As a colorist I’ve had a great interest in what would become of Apple Color. Though its fate is still not known. I thought that upon first launching FCP X for the first time I would do some digging around with its color correction tools. In terms of workflow I have to say that it is better and more intuitive than FCP 7’s 3 Way Color Corrector as it incorporates similar approach to Apple Color’s hsl curves/lines found in the secondary room for hue, saturation and luma adjustments. I do have to say and it is the purpose of this post to point out that the Autobalance feature simply will not work or do the job adequately. And this is supposedly one of those auto background rendering features. I haven’t dug around enough to find out how to disable it but the results will speak for themselves.
As you can see you can’t rely on a machine or computer calculations to adequately perform a correction. It’s calculations are too clinical too idealistic. In a perfect world with a shoot outside it would have performed much better but all the auto balance tool does is balance and drop the blacks to 0 IRE. Balance the whites and potentially raise to 100 IRE if there are specular highlights. But with this interior shot, it balanced the whites perfectly leaving the room and the skin tones cold. In an interior environment highlights aren’t supposed to be balanced perfectly, you do want a little more in the red channel of the highlights as incandescent/tungsten lighting is warm. So this is why auto balancing won’t work for a variety of situations. It’s just like its better to learn and master the manual controls of a camera rather than rely on the auto functions of the camera. You’re the artist, you’ll perform better results when wielding the machine correctly.
I am eager to dig around a little deeper into adding additional correction as secondary and to play with isolation with the HSL keyer and vignette/shapes. Will be interested to see if the shapes are able to be tracked. I did bring up the scopes but unfortunately appears at first glance to show only one scope at a time. Hopefully this is a feature that can be changed to show all scopes. I was pleased to see as promised that there was back ground rendering occurring after each change and my MacPro was chugging along just splendidly.
In conclusion my first impression with playing around with the color correction tool sets is that they will be more than adequate for the beginning/amateur filmmaker, adequate for small/micro budget projects and for editors to show client color corrected proofs, but for medium and large budget projects I would hire a professional colorist or use a dedicated color grading app, like the upcoming Resolve 8, (oh and by the way Resolve Lite will be absolutely free and allow up to two nodes or one primary and secondary type grading). I do give FCP X color tools a better grade than the 3 way color corrector in FCP 7 but alas this is likely the end of Color.
More coming soon…