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Neutralizing a color cast

From: Color Correction in Final Cut Pro X

Video: Neutralizing a color cast

Early in this chapter, we spent some time discussing contrast or exposure corrections in Final Cut Pro X. These types of corrections are ones that you'll use all the time, but you know what? It's called color correction after all, and in this movie we'll talk about color correcting the shots, specifically about neutralizing the color cast. And this project contains the clip that has an obvious problem. Well, an obvious problem at least to my eye. This clip appears to be too blue. Let me go ahead and open up the Video Scopes to verify this. I'll do that by pressing Command+7. And here in the Scopes Window let me click into the Settings menu and choose the display to Vectorscope. Then down here on the timeline, let me just make sure that the shot is active.

Neutralizing a color cast

Early in this chapter, we spent some time discussing contrast or exposure corrections in Final Cut Pro X. These types of corrections are ones that you'll use all the time, but you know what? It's called color correction after all, and in this movie we'll talk about color correcting the shots, specifically about neutralizing the color cast. And this project contains the clip that has an obvious problem. Well, an obvious problem at least to my eye. This clip appears to be too blue. Let me go ahead and open up the Video Scopes to verify this. I'll do that by pressing Command+7. And here in the Scopes Window let me click into the Settings menu and choose the display to Vectorscope. Then down here on the timeline, let me just make sure that the shot is active.

Here on the Vectorscope I can see most of this trace is pointed out between the cyan and blue targets, indicating that the shot is actually pretty blue. Another way that I can tell that the shot is blue is by clicking here into the Settings menu and choosing to display the Waveform Scope, and then I'll click back into the Settings menu and choose to display the RGB Parade option for the Waveform Scope. And let me just make sure that the shot is selected. The RGB Parade shows you the relative color balance between the red, green, and blue channels, and right now I can see that the blue channel is actually elevated over the green and red channels, indicating that have a blue color cast in the shot. But remember, the Waveform Scope actually mimics the tonal range, from 0 down here or black up to 100% or white.

And I can actually see that the trace is elevated over red and green, but particularly up here in the lighter portions of the image. This is common with poorly white balanced shots, and because this trace is over 100%, it's actually illegal for broadcast, but we'll fix that in just one moment. With the shot active, let's go ahead and use the keyboard shortcut Command+6 to open up the Color Board for the shot. Now prior to making a color correction, it's always a good idea to make a contrast or exposure correction to the shot. So what I want to do is come into the exposure pane right here by clicking on it, but I can also use the keyboard shortcut Ctrl+Command+E. And then by using the highlight's exposure control, this guy right here, I'm going to drag down just a touch until my trace is inside a 100% here on the RGB Parade.

All right, that's looking much better. Let me click back over into the Settings menu and then choose the display the Luma option for the Waveform Scope. Using a Luma option, what I want to do is adjust my blacks or shadow exposure, so I am going to select this control right here and then I'm going to use the down arrows do deepen my blacks just a touch. Something like that works. Okay, so for just one moment, let's go ahead and hide the Video Scopes so we can actually see the image at a bigger size. I'll press Command+7 and Command+7 again to hide the scopes, and then let me go over to the color pane, and the way that I'm going to do that is by using keyboard shortcut Ctrl+Command+C, C for Color.

Remember, the color pane of the Color Board here is broken down into two sections--a positive section and a negative section. But remember, the negative section is simply adding in color from the opposite side of the color wheel. And a good way to actually visualize that is by taking the look at the color wheel up here. Here is blue, and if I wanted to neutralize that color cast I would actually add in some negative blue or yellow. So what I'm going to do is actually start out with my highlights control, this guy right here. It's not a good idea to make color corrections like this with the global or master controls. You should always use the three controls for the different parts of the tonal range.

So let me select the highlights control, this guy right here, and I want to drag down into negative blue, something like this. Remember, you don't actually have to drag; you can use the left and right arrows as well as the up and down arrows. The left and right arrows will change your selected Hue, something like this works, and then the up-and-down arrows will change the intensity or the saturation of that selected Hue, and then let me go down even a little further. All right, that's working well for me. Then let's go ahead and select the Midtones control, this guy right here, and it'll also drag down into sort of the negative blue section right here.

Again, I'll be little bit more precise by using the controls on the keyboard. All right, I think that's working for me. Actually, let's go a little bit this way. All right, I'm liking that. And then what I'm going to do with the shadows controls is actually go into the positive section. My blacks here don't look quite right to me, so I'm going to select this control and come over here. Something like that. Maybe a little further over to the left. Here we go, and maybe a little bit more saturation. Okay, I'm liking that. Let's go ahead and go back to the main level of the Inspector by clicking this back button right here, and then me toggle this correction on and off.

Here is the original shot that looks quite blue, then here is the corrected shot. That looks much more natural; it looks a whole bunch better. So here is the original shot, and then here is the corrected shot. Let's skim through this shot, and yep, you can see that looks pretty good. Let's go ahead and open up our Video Scopes once again by pressing Command+7. Here in the Settings window, let's go ahead and choose to display the Vectorscope, and then let me select the shot down here in the timeline. Now you can see I have a great deal of trace that's actually pointed over towards the yellow and red targets, actually where it should be because this line right here actually represents skin tone. You can see the skin tone of this actor looks pretty good.

Let me go back into the Settings window here and choose to display the Waveform Scope. Then let's click to display the RGB Parade. Then let me select the shot down here in the timeline. So here on the RGB Parade, the blue trace has been brought way down on the scale, but you'll notice that my red trace has been elevated a little bit. That's actually okay because I like this warmer feel to the shot, but I do have a small problem. I have a bit of trace that's over 100%. So let's go back here to Correction #1 and click to open up the Color Board, and click back into the exposure pane right here, and select or highlight our white exposure control, and then use the down arrows to darken up the highlights just a touch in that shot. Our clip is now legal once again.

Let me hide the scopes, and you can see that we've corrected the shot and it looks pretty good. So that's neutralizing the color cast with the Color Board, and you can see that the process of neutralizing the colorcast is made even easier by using the Video Scopes as a guide.

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Color Correction in Final Cut Pro X

30 video lessons · 12164 viewers

Robbie Carman
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