Color correction overview

In any post-production workflow, color correction is generally one of the last steps in finishing an edited program. There are a number of reasons to color correct your footage:

  • Make sure that key elements in your program, such as flesh tones, look the way they should

  • Balance all the shots in a scene to match

  • Correct errors in color balance and exposure

  • Achieve a look, such as making the scenes warmer or cooler

  • Create contrast or special effects by manipulating the colors and exposure

Final Cut Pro color correction tools give you precise control over the look of every clip in your project, including still images, by letting you adjust each clip’s color balance, shadow levels, midtone levels, and highlight levels.

Controls in Color Board

Final Cut Pro also includes several automatic tools you can use to quickly balance and match the color in clips. You can:

  • Automatically balance colors: With one click, neutralize any color casts and maximize image contrast. See Color balance overview.

  • Automatically match a clip’s color and look: With two clicks, make one or more clips match the color look of any clip that you choose. See Match color between clips automatically.

  • Manually adjust color, saturation, and exposure: Manually correct a clip’s overall color, or use color or shape masks to limit a correction to a particular color range or area in the image. You can even add multiple manual color corrections to one clip. See Manual color correction overview.

  • Save color correction settings and apply them to other clips: Save a clip’s color correction settings and apply them to other clips in the project or in other projects. See Save and apply color correction presets.

Although these features are independent of one another—you can turn any of the features off and on to see its effect—the order in which you use them matters. In general, you should use these features in the order of Balance Color, Match Color, and (if necessary) manual color correction.

Final Cut Pro also includes several video scopes you can use when manually color correcting your video. The scopes make it possible to precisely monitor the luma and chroma levels of your video clips.