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In this course, author Robbie Carman details the principles of color grading in Final Cut Pro X, while explaining how to enhance and stylize footage. The course spells out the differences between primary and secondary corrections and demonstrates fixing problematic footage with contrast corrections and neutralizing color casts. The course also discusses secondary corrections with shape and color masks and explains how to make projects broadcast safe. Additional topics include evaluating clips using the video scopes, and how to create stylized looks.
You'll get asked by clients all the time to create a wide variety of different types of looks, but probably the most requested, at least in my experience, is the warm look. And to be clear, warm generally describes a shot with yellow or red dominant tones. A warm look evokes feelings of happiness and lushness but it can also, if used in the right context, illicit a feeling of anger. Regardless of the motivation behind creating a warm look, it's easy to do using the Color Board in Final Cut Pro X. This project actually contains a shot that's pretty neutral and I want to warm it up quite a bit. This shot comes from a film that I graded called the Funeral, and the filmmakers actually requested that the shot be nice and warm, because it was going to be inter-cut with cooler flashback shots.
They wanted to make sure that the shots were different from one another. So let's go ahead and select this clip and then use the keyboard shortcut Command+6 to open up the Color Board. Here on the Color Board, let's access the Exposure pane, and the way that I'm going to do that is by using the keyboard shortcut Ctrl+Command+E. Remember, E for Exposure. Now prior to actually making some corrections here on the Exposure Pane, it's probably a good idea to open up my Video scopes so I can see what's happening with the video signal as I make a correction. So to access the Video scopes, I'm going to use the keyboard shortcut Command+7. And once the Video scopes window is opened up, let me come to the Settings menu and then down to this option right here to choose the Waveform scope.
Let's click back into the Settings menu and then make sure that we are choosing to display the Luma option for the Waveform scope, which I am. So let me just select the clip down here in the Timeline and now I can see the trace for this clip here in the Luma waveform. In my experience, warm shots have expansive contrast ratios. What I mean by that is that they tend to pop quite a bit. So what I want to do on this shot is expand its Contrast ratio so we get a little more deep or poppier type look. So to do that I'm going to come over to the Exposure Pane, and then first use the Blacks or Shadows Exposure control. Select that and drag down quite a bit until the bottom of the trace is just touching 0%.
And then I'm going to come over to the Highlights or Whites Exposure control and select that and instead of dragging, I'm going to use the Up Arrow to nudge the trace and the highlights up the scope just a touch. Just be sure that you don't go over 100%. Remember, trace over 100% is generally considered illegal for broadcast. Okay, finally let's go ahead and select the Midtones Exposure Control, this guy right here, and I'll also use the Up Arrow to lighten up the midtones just a bit. All right. That's looking better. Let me go ahead and hide the scope by using the keyboard shortcut Command+7 and Command+7 again to clear the scopes completely.
Then in the Color Board here, let's use the Back Arrow to get back to the main level of the Inspector. Then right here in the Color section of course I have my default correction, Correction 1. Remember, every shot has a default correction. And 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 corrected shot. The original and then the corrected. You can see that the blacks are quite a bit deeper and I'm liking this look. What I still want to do on the shot is warm up the overall color temperature in it. To do that, I'm going to come back to the Color Board for this shot. Let's click on this button right here to once again access the Color Board, and then I'll use the keyboard shortcut Ctrl+Command+C to access the Color Pane of the Color Board.
Of course, here in the Color Pane, I have four controls. With this big one right here, I can control my overall color in the clip. Then with these three controls right here, I can control color in the different parts of the tonal range. What I actually want to do is get this Master or Global Color Control out of the way, so I'm going to select it and then move it over to the edges here. But notice right now, it's actually made a correction. I have a little bit of a red tint here. And you can see that down here underneath the main part of the Color Board, we have a +5% positive correction. I'll just use the Down Arrow and nudge that back down till we have a 0% correction, meaning that it's not going to affect the shot at all.
Remember, warm looks are generally described as having yellow or red dominant tones. So what I'm going to do is use the Midtones control, this guy right here, and drag over into the positive yellow red section, somewhere right in this area right here. So let me go ahead and select that Midtones control and drag over to yellow red, somewhere in this area right about there. That's looking pretty good. Yeah, I like that. Of course, if we drag into the positive section, we can also drag into the negative section. Let me go ahead and select the Highlights or Whites Control, this guy right here and drag down into the negative blue section, right down here.
Remember, negative blue is actually yellow. So let me drag down just a touch to warm up the highlights in this shot. All right. That's working. For this shot, I'm not going to do anything with the blacks. I like where they are right now. All right. Let's go back to the main level of the Inspector and go ahead and toggle this correction On and Off once again. So here's the original shot--sort of a poor contrast ratio and kind of cool. Then here's the corrected shot. And you can see that it's much warmer and the contrast is much better. Let's come down here to the Timeline and skim though this clip, and you can see that it's definitely a warmer shot.
After making corrections though, it's always a good idea to double-check your videoscopes to make sure that you haven't pushed any part of the video signal and made it illegal for broadcast. Even if you're not in a broadcast workflow, it's important to make sure that your signal is not illegal for broadcast, because it can make your shots actually look better. So what I'm going to do is use the keyboard shortcut Command+7 to open up the scopes and then in the Settings menu, I'm going to come down and choose to show the Waveform. And let me click back into Settings menu and make sure that we are showing the Luma option, and then I'll select a clip down here in the Timeline.
You will notice that I've actually created a portion of the signal that's illegal. I have trace that's over 100%. To fix this, we actually have two options. I can come back to the Color Board and make a correction, or I could create a compound clip and then apply the Broadcast Safe Effect in Final Cut Pro X to that compound clip. And we did that back in the first movie of this chapter, but I think an easier solution for this particular clip is to simply come back into the Color Board for that correction and click back over onto the Exposure Pane and select my Highlights or my Whites Exposure Control. Then use the Down Arrow to make sure that the trace is back inside 100% here on the Waveform scope set to Luma. All right.
Let me click over to the RGB Parade and my trace looks pretty legal here. Then let me click over to the Vectorscope, select the shot again, and my trace looks legal here. So you can see that's it's actually pretty easy to create a nice, warm stylized look using the Color Board here Final Cut Pro X.
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