Color Finale is definitely, definitely, definitely a must-have plug-in for FCPX (that is, if you don’t have or buy–or can’t afford– Black Magic Design’s ‘Divinci Resolve’ which is the cadillac color grading program for all the major NLEs. Color Finale is only $99 and has the key basic tools for color grading that not not available within FCPX. I have used the FCPX color tools with good success for the past couple of years, but there are some things you just can’t do, which if you knew about them, you’d definitely want to be able to do. Color grading is much more precise and controllable with Color Finale (and certainly with the industry standard Divinci Resolve). But this is about my foray into Color Finale, so let’s stick to that.
Today I did a corporate shoot. In it I used LED light panels for the first time ever (subject to an upcoming video review). Boy was that fun! The reason it was fun was that I set my key and fill lights for the modeling I wanted and was then able to simply adjust the dimmer to the brightness I wanted for the chosen f stop. Totally simple. And with those little panels I had more horsepower than I needed–and more than my flourescent soft boxes were capable of putting out. But I think a made a wee mistake. I let the camera auto-white balance the scene. I probably should have white balanced to a card under the LED lights. What I got was this: (click for full screen)
I wasn’t overly concerned as I knew the color information was there, and besides, I was now the cocky new owner of Color Finale. So I loaded in the whole interview and tweaked it (somehow it looks a lot better live) until I got this, which is more like what I was expecting:
Mind you, that took me 15 minutes. If I knew what I was doing it would have taken maybe 90 seconds, if that. I know by having watched a Divinci Resolve demonstration at the BVE (Broadcast Video Expo) in London recently that there are certain work flows to color grading whereby certain steps should be done in a certain order. I did it as best as I could remember but know that to be competent with the tool I will have to understand the theory and the tools better. To that end I had already written the creator of Color Finale with my own wish list–specifically a set of tutorials that walk one through the theory and use of each tool and the proper sequences or work flows. ‘Color Finale For Dummies’, if you will. Just got this from him today:
Joe, Great suggestions and it is precisely part of my roadmap to help people have a better understanding of color decisions so expect to see more tutorials in the coming weeks walking from A to Z. The tutorials I’ve created so far are just the 30,000 ft view of the tool I plan to get into the nitty and gritty soon 🙂