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Overview of the Color Board

From: Color Correction in Final Cut Pro X

Video: Overview of the Color Board

In this movie I want to do an overview of the Color Board so you can better understand its basic operation. And then throughout the rest of this title, we'll use the Color Board almost exclusively to make corrections to footage. The first thing that we need to figure out is how to actually access the Color Board. To do that, we have a few options. First, we can simply select a shot and then use the keyboard shortcut Command+4 to open up the Inspector. You can also click on this button right here to open up the Inspector. Now, in the Color section of the Inspector you'll notice that the shot already has a correction applied to it, Correction #1. This is the default correction that every shot in Final Cut Pro X has, and to access the Color Board for this correction, I'll simply click on this icon right here, and here's the Color Board.

Overview of the Color Board

In this movie I want to do an overview of the Color Board so you can better understand its basic operation. And then throughout the rest of this title, we'll use the Color Board almost exclusively to make corrections to footage. The first thing that we need to figure out is how to actually access the Color Board. To do that, we have a few options. First, we can simply select a shot and then use the keyboard shortcut Command+4 to open up the Inspector. You can also click on this button right here to open up the Inspector. Now, in the Color section of the Inspector you'll notice that the shot already has a correction applied to it, Correction #1. This is the default correction that every shot in Final Cut Pro X has, and to access the Color Board for this correction, I'll simply click on this icon right here, and here's the Color Board.

Let me go ahead and use the keyboard shortcut Command+4 to hide the inspector. If you don't want to have to first go through the main level of the Inspector to access the Color Board, you don't have to. You can use the keyboard shortcut Command +6 to jump directly to the Color Board. You can also use that same shortcut to close the Color Board. And if you're more of a menu type person, you can simply click here in the Enhancements menu and choose to Show the Color Board. Once the Color Board is active, you'll notice that it's broken down into three tabs or three different panes. Here on the Color pane, we can make color corrections, on the Saturation pane, we can make saturation corrections, and finally, on the Exposure pane, we can make exposure or contrast corrections to a shot.

Let's start out here on the Exposure pane. We have four controls. First, this one right here allows me to adjust the overall or global exposure or contrast of this clip. So if I drag up, I can lighten this clip, and if I drag down I can darken the clip. I could of course reset a correction at any time by clicking on this little Reset icon right here. Just keep in mind that the Reset icons are exclusive to the pane that you are on. In other words, they only reset the correction of the active pane. Of course, here on the Exposure pane I have three additional controls.

These allow me to adjust exposure over the three different parts of the tonal range: shadows or blacks, midtowns, and then whites or highlights. So for example if I wanted to lighten the highlights in this shot I can simply select the control and drag up lighten the highlights or drag down to darken them. I can of course make simultaneous corrections. So for example, if I selected the midtones here, I can drag up to lighten the midtones, and I can drag down on the blacks or shadows to darken the blacks and the shadows. You don't actually have to drag though; you can simply select one of the controls that you want to adjust, like this.

You know that it's selected when its icon gets larger. Once it's selected, you can then use the up and down arrows to make it darker or to make that particular part of the tonal range brighter. These arrows of course will work on the Global or Master control as well. Let's go ahead and reset that correction. Let me go ahead and switch over to the Saturation pane. The Saturation pane works in a very similar fashion. I have a Global or Master control, where as I drag up, I can saturate the shot; if I drag down, I can desaturate the shot. I can of course reset this pane by clicking on this Reset icon.

I also have Saturation controls for the three parts of the tonal range--Shadows, Midtones and Highlights. Now let's click over to the Color pane. Now the Color pane in the Color Board in Final Cut Pro X gets all of the attention because it's so different from the traditional color wheels that Final Cut Pro 7 used, as well as the color wheels that pretty much every other color correction application uses. What Apple basically did was flattened out a color wheel. We have similar controls that we had in the other panes. I have four different controls. A Global control--this one right here. Then I have controls for the three parts of the tonal range--shadows, midtowns, and highlights.

I can of course grab one of these controls and position it anywhere that I want. Where I position it left and right determines hue, up and down determines the saturation or intensity of the hue. Let me go ahead and reset that. Of course, I don't have to drag; I can simply select one of these targets. I'll select the Master or Global target right here and then use the up arrows to change its saturation and the left and right arrows to change the particular selected hue. Let me reset that one more time. Obviously, the big difference here on the Color pane of the Color Board is that we have no color wheels.

