By Andrew Little
Published on Tuesday, July 30th, 2013
I hope everyone is having a good summer. At Red Giant, we decided to delay our summer vacation plans a bit to complete a few new technologies and do a little house cleaning. We are in our twelfth year as a company, which for Sean and I, is a little hard to believe. We started the company with the very simple idea of making higher-end technology available to, and usable by anyone. And more importantly, use the golden rule as our guide to taking care of customers. I’m very proud of our success over the last eleven years. Today we have nearly fifty products, over 200,000 users, 300+ free high-quality tutorials, and have made five films that have been viewed more than 2 million times. We’ve influenced TV and film production with our motion graphics, visual effects, color correction and filmmaking tools. However, while I do believe we’re pretty awesome, I also think we suck at some things too – and I’ll get to that shortly.
The thing about the Red Giant team that I cherish most is that, every year, we all get together, mostly because we are a virtual company and like hanging out together. But we also like to evaluate our business and talk about the future. We have a certain duality about our culture. We are casual, joke often, and don’t take things too seriously. But we also have a very ambitious side. We want to make our mark, influence the industry and enable filmmakers and motion graphic artists to do more, and to accomplish things they couldn’t have done, without us. We also view that one of our business responsibilities is to reinvest significant portions of our profit into new products and creating a better experience for our customers.
Three new technologies
It started about two years ago during a Red Giant retreat. Through some soul searching and reflection, we decided to attempt something bigger, something that could have a much farther reaching effect on our industry and customers. We decided to take a large sum of money, hire a relatively large team and build three new technologies that we knew would be amazing, because we would fully leverage everything we’ve learned over the last decade. We are proud to announce two of those technologies today.
A revolution after the camera
Like many of you, when the new Canon 5D shipped we quickly bought some of them and used them on our films. In fact, our first movie was called Plot Device (which now has over 1 million views and was fortunate enough to win a Webby). And wow, the footage from that camera was amazing. But wow was it a nightmare to manage all that media. So we made a little tool called Grinder, that could at least easily transcode the files to get them to work on a timeline. But we knew the problem was bigger than that. What about backups, file organization, on-set color correction, playback, and broader export options? These were legitimate problems, but certainly daunting. Our ambitious side prevailed and we decided to tackle the entire problem. We decided to solve the most important functions filmmakers needed between the camera and editor. Because like you, we like the shooting part, we like the editing part, but everything in between is a pain in the ass.
That was two years ago. At NAB in April this year we debuted our BulletProof software. It was developed for filmmakers and it bridges the gap between the camera and the editor. And today we are proud to announce the immediate availability of BulletProof, a complete offload, prep and delivery solution for shooters and editors for only $199. If you’re curious about the name, here’s how it went down: about a year ago, when we were meeting with a group of filmmakers to discuss the technology, we asked them what they’d call it. One of them quickly said, “BulletProof.” Which accurately described what the software needed to be. Thank you Vincent Cortez!
What about Windows?
Today, it’s a Mac-only software product. One thing to point out and make very clear is that, while this version is MAC ONLY, this does NOT reflect a priority we have for Mac over Windows. It only reflects a small company’s decision to ship something sooner rather than later. In fact, right now it’s the team’s top priority – we started working on the Windows version long before our v1.0 ship date. We should be ready in three or four months. Keep in mind that our Red Pledge guarantees access to all OS versions all the time, which means the Windows version is a free update to those that purchase now.
‘Linking’ to Red Giant
Everyone at Red Giant takes customer service very seriously – always using the golden rule as a guide, which we publicly documented in our Red Pledge Guarantee. However, good customer service is not just a friendly helpful person to talk to. Much can be done through technology and support tools like Getting Started videos, well written FAQs, online forum technologies… etc.
To this end, we developed – from scratch – Red Giant Link. At its most basic level, Link is a software updater, but it’s so much more. Link gives customers full order history, allows unlimited re-downloading of products, easy serial number recovery and a support history. Link is also serving up our 30 day trial of BulletProof and gives you a glimpse into the future when Link will manage the trials for all products. No more watermarks! Customers are getting a first-hand glimpse of its usefulness and simplicity.
