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Relighting with a shape mask

From: Color Correction in Final Cut Pro X

Video: Relighting with a shape mask

While it often pays to get your lighting right on set or on location, even the best DPs and gaffers don't always get it perfect. Sometimes during in the Color Correction process, you'll need do things like bring a bright window down so it's not as distracting, and we did that back in Chapter 4. But sometimes you'll also need to be able to shift or re-light a scene, so that viewer's attention can be more focused on what you or your client want them to pay attention to. And in this movie we'll use a Shape Mask to re-light a shot. Let's take a look at this shot. All right, this shot looks pretty good, but what I'm noticing about it is that the actor, who is out here in a hallway, looks a little dark and the room that the camera is in looks a little bright.

Relighting with a shape mask

While it often pays to get your lighting right on set or on location, even the best DPs and gaffers don't always get it perfect. Sometimes during in the Color Correction process, you'll need do things like bring a bright window down so it's not as distracting, and we did that back in Chapter 4. But sometimes you'll also need to be able to shift or re-light a scene, so that viewer's attention can be more focused on what you or your client want them to pay attention to. And in this movie we'll use a Shape Mask to re-light a shot. Let's take a look at this shot. All right, this shot looks pretty good, but what I'm noticing about it is that the actor, who is out here in a hallway, looks a little dark and the room that the camera is in looks a little bright.

And I can tell that the room is a little bright if I look at this edge of the frame. So what I want to do is re-light this shot so we can put a little bit more light onto the actor, while at the same time darkening up the room that the camera is in. The net result will be that our eyes will be more focused on the actor. So let's go ahead and select this shot here in the timeline and then use the keyboard shortcut Command+4 to open up the Inspector. Here in the Color section of the Inspector, you can see that this clip already has a correction applied to it. This of course is the default correction that every clip has inside of Final Cut Pro X, and I've used this correction to reform a minor exposure adjustment.

But to re-light this shot what I need to do is actually add a new correction, and to do that I'll click on this button right here. Now on Correction 2, let me click this button to create a new Shape Mask. Over here in the viewer, you can see some on-screen controls. Let's go ahead and position the Shape Mask around the actor, and I'll use these green controls here to adjust the size and Aspect Ratio of the shape. Okay, that's looking pretty good. I could of course change the shape into more of a square, like this, but for people, I find that circles work a little better.

The next thing I need to do with the shape is actually soften it out quite a bit, and the way I'm going to do that is by using this control line right here and then dragging out. It's important that you soften up the shape so you don't see any hard edges on it. The added benefit of softening up the shape when relighting a shot is that you'll have natural light falloff. So yeah, I think that will work right there. Okay, over in the Inspector for Correction 2, let's click this button to access the Color Board for Correction 2. And then let's navigate over to the Exposure pane. You can click on it or you can also use a keyboard shortcut Ctrl+Command+E. Here in the Exposure pane and at the bottom of the Color Board, you'll notice that I have two buttons, Inside Mask and Outside Mask. The default is Inside Mask.

With Inside Mask selected, any correction that you do here on the Color Board will affect the inside of the mask, or in this case, the inside of the shape. If you change this over to Outside Mask, any correction that you perform will affect the outside of the mask or the outside of the shape. Let's start with this control on Inside Mask, and what I'm going to do is use my Exposure highlights control, this guy right here, and drag up a little bit to add some more light onto the actor. Alright, that's working pretty well. Next, let's go ahead and switch to the Outside Mask control by clicking this button right here. Then using the highlights Exposure control again, I'll drag down to darken the outside of the shape, something like that works.

Now let me come back over to the viewer here and add a little bit more softness to the shape. All right, I'm liking that. Let's go back to main level of the Inspector and then let's toggle this Correction on and off. But before I do that, let me click this button right here to hide the outline of the shape. Now with the outline hidden, let me go ahead and click this button right here to toggle the correction on and off. So here's the original shot, and then here's the corrected shot. The original shot and the corrected shot. And you can see your eyes are much more focused now on the actor.

So that's the essentials of relighting a shot with a Shape Mask. I think that you'll find this technique is one that you'll add to your toolkit of corrections, as it comes in handy all the time.

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Color Correction in Final Cut Pro X

30 video lessons · 12769 viewers

Robbie Carman
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