Sony Catalyst Browse review: What’s it good for?

Sony Catalyst Browse is a free software available for Macs and PCs. Here’s my review (version 1.0.2):

Important:

Sony’s free Catalyst Browse software product is currently not capable of batch transcoding of XAVC-S. It can only transcode one clip at a time.

Ian Cook from Sony Broadcast and Professional Services posted a short message on the Avid forum stating that he was working to get batch transcoding back into the Browse product

You can download it here: http://www.sonycreativesoftware.com/catalystbrowse

You can find Sony Catalyst Prepare here: http://www.sonycreativesoftware.com/catalystprepare

What’s the difference between Browse and Prepare?

In Sony’s words:

With Catalyst Browse, the user can:

  • Browse — Quickly browse the files on your device using a thumbnail view or detailed list.
  • View — See the details of each clip, check focus, mark in and out points, adjust colors, and edit metadata.
  • Fast Copy — Copy all clips on the media, a subset, or only the desired portion of a clip to save time and space.
  • Ultra Wide Color Gamut — Review with confidence the full range of color captured by your S-Log and RAW Sony cameras. Apply color looks, and import/export standard ASC-CDL files with other workflow tools to save time.
  • Clip Lists — Create, import, and export Sony Professional Disc clip lists for quick play-out needs.
  • Transcode and Cloud Upload — Transcode clips to the most popular video production formats. Upload clips directly to the Sony Ci media cloud for collaborative team review.

Catalyst Prepare, built on Catalyst Browse functionality, revolutionizes the post-production workflow with a variety of advanced features, including:

  • Import — Quickly view and import clips from the latest professional cameras, including Sony, Canon, GoPro, and others.
  • Organize — Organization is key: Prepare gives you the ability to organize your media into targeted, meaningful collections.
  • Edit — View the details, zoom into every corner, mark In/Out, edit metadata, adjust colors non-destructively, and create a storyboard to rough draft your vision.
  • Export — Export a file, a group of files, or a storyboard. Render to .MP4, DPX, OpenEXR, ACES, ProRes (Mac only), or XAVC in a variety of resolutions and frame rates, or upload to the cloud via Sony Ci media cloud for collaborative team review.
  • Confident Backup — Back up the entire camera media with the confidence of checksum verification.
  • Ultra Wide Color Gamut — Work with the same wide color gamut as your camera. Set the source color space and the grade color space independently. Grade in Rec.709, Log, or ACES.
  • Create a Rough Cut — Use the storyboard editor to sequence and edit a rough cut, then render the storyboard or export it to a variety of NLEs.

The points marked in red highlight the critical differences – the ones that matter in the real world.

Bottom Line

I think Catalyst Browse is a neat piece of software with tremendous potential. It runs like butter, so in that regard it is more laptop friendly than DaVinci Resolve. A dedicated GPU is helpful. I would use it as backup to Resolve, though Resolve has its own sets of issues.

Doesn’t hurt to have two free software on your system!

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