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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.
I would love to tell you that color correction is all glitz and glamor. Well, maybe it is if you are working on huge budget Hollywood film, but for most of us, the color correction that we do day in, day out is all about fixing problems. And one of those problems is making sure that footage adheres to broadcast standards. Broadcast-safe or Broadcast-legal standards are standards published by broadcasters and govern things like how bright or how dark things can be on screen. And in this movie I want to talk about using secondary color corrections to help us ensure broadcast legality. Why secondary? Well, sometimes you can't fix broadcast legality issues with primary color corrections without making the shot look, well, not so good.
This project contains a couple of shots that have already been balanced with a primary color correction but need some help with a secondary color correction to make them broadcast legal. Let's go ahead and take a look at this first shot. It looks okay, but obviously the thing that pops out at you is this red folder, and to my eyes this red folder looks too saturated. But let's verify that on the Vectorscope. I'll press Command+7 to open up the Scopes window and then click into the Settings menu and choose to display the Vectorscope. I just need to make sure that the shot is selected down here in the Timeline. Here on the Vectorscope I have a great deal of trace that's pointed out towards the red target.
That's obviously this red folder. And remember, the distance out from the center of the Vectorscope to the outside edge represents saturation, and we can tell that this folder is actually really, really saturated; it's actually too saturated. I have a bit of trace here that extends beyond the red target. Most broadcasters will consider any trace that extends beyond the outside targets here on the Vectorscope to be too saturated and illegal for broadcast. So what I want to do is use a secondary color correction to isolate this folder and then reduce its saturation. Let me go ahead and hide the Vectorscope by pressing Command+7. I need to press it twice to clear the scopes out completely.
And then with the shot still selected down here in the Timeline, I'll press Command+4 to open up the Inspector. Here in the Inspector, obviously in the Color section I have a default correction, Correction 1, and I have used this correction to do some basic balancing of this shot. But to isolate this folder what I need to do is add a new correction, and I'll do that by clicking this Plus button right here. Here for Correction 2, let me click on this button to add a new color mask, and then I'll come over to the Viewer. You'll notice that my cursor changes from the regular cursor to an eyedropper. And what I am going to do is click and drag but not let go.
As I drag you'll notice that I starts selecting part of that folder. As I drag further out, I can actually select most of the shot and you need to be careful about this. The further out that you drag and the larger that you make these circles, the more similar exposure and color values you'll be adding to your selection. So what I am a big fan of doing is making a smaller initial selection, something like this, and then with the eyedropper still active, adding the Shift key and clicking again to add additional parts of the folder to my selection. I'll click again and drag out ever so slightly; something like that.
Over here in Correction 2, where it says Color Mask, you'll notice that I have a slider. Every time that you use a color mask, you have a bit of built-in softness to that mask. But it's always a good idea to add a little bit more softness. So what I am going to do is adjust the Softness for my selection up just a touch. This will just ensure that I don't have any ringing edges on the selection. Okay, now that we've made the selection, let's click this button right here to jump to the Color board for Correction number 2, and then let me click on the Saturation Pane right here. What I want to do is use the Global or Master Saturation control and drag down a touch to reduce the saturation of this folder.
That's looking much better to me. Let's go ahead and open up the Vectorscope once again. I'll press Command+7, and then here in the Scopes window I'll click into the Settings menu and choose to display the Vectorscope. And now you'll notice that the trace is inside of the red target and I now have a legal shot. All right, let's navigate down to the second shot in this Timeline, and here on the Vectorscope, you'll notice that I have legal trace. There is no part of the trace that extends beyond the outside targets. Let's click up into the Settings menu here in the Scopes window, and let's choose to display the Waveform scope, and then let's choose to display the Luma option for the Waveform scope, which I already am.
Then I will select the shot down here in the Timeline. Looking at this, I actually have a bit of trace here on the Waveform scope set to Luma that's over 100%. Let me click over to show the RGB Parade option for the Waveform scope. And I have a same problem over here. I have a bit of trace in the blue, green, and red channels that's extended over 100%. Trace that's over 100% or below 0% is generally considered illegal for broadcast. So what I actually want to go ahead and do is use a Shape Mask on this shot. I am thinking what's actually illegal in this shot is the highlights or the reflections on this photo.
So I am going to use a Shape Mask to sort of isolate the photo. Let me go ahead and hide the RGB Parade here by pressing Command+7 and Command+7 again to close the Scopes window. Then, let me select this shot down here in the Timeline and go back to the main level of my Inspector. Of course, I have the default correction already on this shot, so I need to add a new correction and I'll do that by clicking the Plus button right here. On Correction 2, let's click this button to create a new Shape Mask. With the on-screen controls here in the Viewer, let's change this from a circle to a square. And I'll do that by grabbing this little translucent control right here and making the shape into a square.
Then I am going to rotate the shape something like this, and we'll position the shape around the photograph. Let's add a little softness to this shape by dragging the Softness control out just a touch, and then let me go ahead and get my scopes back into view. I'll press Command+7 to open up the Scopes window again, and then let me go back to the Waveform scope, and then to the Luma option, which I already have selected, and select the shot here down in the Timeline. Let's find that bit of trace that's illegal right about there. Let's position the Shape Mask back over the photo. We actually might need to make it a little bigger; something like that works.
Then I am going to come in to the Color Board for Correction 2 here and let me click over to the Exposure Pane, this guy right here. And I am going to drag my Highlights Exposure Control down; something like that works. Let's skim through the clip, and now you'll notice that all my trace is inside of 100%. Let's take a look at the RGB Parade. Same deal there; all the trace is inside 100%, indicating that this clip is now legal for broadcast. So that's a little bit more on using Secondary Color Corrections to target a portion of the clip to help ensure broadcast legality.
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