Join Robbie Carman for an in-depth discussion in this video Realizing Final Cut Pro sequence limitations in Color, part of Apple Color Essential Training.
So chances are if you're wanting to learn Color, you've been exposed to Final Cut Pro, because after all Color comes with Final Cut Pro in Final Cut Studio. Maybe you are a seasoned FCP editor or a beginner, either way that's fine. The point is most Color workflows start in Final Cut Pro. This makes sense if you think about it, because Final Cut Pro is the centerpiece of Final Cut Studio and its where ingest, editing, effects, transitions, and lastly, output happens. In this movie, we'll work in FCP and talk about prepping a sequence for Color and some things to be aware of. If you're not a FCP user, have no fear, the steps that we'll do here are pretty straightforward and pretty simple.
So the first thing I want to do is come into my Exercise Files disk image, and I'm going to sort it as List view. There is a folder called FCP Master Project, and inside of there, there is a Final Cut Pro project called Color Essential Training. I'm just going to double click on that to open it up. So when Final Cut Pro opens up, you'll notice that there's no timeline window or no canvas window. That's just because I don't have a sequence open. Let's go up into my Browser, and there is a folder called 3 Overview of Workflows With Color. Let's scroll down on the disclosure triangle next to that folder, and there is a sequence in there called 3_ 3 prepfcpseq_limitationsofcolor.
Let's just double click on that one to open it up. A sequence opens up in your timeline window and your canvas now appears. So let's talk a little bit about this sequence. This sequence is a DVCPRO-HD 720P24 sequence, and it's actually a snippet of a music video from a band that I'm in. Right off the bat, let's discuss a few things about this sequence. The first thing I want you to notice is that the sequence uses two video tracks. I have V1 and I have V2. Additionally, I have some audio down here on audio tracks 1 and 2.
The next thing I want you to notice is what's going on, on track 2. At the beginning of the sequence I have one of Final Cut Pro's standard title generators, and it's just displaying some music video text, the name of the song, the name of the album, and so on, at the beginning of the music video. A little farther down in the sequence, also on video track 2, I have some more text, but this text is actually text that was created by motion. It's a .motn file, representing a motion clip. Then down further on the timeline I have sort of a push-in, sort of a Ken Burns effect on a still photo. This is just a JPEG here at the end of the sequence.
The next thing I want you to notice is in the middle of the timeline, if I zoom in a little bit with my Zoom tool, which is just Z on the keyboard to zoom in, I have a clip that has some variable speed changes applied to it. I know that this clip has had speed changes applied to it because in parenthesis, next to the name of the clip, it says variable. There is another part of this sequence that's kind of invisible to us right now, but I want to take a look at. Down here in the bottom left hand corner of the Final Cut Pro timeline, there is a little button that says Toggle Clip Keyframes. That's the one that looks like two parallel lines.
If I click on that, underneath each clip, there is a gray area that's displayed that shows me my clip keyframes. But more basically than that, it shows me whether I have filters or motion changes applied to a clip. The green line underneath a clip shows me the fact that I have a filter applied to this clip. I don't know what filter it is, but I just have a filter applied. The blue line shows me that I have changed the motion of this clip in some way. So let's take a look at a couple of these clips that have filters on them. Down here, there is a clip that has a filter on it, and if I double click on the clip, the one that says RC-012, and I come into the Filters tab, you'll notice that I have a Color Balance filter. I can toggle that on and off, just to show you the effect of it. Here is the original clip, which is nice and blue, and then the Color Balance filter, attempted to color correct that shot.
If I come down to the beginning of the timeline, there is a clip called RC-008, and let me double click on that one to load it into the viewer. If I look at the Filters tab there, I have a Color Corrector 3-way, and in fact, I have an additional tab called Color Corrector 3- way. This is just the principal tool to provide color correction in Final Cut Pro. So we know what our sequence looks like now, let's actually go ahead and send the sequence as is to Color. So the way that I'm going to do this is I'm going to go up to the File menu, and down to Send To, and Color. Oh, oh, Color is grayed out. This is an important thing. Final Cut Pro can only send sequences to Color. It cannot send individual clips. So I need to make sure that the sequence that I want to Send To Color is selected.
So let me come back down to the timeline window and select the sequence, and come up to the File menu, Send To, and choose Color. I'm prompted with this dialog box that lets me choose the name of the Color project that I'm about to create. It defaults to the same name as the sequence that you're working on. I'll go ahead and click OK, and Color will launch. What's really happening when Color launches like this is that Final Cut Pro is sending Color an XML file and all an XML file is, is a set of instructions about the sequence.
