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Making your clips look their best may seem like a technical job, but as a storyteller, it's important to make your clips look as good as they can so your audience isn't distracted by something as easy to fix as say, color balance. But there are other ways you can impact the look and feel of your clips that will support and enhance your story. Let's take a look. In the Project Library, let's open the Color project. This project contains a clip of Paul and four cutaways covering a portion to describe a portion of what he's saying.
Let's take a look at what he's saying, and the clips that match his audio. (Video Playing) Paul: So what was the risk? There was no risk. It was clear. It was clear that all the pieces of the puzzle were there if you focus on people. If you focus on product then the risk was incredible, the risk was a seventy five thousand dollar risk. But when you see all these pieces come together, you know, in a certain kind of way, and you know that the one thing that's missing is you. And the story has come to you and you're ready.
Diana Weynand: So these are the clips that we want to consider. Now what happens when you work with clips over and over to put a story together is that you get used to looking at them the way they are, and sometimes it dulls your visual sense as to whether or not they could be made to be any better. For example, let's take a look at this shot of the beans. Now when we look at it and we see the mature coffee beans ready for picking, the green leaves, but if we take a closer look and really dive into the color and examine it from two points of view; one is, is there something that needs to be fixed? And is there something that can be improved? So to do that, we want to click on the Inspector button to open the Inspector window, and the first thing that you can do to answer that question of, can it be fixed, or does it need to be fixed is to click on the Balance button in the Color section.
Simply clicking this Balance enable box will ask Final Cut Pro to look at it and color balance it. Now I am going to turn it off because if you didn't notice that's a pretty drastic change. As you have been working with this clip, you may have gotten really used to seeing this clip as it is, without realizing that there was a really strong green color cast to it, perhaps a lot of reflection from the green leaves. So which would you prefer? A little bit muddier, greener on everything, even the green on the branch, or would you prefer to remove some of that color cast and start with the image a little bit cleaner in this way.
I'm sure you'd agree that this might be the better clip to start with. Now let's take a look at the next clip; the pounding of the coffee. Now let's go ahead and play this clip. (Video Playing) Now again, we've been seeing this clip in other movies. We have been working with it and you might not even think anything of it because frankly I think the director of this documentary, Curt Fissel, did an excellent job, and the images are beautiful and he captured a lot of the color of the region. Even the color of the coffee is exceptional.
Let's see what happens when we ask Final Cut to color balance this image. Well, that's quite a change! Once again, would you rather see this, or this? Would you rather your viewers see this, or this? Now the this or this is actually a starting point; it's a first step. You might say yeah, well, this unbalanced one has more richness, more color to it. Well, that's fine, in our second step of modifying color, we can do that as well; we can increase some of the color.
So for now, let's make sure that we are looking at this clip with the color balance applied, and now let's turn on a color correction, and go into the Color board. There are three different ways that you can correct an image for color; one is Exposure, which is the brightness or darkness; the Saturation, which is simply the amount of color an image has; and then the actual color, or what portion of the color wheel or what hue an image has. Well, it's always a good idea to start with the exposure, which is the brightness and the darkness, and a great way to increase the contrast in an image is to lower the midrange.
And when we do that on this image, we see that it brings out our little bit of a richer look to the color beans. And the next thing we can do is go to our Saturation tab, and just raise the Saturation overall for the image. So what that allows us to do is put back some of the rich saturation in the beans without making the bowl or the pounding stick the yellow cast that it was previously. Let's take a look at the making coffee clip.
This clip looks almost perfect, why would you change anything about it? So, when we click the making coffee clip, we don't see any color adjustment applied. That's because we're looking at the Color Board window. If we click the button in the upper left corner it takes us back to the Video tab, and at that point we can enable the color board by clicking on Correction 1. But before we do that, it's always a good idea to just take a quick look at the color balance to see if you prefer it unbalanced or balanced. Let's go with the balanced, and we've already enabled color Correction 1, so now we can just click the forward arrow to move to the Color Board.
Another way to move to the Color Board is to click the Color pop-up, and choose Color Board, or use th shortcut, Command+6. Here we might want to increase the contrast by dragging the midrange level down. Notice the further I drag it down the darker those mid-level pixels become. We don't want it to get too dark, but notice how it gets really white and cloudy, if we have too much midrange. It's nice to lower the midrange just a little to increase the contrast of the image. And if we go to the Saturation and drag the global fader up, and notice how rich the color appears in the rock around and even the coffee on the coffee pot.
Now when we go back to our Video tab, we can turn the Color Correction button off and on to see if we like the improvement that you made. So again, I hope you're getting the idea; first thing you want to do is see whether or not there is a color balance adjustment that could enhance the image. I'm going to buy that for this one as well, but also I see that this image is a little milky, so let's go in and go to our Exposure and drag the midrange down to create a little bit better contrast in the image.
Could this image use a little more saturation to bring out the colors in the back of the truck? Absolutely! So go ahead and raise the global fader up a little bit. And you can apply the same sort of adjustment to Paul. If we go back to our Video tab and see whether or not there is any color cast in this image, wow, well, that's a different way to look at Paul. You get used to looking at an image. So go ahead and throw that color balance on, and then go ahead and step into the correction to see if there's something you can do here.
So you might, in this, want to raise a little bit of the saturation for the whole image and that creates a richness in both Paul's flesh tones and the building behind him. Well, the development of your story needs your constant attention, sometimes that attention includes taking a second look and helping the clips look as good as they can, so they hold up their part of the story. If you're working in Final Cut X and want to learn more about these color options, check out the Color Correction in Final Cut Pro X course with Robbie Carman.
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