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Video Review: Color Grading Central cineLook Final Cut Pro Plug-in

Here's a look at two workflows for applying film grain to your footage in FCP X using cineLook (with and without Gorilla Grain), first with 4k footage shot with the Blackmagic Production Camera, and then with Cinestyle-flattened DSLR footage.

In this review we'll look at cineLook, a color grading plug-in from Color Grading Central. To locate and download cineLook, you go to ColorGradingCentral.com, click the Products tab, and scroll down to cineLook. There are a slew of FCP plug-ins available at the site, ranging in price from $49-$99, but in this article we'll focus on cineLook for HDSLRs, which is available in a $69 standard version and a $99 version with "Gorilla Grain." Both versions provide a look to simulate the look of film; Gorilla Grain provides a much more organic-looking grain than you get in the $69 standard version. I'll be reviewing both versions in this review, but I'd like to note up front that the $99 version is well worth the extra $30, because if you buy Gorilla Grain by itself--without cineLook--it costs $69.

In the Final Cut Pro X project we'll use in this review, I have two events, one with 4K footage from the Blackmagic Production Camera, and the other with a DSLR using Cinestyle (Figure 1, below).

Figure 1. The 4k footage we'll use to test cineLook. Click the image to see it at full size.

Applying ine Effect

When you install the cineLook program and run FCP X, you'll see a cineLook header in your Effects tab; you can see in Figure 2 (below) that I have both plug-ins installed. When you click on the cineLook header, you'll see that there are two effects included, cineLook and S Curve. cineLook is where it applies all the color, the effects, the white balance adjustments, and so forth. S Curve is designed to bring the contrast back from shooting flat. Say, for example, if you shoot DSLR and use the Cinestyle preset, which is very flat, S Curve will bring some contrast back into the image prior to adding the cineLook filter. That's actually the preferred workflow for cineLook--to get your contrast and exposure set right, then add the cineLook plug-in.

Figure 2. The cineLook + GORILLA GRAIN plug-in, plus S-Curve in my Effects tab.

To apply cineLook to a clip, drag it from the Effects tab onto the clip as you would any other effect. Right away, you'll see that the clip now has a 2.35:1 crop, some grain, hair, dust and scratches. Figure 3 (below) shows a 4k clip with the effect applied at the default settings. 

Figure 3. A 4k clip with cineLook applied at the default settings. Click the image to see it at full size.

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