In a surprise move that seemed to be a ham-handed maneuver to avoid the press, Technicolor’s CineStyle Manager, Al Guerrero, sent an email late Friday evening stating they are pulling the plug on their heralded color grading plugin. It’s apparent the reason for the timing (as they must have known about this for some time) was to avoid negative fallout from the press and customers in the hopes that everyone would forget about it by Monday.
As my father is fond of saying, you can’t run away from your problems, and their little public relations maneuver is salt in the wounds inflicted when CineStyle released their app back in November of 2012. But I’m getting ahead of myself; here are the details from Guerrero himself:
“…As a consequence, we wanted to let you know that Color Assist and Color Assist Looks are no longer available for sale, and that there will be no new updates to the product. We will continue to provide customer support for Color Assist through September 30, 2013…”
So why are they shutting it down? In my opinion, it’s because it was a buggy app that served to do nothing but crash regularly when using it with both Premiere CS6 as well as the latest version Final Cut Pro. I got it after reading a blog by a noted “guru” within the industry who recommended it highly. It’s biggest selling point was the ability to actually play your video within the app’s interface without having to render it out first. This to me gave it a huge edge over RedGiant’s Magic Bullet Looks or Colorista. Also, at only a mere hundred bucks it was much, much less than any of the leading color grading apps currently on the market .
Trusting the guru and Technicolor’s reputation, which holds a place of honor in the motion picture industry, I bought it. Almost immediately, it began to crash. Premiere handled RedGiant’s wares with out a glitch so I was confused as to why this app was causing such a problem. I thought to myself, ok, perhaps the install file was corrupt, so I uninstalled and reinstalled with the same result. I hung in there with it for about a weekend, and then dropped it. Back in February of 2013, at the Supermeet in San Francisco, I approached their rep with the problem, and they threw out the line many of us have heard, “maybe it’s your machine.”
I never used it again, as a matter of fact I had pretty much forgotten about it until back in May, when they announced update 1.5, making it compatible with After Effects. At that point for me it was just a matter of time, because beyond the hundred bucks, which I’ll never see again, the hours it takes to attempt to foster results from a buggy app can cost way more than my initial investment.
If you sift through all of the comments on some of the blogs who heavily covered CineStyle, you’ll find a few similar complaints that slipped past the censors. They say very simply, “I like it, but it crashes out my system.”
However, instead of owning up to their mistakes, Technicolor claims an entirely different reason for pulling the plug on CineStyle:
“Technicolor developed and launched Color Assist to provide us with an important opportunity to understand the prosumer content creation market. Based on this understanding we’ve decided to allocate Color Assist resources to other promising initiatives currently being developed within Technicolor, which will better address the prosumer and end-user markets.”
So we’re supposed to believe that Color Assist was so successful Technicolor decided to cannibalize its profits to use on other projects? And this seems like a good idea…why? A real company takes the proceeds from their successful product and reinvests them into making that product better and in turn develop more products. The only reason they kill it? Because it sucks, doesn’t sell, or it creates more cost than profit due to tech support issues and refunds.
The thing of it is, when I bought Color Assist, I thought I was buying an app to help color grade and improve my projects. I had no idea I was actually part of some grand experiment to see if it would be profitable for Technicolor to enter into the world of prosumer software. The other thing is I’m not one to just start slapping down crazy cash on a product that doesn’t work.
There are TONS of plugins that are supposed to help improve your images and video, but most of them are released by fly-by-night “businesses” who can’t take tech support calls in the evenings because they aren’t allowed on the phone after 6PM, or they’re made by off shore companies that, quite frankly, really don’t care. And that’s the problem. This wasn’t “Super Happy-Terrific Color Grading Software”. This was Technicolor. The same Technicolor that started in 1916 and who is responsible for almost every color motion picture from 1922 to 1952, and many of the pictures there after. This is what sold me on it, and they used their good name to sell some third rate app that couldn’t even make it out of the gate.
So it’s just a hundred bucks, why am I squawking about it? Because a hundred bucks is still a hundred bucks. If someone snatched a hundred dollars from your pocket you’d be upset, wouldn’t you..? Well, that’s what Technicolor has done. They’ve sold us a lemon, and then honored it with all the ethics of a swap meet jeweler.
And now, according to their twitter, we should look forward to their new products?
Thanks Technicolor, I’m good. Contrary to popular belief, releasing buggy, half-baked apps and then cutting their support doesn’t tend to foster trust in future products…Just sayin…