LiveGrade Version 3

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Pomfort has release it’s newest upgrade to LiveGrade, with version 3 making it’s debut today.

I’ve been a fan of pomfort’s for a number of years, especially when the only two players in town were LiveGrade or LinkColor. LiveGrade really allowed me to stay organized and be able to manage my looks over a number of projects, which was pivotal in a few circumstances.

I really thought they stepped up their game with version 2, adjusting the UI to make it cleaner, allowing the use of IS-Minis, which are my preferred LUT boxes now, adding the shades mode (which is very handy with darker lit scenes), and a lot of different small tweaks here and there that really made the experience a lot better.

As with every review that I do, I’m going to be brutally honest with my thoughts on how I feel this holds up to a real world workflow on set.

So now we have version 3. And I will have to say I’m not as impressed as I was with version 2.  There are some things that I like about this version and there are definitely things that I do not like about this version and that I will likely never use, ever.

First things first: I hate the subscription model.  I understand that everything these days is going that route to be able to provide better updates and less costs to the user (in theory at least, I still feel that the subscription method actually costs the user more over the corse of the item’s life time) but at what point does it become a bit too much?

The $499/yr price point is ludicrous. The software (LiveGradePro v2) before cost $499 $979 and I was fine paying that because it was a one time thing, with a price point of that EVERY YEAR I better damn well  be getting my money’s worth, not just a fancy new UI upgrade and some features that I already use with other programs that do it better.  I like that they offered a $249 for the first year if you upgrade to v3 from v2.3 but still, I feel like $249/yr should be standard, especially if they used to offer the program for $499 in the past as a stand alone app (which you can still use btw, v2.3.1 is still usable but I doubt they will be developing for it much in the future).

EDIT:  I was mistaken in the price, LiveGrade Pro v2 was originally offered for $979 and basic was $499, not the $499 that I had originally thought, so I retract that paragraph as the price point is pretty much reasonable for what they offer in the subscription services.  I had upgraded every time from one license to the other so that’s why I was mistaken in the price.

Anyways, on to the actual program.

NEW USER INTERFACE

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OLD USER INTERFACE

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I will have to say tat I like the Yosemite style of the new UI, it does feel a bit cleaner and less cluttered. I like how the saturation is it’s own thing AND I like that you can add different nodes on top of one another (although why you would want to do this for live grading is beyond me).

You can edit the order of operations by hitting “edit” in the middle right, which will let you delete or rearrange things in that section of the window.

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If you hit the + button next to edit, it will allow you to add another node in the mix.

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which gives you this

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If you look closely you’ll see that only one CDL node is controlled by my tangent element with the icon there in the right portion of the screen.

In the middle of the screen is the slots, clip, devices, expand all devices, refresh devices, and look control.

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When you select these, your main page will change to reflect the mode that you’re in.

Here’s how each mode looks:

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One feature I really really like is the ability to lock the tangent panel.

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I can’t tell you how many times I’ve accidentally bumped the wheels mid take or someone else has, it’s nice to be able to set it and lock it once the look is set.

The Clips and Looks window

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This window is new in the sense that you can add new columns to add more information to.

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I don’t use the video aspect of v3, for reasons why I will state later, but I could assume that the TC in and out would be helpful for lining up CDLs with TC, but I haven’t and probably won’t ever use that function.

Creating new looks has a new prompt that comes up, and I like that it copies the last used naming convention for the next take.  You can add in the specific data for each scene, take, and episode and then can advance it with the arrow keys, really like that function.

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You can either use the arrow keys to change the values up and down or just click on the arrow keys themselves.

We finally have reports for CDLs like Silverstack has for clips and data management.  Under the folder section, you can right click on a folder and then export it as a report (alternatively you can select the report button on the top right section of the main window and do the same thing).

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This will prompt you to specify a name and destination for the report.

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And then this is what the report looks like:

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If you were to use the capture device portion of LiveGrade then the screenshots attached to each look would be included in this report.

The device manager is the same as it was in v2.3

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with the only change being the new option to add a Capture Device (aka a SDI source via an ultrastudio)

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when you select the Capture Device it gives you a prompt to select what the signal rate is coming into the ultrastudio, or whatever your capture device is.

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After you select the source it should pop up for you.

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There’s a window that pops up that lets you move the live image around, which is nifty, so you can re-position it where ever you’d like.  Just a note though, the window under IMAGE SOURCES tab, under the devices, doesn’t refresh live, it has a staggering effect, I keep that tab twirled up.

I haven’t tested the recording aspect of it, once I get some more time with that portion and can figure out how best to implement it (not gonna lie, it might be a bit, I’m very uninterested in incorporating the video portion into my workflow) and then update this post with what I find out.

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However the issue that I have with the video portion of LiveGrade is that I constantly do multicam shoots of 2 or more cameras, and I only have 1 Ulstrastudio 4k in my setup.  I use a decimator MDQuad for all my multicam stuff, as I tend to display the LUT and LOG on the different quadrants so I can monitor them at the same time, it’s not very easy to get that to work in this as things become double LUTed and it doesn’t look very good, so I don’t like to use it.  Typically I use Scopevox for all my monitoring needs from the US4K because I take a LOT of stills, for both lighting and color continuity as well as safeguarding myself in case there are questions about the dailies from post (which has saved my ass a LOT of times).

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You can select which device slot you want the video slot to go to HOWEVER it also takes whatever color is attached to that specific device so you ALWAYS have to send the US4K LOG instead of a LUTed image, which I don’t like.  Also if you have multiple cameras but one US4K you’re screwed, unless you want to constantly switch signal inputs with the device settings, which doesn’t really help at all.

Verdict: There are some things about v3 that I like (new naming conventions) and some that I most likely won’t use ever (the video portion).  If you want to add the live video feed into your workflow and can justify the $499/yr price tag for that (in perspective scopebox is $99) then by all means go for it.  v2.3.1 is still $499 forever (for now) and will never have a subscription to it.  I personally don’t feel the $499/yr price tag is worth it unless Pomfort REALLY ups their game with some versions coming out in the next year, if not then I’ll most likely stick to v2.3.1 for the indefinite future.

I’m still sussing out the program but that’s my initial review of the new LiveGrade v3, if you have some tricks that I don’t know about post them in the comments below and I’ll update the post with more info!

Try out the poll and let me know if you’re happy with v3!

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