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Author: Troy Dreier | Website: http://

In Part 1 of this series, we introduced you to Final Cut Studio's new Color application for performing professional color corrections and showed you how to make primary corrections which change the video's overall color. In the second part, we took you through secondary corrections, which give fine-grained control over specific objects or areas.

As always in our Final Cut guides, we're joined by the respected and experienced Ernie Schaeffer, a fifteen-year media industry veteran and a trainer with all4DVD.com. Schaeffer teaches classes on Final Cut Studio color correction at all4DVD's training center in Irvine, California. Visit the site for more information.

Color Effects Room
The third Color room, or tab, lets you apply color effects to your video in order to give it a specialized look. This of this as similar to applying filters in Photoshop.

In this room, you add "nodes," which create different effects, such as blur or diffusion. You can combine nodes in different sequences to create different final outcomes. The nodes you choose will apply to everything in your clip; you can't apply a node to a single character or color. Also, nodes are applied on top of whatever primary or secondary changes you've already made.

You'll see the various available nodes on the left side of the screen, Drag the ones you want to use into the center to create "noodles" or chains. You can easily switch your nodes around, just make sure that the last one connects to the output.

Primary Out Room
If the Primary Out room looks familiar, that's because it's identical to the Primary In room. It offers the same functionality—letting you correct the overall colors of your work—but this is more of a clean-up level, after you've tweaked colors in the previous rooms.

You can use the Primary Out room in various ways. You can touch up your colors, perhaps adding a little saturation, or use it to create multiple versions of a work so that you can show your client different color options.

The Geometry room lets you control size issues. If you shot in 4:3, but your final work needs to be in 16:9, this is the place to pan-and-scan. Use the controls to select the portion you want visible in the final results. You can also use the cropping options here if there's something you need to remove from the shot, such as a bystander who didn't sign a release.

Be careful that you don't remove too much of the video, especially if you shot in standard definition, since the results will need to be blown up larger and you'll loose quality.

If you create a vignette in the Secondary Correction room, you'll find yourself here so that you can make a custom shape. When you're finished, you can save the shape for repeated use.

Still Store
Think you've got everything just the way you want it? The Still Store tab is your final flight check, so that you can make sure everything matches up. Select still frames in your timeline by placing the playhead on the desired spot and then choosing the Still Store option from the pulldown menu. Call up several similar shots to make sure colors are consistent.

If you don’t like the results—if shots that are supposed to have the same coloring look different—you can easily drag the settings from one shot to another. You'll see the results instantly. You can also go back to the earlier rooms to make fine-tuning adjustments.

Render Queue
When you've completed all your color corrections, add your selecting clips to the Render Queue and click Start. Color will then begin the render process, creating new QuickTime movies. It will output the files into whatever project directory you indicated in the project settings. By default, it will create a folder in your Documents folder. When you're done, go to the File menu and send your work to Final Cut.

When you open Final Cut, it will look in the new folder and grab the newly rendered files. Color works non-destructively: by rendering new versions of your videos, you preserver the old ones in case you ever want to go back.

Color can really bog your machine down, so Schaeffer recommends you have at least 256MB of video memory. Your multi-processor Mac won't do you much good here, since all rendering is done on the video card.

That completes our Final Cut Studio Color series. Thanks for reading and we hope it helps your work.

» Level Intermediate

Added: 2009-02-09
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