Blackmagic Design cuts price of Fusion 9, gains new virtual reality editing tools

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Why it matters to you

Fusion is a professional-level compositing and special effects program, but with the latest version, Blackmagic Design is making it more affordable and approachable.

Following the pattern established with the last major update to DaVinci ResolveBlackmagic Design announced a new low price for Fusion, its compositing and special effects program. Although it has been used on many Hollywood blockbusters, Fusion 9 Studio is available for a consumer-friendly price of $299, the same price as Resolve and a significant drop from the previous cost of $995. Unveiled at SIGGRAPH, Fusion 9 Studio also gains numerous features, including a brand new virtual reality toolset, a new motion and camera tracking technologies, enhanced keying controls, and improved performance.

With the new VR tools, Fusion 9 Studio users will be able to edit immersive video projects in a true 360-degree workspace when using VR headsets like the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive. Thanks to graphics processing unit (GPU) acceleration, Blackmagic Design claims users will be able to interact with elements in a VR scene in real time, while a new 360-degree virtual camera can render out entire scenes in a single pass. The program also supports stereoscopic 3D content.

Additionally, new tracking tools will help speed up workflows. The planar tracker automatically calculates two-dimensional motion planes for compositing elements onto moving objects. The company says this is most useful for replacing flat objects, such as signs. Fusion 9 Studio also gets new camera tracking technology that can analyze the motion of a live action camera and accurately recreate its motion path in a three-dimensional virtual space. This enables users to more easily composite elements in the scene as the program handles the movement and perspective animations automatically. The camera tracker can even determine characteristics of the lens used, like focal length and distortion, and use that information to generate even more lifelike composites.

For green-screen work, Fusion 9 Studio also introduces new keying controls that let users fine-tune their masks for the cleanest possible results.

In addition to the new low price, multi-user teams in a network environment will benefit from simplified purchasing that does not require a separate license for each rendering node, nor any sort of subscription fee. Additionally, the base version of Fusion 9, which lacks some advanced features, will continue to be available for free. Both versions are available for download now from Blackmagic Design.