Review: Movie Looks HD (iOS App)

This post is part of the series: HDSLR Videographer’s Virtual Gear Bag.

I tossed-and-turned over whether or not to include Movie Looks HD ($1.99) by Red Giant Software, in the HDSLR virtual gear bag because it isn’t really a tool that you would use with your HDSLR. Well, technically, you could if you wanted to: you could load your footage onto your iPhone or iPad and treat it with Movie Looks HD. But, that’s not really practical.

The reason I finally added it to the gear bag is because it gives you a great preview of what is possible with Red Giant’s software on your PC/Mac. So with that, let’s talk about what it can do!

Basically, Movie Looks HD is a “grader” that lets you “grade” your footage to achieve a certain look. When you watch block buster films, you can easily notice that they do not all look the same. The color palette as well as the style of the footage are different. For instance, a vampire movie might be crisp and dark with a blue hue, while a war movie might be grainy, shaky, and have a hue that is more brown.

To get started grading with Movie Looks HD, you first select your footage. You do this by pressing the big silver button (above) which then gives you the library grid view (below).

Tapping on a clip gives you the trim view below. You simply drag the red box’s side handles to select just the part of the clip you want to grade. If you’ve already used an editor to put clips together (on the iDevice or your PC/Mac), you would not need to trim. When you’ve selected the right portion of the clip, hit the “done” button.

Then you’ll get a rolling gallery of “looks” inspired by various movies. You can ever purchase additional “looks” via in-app purchasing. The “looks” are varied – ranging from simple color grades, to full on format grades. My favorite is the “Cinematic” “look.” The coll thing is that a frame from the clip you chose is used as the preview image.

After selecting your “look” you get a tweaking screen where you can fine tune your clip’s appearance.

When satisfied with the “look” choose your resolution (Half or Full) and then hit the bright red “Develop” button. If you choose to develop at the full resolution, you will get a warning screen that estimates how long the developer will take.

While your clip is processing, Movie Looks HD is so kind as to give you some reading material. How awesome is that?

Finally, your processed clip gets saved to your Camera Roll.

Here is some sample footage I used. The first one is the raw footage shot on my iPhone 4.

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The next clip is the graded version.

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Pretty cool, huh? Red Giant Software offers grading software for your favorite editor so you can achieve similar results on your Mac/PC edited movies.

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