, okay, me, but I consider myself pretty handy 'round the mouse). And with Shake, Apple seems less inclined to change the interface, and rather just lower the price to rock-bottom levels to encourage buy-in and just "get it out there" in the open and let the user base become the in-the-field experts with hands-on work.
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post #24 of 32
Colour correction in FCP will be improved but I think we will eventually see a Motion/Shake/Final Touch hybrid for effects and finishing with deep GPU integration. 2K and even 4K workflows are going to take off for many independent producers in the next couple of years and it looks like Apple are going to position themselves for a killer offer in that market.

Love it. Go Apple.
post #25 of 32
Quote:
it sounds like you've had some experience in the video post production field. what are the chances of a photoshop color specialist landing a position correcting color for video?

I am a cinematographer.

I'm not completely sure what knowledge one must have to be a photoshop specialist or how easily that translates into video.

Film and video both have a defined set standard for color, gray scale, and luminance that one has to know to be a colorist. You have to understand this so the final product will look as it should when it is broadcast on television or projected onto a screen.

Most of the colorists I know who work in big post houses had to mentor with senior colorists and work their way up the ladder to becoming a professional colorist.

Many of the senior colorists are guys who come from narrative television, commercial and music video. They have been working in the field for 10 to 20 years.

The best well known Hollywood colorists are guys who originally worked with film. Before their was any digital timing they worked with a machine called a Hazeltine that was used to color time film prints. Those guys know light, color, and film stock so well their skills are valuable in the digital world.

Partly the answer to your question depends on which market would you want to work in. Movies, narrative television, broadcast television, commercials, or music video. They all have their individual specific skill sets and needs.
post #26 of 32
Quote:
2K and even 4K workflows are going to take off for many independent producers in the next couple of years

We'll see.

2K and 4K are extremely expensive. Mostly because it takes a lot of storage and processing power to deal with those huge files.

2K is pretty common in Hollywood these days. But not well liked because it's obviously lower quality than 35mm. 4K is better and gaining momentum but is still expensive even on a Hollywood budget.
post #27 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by TenoBell

Most of the colorists I know who work in big post houses had to mentor with senior colorists and work their way up the ladder to becoming a professional colorist.

agreed. telecine is sort of a weird job. nobody just jumps straight into it. everyone has to spend time as a tape op in order to get into that field. and the machines that they use are much more complex than just punching stuff out on a mac. we're talking about quarter million dollar davinci machines. i'm not sure any big-time colorists use any desktop system.
post #28 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by admactanium

agreed. telecine is sort of a weird job. nobody just jumps straight into it. everyone has to spend time as a tape op in order to get into that field. and the machines that they use are much more complex than just punching stuff out on a mac. we're talking about quarter million dollar davinci machines. i'm not sure any big-time colorists use any desktop system.

Ther is always going to be some lower work done on the desktop level. There was a program out at one time. I don't remember the name, I'm not good with names. But someone might remember it.
post #29 of 32
Well, there's Avid Symphony and AVid Symphony Nitris to do the job for video color correction
post #30 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by TenoBell

We'll see.

2K and 4K are extremely expensive. Mostly because it takes a lot of storage and processing power to deal with those huge files.

2K is pretty common in Hollywood these days. But not well liked because it's obviously lower quality than 35mm. 4K is better and gaining momentum but is still expensive even on a Hollywood budget.

Which is precisely why Apple are interested.

One imperative is the RED camera, which is real and going to happen in a big way in the next 18 months. The wavelet compression codec they have come up with (by Graeme Nattras) allows a relatively smooth 4K capture. The first company to come up with a doable and affordable 4K workflow gets a strong foothold in 'real' Digital Cinema.

Doesn't every Hollywood movie go through a 2K digital intermediate anyway?
post #31 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by TenoBell

If it were bundled Apple would also force current owners of FinalTouch to buy the entire FC Studio suite.

These days the only version of FCP you can buy is the entire suite, and without FCP FT's useless.

But as a FT HD user, the real cost of colour correction isn't the software, it's the supporting hardware. You can't grade professionally with a mouse, keyboard and LCD screens. If FT gets rolled into some Shake/FT compositing/grading/finishing app then price isn't really the issue, but workflow.

Final Touch's much vaunted xml workflow is deeply flawed, especially at non-NTSC frame rates. Getting media in and out is like pulling teeth. And Silicon Color have never really sorted the bugs. I want more grading and less dentistry.

I'm sure Apple bought it for the GPU pipeline which is very promising across the board. That has immediate application within FCP, with a simpler interface, and a separate pro grading app. Unfortunately that leaves current FT users grappling with a misnamed beta release and a locked development path.
post #32 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by fearless

You can't grade professionally with a mouse, keyboard and LCD screens.

What do pros use instead?
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