Interesting announcements out of the IBC trade show in Amsterdam, today.
The biggest may be the bombshell that Adobe is buying Iridias, who's two product lines are SpeedGrade and FrameCycler. From the announcement, SpeedGrade will be integrated into Adobe's Production Premium and Master Collection software suites. How, or if, it will effect pricing is not said.
The acquisition of SpeedGrade, and its integration into the Adobe Creative Suite bundles, is much like Apple's purchase of Silicon Color and their Final Touch product back around 2006, which became Apple Color. Apple put some, perhaps not enough, effort into developing and integrating Color into its Final Cut Suite, but has apparently killed Color with the introduction of FCP-X and it's companions, Motion 5 and Compressor 4. Final Touch had a price range topping out at around $25,000, while various releases of Final Cut Suite ranged from $1,000 to $1,300, Apple did not offer any of the FC Suite programs separately.
Adobe also has a policy of selling its major programs separately, often in two or three versions with different price points and feature sets. SpeedGrade was also available in two or three different versions, with the top pricing, off the top of my head, in the mid seven figure range for the software. It's conceivable that SpeedGrade will be offered separately from the bundles, but I can't see it costing anywhere near that. Especially with Davinci for the Mac priced at only $1,000 and the most expensive bundle of the Master Collection currently priced at only $2,600.
Adobe makes no mention of what's to happen with Iridias' FrameCycler playback and review software. In the wake of Tweak's RV playback and review platform delivering much the same feature set at about 1/20th of the price, and taking much of the post and VFX world by storm, I don't hold out much hope for its future as a viable product, but it could wind up as a freebie in one or more of the Creative Suite bundles. Also not mentioned is whether or not Adobe will continue to support SpeedGrade on Linux, where it has no current products, or if it will only support it on Mac and/or Windows.
SpeedGrade has a much more robust and advanced feature than Final Touch/Color, and it also has better real time performance. SpeedGrade is has native support with most of the new compressed raw formats for Red, Alexa, Phantom, Cineform, etc, and it also has a robust set of stereoscopic 3D features. By comparison, Color has native support for Red, but not for any other raw format, and it has no support for stereoscopic 3D.
In terms of price and features, SpeedGrade's closest competitor has recently been Assimilate's Scratch platform, with much of the higher end going to Lustre, Baselight, Pablo and the Linux version of Davinci. The bottom of the market has been reshaped in the last five years by Apple's purchase of Final Touch and Black Magic Design's purchase of Davinci, along with the improvement of native color correction features in many edit platforms, and the introduction of plugins like Colorista and the new Baselight plugin for Final Cut.
The middle of the market may be disappearing, and the purchase of Iridias is strong evidence of that.