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Euphonix MC Color - first user review!

Published: Fri February 05, 2010  News Feed

The Euphonix MC Color offers unmatched control and integration with Apple's Color 1.5, providing colorists with high-resolution trackballs, trackwheels, touch-sensitive encoders and a host of programmable keys in a slim-line design.

"Being a full time colorist at Ghost VFX in Denmark, I can not praise the use of a dedicated controller high enough. Not only does it give you a natural feeling and precise movements, it also eliminates the 'reset' of your vision when you have to look away from the image on your broadcast screen or projector and towards the interface to fiddle around with the mouse and click some flimsy sliders. We are using Scratch and the Tangent CP200 modular series where I work.

"When I heard about Euphonix producing a dedicated control for Apple Color I was really exited because I know their big consoles and also love the Artist series.  With Tangent selling the Wave for about a year now , that would be the benchmark to aim for, and I can already tell you Euphonix did not only meet, but exceed it in all possible aspects. I will try not to write a comparison because it would be biased after all.

Installation :

Euphonix is using the EuCon control software which is ethernet based and either connects directly to your Mac or in case you want to use more than one MC to a router.
And here comes the only flaw I found so far.
Its cumbersome and tedious to get it to work if you are already have an Airport connection running.
I had to perform multiple reboots and turn everything off to finally get EuCon to see and connect to the unit.
Once done, Color is showing the Euphonix option in the surface dialog and connects to it without problems.

Navigation :

There is a dedicated NAV button which lets you jump from room to room.
When pressed the Panel will show the room names, and the rotary encoders now work as buttons.
With six encoders and 8 rooms you have to press the PAGE> button to see Still Store and Render Queue.

Rooms :

In the Primaries rooms the balls and wheels work as expected.
I am positively surprised how good the balls work now compared to the prototype showed at IBC.
There also also a switch to lower the sensitivity and thus speed up the value change.
But now...the wheels...the rings of love...
I never had more sensible and tactile controls...you can go to a Blackboard or Lustre , this is better.
The rings are weighted like expensive piano keys with an extremely smooth motion.
There is virtually no friction, like they are floating on a magnetic field.
I have no idea how they did that but this is my personal highlight.
There are also two reset buttons for the balance and contrast values of course.

But lets go back to the Primaries..
The six encoders are used to adjust the six Basic parameters..Saturations, Lift, Gain and Gamma.
Because there are only six, one page is enough.
Pressing the BANK 2 button makes the app jump to the Advanced tab.
Here dedicated Lift and Gain controls are on page 1, Gamma and printer lights are on Page two.

Also the transport controls work as expected but another highlight worth mentioning are the dedicated memory bank buttons.
4 buttons to copy and 4 buttons to paste gradings, all are lit if they hold a setting...clever..I always miss that when working with Scratch.

Lets have a look at the nine soft keys.
On every page those buttons do different things..
EuControl lets you pick from a collection of commands like Cut Edit, Reset grade, Next Frame, Jump to cue point, adjust the scopes and so on...
Its a pretty long list but its far from complete.
For example the Reset Scaling for the Geometry room is missing.
Its also missing from the dedicated knob reset, same as rotation reset.
That leads to the question if and how we are able to change the default mapping in the future.

The Secondary room offers the same basic controls for the color plus additional ones for the keyer and the vignettes.
Page one is used for colors, page 2 and 3 for the key adjustments.
Bank 2 switches over the rings and balls to control size, position, angle aspect and softness of the vignette...very nice.
I couldn't find out how to jump to the advanced settings , but once done with the pen the panel follows.

Color FX is not configured at all and I took advantage of that and mapped my edit controls like add and merge cuts to that room.
Geometry works as expected, much like the vignettes and is easy to control; especially because the axis are inverted, so if you turn clockwise the image moves to the right.
Especially because the axis are inverted, so if you turn clockwise the image moves to the right.
Still Store controls are available as soft key commands, so I mapped them to the same soft key in every room.
Its probably the most important thing to be able to click it on and off all the time.
Also with the SHIFT function every soft key gets a secondary function which I use to store a still in this case.
There are dedicated functions assigned to Shift keys like switch to jog wheel and mouse mode.
Both are interesting but I find I'm much faster using the tablet for navigation on the time line or adjusting curves.

"Euphonix did was I was hoping for; Delivering a solid unit that is totally usable in production, and affordable for freelancers and independent movie makers. The MC Color is clever designed, thoroughly programmed and moderately priced. It's a joy to play with, do real work, and precise subtle adjustments. It feels good and looks great next to any Apple peripheries too."

by Sascha Haber on the CreativeCOW.net forum.

You can Pre-Order your Euphonix MC Color now at Dolphin Music

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