I've written before on my general distaste for Adobe Speedgrade. Not that Speedgrade in and of itself is a bad app, but that Speedgrade misses the mark for usable UI, integration with Premiere Pro, and when compared to other color grading apps on the market, specifically Blackmagic Davinci Resolve.
Speedgrade feels very similar to what Apple Color felt like when Apple bundled Final Touch into its suite of apps (RIP FCS3!). Speedgrade feels clunky, like it’s just tossed in as an after thought without much time to integrate it into CS. And to be fair, it pretty much was. My contention has been (and still is), that while it’s great to have a suite of apps designed to handle the entire post-production workflow unless Speedgrade gets more integrated and more easy to use it won’t stand up to even the “Lite” (i.e. free) version of Resolve, to say nothing of the paid version. Let me reiterate that: unless Speedgrade gets more integrated and easier to use it won’t stand up to even the free version of Resolve. Resolve Lite is an extremely capable color grading app (not to mention that if you buy any of Blackmagic’s cameras they come with a fully-licensed copy of Resolve).
Adobe is competing with a free 3 year old color app. Remember Blackmagic repackaged Davinci Resolve as its own product back in 2010. They’ve had 3 years to get into the market, tweak the product, and expand its capabilities. Adobe and Speedgrade are just barely hitting the 1 year mark. A two year head start is like a decade in the tech world (just have a look at the recent iPad sales numbers). So Adobe has a lot of ground to makeup if it wants to gain marketshare from Resolve.
But this is 2013! Adobe seems to be attempting to make the case that Speedgrade is both easier to use (new UI) and more integrated with Premiere thanks to the Lumetri Deep Color Engine. I can only read what Adobe is publishing. I don't have any inside knowledge
The next version of SpeedGrade gets a complete UI overhaul, which accomplishes three things: Provides a more familiar screen layout for Adobe Premiere Pro users, puts all the tools you need right at your fingertips, makes better use of limited screen real estate, especially important for laptop users (and we know there are a lot of you out there!)
Enhanced Adobe workflow integration With the Lumetri Deep Color Engine built into Adobe Premiere Pro, you can now load complete SpeedGrade Looks and edit footage with your creative grades applied, including masks. Then use Send To SpeedGrade to create DPX sequences for final grading and finishing—or render out finished projects from Adobe Premiere Pro; in SpeedGrade, just drag the EDL onto the new render to add all your cuts in one fell swoop. You can also apply SpeedGrade Looks in Adobe After Effects or Photoshop to ensure visual consistency across projects.