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Creating a wash look

From: Color Correction in Final Cut Pro X

Video: Creating a wash look

One look that clients ask me to create all the time is what I refer to as the wash look, and what I mean by that is that the entire clip looks like it's been washed in a particular color. Another way of saying that is it looks like the entire clip has been tinted. An example of this is the popular sepia look, and while we have the Sepia and Tint effects, which can be found in the Basics category of the Effects Browser here in Final Cut Pro X, in this movie, I wanted to show you how you could create your own custom wash look using the Color Board. Now, we are not going to be as heavy- handed as creating, say, a sepia look, but what I am going to do is create a nice warm subtle wash in a couple of clips in this project.

Creating a wash look

One look that clients ask me to create all the time is what I refer to as the wash look, and what I mean by that is that the entire clip looks like it's been washed in a particular color. Another way of saying that is it looks like the entire clip has been tinted. An example of this is the popular sepia look, and while we have the Sepia and Tint effects, which can be found in the Basics category of the Effects Browser here in Final Cut Pro X, in this movie, I wanted to show you how you could create your own custom wash look using the Color Board. Now, we are not going to be as heavy- handed as creating, say, a sepia look, but what I am going to do is create a nice warm subtle wash in a couple of clips in this project.

All right, let's take a look at this first shot. It looks okay, but what I want to do is create a nice warm wash on it. To do that, I am going to access the Color Board. So with the clip selected, I'll use the keyboard shortcut Command+6 to open up the Color Board. It's always a good idea to make exposure or contrast corrections prior to making color corrections. So to access the Exposure pane, I will use the keyboard shortcut Ctrl+Command+E, and then so I can actually see what I'm doing as I am making Exposure Correction, I am going to go ahead and open up the scopes. I will do that by using the keyboard shortcut Command+7. Then here in the Scopes window, let me click into the Settings menu and choose to display the Waveform Scope.

I will click back in the Settings menu and make sure that I have the Luma option selected, which I do. Of course, right now I am not actually seeing any trace or information about the shot, so what I need to do is come down to the timeline and select the shot itself. Now, I can see some trace. All I am going to do right now on this shot is expand its contrast a little bit by making a simple Exposure Correction. Let's come back over to the Exposure pane on the Color Board here for the shot, and first, I am going to use the Blacks or Shadows control, this guy right here, and drag down just a touch, so that the bottom of the trace is just touching 0% like that.

Then, what I am going to do is come into the Highlights or Whites Exposure Control, this guy right here, and drag up just a touch. Something like that. Okay, let's switch over to the Color Pane here on the Color Board, and I will do that simply by clicking on the Color Pane right here. Then let's come into the Waveform scope here and change the Waveform scope by clicking in the Settings menu to view the Vectorscope. Let me select the shot down here in the timeline, so I can see trace up here in the Vectorscope. You will notice most of the trace is pointed out here towards the cyan and blue targets. What I want to do is create a nice warm wash in the shot.

Remember, warm refers to tones that are sort of yellow and red. So we can see the shot a little bit bigger, let's go ahead and hide the scope for right now. I will press Command+7 to hide the vectorscope, and Command+7 again to clear the scopes. Over here on the Color Pane of the Color Board, you will notice that I actually have four controls-- a Master or Global control, and then three controls for the various parts of the tonal range: Shadows, Midtones, and Highlights. For this shot, I am going to use the Global or Master control. This guy right here. What I am going to do is drag over into the yellow red area, something like this.

Now remember, you don't actually need to drag. You can use the left and right- arrow keys to make the correction. So for example, let me go up here to dial in the shot, something like that is looking pretty good. Yeah! I am liking that look. I have a nice warm wash on the shot now. Let me open the Vectorscope once again. Click into the Settings menu here and choose Vectorscope. Let me come down to the timeline and select the shot. Now you will notice most of the trace is pointed over here towards the yellow red targets indicating that we have a nice warm wash in the shot.

Let's come down to the second shot in this timeline, and this is just a wide shot of the first shot in this timeline. Now, I want to create a similar wash on this shot, and just like we did with the first shot, we will first make an exposure correction and then we will come into the Color Pane of the Color Board. But, this time we will use the three controls for the different parts of the tonal range to actually make the Color Correction. So let me go ahead and select the shot. Up here in the Scopes window, let me click on Settings and choose to display the Waveform scope. Then I will come back down and make sure that the Luma option is selected, which it is.

Let's come down in the Timeline and select this shot. Then, over here in the Color Board for this shot, let's click on the Exposure pane. And just like we did with the first shot, I am going to make a simple contrast or Exposure correction. Let's come into the Shadows or Blacks Exposure Control, this guy right here, and drag down just a touch. Something like that works. My highlights are actually okay in the shot, so I am going to use the Midtones Exposure Control and drag up to lighten up the midtones. All right! That's working pretty well. Next, let's come back into the Scopes window and change our View from the Waveform to the Vectorscope.

Once again on this shot, you will notice that most of the trace is pointed out towards the Cyan and Blue targets. And just like we did on the first shot, we are going to create a nice warm wash. So we can see what we are doing a little easier, let's go ahead and hide the Vectorscope by pressing Command+7 and Command+7 again to hide the scopes completely. Then, over here on the Color Board, let's click on the Color Pane. On the first shot, we used the Global or Master control right here, but I actually want to use the three different controls for the various parts of the tonal range on this shot. Well, what I want to do is get this Master control out of the way. So I am going to select it, and move it over here to the edge of the Color Board.

Now, just make sure that it's actually not making a correction. You can see right now, if I come down to this part underneath of the Color Board, that we are making a correction. I want to make sure that these values are zeroed out. So I will just use the Arrow keys to zero them out, just like that. Next, what I want to do is first start with the Midtones control. I am going to take that and drag over here into the yellow-red section of the shot. Something like this is working just fine. Maybe I will boost the color a little bit more; something like that. All right! I am liking that. Next, let's come into the Shadows control, this guy right here, and also drag over to yellow-red.

Something like that is working pretty well as well. Maybe I will boost the color just a touch. Then finally, I am actually going to use the Highlights control and not drag over towards yellow-red but actually drag up into the positive blue area right here. This will keep my highlights a little less yellow-red. So I will drag up just a touch. Something like that is working really nice. Now, the main advantage of creating a wash in this way is that you have control over the three parts of the tonal range-- Shadows, Midtones, and Highlights--as compared to the first shot where we only had one control to create the wash.

Let's go down here to the timeline and scrub through these shots. Here is the second shot. It looks pretty good. And here's the first shot, and if I scrub between them, they look like they match together. So that's creating a wash look, and it's something that you will be asked to do from time to time and something that's actually really straightforward and simple to do on the Color Board here in Final Cut Pro X.

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Color Correction in Final Cut Pro X

30 video lessons · 12250 viewers

Robbie Carman
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