Basic Colour Correction & Effects in Final Cut Pro

DMiP Week 5

Learning to correct colour tone, saturation and brightness in Final Cut Pro is a very useful skill. As amateur film makers we will no doubt run into a plethora of troubles when shooting footage as far as lighting and exposure is concerned. The ability to alter these levels digitally in the editing process is essential.

We were instructed to open some example footage where the first section was over exposed (too bright), the second section was under exposed (too dark) and the third section needed correcting in the colour tone.

By isolating each section we were able to apply different effects to the section of footage in question and alter the brightness and contrast (in the case of the under/over exposed sections) and open three colour corrector to improve the tonal range of the third section.

Here is a screen shot of the Effects Tab showing the Brightness and Contrast option selected. When double clicking on this selection the following browser is revealed….

From here you can alter the Brightness and Contrast settings to correct any over or under exposure. The controls can be adjusted by moving the slider with the mouse or by entering a specific number value in the field to the right of the sliders (seen here set at zero)

Another option in the Effects tab to help correct or improve the colour is the Colour Correction option. Inside the hierarchical file is the option Colour Corrector 3-way displayed in the image below……

When double clicking on this option, the following browser is revealed…

Nice! By manipulating the centre of each colour wheel (Blacks , Mids & Whites) it is possible to correct or improve the colour of your footage. For example you may have too much of a certain colour in your film and wish to decrease the amount of blue for example, or perhaps you may wish to add a little more red or yellow etc. This option empowers you to alter the whole spectrum of colour that you see in your reel.

Below I have an example of some screen shots for the footage we were working on as an example. I am displaying two versions of the same shot to show the actual footage as it should be, alongside my attempt at improving the footage, having improved its Brightness, Contrast and Colour using the above effects.

Actual footage

My attempt at retouching the colour

We were also shown some of the more advanced ‘special effects’ style capabilities in the Effects tab. Using the Light Rays Filter, I added an Effect to a short cut of the footage. I did this by choosing the option in the Effects tab below….

Double clicking this option will pop up the following browser….

Using the same techniques as the previous effects options browser, you can control the parameters by adjusting the sliders or entering a specific value in the numerical fields.

However, being a more advanced special effect, the options are also more advanced. By selecting the buttons in Nav column, it is possible to adjust the individual parameters at different points along the timeline (seen here to the left of the browser with green lines running horizontally). Therefore it is possible to fully control each variable within the effect at any point in the footage. It is also possible to select where the focus of the effect is in relation to the screen e.g. centre, top left, top right. By selecting the Center option button, it is possible to place the focus of the light source and shift it across the footage by moving it around in different frames. I have uploaded my footage to you tube to post here as an example of this, one of many very cool effects…

I also stumbled across this great tutorial on You Tube that combines the addition of text/titles to your footage and using the Light Ray Filter on the text. I have posted it below to show the awesome power of this editing suite when used by experienced hands.

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About Roulette Revolver

Currently a first year undergraduate in Film & Media Studies.
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