Granted this is not a, new technology and the outside world has seen this model before (iTunes), but it will be incredibly helpful to our customers. This technology will continue to expand and offer more options, stayed tuned.
The third technology we are developing is something we are not prepared to discuss yet. But rest assured, it will be amazing for everyone. Maybe even mind blowing. Look for it towards the end of the year.
Introducing new suites & re-branding: So WTF are we doing?
This is really a story of poor brand management, bad decisions and hubris. I consider myself a student of corporate business models and pride myself for running a great company. I deeply understand how important simplicity, organization and relevant messaging can make or break a company. However, with that said, my own company has a lot of products, a lot of names, and lot of “brands” (over 50 to be exact) and the result is a lot of confusion. Not what I wanted.
From over-leveraging a brand to getting back to basics
A while ago, I read about this concept called “The Brand Gap.” The basic idea is that there is often a gap between how the company thinks they are viewed or perceived and how customers ACTUALLY perceive them. Our “gap” was beautifully exposed in a blog article by our friend Mike Seymour at FXGuide, to whom I’d like to say “screw you” and “thank you from the bottom of my heart” (please don’t read THIS ARTICLE).
But we finally listened. We got serious about refocusing our company around what’s important to our customers, and delivering suites of products thoughtfully designed and paired together to solve real problems. Shooters have different needs than editors, and motion graphics artists have different needs from shooters. But they all have one thing in common – they all need suites of tools in which every product in there is useful, valuable and meaningful to their daily workflow.
Red Giant has introduced new products and Suites to make it easier and more affordable for you to get the right tools. At the highest level, all products have been grouped by user types; motion graphics/visual effects artists and filmmakers.
Our Magic Bullet Suite has been reorganized into the new Shooter Suite and Color Suite, and our new BulletProof application has been released. Shooter Suite includes BulletProof, PluralEyes, and other tools for footage prep and delivery. Color Suite 11 stays focused on the color aspects of storytelling and has six essential tools for color grading and color effects. Trapcode, Effects and Keying Suite have not changed. And as part of our Red Pledge commitment to your happiness and no hassles, we’ve decided to include the Photoshop versions for Knoll Light Factory and Magic Bullet Looks as part of the main install.
We love the opportunity to reduce our prices, which is a business decision based on many factors (mostly, it’s related to our ability to sell more software, which means that we thrive as a company and are able to put more money back into the development of our products). Our Suites save you 30-40% off buying products individually, but as part of the product reorganization we reduced the price of several products. Effects Suite was slashed from $899 to $499, Colorista went from $299 to $199 and the new Shooter and Color Suites individually are priced much lower than the old $799 Magic Bullet Suite.
We also upgraded our web site navigation and layout to more easily find products, support, and tutorials. And we modernized our product images so the product suite families and names are more recognizable. Not to mention the fact that we haven’t shipped a box of software in years, so we figured it was time to get rid of the “box shots.”
Shooter Suite: Footage prep and delivery tools for the shoot, and the timeline. In short, tools for the shooter/editor. And it simply includes:
- Instant HD
- LUT Buddy
Color Suite: Essential tools for color correction, finishing and looks (yeah, it’s only got “color” tools). And it includes:
- Magic Bullet Looks (the only product called “Magic Bullet”) and includes PhotoLooks
- LUT Buddy
Simple, clean, devoid of confusion.
So, what is Red Giant today?
At Red Giant, we make tools for filmmakers and motion graphics artists. We also make films and training materials to enrich the community of filmmakers. Through making our own award-winning films, we create new tools to fill our needs. Then we make those tools available for everyone else. Red Giant develops tools that make the filmmaking process faster, more secure, more accurate and just more fun. We help filmmakers create the perfect look that matches their story. For more than 10 years, we have built software for motion design, photography, visual effects and color correction that is used for everything from major motion pictures to worldwide television programming to web production.
Welcome to Red Giant.