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Wednesday, October 17, 2018

How to Color Correct and Color Grade in Final Cut Pro X

Color correction and color grading are the processes of adjusting the color of a video to achieve a more balanced or stylistic look. Final Cut Pro X makes this reasonably easy to do.

There are some differences between correction and grading. Color correction comes first and is where you correct over or undersaturated video to make the colors more uniform between clips. Color grading is used to give your footage a distinct look and adjust the overall mood of the clip. You’ll use the same tools for both techniques though, so the process is similar.

If you don’t have Final Cut, the same basic steps will apply to whatever editing program you are using, but the UI will look a little different.

The Basics

In Final Cut, you’ll perform color correction and grading through the Color Board, which is just an effect in Final Cut like any other. It’s so often used that Apple has given it a hotkey—Command+6. This technically opens the “Color Inspector” tool for any clip, but if you don’t have the color board effect already on your clip, Final Cut adds it automatically. Navigating Final Cut with hotkeys is much easier, and you can find a full list of them here. Alternatively, you could drag the effect on the clip and then click on it in the inspector.

Once you’ve got it pulled up, the first window you’ll see is the color tab. There are also tabs for saturation and exposure, and you can navigate between them with Control+Command+C, S, or E.

There are four sliders in each pane for master control, shadows, mid-tones, and highlights. Master control will change the look of the whole clip at once, and the other sliders will change the dark, gray, and light parts of the image individually.

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