Join Robbie Carman for an in-depth discussion in this video Round-tripping with Final Cut Pro and Color, part of Color 1.5 Essential Training.
While Color can support workflows like emulating a tape to tape workflow and complicated digital intermediate workflows that use DPX and Cineon files and film output, for the vast majority of projects, the round-trip workflow, that is sending a project to Color from Final Cut Pro and rendering new QuickTime media and then sending the project back to Final Cut Pro, is much more common. One thing I want to let you is that don't worry if every step in this movie is not perfectly clear. I am going to do some things in Color that we haven't discussed yet. But really the goal of this movie is to show you the mechanics and the process of round tripping between Final Cut Pro and Color.
In the rest of this title we will explore everything you need to know about Color as well as topics like properly preparing a Final Cut Pro project. But as I have said, for now I simply want to show you how a round-trip works. The first step in a round-trip workflow starts in Final Cut Pro with a Final Cut Pro sequence. So let's go ahead and actually open up a sequence. I am going to come into my Final Cut Pro project and into the Ch 3 bin and let's open up the sequence called 03_02_roundtripping with Final Cut Pro and Color. This sequence features footage from the film Running the Sahara, that's a pretty simple sequence.
There's a couple of things you should know about sequences in Final Cut Pro and their relationship to Color. First, you can only send sequences to Color from Final Cut Pro. You can't just send a couple of clips from a sequence. If you wanted to send just these three clips, they have to be on their own sequence. Also, you need to make sure before you send the project to Color that the sequence that you want is selected. Do this by either selecting the sequence in your Timeline window or up here in your browser. Okay, so let's actually send this sequence to Color and what I am going to do is choose the File menu and then come down to Send To, Color.
What happens when I choose this option is Final Cut Pro will send an XML file to Color that describes the sequence in terms of its layout, where the source media lives, any Motion tab settings, Final Cut Pro filters and so on. This XML file is sent behind the scenes. You don't actually have to keep track of it or worry about where it is on your computer. Okay, so let me choose this option File>Send To>Color and up next we get a dialog box. Here we can choose to name the Color project that's going to be created when I send this Final Cut Pro project to Color. We can also get some additional technical information about the sequence, such as its total duration.
And the duration of this sequence is pretty short. It's about 34 seconds. So where does a Color project actually gets saved to when I click OK? Well, we are going to talk more about the default project directories in chapter 5 but assuming default settings, the default directory that projects are saved in, when sending the project to Color from Final Cut Pro is your User folder, Documents, Color Documents. All right. Let's go ahead and click OK. In just a second Color will open and I have previously opened Color on my system. But if this is the first time that Color has been opened, you might be presented with some Preference dialog boxes on your system.
If this happens, simply click OK to accept the defaults. We will talk about these preference boxes in chapter 5 when we talk about essential preferences and project slides. So, my Color project has opened up and again don't worry if this interface seems kind of intimidating to you. We are going to break down the Color interface in detail over the course of this title. But a couple of things I want to point out. Our Final Cut Pro project has been recreated here on the Color Timeline and the Color Timeline is just down here at the bottom of the Color interface and here you can see all the clips that made up our Final Cut Pro sequence recreated here in Color.
This main window here in Color contains all of the rooms that I use in Color. That is the Primary room, the Secondary room, the Color Effects room and so on. We will be coming back to each one of these rooms in later chapters in this title. For right now though, I simply want to apply a simple contrast correction to a clip and I am going to do that by using the Primary In room here at the top of the interface. The Primary In room is where I perform a primary color correction, that is a correction that affects the entire clip. So all I want to do in this clip, as I said, is perform simple contrast correction and I am going to do that by using these tools here at the top of the Primary In room called the Color Balance controls.
So, let me spend a second to make a contrast correction. Again, don't worry if everything I am doing here in the Primary In room doesn't make sense. We are going to break down making contrast corrections in details in a later chapter. But for right now, I am going to use the Contrast sliders on each one of the Color Balance controls to make the contrast correction. Okay, so we made a simple contrast correction and now I want to apply this contrast correction to all of my clips. I am going to do this by pressing this button down here in the lower right-hand corner of the Primary In room that says Copy To All.
This will copy the primary correction to all of my clips in this Color project. So, when I did that you can see here on my Color Timeline that the primary correction, which is denoted by this little bar right here that says Pi, has been applied to all of my clips. Now I have corrected all of my clips but one thing I want to say is that, I've really just corrected them and I am saying 'corrected' because I have applied the same corrections to all of the clips. In a real world project, you correct each clip individually. But for this project, it's okay that each clip has the same correction.
So, we need to get these project back to Final Cut Pro and this is a two-step process. First, we need to create new QuickTime media for the corrected clips, or in other words, we need to create new QuickTime media that has the correction that we just applied to all of our clips baked-in. And we are going to do this in the Render Queue room here at the top of the Color interface. So, let me click on the Render Queue and here is where I can add clips to be rendered. And I am going to do that by simply clicking the Add All button down here at the bottom of the Render Queue room. And all of my clips from the Color sequence are added to the Render Queue.
Next, I am going to go ahead and click Start Render and a couple of things you should know, with the default preferences these clips will be rendered to your User folder, Documents and Color Documents. If you have access to the Exercise Files, feel free to delete these files from that location after watching this movie. Also rendering can take a while depending on the complexity of the corrections that you have applied to your clips, the resolution of the clips as well as the robustness of your system, particularly how good your graphics card is. Okay, now that the clips are done rendering, we need to do the second step in getting a project back to Final Cut Pro.
And what we are going to do is choose the File menu and then come down to Send To, Final Cut Pro. What this does is it sends an XML file back to Final Cut Pro to let Final Cut Pro where the newly color corrected media is located and to have Final Cut Pro rebuild the sequence. The important thing is that we do this step after our clips have been rendered. So, I am going to choose File>Send To> Final Cut Pro and when I do that, in just a second, Final Cut Pro will back up and what I want you to notice here at the top of my browser is I have a new sequence.
It's named the same thing as the sequence that it originally sent to Color but notice here at the end in parenthesis it says 'from Color'. This denotes that it's the color corrected sequence. So let me double-click on it to open it up. Okay, in here is my color corrected sequence. Let's take a look at a couple of clips here. Here is a shot with a bunch of kids and if I switch the original sequence and go to that same shot, you can see the differences between the two clips. So that's the basics of a Final Cut Pro to Color round-trip. As I mentioned at the beginning of this movie, we will break down concepts like primary correction and rendering as well as exploring the entire Color interface in movies throughout the rest of this title.
But now you should have a better idea of the steps involved in a Final Cut Pro to Color round-trip.
- Round-tripping with Final Cut Pro and Color
- Ingesting RED footage for color grading
- Understanding the Color interface and navigating Color's Finder dialogs
- Performing primary corrections in the Primary In room
- Applying secondary corrections using HSL keys, vignettes, and curves
- Using the Color FX room
- Keyframing corrections in a clip
- Preparing for rendering and output from Color back to Final Cut Pro