Color Correction: FCP & Color

Color Correction in FCP

1. The first step in any color correction process is to set the black levels.

Get in the habit of setting the blacks first. If you make a change to the mids or whites first, and adjust the blacks last, the changes in the blacks will definitely affect the distribution of mids and whites, resulting in more fiddling around on your part.

2. Adjusting the blacks and whites to establish the contrast ratio of an image, and setting mood with the mids.

The distribution of mid-tones in an image goes a long way toward defining the feeling of a shot.

3. An image with a high contrast ratio may not necessarily be a high-contrast, low-key image.

The perceived contrast of an image is often dependent upon the amount and average levels of brightness and visible detail in the midrange of an image. It’s completely possible to have a relatively low-contrast image with a high contrast ration.

4. Contrast and Video Noise

The process of increasing contrast can also bring out certain elements of the image that you would rather conceal. Increased contrast can make the image appear more noisy, by accentuating its grain (with film) or noise (with video). You’ll have to strike a compromise between the level of correction you need to make and the amount of image noise you’re willing to tolerate.

5. Contrast Ratio

How much difference there is between the blackest black and the whitest white.

6. Color Balance

The relative amounts of red, green and blue in an image.

7. Luma and Chroma

luma, sometimes called luminance, represents the brightness in an image (the “black-and-white” or achromatic portion of the image). Luma is typically paired with chrominance. Luma represents the achromatic image without any color, while the chroma components represent the color information.

8. Ideally, color grading is an extension of the original cinematography

At other times, color correction may take the form of damage control, as one attempts to rescue footage that was shot under less than ideal conditions, or footage that was shot using an aesthetic that is no longer compatible with the project goals.

9. Color casts

Inappropriately strong color channels that tint an image.

Identify a color cast in a clip, correcting it to create a clean, neutral look, where whites are pure and blacks are solid.