What you should notice is that the Color pane is broken down into a positive section up here and a negative session down here. The positive section actually makes a whole lot of sense. So for example, if I drag the Global control or Master control up here into the green positive section, you'll notice that the shot becomes, well, green. And the further out that I drag, the more green it will become, or the more saturated it will become. But what doesn't make a whole lot of sense is what happens when I drag into the negative section. When I drag down here, the shot actually becomes magenta.

This is kind of confusing and there is a great way to visualize this. Let me go ahead and open up the Videoscopes by pressing Command+7 on the keyboard. Once the Scope window opens up, let me go ahead and click into the Settings menu here and then down to choose the Vectorsope. Then let me make sure that the shot is active down here in the timeline. Then finally, let me reset this correction. When I drag the Global or Master control up here to the green section, you'll see that all of the trace kind of pushes over here towards the green target, but if I drag down into negative green, you'll notice that most of the trace goes to the opposite side of the Vectorscope or towards the magenta target.

A good way to visualize the negative space here, or the negative part of the Color pane of the Color Board, is as a Color Wheel. You're going to the opposite side of the Color Wheel that the hue is showing you. So for example, negative green is actually magenta, negative blue would actually be yellow, negative cyan would actually be red, and as we've seen, negative green is magenta. Of course, you can go in between the opposite side targets. Let me go ahead and reset this correction. If you had a shot that was very blue, to neutralize blue in that shot you'd go into negative blue, thus removing blue from the shot and adding yellow to the shot to neutralize that color cast.

Still though, I think it takes a little bit of practice to understand how this new concept of the Color pane on the Color Board actually works. Throughout this title we'll be playing with the Color pane here, but on your own, do a little more experimentation until you're comfortable with how the controls work here. Let me go ahead and reset this. Now, I'm not actually showing you the entire Color Board. Let me come down here to the gray and silver area right here until my cursor becomes sort of this resize icon, and let me drag down. I've been hiding these controls right here. Well, they're not actually controls; they're just sort of information displays.

As I move one of the controls up here in, say, the Color pane, you notice that this control updates to show me some information about where I've positioned the particular control. Now the reason that I have this hidden throughout the course of this title is because you can't actually click in here to make a correction; you can't be precise and add a numeric value. And because you can't add a numeric value to make a correction, I don't find this information particularly useful. So throughout most of this title, I'll have this section hidden. Let's go ahead and reset that correction.

Now a few more things I need to tell you about the Color Board. You can quickly navigate between the different panes on the Color Board by using some simple keyboard shortcuts. So to activate the Color pane of the Color Board, you can use the keyboard shortcut Ctrl+Command+C, C for color. To activate the Saturation pane use Ctrl+Command+S, and to activate the Exposure pane use Ctrl+Command+E. Let's click the back arrow here to go to the main level of the Inspector. As we see, we have our default correction here, but we can add multiple corrections to a shot, and the way that I do that is by clicking on this plus button right here.

When I click on the plus button you can see that I have a new correction, and every correction has its own Color Board. So for example, if I wanted to go to the Color Board for Correction #2, all I would need to do is click on this icon right next to Correction 2 to activate the Color Board for Correction 2. Let's go back to the main level there. Also, each correction allows me to not only perform a primary color correction, I perform a secondary color correction. Now with these two icons right here, I can have different types of secondary color correction.

This first icon allows me to Add a Color Mask. That is one way of isolating the shot for secondary color correction. I can also Add a Shape Mask and this uses a geometric shape to isolate a portion of the clip for color correction. We'll talk more about secondary color corrections later in this title, but after you've isolated a portion of the shot, you can simply go to the Color Board to correct just that isolated portion. Then finally, when you have multiple corrections on a shot, you can switch between them very quickly by using this pull-down menu right here at the top of the Color Board.

You can see I have two Corrections. I'll go back to Correction #1. Hopefully now this tool makes more sense. While certainly different from the traditional color wheel and contrast sliders found in Final Cut Pro 7 and other applications, the Color Board is equally up to the task of correcting shots.

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Color Correction in Final Cut Pro X

30 video lessons · 12952 viewers

Robbie Carman
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