Join Robbie Carman for an in-depth discussion in this video Using Balance Color, part of Final Cut Pro X: Color Correction.
What I want to show you in this movie is an amazing new color correction feature in Final Cut Pro X that can drastically speed up your workflow. The process of balancing color is generally a two-step process, and most of the time it begins on import. So after you've opened up the project, simply go up to the File menu, and then down to Import, and choose to Import Files. You can also use the keyboard shortcut Shift+Command+I. In just a second, the Import Files dialog box will open up and what I am going to do is navigate out to my Desktop and then choose the Exercise Files folder. On your own system, simply navigate to wherever you saved the Exercise Files.
Inside of that folder, I am going to open up this folder called Import for Balance Color, and then select this movie called balancecolor.mov. So with this clip selected, let's come down to lower section of the dialog, and the first choice that we have is whether we want to import this clip into an Existing Event or if we want to Create a New Event. I have actually already gone ahead and created an event called Color Correction in Final Cut Pro X, and I want to import this clip into that existing event. Remember, events are simply a way of organizing media in Final Cut Pro X. Next down here in the Organizing section, let's make sure that we have this first option, Copy files to Final Cut Events folder, selected.
Although this will create a duplicate of the media, that's actually okay. If you choose later to trash the Exercise Files folder, you will still have this clip in the Event called Color Correction in Final Cut Pro X. We can leave this option for Import folders as Keyword Collections unchecked. Then, in the Transcoding section, we can leave both of these options for Creating optimized media and proxy media unchecked, as all of my media is already encoded as Apple ProRes Proxy. Here in the Video section is the option that I want to focus on. This one right here, Analyze for balance color. Let me go ahead and check that option.
We can actually analyze a clip for several things, including stabilization and rolling shutter. We can also analyze a clip to find people. But, the option that I want to have checked for this movie is Analyze for balance color. Then, down here in the Audio section, I can actually leave all three of these options unchecked, as I don't have any audio on this clip. Now, before we actually go ahead and click Import, let me move the Import Files dialog box over to the right here. What I want you to notice in the middle of the Final Cut Pro X interface is this icon right here that currently says 100%. What this icon shows you is the status of background tasks.
And when we import this clip in just a moment, what's going to happen is Final Cut Pro X will automatically start analyzing this clip for balance color, and that analyzation will happen in the background. As it's analyzing, this little icon will count up from 0% all the way to 100%, but it's going to happen really quickly. So I just wanted to point it out before we actually imported the clip. Let's go ahead and import the clip. In just a second, it's added to our Event. You can see it right here, and this little Progress icon of Background Tasks quickly counted up from 0% all the way to 100%.
Now, of course, if you had a thousand clips, it would go a little slower than just a single clip, but in general, it goes pretty quick. Let's go ahead and take this clip that we just imported and drag it down into our timeline. Then, let me skim this clip and you can see that the clip - well, it doesn't look so good. It's kind of blue, and it's kind of washed out. And of course, I could do a manual color correction on this clip using the color board to balance this clip out. We will talk about the Color Board in more detail later in this chapter and then throughout the rest of this title.
But I actually want to perform an automatic correction. What I am going to do is use that analyzation data that we just created to perform an automatic correction. So what I am going to do is select this clip and then use the keyboard shortcut Command+4 to open up the Inspector. Here in the Color section of the Video pane of the Inspector, notice that I have this option right here called Balance. Also notice right next to the word Balance, it says Analyzed. That's because we analyzed this clip on import. If we had not chosen that option during import, it would say Not Analyzed here next to the word Balance.
If we had a non-analyzed clip, curiously, enabling balance color would still actually balance the clip. But, Final Cut Pro would use the frame that your playhead is on to balance the rest of the shot, or if your playhead is on a different clip or you selected a clip elsewhere in your project, it will use the middle-most frame in the clip to balance the shot. In my opinion, you will get much better results if the clip has been analyzed, and you can do this in two ways. First, either on import as we've done, or if you've forgotten to analyze on import, you can quickly analyze it once it's in an event.
To do that, simply find a clip and right-click on the clip, and then choose this option right here called Analyze and Fix. In the dialog box that pops up, you will notice that you have the same options that we had when we imported this file originally. One of those options is Analyze for balance color. Now, of course, this shot has already been analyzed, so I can simply click Cancel here. So to actually fix this shot, let's come back over to the Inspector and choose to enable the balance. We can do this in one of two ways. I can simply choose to click this Black square here to enable the balance, or I can use this keyboard shortcut Option+ Command+B. I am simply going to click.
In one second, you can quickly see that the shot has been balanced. It looks way better than that original shot. Now, is it perfect? No, but I can always go back in later and refine this correction using the color board here in Final Cut Pro X. Let me quickly toggle that on and off so you can see the difference once again. Then, let's come down to the timeline here and play this clip. Looks pretty good! I think this is one of the best features as far as color correction in Final Cut Pro X goes.
Analyzing for balance color on import or after a clip has been brought into Final Cut Pro X is quick and easy.
- Understanding the video scopes
- Using Balance Color and Match Color
- Fixing under- and overexposed clips
- Expanding contrast
- Controlling saturation
- Using color and shape masks
- Creating looks with primary and secondary corrections