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Final Cut Pro Quick Tip #18

Color Correction Freebie By Stephen Schleicher
What happens when you dont white balance correctly and it comes time to edit? You use Final Cut Pros Color Correction Filter of course. What do you do when there is nothing in your shot that represents true black and white? You panic! Dont panic too much, here is a freebie just for you? or rather your cinematographer.

If you (or your videographer) were a goof and didnt white balance your camera correctly when you were out in the field, you could end up with footage that looks blue, orange, green or worse. In the old days, you would have tried to run the video through a Proc Amp to try and fix the problem. Today you can do it in Final Cut Pro providing you have a reference for what black and white should be.

Some videographers carry a Chip Chart with them on location. A regular chart has an 11-step progression from absolute black to absolute white, with neutral gray in the center. With these three shades, you have all you need to do basic color correction in Final Cut Pro (or other application).

How to use the chart on location
When you are out shooting, make sure you record a couple of seconds of the Chip Chart to tape. Make sure that the Chip Chart is being illuminated by the Key light, and that no colored gels or light sources are shining on the Chart. If the Key light does have a gel on it, remove the gel to get the shot and then replace it before shooting your scene. If you shoot the chart with a colored gel in place, you will defeat the point of using a gel in the first place.

How to use the chart in Final Cut Pro
When you digitize the footage, make sure you also digitize the chip chart you shot on location. To color correct your footage, apply the Color Corrector Three Way filter to the Chip Chart clip. Then use the eyedroppers for the Black, Mid, and White to select the corresponding color on the chart.

This will correct the Chip Chart clip. To correct your footage, you can simply apply the effect to other clips in the Timeline by following the instructions outlined in Final Cut Pro Quick Tip #7.

Your Freebie
Since you have been so patient, here is your free DMN Chip Chart. This is a simplified chart that only has white, black and neutral gray. I suggest you print this out on heavy paper stock (like a matte photo paper) and make sure you have plenty of ink in your cartridge. If the black doesnt come out pure black on your print out it will cause you problems later on.

Click image to download the full sized DMN Chip Chart. This is a large image. After it opens in the new window, Right+Click the image and select "Save As". Open in your favorite graphics program and print.

Here is a current list of the Final Cut Pro Quick Tips to date:
Final Cut Pro Quick Tip #1: Texture Treatments to Enhance Video Productions
Final Cut Pro Quick Tip #2: Using Markers to Quickly Edit a Music Video
Final Cut Pro Quick Tip #3: Import Your Music the Right Way
Final Cut Pro Quick Tip #4: Nesting Helps Manage Longer Projects
Final Cut Pro Quick Tip #5: Keying Explained
Final Cut Pro Quick Tip #6: Configuring Your Scratch Disk
Final Cut Pro Quick Tip #7: My Favorite Effects
Final Cut Pro Quick Tip #8: De-Interlacing
Final Cut Pro Quick Tip #9: Color Correction workflow tips
Final Cut Pro Quick Tip #10: Locating files in the Timeline
Final Cut Pro Quick Tip #11: Backing up at project end
Final Cut Pro Quick Tip #12: Exporting to After Effects
Final Cut Pro Quick Tip #13: When is title safe, not title safe?
Final Cut Pro Quick Tip #14: Storyboard your edits and then edit in an instant
Final Cut Pro Quick Tip #15: Join Through Edits
Final Cut Pro Quick Tip #16: Exporting to Pinnacle Thunder XL
Final Cut Pro Quick Tip #17: Marking Clips

When not working deep in the labs of the DMN Central Division testing the latest and greatest software/hardware products Stephen Schleicher can be found at the local university teaching a few courses on video and web production. He can be reached at
schleicher@mindspring.com. You can also visit him on the web at www.mindspring.com/~schleicher

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Stephen Schleicher is a well known writer, visual effects artist and media guru! You can see more of Stephen at
www.majorspoilers.com and www.stephenschleicher.com
Related Keywords:Final Cut Pro, quick tip, chip chart, color correction, schleicher, stephen schleicher

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