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Tutorial: Inspecting the Inspector in Final Cut Pro X, Pt. 1

This tutorial on Apple Final Cut Pro X inspects the Video Inspector, a context-sensitive area of the FCP X interface that allows you to change settings of various filters and settings, and focuses on making basic but effective color adjustments.

So let’s jump into the meat and potatoes of the color section of the Inspector. As you notice there is nothing really to change in this section; there are no sliders, no buttons, no color wheel or anything like that. To make those kinds of changes, you need to go down to Correction (by default, it starts with Correction 1), go all the way to the right, and click the right-pointing arrow shown in Figure 3, which basically says, “Show Correction.”

This opens the Color Adjustment panel shown in Figure 4, which has three major sections here: Color, Saturation, and Exposure. We’ll start with Color. Basically Final Cut Pro has done away with the round color wheel familiar to users of previous versions up to Final Cut Pro 7. At first it’s a little awkward.

The one thing I do miss is the color dropper, which enabled you to click something that you know is white and it would neutralize it and you could tweak it. You can’t do that in FCP X; however, I’ve found the new approach to be very intuitive, and it works really well.

Using the Color Adjustment

In the Color adjustment, trom left to right, there are Global, Shadow, Midtone, and Highlights sliders (Figure 5, below). The line they rest on (before you begin to adjust them) is a neutral point. So basically pushing up will add a color wherever it is, and pulling it down below will remove that color.

Figure 5. Left to right: The Global, Shadow, Midtone, and Highlights sliders.

So, for example, if I have a shot with a yellow cast to it like the one shown in Figure 6 (below), I’ll drag the Highlights slider to the yellow area and start pulling it away like a subtractive method.

Figure 6. Adjusting a shot with a yellow cast.

As you can see in Figure 7 (below), when I drag the yellow out, it starts to neutralize that shot. Likewise if I were to push up towards the yellow, it would add more yellow to it.

Figure 7. Yellow cast neutralized.

You can also dial the color up and down using the numeric sliders (Figure 5).

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