Join Ashley Kennedy for an in-depth discussion in this video Following a proper color correction workflow, part of Final Cut Pro X 10.1.x Essential Training.
Now that we've identified what needs to be done to each of our images, we're going to go step by step through a basic color correction workflow. This workflow has been broken down into three basic parts. And you can use this formula whenever you approach basic color correction. So I'm going into 10.2, and as you can see we have the same images that we saw in the previous movie. I'm going to select the first image here and then I'm going to open up the Inspector Cmd+4, and there's no need to apply a color correction effect to clips in Final Cut Pro X.
Color correction is yet another built-in effect. So let's take a look at the color category here at the top. We'll get into all of these items a little bit later, but for right now, let's come to Correction 1. This is indeed the first of any number of corrections I can apply to my clip. I recommend, however, that the first correction that you apply to a clip is the Basic Correction that we're about to go through. So I'm simply going to click on this arrow right here. And my color board opens. Now, the first controls that you should use are the exposure controls.
So, I'll click up here and lets take a look here. This knob on the far left is the global control. It raises and lowers the exposure of the image uniformly across the blacks mid tones and whites. However, most of the time, global isn't going to cut it. We'll need more control in isolating our luma values, so we'll be dealing primarily with these controls here. We've got the Shadows control, which controls the darkest parts of the image. The Highlights control, which controls the lightest parts of the image, and the Midtones control, which controls the luma values in between.
Also, by the way, I may occasionally refer to the Shadows control as the Setup control, the Highlights control as the Gain control, and the Midtones control as the Gamma control. Those are all terms you can also use for adjusting luma values. We also need to open up the appropriate videoscope. There are a few you can use, but the one we're going to use is the Luma Waveform monitor. I open up the video scopes by coming up to this menu here and choosing show video scopes or command seven. Lets give ourselves a bit more space here.
I'm going to come up to Window, and for now I'm going to choose High Browser. That will give us a lot more real estate to work with. Let's go ahead and make sure that the luma waveform monitor is showing. So Waveform and Luma. Looks good here. And let's take a look at how to read this. Now, this video scope captures the light and dark values of the image without measuring the chroma or color values. Zero represents video black and a hundred represents video white.
Before we make our video adjustment I just want to call out one thing about the relationship between our wave form and our image. As we look at this image, we can see you know, that we tree, that we have BD, we have his face and his body, and then we have more trees. And we come here and its the same thing. These are all of the luma values for the trees. Here are the luma values for BD's face and body. And here are the luma values for the trees. So if we look down here, the darkest part of the image is mapped to, you know, these shadows right around his collar.
The lightest parts of the image here is mapped to probably this highlight right here in the trees. That's how we are going to look at it. So the first thing I'm going to do, is take my setup control and drag down. And you notice that the image changes live. And the waveform approaches zero. So we don't want to go below zero, but I'm going to approach zero so we have the very darkest parts of our image right there at video black. You can see that it's already improved a lot and then we do the same thing with our gain knob.
I'm going to just drag this up, and again I don't want to go above, 100 but I want to approach 100. And you can see that by opening up our contrast scale, this is already so much better. Then you come to your gamma, and you can either lighten it up a little bit, or darken it up a little bit. And I think I'm just going to bring it slightly below. The middle, and I think I like that. So that's step one and usually this helps out a lot.
Now let's move to step two, which is where we correct color balance problems. I'm going to move from the exposure controls to the color controls, and I'm going to switch from the luma waveform monitor to the RGB parade. The RGB parade breaks the signal out into the red, green, and blue color signals. So usually our aim here is to balance the image across these three color channels, specifically in the areas that should be color-neutral, which are the blacks and the whites.
So it looks like our image is pretty well balanced between the red and the green channels, but we're a little low in blue. So let's go ahead and take our highlight knob and drag up in blue, and you can see the channels adjust accordingly. Also look at the image, it's cooling everything off. So that yellow color cast that we had over the entire image is going away. And I can take my shadows knob and come over to the blues, and just sort of tweak it just a little bit. And what I'm going to do, really briefly, is just come back over to the luma controls.
