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Advanced Color Correcting Using the 3-Way Color Corrector in FCP

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The 3-Way Color Corrector in Final Cut Pro is an amazing tool to add that final touch to your movie project. In the following steps I will show you a simple way to add versatility to your color correcting and how to achieve that desired cinematic look.
 
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Step 1: Bring Clip Into Timeline

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Let's get started!

Double click on the clip in the Browser window to bring it into the Viewer window. Create your in and out points then drag the clip into your timeline.

For my clip I chose a shot of the Saw Stop table saw at Techshop in Menlo Park.

Step 2: Duplicate Layer

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When you have the clip you want to color correct in your timeline, you need to start off by duplicating the layer and placing it directly on top. You can do this by holding ALT+SHIFT, clicking on the clip, and simply dragging it directly above in the next layer.

Step 3: Adding the Tint Filter

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Highlight the bottom layer by clicking on it. Then click on Effects> Video Filters> Image Control> Tint.

Step 4: Overlay Top Layer

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As you can now see in your Canvas window, your clip hasn't changed yet. The only visible change is the tinted, bottom layer which you can see in the Viewer window. In the next step the fun begins and you'll start seeing your clip transform.

Right click on the top layer go down to Composite Mode then select Overlay.

Step 5: Aplying 3-Way Color Corrector

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As you can see in your Canvas window, your clip has officially changed! In some cases, depending on the lighting, original color of your footage, and the effect you are looking for, you can leave it like this. We are going to take it a step further. 

With the top layer highlighted, go to Effects> Video Filters> Color Correction> Color Correction 3-Way and apply the filter to your clip.
Nicely done!

The only area where I could see for improvement is that you're relying heavily on your own color perception while doing this, and coincidentally, your monitor's color calibration. While not inherently a problem, if your monitor is off, then everything else your video plays on will be, as well.

The solution: Video Scopes!
You can open these up by either selecting them in the tools menu or selecting "Color Correct" in the arrangements, which are in the window menu.

A quick tutorial for how to read them:
http://www.larryjordan.biz/technique-how-to-read-scopes/
RoryWard (author)  AlternateLives2 years ago
I appreciate the comment. Thank you!

I am very familiar with video scopes, but incorporating that in this tutorial would take away from the simplicity of this, especially for someone new to color correcting in FCP. I suppose "correction" is slightly misinterpreted as in this tutorial, it's more about adding an artful touch. This is just the route I like to take when adding a cinematic look to my projects.

I checked out your tutorial on your site. It's very insightful! :)

Thanks again!
Rory