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Creating a cool look

From: Color Correction in Final Cut Pro X

Video: Creating a cool look

In this movie, we're going to talk about creating a cool look, and no, I'm not that egotistical. By cool, I don't mean like an awesome look; I mean cool as in color temperature. Cool color temperatures tend to be more blue. Cool looks are often used to show seriousness or sadness, but they can also be used to show time of day. Whatever the case is, a cool look is simple to create using the Color Board in Final Cut Pro X. This project contains a clip that actually has a great deal of natural coolness to it. But, I want to accentuate this natural coolness for several reasons. First, the shot is supposed to be taking place in the middle of the night, and shots that take place at night tend to be a bit more cool.

Creating a cool look

In this movie, we're going to talk about creating a cool look, and no, I'm not that egotistical. By cool, I don't mean like an awesome look; I mean cool as in color temperature. Cool color temperatures tend to be more blue. Cool looks are often used to show seriousness or sadness, but they can also be used to show time of day. Whatever the case is, a cool look is simple to create using the Color Board in Final Cut Pro X. This project contains a clip that actually has a great deal of natural coolness to it. But, I want to accentuate this natural coolness for several reasons. First, the shot is supposed to be taking place in the middle of the night, and shots that take place at night tend to be a bit more cool.

Also, this shot comes from a scene that's supposed to be pretty sad, and to accentuate that feeling of sadness, I want to create a stylized cool look. So with the clip selected, let me go ahead and use the keyboard shortcut Command+6 to access the Color Board. Then, I'm going to use the keyboard shortcut Ctrl+Command+E to access the Exposure pane of the Color Board. Now, before we actually make some corrections here on the Exposure pane of the Color Board, it's probably a good idea to open up my videoscope, so I can see what the video signal is doing as I make some corrections. So to access the videoscopes, I'm going to use the keyboard shortcut Command+7. Once the Scopes window opens up, let's click into the Settings menu right here, and choose to display the Waveform scope.

Then, let's click back into the Settings menu, and make sure that we have the Luma option selected for the Waveform scope, which I do. So let me just go ahead and select this clip down here in the Timeline and now I can see trace for this clip here in the Waveform scope set to Luma. All right! Let's come back over to the Exposure pane here on the Color Board. What I'm going to do is first use the Blacks or Shadows exposure control, this one right here, and drag down just a bit until the bottom of the trace and the Waveform scope set to Luma is just touching 0%. Then, I'm going to come into the Highlights or Whites exposure control, this one right here, and drag down quite a bit to darken the highlights in the shot.

Something like that is working just fine. Now, what you might have noticed after I made that last correction is that trace over here on the Waveform scope set to Luma is now dipping below 0%. This is generally considered illegal for broadcast. So what I want to do is come back over to my Exposure pane here on the Color Board and simply select the Blacks or Shadows exposure control, and then use the Up Arrow to nudge this control up ever so slightly. Something like that works. Let's go ahead and hide the scopes by using the keyboard shortcut Command+7 and then Command+7 again to clear them completely. Then, over on the Color Board here, let me click the Back arrow to access the main level of the Inspector.

Here on the Color section of the Inspector, you can see that I have a correction, Correction number 1. Every shot in Final Cut Pro X has this default correction, Correction 1. I can toggle this correction on and off by using this little blue square right here. So here's the original shot, and then here's the darkened shot. The original and then the darkened shot. Okay. So the shot feels like it's happening in the middle of the night now because we've darkened it up quite a bit. But, what I actually want to do is go back to the Color Board and add a little more coolness to the shot. Remember, coolness refers to blue tones.

So let's click this button right here to access the Color Board once again. Then let's use the keyboard shortcut Ctrl+Command +C to access the Color pane of the Color Board. What I want to do is use the Midtones control, this one right here, and drag up into the positive blue section right around here. So let me go ahead and do that. Something like that works. Then, let me select the Highlights or Whites control, this one right here, and also drag up into the positive blue section. All right! Something like that is working pretty well. I like this look, but I think it's overall a little too saturated.

So let me click on the Saturation pane here on the Color Board and then using the Overall or Master Saturation control, let me drag down just a touch to desaturate the clip. Okay, I'm liking that look a lot. Let's click back to the main level of the Inspector and then let's toggle this correction on and off. Here's the original shot and then here's the corrected shot. Down here on the Timeline, let me skim through this clip. So you can see that we've definitely created a stylized, cool look. But after making any correction, it's always a good idea to check your Video scopes to make sure that you haven't created any illegal signal.

So let's go ahead and open up the Video scopes once again by pressing Command+7. Then, I'm going to click on the Settings menu right here. Let's make sure that we're showing the Waveform scope, and then let's make sure we're showing the Luma option and of course, we need to select the clip down here in the Timeline. Okay. Everything looks pretty good here on the Luma waveform. Let's click back up into the Settings menu and choose the RGB Parade for the Waveform scope. Yup! Once again, everything looks pretty good. Then finally, let's click over to the vectorscope. Let's select the shot once again. Yup! And everything looks pretty good and legal here.

Now, if your corrections actually made this clip illegal, you'd have two options. You could go back and adjust your corrections, or as we did in the first movie in this chapter when we created a high-contrast look, you could create a compound clip and then apply the Broadcast Safe effect to that compound clip to make it broadcast-safe and to make it legal. Okay, so that's creating a cool, as in cool temperature type, look. I think you can see that it's pretty easy to do with the Color Board inside of Final Cut Pro X.

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Color Correction in Final Cut Pro X

30 video lessons · 11984 viewers

Robbie Carman
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