We’ve partnered with our friends at HDVideoPro to bring you some features and reviews on the best HD Video tools available. This is the first installment in this new series.

For the Canon DSLR shooter, one of the best third-party applications out there has been Technicolor’s CineStyle profile, which enables you to capture a flat Log-like look, offering considerably more latitude during color grading.

Now Technicolor also has a software application, Technicolor Color Assist, that makes color grading easier and more efficient, and works hand-in-hand with the CineStyle color profile. The technology is based on Technicolor’s DP Lights, a professional on-set color-grading tool.

When first opening Color Assist, the interface is very easy to navigate if you’ve done any amount of color correction before. In the Main Viewer window, you’ll see your video clip preview, as well as your video control tools; when applying a look or adjustment, you can preview it in real time.

Below the Main Viewer is the File Browser tab, where you can locate your video files. Like Premiere Pro and Final Cut Pro X, you can organize clips as thumbnails that can be adjusted, or you can view them as a list. On the right side of the application, Color Assist has professional scopes, such as a histogram, waveform, and vectorscope.

One of the best tools in Color Assist is the History Panel, which lets you review the different looks and changes you’ve added to your clips. You can save up to nine color compositions per clip; even better, any look or adjustment you apply to your clip is completely non-destructible to your original video files.

On the left side of the program, there are four color tools. Curves is a very useful tool, and Color Assist lets you create your own, adjust each RGB channel, or use pre-selected curves. With the Color Control tab, you can adjust hues, luminance, shadows, midtones, and highlights with standard three-way color-corrector wheels, as well as accessing saturation-level bars.

The Looks tab should be the most popular tool for most users. It has 25 looks that were developed by Technicolor colorists, such as Ruby Slippers, Movie Musicals, Film Emulation, and B&W Horror Film. But if preset looks are a little too gimmicky for you, S-Curve is probably the best solution, especially if you shot with the CineStyle profile on your Canon EOS 5D Mark II or III. The S-Curve is sort of like an LUT that adds the proper saturation and contrast levels back to your neutral, flat look from CineStyle. The S-Curve also works really well if you captured the RAW look with the GoPro HERO3.

Color Assist works as a standalone application, but you also can use it with Premiere Pro or Final Cut Pro 7. Technicolor does need to simplify the installation of the Premiere Pro plug-in, but once that’s done, you’re good to go.

While working in Premiere Pro, if you want to apply looks to clips in your timeline, you have to locate your plug-in under the Effects tab and drag the Color Assist icon into specific frames in your timeline. You now can send your clip to Color Assist, but make sure the program is already open. Once you save the look or looks that you like in Color Assist, the clips are immediately updated in Premiere Pro when you return. Your looks then can be implemented, rendered, and exported as a finished project.

Color Assist is a great solution if you’re looking for an easy-to-use and less intimidating color-grading system than Resolve or SpeedGrade. It integrates nicely with Premiere Pro and is ideal to work with if you’re used to shooting with CineStyle or Protunes.

The program is priced at only $99, and you can purchase additional CineStyle Looks packages, including Movies and Extreme, for $19 each. For more information, visit www.technicolorcinestyle.com.

– Neil Matsumoto for HDVideoPro

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