Additionally, when I use the Send To Color command from Final Cut Pro, the project is automatically saved in the default project directory in Color. In another movie we'll take a look at setting up the default project directory. But for now the default is fine. If you want to know, the default directory is in your User folder, Documents, and Color Documents. Now let's take a look at the sequence that we send from Final Cut Pro now in Color. At the bottom of the Color Interface is my Color timeline. In a later movie we'll deconstruct how the timeline works, but what I want you to know for right now is just basically how to zoom in and out on the timeline.
If I hold my right mouse button down and drag left and right, I can zoom horizontally in and out of the timeline. If I hold my middle mouse button down and drag left and right, I can pan the timeline. The important thing is, when you zoom in and out, or you pan the timeline, you just want to make sure that you're doing that on the time code ruler here above the clips. So let me zoom in just a little bit and pan the timeline towards the center here, like this.
All right. Let's see what's going on with this sequence now in Color. First of all, you'll notice that my tracks were maintained. I still have two tracks of video: video track 1 and video track 2. Notice however that I have no audio. Color maintained my video track layout, but audio does not come from Final Cut Pro to Color. Don't worry though. Your sequence will get married back up to its respective audio when the project goes back to Final Cut Pro. The next thing to notice is about those text generators that I had. At the very beginning of the sequence you'll notice that I have this red box that kind of looks like an offline clip that I might see in Final Cut Pro. In fact, that's what this is. It's an offline clip. Title generators or other generators like LiveType files, Motion clips, and so on are not displayed in Color. Color will use this offline icon as a placeholder, but it will not display the clip.
Further down in my timeline, remember I had that Motion clip and likewise, because this is a .motn file, it is not displayed in the Color timeline. Do you remember that still that I had at the end of the sequence? Well, here it is right at the end of the sequence and I can see on the timeline that there is an icon for it. But if I put my playhead over that clip, you'll notice up here in the preview area of Color that I don't actually see anything. I just have a black blank window. That's because still frames, JPEGs, stills, or even stills that you create in Final Cut Pro are not supported by Color.
Well, the next thing I want you to notice is the clip in the middle of the timeline that was the speed adjusted clip. That came over just fine from Final Cut Pro, however some users have reported problems with speed adjusted clips. In the most recent version of Color, there doesn't seem to be a lot of problems with speed adjusted clips. However, if you start having problems with speed adjusted clips, you may want to follow the procedure that we'll talk about in just a few minutes. Do you remember my clips that I had filters on? Let's take a look at those. Here is the clip that I had a Color Balance Filter on. You'll notice that it doesn't seem to be color corrected anymore. It's defaulted back to the original clip, which has that blue color cast.
The important thing to understand here is that Filters do not come over from Final Cut Pro to Color. However, if you go back to Final Cut Pro as part of a roundtrip, those filters will then reconnect to those clips and we'll talk about why that can be a little dangerous in just a minute. Now, I said that Filters do not come over from Final Cut Pro to Color. However, there is one exception. Here is the clip that I had the Color Corrector 3-way Filter applied to. Now, the Color Corrector 3-way is the only filter that comes over from Final Cut Pro to Color, and it doesn't come over all that nicely, instead what happens is that its translated into a correction in my Primary In room.
In later movies we'll talk about exactly how the Primary In room works. But the important thing to know is that the Color Corrector 3-way is translated into a Primary In room correction. Then the last thing to notice about this sequence is my transitions. Now, I didn't show you the transitions in the Final Cut Pro timeline, but that's okay, I can show you here. In the Color timeline, Color keeps the transitions. You can see that it says Cross Dissolve down here. But if I scrub through by dragging my playhead along those transitions, you'll notice that the transition is not displayed.
Just like other things from Final Cut Pro, Color will keep the Cross Dissolve or keep transitions there as a placeholder, but it will neither preview them nor render them. So now that we've seen that the sequence is not exactly perfect, let's go back into Final Cut Pro and prep our sequence a little bit better.
- Understanding digital color correction
- Fitting Color into Final Cut Studio processes
- Importing and opening projects
- Using the scopes
- Adjusting under- and overexposed clips
- Removing color casts with the Color Balance controls
- Understanding the Secondaries room
- Building Color effects
- Using multiple grades and corrections
- Changing color over time
- Rendering and outputting files