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Review: Color Correcting in FCP 5


March, 2006





Review - Color Correcting in FCP 5
By Andrew Balis
DVD ROM Ripple Training
Run time 4 hours - $99.95
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Review by Ken Stone

Ripple Training has just started shipping its new 'Color Correction in Final Cut Pro' DVD tutorial by Andrew Balis. This is a four hour tutorial with 10 chapters and all project files and required media are supplied on the DVD, so that you can work through the lessons in FCP, side by side with the tutorial. 'Color Correcting in FCP' is for both FCP 4.5 and 5, project files are included for both versions of FCP (in both SD and HD formats). At four hours, this tutorial covers everything from the most basic through the very advanced and is meant for all users, from the beginner to the more accomplished.

For those of you familiar with my web site, you will recognize the name Andrew Balis. Andrew has been contributing FCP articles to my web site for years, including the very popular Color Correcting for FCP 3 and 4 articles. Andrew brings considerable expertise to this tutorial and he has crafted this tutorial in a manner that makes learning color correcting an easier task. For example, in most color correcting tutorials, the instruction teaches about the FCP scopes while also teaching color correcting. For someone trying to learn color correcting, melding two lessons into one does not work well. This is where Andrew excels and his experience as a teacher shows. In the first chapter we learn how to calibrate our 'client' monitors (including commercial TVs if that's what you have) an essential chore that must be accomplished before color correcting begins. He then teaches us how to use the FCP scopes, providing clips that demonstrate how the scopes work. This lesson is about the scopes and not color correcting. In other words, he teaches us how the tools work and how to use them first, and then, once we know how to use the tools, he moves us ahead to color correcting lessons in which these tools are employed. It is like this throughout the tutorial, teach the tools first and then teach their use.

As you can see by the Chapter index shown below, this tutorial is extensive. It includes, not only color correcting but substantial lessons using FCP to alter and create special moods or a stylized look, a very important ability to have for a film maker.


Here we're shown how to create different moods and styles by adjusting the coloring and balance of our film or video. We are also shown how to use the new multicam feature in Final Cut Pro to compare four different looks side by side.

Most tutorials supply video to work with, but often, the video footage used in color correcting tutorials is normal footage that has been 'tricked up' to be bad and then fixed following the provided lessons. This is not the case with this tutorial. In addition to providing real world film and video media, several days were spent shooting material that was shot incorrectly on purpose. Under and over exposure, improper color balance, too little or too much contrast, color tinting, blown out skies (and windows), washed out blacks and all of the other errors that can happen during shooting. Having 'real world' problematic footage makes all the difference when it comes to learning FCP color correcting.


Using a combination of the whites, blacks and mids color wheels, the Color Corrector 3 Way
was used to correct video shot with the wrong white balance.

Over the years Ripple Training has produced exceptionally high quality tutorials and this one seems to have the highest production values yet. Color Correcting in FCP comes on a DVD but this is not MPEG 2 DVD video which is great for movies but does poorly displaying the FCP interface and text. This tutorial is DVD ROM with a 960 x 600 widescreen window, encoded in H.264, for amazing on screen quality. Gone are the static PowerPoint (should I say Keynote) slides, replaced by panels created in Apples Motion application, which add some excitement to the lessons. By using DVD ROM, Ripple Training is able to add chapter and sub chapter markers which allow easy navigation by the user. Using the chapter drop down menu, you can easily select any lesson you want to view or review. Because QuickTime is used, there is also a timeline playhead which will allow you to scrub to any place in the tutorial that you wish to visit.

I am very impressed with Color Correcting in Final Cut Pro by Andrew Balis, it is one of the finest tutorials I have ever seen. The excellence of the on screen visuals are matched by the quality, thoroughness and even pacing of the lessons. There is a great deal to learn about FCP color correcting and the numerous tools that are employed in the process. Andrews teaching presence is clear and comfortable and he has the ability to simplify what are normally complex and sometime confusing concepts, making the lessons comprehensible and even enjoyable. Color correction and insuring that our video is Broadcast Safe are very important issues, but beyond that, using color correction to establish the mood and tone of our movies, (a style if you will) can be just as important. In this tutorial there is ample instruction to enable us to apply our artistic vision to our movies. I have been doing basic color correcting for some years now, but after working through this tutorial, I have a much better idea of what I am doing and have better ways of doing it. Color correcting is about technique and workflow and I now feel that I can make much better use of the FCP tools to achieve the end results that I desire. Thanks to Andrew, I can even get 'Match Hue' to work properly.



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