Because sometimes when you adjust your color channels, it affects the luma and in this case, you can see that it did. So, it's kind of like a dance. I'm going to come back over to exposure and just bring up my exposure, just a little bit more. And then I'll come back over to RGB parade. And everything is looking good still. You might have to go back and forth a little bit there, but already looking a lot better. And finally, the last part of the process is checking your saturation. So I'm going to click on Saturation here.
And then we're going to switch from, the RGB parade to the vector scope. Now the vector scope is the one video scope we've seen so far that only measures chroma, or color values, without taking into account the luna signal. It measures values around the color wheel starting here red, magenta, blue, cyan, green and yellow. So if you notice our image here we've got chroma values residing in the red, but mostly yellow and green area and we've also got some blue here.
Also, notice this line right here. This is called the flesh tone line, where you should try to get the flesh tones in your image to reside. So as you can see, we do have our flesh tones here, and we also have our yellow here, which is mostly the background. And we have our blue here which is his shirt. So I think the flesh tones could probably be saturated a little bit more. Usually I like to have the flesh tones reside about a third of the way from the center of the vector scope out to the edge.
So, let's just take our mid tone control, so we're only effecting the saturation of our mid tones and drag up. You can see the vector scope adjust accordingly. You don't want to go too much or he turns orange, rather just give him a nice, healthy. Skin color here. I think I like that. So now let's go back to the main Inspector window by clicking on this arrow here. Let's take a look at our before and after. So, this is after and this is before. Big difference isn't it? So, now we're going to go through this entire workflow that we've just done but quickly on this image.
So you can see how quickly this can be done. So, we're going to select this image. We're going to go into Correction 1. We're going to first go to exposure controls and make sure that we show the video scopes for the Luma waveform. We're going to bring our lightest parts of the image up. And we're also going to bring the darkest parts of the image up. So that we're between 0 and 100. I'm going to just ride my gamma, to see kind of if I want to darken or lighten it. So I think I'll probably be right around here.
Next, we're going to switch to the RGB Parade. And then come over to Color. And we're a little bit weighted towards red. Let's take our highlight control. Go to red. And just bring it down just slightly. I also want to come down here to my dark values and adjust my blues just a little bit. So I'm going to take my. Dark value go over to the blues and raise them up just a little bit. And now, I'm going to the Vector Scope, and Saturation.
And you can see that we definitely have a pretty saturated image. If I ride the global controls up and down. I'll probably just bring everything down slightly here, then I'll come over to my midtones. Maybe just have the midtones up a little bit, but then overall down. So, I think that'll work well. So let's go ahead and take a look at before and after. So this is after, and this is before. So we could probably do a little bit more tweaking here. You can see that we brought out some detail in the shadows.
He doesn't look so red and so dark. And our contrast is a lot better. So as you can see, there's a certain workflow you should take in correcting your images. But as you do it again and again, you'll get faster and more efficient, and it'll become second nature.
This lynda.com course and its exercise files are only compatible with Final Cut Pro X v10.1 or later. If you are running a prior version of Final Cut Pro X please upgrade your software to v10.1, or, if you chose not to upgrade, use the pre-v10.1 Final Cut Pro X Essentials course that's still available in the lynda.com library.
- Understanding nonlinear editing
- Creating, organizing and managing libraries and events
- Organizing footage with keywords and ratings
- Playing and marking clips
- Performing Insert, Append, Overwrite, and Replace edits
- Moving and removing clips
- Trimming in the timeline: performing ripple, roll, slip and slide edits
- Working with connected clips and multiple storylines
- Adjusting audio levels, EQ, and more
- Performing a multicam edit
- Adding and animating video and audio effects
- Working with motion effects, speed effects, titles, themes, and generators
- Performing primary and secondary color correction
- Importing and analyzing footage from multiple platforms
- Managing media and project data
- Sharing and exporting projects