Color correcting the shots in your edit to form a cohesive whole is a vital skill in today’s post-production workflow. Lighting can change from shot to shot, especially if you’re relying on the great ball of light in the sky. Even in a more controlled environment with matched cameras (or a single camera shoot) you'll need to fix exposure or white balance issues that weren’t obvious on set.
This is a big topic, so we’ll tackle the basics of the Color Board — Final Cut Pro X’s main color correction tool — first, and then take a quick look at a couple of more advanced options.
If you’re new to the topic, Denver Riddle of Color Grading Central introduces the topic really nicely. While CGC have an entire series of videos, here we’ve listed just a few of them.
Your screen could be set to a strange color profile, but the scopes don’t lie. Once you learn how to read the waveform, vectorscope and histogram, you’ll have a much better handle on what’s going on.
Before you go crazy with color changes, it’s good to get the basics right, and that means exposure. Always do this first.
If you’ve nailed exposure, time to balance the color. There are many ways to do this, but CGC have some great methods on show here.
Finally, our last video from CGC for the moment, this video shows how to make sure each shot matches the last.
While this tutorial takes a quick look at the Color Board, if you really, really want your color wheels, this video shows you how you can get them back.
Simple but often overlooked, a vignette can focus attention on part of a shot very nicely, and this video shows you how it can be done with the Vignette filter rather than the color board.
This project-based tutorial covers how to correct for Log footage if you want to tackle the whole process by hand, featuring S-Log footage from a Sony a7s.
This video shows you a basic way to correct only part of the image, by using a shape mask to limit the area that’s affected. This is just one way to handle shape masking, and we’ll cover many more examples in our next article.
Getting just a little more advanced, if you want selective color correction but your subject is moving in your shot, you can use SliceX Free to track the correction. (A paid version allows freeform shape masking, while the free version is limited to squares and circles.)
Those articles should give a great grasp of the fundamentals and a quick taste of more advanced secondary color correction. Watch for our next article soon, tackling more advanced topics.
Iain Anderson is an Apple Certified Trainer, videographer, editor, animator, writer, designer and occasional coder based in Brisbane, Australia. Find him at http://trainingbrisbane.com and @funwithstuff on Twitter.
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- Tags: balance, color, correction, exposure, grading, look, mood, scopes, secondary, selective, slicex, top10, tracking