All Articles Review
Review: Color Finale for FCP X
Iain Anderson on Fri, March 27th 0 comments
If you want to make advanced corrections simply and effectively in Final Cut Pro X, Denver Riddle's Color Finale might be just what you need. Iain Anderson investigates.

Denver Riddle is well-known as a colorist, and has previously released the LUT Utility and a range of LUTs to support it. This time around, something bigger: an entire color correction suite, supporting multiple instances of several different adjustments. This is a big deal for FCP X users: let’s find out how big. (Note: footage here was shot in ProRes/Film mode on my Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera. You’ll need high quality footage to stand up to serious grading.)

Here’s a before/after split with the floating Color Finale window below.

Here’s a before/after split with the floating Color Finale window below.

Interface

Instead of on-screen controls that overlay the video, or packing the content into the Inspector, the Color Finale user interface lives in a separate floating window that sits above the FCP X interface, launched by pressing a button in the Inspector.

This floating window has benefits and drawbacks. Obviously, being free of the constraints of the Inspector allows the use of a much wider screen area, and not using on-screen controls allows you to see your entire Viewer at once. So far so good, but a floating window requires management, and you’ll likely position it above most of your timeline so you can see the Viewer clearly. You’ll still want to see the top part of the timeline, so you can be sure which clip you’re adjusting, but it’s not too hard to manage if you have enough screen space.

At the left side of the window, you can choose one of four types of adjustments to add to the mix. Multiple instances of each are possible, and (like Layers in Photoshop) you can adjust Opacity of each and rearrange the layer order too.

(Note, though, that the floating window also sits above other apps if you switch out of FCP X, so you’ll probably need to close it if you need to work on something else.)

While I might not need a Curve like this every day, it’s great to have it when I need it — and multiple curves are possible too.

While I might not need a Curve like this every day, it’s great to have it when I need it — and multiple curves are possible too.

Curves, Curves, Curves!

I don’t know how long I’ve been asking for this, but I finally have proper Curves controls in FCP X, and I couldn’t be happier. You can put a point anywhere you want to, then push it up or down to finesse a very specific part of the image. Just the highlights too bright? No problem. Shadows a touch too blue but highlights perfect? Just move the shadows in the blue channel. It’s actually better than Photoshop’s implementation, because you can see and adjust the composite RGB channel or any of the component channels at any time. (Interestingly, if you use Curves with scopes visible, you can see some stair-stepping, but it disappears after rendering and therefore isn’t a problem.)

Weighted color wheels with a bonus global Saturation control.

Weighted color wheels with a bonus global Saturation control.

Wheels

Those of you who’ve been missing the Three-Way Color Corrector finally have a (near) replacement. There’s no auto-balance here, and the Shadows/Midtone/Highlight wheels are now called Lift/Gamma/Gain to reflect colorist sensibilities, but it’s otherwise the same kinds of controls, with weighted pucks to make finer adjustments easier. Very nice.

Here’s a basic LUT to get started—note you can reduce Opacity of any layer if it’s too much.

Here’s a basic LUT to get started—note you can reduce Opacity of any layer if it’s too much.

LUTs till you drop

LUT Utility is now more or less obsolete, with a LUT layer you can use to perform quick corrections. Ideal for those who shoot with Log-gamma clips (Canon C-log, Blackmagic Film, Sony S-log etc.) and also anyone who wants a more aggressive “film” look, this will adjust colors but won’t add grain or sharpness. As you can add multiple LUTs, it’s quite possible to correct from Log first, use Curves, then add a “film-style” LUT on top. Great stuff.

ere I’ve pushed the Reds to be more saturated, and more pink.

Here I’ve pushed the Reds to be more saturated, and more pink.

Vectors

These controls look simple, but aren’t. They let you adjust Hue, Saturation and Luminosity (so far so good) for only specific colors in your image — not the whole image at once. This is the tool you want if your blues aren’t blue enough, or your yellows not orange enough.

Before/after, featuring a LUT, a couple of curves and some saturation.

Before/after, featuring a LUT, a couple of curves and some saturation.

Conclusions

While it’s not perfect—I’ve been steadily sending feature requests through the beta period—it’s very good indeed, and further updates are promised. Color Finale really does make some advanced corrections quite simple, and it’s terrific to finally have Curves. The fact that they’re alongside three other very useful corrections makes this an easy recommendation. Try the trial now.

Color Finale: US $99

Web: http://try.colorgradingcentral.com/colorfinale/

Comments (0)

You must be logged in to comment.

Feedback
Course Advisor
Don't Know Where To Start?
Ask A Course Advisor
Ask Us!
Copy the link below and paste it into an email, forum, or Facebook to share this with your friends.
Make money when you share our links
Become a macProVideo.com Affiliate!
The current affiliate rate is: 50%
Classes Start Next Week!
Live 8-week Online Certification Classes for: