Has Apple’s Color Been Merged Into Final Cut Pro X?

“The Tao of Color Grading” was named and born from a simple question: Why do professional colorists work the way they do and how can we pass that knowledge forward?

The Tao of Color mission is NOT to explain every button, knob, and lever…

The ‘Tao Of Color’ mission is to explain ONLY the buttons, knobs, and levers we *actually use* – and explain how and why we use them the way we do.

Apple’s latest release, Final Cut Pro X presents something of a challenge for us – since no one has actually used the software (beyond a small hand-picked group)… so how does this website evaluate the color grading abilities of FCPx X v1.0 immediately after its release?

I’ve decided to frame this initial review this way: Has FCPx absorbed the color correction tools of Apple Color (which seems to have been End Of Life’d) and are they faster and more powerful than those of FCP 7?

For the uninitiated, Apple Color’s advantage over color correcting inside FCP (or almost any other NLE) can be stated thusly: Color allows you to work faster, with better results, often at higher quality. It’s a simple value proposition (and is also true for DaVinci Resolve (by the way, training for Resolve 8 is forthcoming)).

For the purposes of this Overview, I’ll limit my considerations to:

Does the FCPx native color correction workflow allow us to work faster with better results when compared the FCP 7 color correction workflow (I’ll leave quality considerations for after I’ve had more time on the app)? And while answering that question, we’ll take a quick tour of the new features and do some one-to-one comparisons.

Where do we start? Easy – we start with the fundamentals: The color processing model.

The Big (Color) Picture

In the world of video color grading – there are two widely used color processing models: ‘YUV’ (technically in digital workflows it’s usually defined (sometimes incorrectly) as Y’Cb’Cr’  – but YUV is close enough for this conversation) and RGB.

Final Cut Pro versions 1 – 7 were based on YUV. FCPx is based on RGB. What does this mean to the colorist, in practical terms?

‘YUV’ Color Processing (Before FCPx)

In YUV, brightness adjustments dramatically effect Saturation – but Saturation and Hue adjustments have essentially zero effect on Brightness (except on extreme adjustments). Why does it work this way? It’s based on math. In an upcoming video series I’ll be demonstrating this in detail.

For now remember this: Until June 21, 2011 (the day FCPx launched) my advice to anyone color grading with the Final Cut native filter set was to start with your brightness / contrast adjustments, then work your color / hue adjustments, then bounce between all of them to fine tune. It’s a fast, efficient workflow choice that minimized us chasing our tails.

RGB Color Processing (After FCPx)

Final Cut Pro X changes this advice. In RGB color models, it doesn’t really matter which controls you start with since Brightness / Contrast / Hue / Saturation all interplay with each other. It’s more of a juggling act. While I still prefer to start with Brightness / Contrast adjustments there’s no mathematical reason to impose my preference upon new colorists. I have a strong personal opinion about it… but it’s just an opinion.

Incidentally, Colorists who prefer how Red Giant’s Colorista II responds to their inputs will feel very at home in the FCPx color model (assuming they also like the new Color Board), since Colorista does its math in RGB (as does Apple Color and DaVinci Resolve).

In many ways, the YUV color model is appropriate for mouse-driven interfaces where only one input can be adjusted at a time. In FCPx’s RGB color model (where tweaking one parameter forces continual re-tweaks of other parameters) – having an iPad at your side with something like Nattress’ $25 Chromagic iPad app (when it works with FCPx) should be a big help to mouse-driven FCPx colorists.

Initial Tao’ish Impressions

When it comes to interfaces, Tao Colorists give a lot of weight to color-neutral, dark interfaces. Why? Because Tao Colorists are annoyingly principled about non-controlled light sources. For a decade, FCP’s bright, light interface was an annoyance.

FCPx scores high on first impressions: The interface is dark, muted and with the filmstrips turned off, not overly colorful.


Welcome to the new Final Cut Pro X

Welcome to the new Final Cut Pro X (click to enlarge)

(Note: while writing this blog post and collecting screen shots – I noticed that as I selected between different panels on the interface, their background brightness changes to indicate it’s the active panel. This behavior seems to be messing with my contrast perception of the picture – making me think I made a contrast tweak when I didn’t. It’s very bizarre and I’m not sure if it’s really happening or I’m just tired from the lack of sleep following all the FCPx action  (put another way – it’s like sitting in a train when the train across from you starts to move but you’re not sure if it’s you or the other train that’s moving – that’s what it feels like. K-Razy, yes?).)

Analyze for Color Balance

Importing the footage from the Tao Of Color Masterclass series, I had FCPx analyze for color balance.


Highlighting the Import Options

FCPx took about 45 minutes to import, analyze, and transcode 18 minutes of h.264 HDSLR 1080p footage.

Results were pedestrian (apparently, I’m not the only who doesn’t care for the Autobalance results). With this flat, balanced HDSLR h.264 footage Auto Analyze had no trouble expanding out contrast… and that’s where it stopped. On this project, saturation adjustments aren’t made (and they are needed):


Wipe between Camera Original and Auto Balanced shot

Which side of this wipe is Auto Balanced? Which is the camera original? (click for full size)

What’s interesting is that the autobalance doesn’t seem to take into account the facial recognition. Given that skin tones fall into such a narrow range, there’s a huge opportunity for a facial recognition algorithm to feed color data to the Analyze for Color Balance function to make for some potentially outstanding initial grades. Hopefully Apple will consider implementing this in future updates (not to mention the folks working on DaVinci Resolve).

Frankly, I’m not particularly surprised at the results… analyzing and color balancing images is a high-function skill that computers are still mastering. My problem with the Analyze function is it’s toggled nature: On or Off.

The Balanced Indicator

Auto Balanced is either On or Off - and its settings are inaccessible.

Either you use the data, or you throw it away. There’s no way to go in there and tweak the settings… or to see what exactly the Analyze function did. Nor can I decide re-order the Analyze function in the filter stack – which I might want to do if it’s crushing blacks a bit too much and I want to dig out some of that detail.

The Analyze function is a little too All-or-Nothing for my tastes.

But – it doesn’t hurt anything either. It’s totally non-destructive. I’ll be advising clients and students to turn on this function when ingesting, since it’s easy enough to turn off while color grading.


FCPx has video scopes (yay!). But there’s no way to turn off their colors (boo!).


The colorful RGB Parade Scopes (click for full size)

Of course, it’s purely a personal preference – but when grading I don’t want interface elements influencing my color perception… colored Parade scopes just aren’t necessary once you get used to them. Here’s to hoping the Pro Apps team agrees and allows for monochrome scopes.

I couldn’t find a 2-up display to show both a Waveform and a Vectorscope. Hopefully that’ll be enabled in future updates.

Otherwise, the scopes draw well and are easy on the eyes. And they have many options:

Waveform Options

The Color Board

This is the heart of FCPx’s color grading toolset. Apple calls it the ‘Color Board’ – which initially confuses colorists who have control surfaces like the Wave or Artist Color. Unfortunately, no – FCPx 1.0 does not support external color grading surfaces.

The Color Board has three tabs: Hue, Saturation, 'Exposure'

At first glance, the Board looks very slick. The controls are big (unlike the FCP’s 3-Way Color Corrector in which the target controls were very small). The color wheel is gone, replaced by a linear strip that echoes the powerful Hue controls in Apple Color and the forthcoming release of DaVinci Resolve 8.

I believe it’s this interface (and it’s similarity to the Hue Curves) that had many pros believing (hoping, praying) that Color is being merged into FCPx.

Unfortunately, the Color Board shares none of powerful controls of Apple Color’s Hue Curves but contains several of its shortcomings. My take-away: The relationship of the Color Board interface in FCPx and the Hue Curves in Color are strictly superficial.

But I don’t want to leave it there…

I want to dig a bit deeper…

Let’s look at the Color Board from two different User Sets:

The Young Gun

The FCPx user who’s just being introduced to color correction will find the Color Board self explanatory. In five minutes they’ll have it down cold. When they want more of some thing (say, Saturation in the highlights), they drag the control points up. When they want less of some thing (say, a Red color cast in the shadows), they drag the control points down.

Terrific. Easy. No need to head to the user manual.

Couldn’t be simpler.

But this website (and this blog) is about training professionals to use their tools to much greater effect than adjusting Saturation and correcting color casts.

Essentially, Apple has broken down a complex tool into it’s minimum viable configuration (something at which Apple designers excel).

The result: Unknowingly… beginner ‘Young Gun’ FCPx users are being locked into a mental model of color grading that is an island all its own.

Re-stated: Apple killed the color wheel paradigm in FCPx – and these Young Guns may never understand how the color wheel works or why pulling out those Red overtones are introducing Greens (which it does in the Color Board – and as it should… color science being – science). And when they step out into almost every other NLE or Color Grading app in existence – they’ll be starting from scratch since there’s no common reference point between the Color Board and anything else on the market (before you flame me on this comment, I address this in the next section).

There’s another problem with the ‘linear color wheel’ – lines have end points, but hues spin in a circle. When you want to get to a hue on the other side of an endpoint, in FCPx you’ve got to drag all the way across the line to the other end, watching your colors spin madly.

In the grand scheme of life, this may seem nit-picky.

But the color wheels in grading apps aren’t an abstract concept. They’re based in color science… in math. As you learn to use a color wheel you’re being unwittingly introduced into concepts that apply to almost every color grading workflow out there.

The Color Board throws that all away for a simple, easy interface aimed at (literally) the first-time user. Frankly, it’s designed for the David Pogue’s of the world – users who never stray far from presets and have no interest in turning the niche of color grading into a marketable skill much less into a valuable talent (which is the whole point of the ‘Tao of Color’ and the perspective of this blog).

Criticize FCP 7’s 3-Way Color Corrector (3WCC)… but a beginner could take the muscle memory they learned while making hundreds and hundreds of adjustments in the 3WCC over many years, and immediately apply them to Apple Color, DaVinci Resolve, or Avid Media Composer. The same will never be said for FCPx’s Color Board.

The Experienced Hand

For those of us who have been using the color grading tools of FCP, Color, Resolve, Avid, After Effects, Color Finesse for any amount of time – we can take the (up to) 10 years of muscle memory we’ve developed while grading on a color wheel… and throw it away.

I’m not saying we won’t adjust to it.

I am saying we will have to rethink every single tweak we make. It took me 3 minutes to do a basic black balance on my first shot. I was laughing at my ineptness… until it wasn’t funny anymore.

For the editors out there saying… hey bud, that’s true for us pre-FCPx editors as well… remember this:

The Color Wheel isn’t some stodgy old notion of how to manipulate colors – again – it’s based on math, the additive color model, and the way opposing colors work and how light mixes together. It’s not some artisan design choice… or some digital version of an analog workflow – it’s a visual representation of underlying physics. And it’s one of many ways color scientists have developed to help people like us see and manipulate color of light that vary in brightness, vividness, and hue.

The simple, powerful color wheel (from FCP 7's 'Color Corrector' filter)

If you’re going to throw away a visual model of the physics of mixing with light, you might want to do it in a way that improves upon it and makes our jobs easier… rather than shrink the craft to its single most common denominator.

The Color Board Interface

We’ll also be doing a lot more clicking in FCPx (although you’ll save a bunch of clicks by mapping most of the Color Board commands to the keyboard).


Mappable Commands (using the "Color" sort filter) - click to enlarge

Below I’ve placed the FCP 3-Way Color Corrector next to FCPx’s three Color Board tabs:

Upper right - FCP 7's main color correction filter. Remainder are FCPx's Color Board tabs. (click to enlarge)

Notice that the Color Board has added Shadow / Mid /  High controls. And those added controls are present on EACH of the Hue, Saturation, and Exposure controls. This is a powerful upgrade. Exactly what I’d expect in a ‘next-gen’ product.

But notice also that FCP 7’s 3-Way Color Correction filter contains 80% of the power of the Color Board – and does it within a single window. The Color Board requires 3 tabs to give us those Shadow / Mid / High controls. More powerful? Yes. But I can look at the 3-Way and know exactly what’s going on in that instance of the filter with a simple glance. The Color Board requires me to cycle through 3 tabs to make the same determination.

So – we get more power, at the cost of speed. The exact opposite of what happens when you’re working in an app like Color or Resolve – where complexity is offset by exponential factors of speed and power (granted, they do require an external input device (a colorist control surface) to realize those full benefits).

Here’s a positive note on the linear Color Board: Several other filters have been rolled into the Color Board – the global hue controls of the 1-Way Color corrector and the various ‘Hi / Lo’ Saturation filters are now just a tab away, rather than separate individual filters. By my count at least 4 of FCP 7’s color correction filters have been rolled into the Color Board.

Odds and Ends

  • Stacking multiple grading filters is easy and works as expected. But it’s not possible to reorder them, which would be very useful.
  • The masking tool works well – but if there’s tracking that can be applied, I haven’t figured it out yet.
  • The eyedropper for making selections works well but is very very basic and a little confusing at first. FCP’s 3-Way HSL selectors are much more powerful… at the cost of complexity. In FCPx I can’t figure out how to narrow the selection to only Brightness or only Saturation or only Hue data (or some combination of those three) – which makes pulling clean accurate selections in FCP 7 much easier than in FCPx.
  • I was also surprised that hovering over number readouts and scrolling the middle-wheel or dragging across the numbers don’t do anything. This would have been a great way to make more precise adjustments.
  • Adding multiple correction filters is MUCH faster than in FCP 7.
  • The biggest single omission is the RGB Balance filter. For years this filter has been the bazooka in my pocket, allowing quick easy control, specifically targeting color casts in precise regions. In FCPx, it’s gone. And there’s no equivalent replacement.
  • Also gone – Broadcast Safe. But I never recommended using it anyway – so I don’t count that as much of a loss. Others will disagree. UPDATE – The Broadcast Safe filter IS in FCPx.  To find it: Open the Effects Tab -> Select ‘Basics’ -> It’s next to Black & White. Note: It has FAR less controls than the FCP 7 variant and one instance will only limit Luminance or only limit Saturation… but not both. (Hat Tip: Jonathan Eric Tyrrell)

Initial Reactions, FCPx v1.0

Selfishly it’s not my initial reaction that I’m interested in. It’s YOUR initial reaction I’m interested in.

If you know how to use the RGB parade to do a basic balance on your shots… I’d love for you to test it out and let me know what you think by posting in the Comments section below! Did it flummox you as much as it flummoxed me? Please share your experiences.

My initial reaction here on the Tao…

Apple Color is NOT rolled into FCPx, as I’ve read many people speculate the past few weeks. In fact, nothing can be further from the truth.

And while FCPx color grading is potentially more powerful than FCP 7, the decision to abandon the color wheel and split Hue, Saturation, and Exposure controls into 4 panels is likely to result in slower grading.

At first blush, FCPx’s updated color grading tools are much simpler than FCP 7s. But they’re not more powerful. Filters are missing, HSL selections are dumbed down, the mental model is designed for the newly initiated – not the installed user base.

These flaws subtract from the new integrated interface. And even my enthusiasm for the integrated HSL selection tool is tempered by its simplicity. I can’t state I prefer FCPx over FCP 7 – or the other way around. It’s a coin flip.

That said:

Yes, a professional-looking color grade can be obtained with the Color Board. I have no doubt about it. And FCPx will train many skilled artisans to use its toolset and use it well and for good effect… And I will develop training for those people who want to approach the craft of color grading using the toolset Apple has developed for FCPx.

But the muscle memory being developed is one that’s only useful within the FCPx walled garden. In Apple’s desire to create a truly unique tool they threw away an industry paradigm (the color wheel) without replacing it with something more powerful. It may be simpler to initially use but it won’t build the foundation you’d hope it would if you want to eventually grow out of it.

Today, Day 1 A.X. (after FCPx): My professional opinion as a Colorist (who spent 2 years grading on Avid Symphony followed by 4 years grading in FCP on the 3WCC and another 5 years in Apple Color and, this year, DaVinci Resolve):

Disappointment mingled with a strong dose of Missed Opportunity.

Color correction in FCPx is simpler for the David Pogues of the world to grasp, initially – but it comes with some serious drawbacks for anyone who wants to take color grading to the ‘next level’. Or who wants to build a skill set that can help them grow into dedicated color grading apps.

Besides the fact that FCPx’s color grading filters are always only a keystroke away: Command-6 – the strongest feature in FCPx are the Shadow / Mid / Highlight controls but the UI is spread out forcing lots of tabbing.

Where does this leave me?

Well, on Friday I’m diving into FCPx to start conforming the 14 minute short film used in Tao of Color’s Masterclass training program. And then I’m going to re-grade the entire film in FCPx. At the end of that process – I’ll report back if my opinion on these initial thoughts change… and then start developing an FCPx training add-on to the Tao’s Color Grading MasterClass series.

Final Take-away (of my Initial Reaction)

I give Apple high marks for taking a chance. On that score they get an A+

FCP absolutely needed an overhaul. Heck – the entire NLE industry needs to rethink their interfaces and workflows.

But when it comes to the craft of Color Grading – FCPx 1.0 is not doing anyone any favors. The tools have been given the gift of finesse (with all the Shadow / Mid / Highlight control points) while simplifying them so much it’s probably not worth the cost.

Add the fact that a very powerful filter is missing (RGB Balance) – and I’m not impressed. (UPDATE: I’m also completely side-stepping and totally discounting the fact that there’s no actual way to output through a Decklink, Kona, or Matrox solution… don’t get me started…)

I reserve the right to change my mind after getting some real experience on it (and certainly after Apple releases a few updates). But my enthusiasm and initial high hopes that perhaps, maybe, please Apple Color has been migrated into FCPx – those wishful thoughts are throughly, completely dispelled…

Your Next Step

Import a shot into FCPx, use the RGB scopes to color balance using FCP’s Color Board, and report your thoughts back to this blog using the comments below. I’m really interested to see if people agree with me. Or not.

Happy Grading!

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  1. mralexhay June 23, 2011 at 4:58 PM #

    Interesting article, thanks!

    Would be interesting to see a comparison in render speed and playback? (Shame that FCPx has no broadcast monitoring capabilities)

    • Patrick Inhofer June 23, 2011 at 5:10 PM #

      I echo your sentiments on Broadcast Monitoring. But that’s a whole separate post! I can say that render speed is tough to compare due to background rendered. At one point I had about 5 filters applied, including some masks… I got up for a glass of water and when I got back FCPx had already rendered it out. It’s set to start the background render at 5 seconds of inactivity. I like it.

      I’ll be sure to mention it in my follow-up article.

    • Patrick Inhofer June 23, 2011 at 5:10 PM #

      I echo your sentiments on Broadcast Monitoring. But that’s a whole separate post! I can say that render speed is tough to compare due to background rendered. At one point I had about 5 filters applied, including some masks… I got up for a glass of water and when I got back FCPx had already rendered it out. It’s set to start the background render at 5 seconds of inactivity. I like it.

      I’ll be sure to mention it in my follow-up article.

  2. Danny Holland June 23, 2011 at 5:43 PM #

    Great break down. Thanks! 

  3. Jstfolha June 23, 2011 at 7:00 PM #

    I saw the strange color layout in the sneak peak and my alarms went off. I was waiting to see if the reality of the removal of the color-wheel was true. I think it’s a huge mistake to create a new abstraction in an established way of understating colour relationships: it’s been used by used since 1706! 

  4. Erik Loots June 23, 2011 at 7:28 PM #

    What happened to the eyedroppers that selected the highlights and shadows? 

    • Patrick Inhofer June 23, 2011 at 7:52 PM #

      Huh. Quite right Erik – those eyedroppers are gone. I don’t use them myself – which is why I didn’t notice. You can AutoAnalyze each clip by right-clicking on it – but it’s nowhere the same as using eyedroppers.

      Thanks for pointing that out!

  5. Mr Bad Back June 24, 2011 at 4:02 PM #

    At first glance the new colour correction tools look crude but the simplicity of the interface coupled with excellent scopes makes colour correction/grading a joy.

    I’m very experienced with Color and I know my way around every room in the suite and to be honest I won’t be missing Color or round tripping to any other grading suite.

    FCPX and the colour correction tools it has are finally going to allow me to offer the service to my clients that I’ve always wanted to.  I/we produce content for some of the largest companies in the UK just not for broadcast.  Our budgets are no where near ad-spot levels but if we’re involved in producing content to promote a change to the brand to the staff it has to be of comparable quality to the external campaigns.  External campaigns will be finished in Soho London on the usual suspects of Davinci and Flame etc. so it comes as some surprise when brand managers and marketing suits come to sign off our work that colour grading isn’t realtime and they can’t see the final video with all the layers live ready for someone to make a last minute edit!  Oh and when we have to make that last minute edit after grading, well you know what happens….

    I digress.  I’ve been testing the colour tools and I feel certain these tools are extremely capable and I’ve had no trouble replicating complex grades I’ve made in colour with the new FCPX tools. I have found them very easy to get used to and very fast to add several corrections with vignettes and keys.  This is all happening in RT with all other graphic content and overlays live on the screen too which makes a huge difference.  Any extra time grading in FCPX compared to Color is saved by not having to round trip and render.  The images appear to look cleaner than FCP-Color-FCP presumably because there’s no colourspace conversion.  I need to do more testing to see if that is true or just a fluke.

    I have made a lot of notes and sent them to Apple with suggestions to improve the workflow.  Currently there appears to be no way of organising groups of correction only to save individual presets.  I’d also like to be able to rename the corrections and be able to copy one, many or all to other clips in the timeline.  I’d like a luma key, curves and user shapes as well to round out the features.  It would be nice to store alternative grades for each clip to as in Color.  I’ve made a load of suggestions hopefully enough people do the same to improve the toolset.

    The Auto Balance tool is the same tool that is in Color and is very hit and miss.  The Match Color tool really only works well with clips with very similar lighting, it’s not doing anything magic.  At least the Color’s tracker didn’t make it into the Color Board, thank heaven for small mercies.

    In my testing I haven’t yet found the point where things stop being realtime and when I reach over for my drink by the time I look back everything is rendered.  There’s a lot to be very pleased with.

    On the wider point of FCPX, I’m genuinely surprised by the reaction.  I never use multi-cam, I always used FCS applications via XML anyway so to have audio and color tools in the NLE is great.  Anyway, we have begun evaluating the software with a view to put the next client project through FCPX in parallel with FCP7 for direct comparison.


    • Patrick Inhofer June 24, 2011 at 4:15 PM #

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

      This particular blog post is coming from a very narrow perspective – that of a dedicated colorist (and someone who trains others in the skill). I myself am looking forward to digging into grading a longer project – because that’s when you really figure out what works and what doesn’t.

  6. AndrewK June 25, 2011 at 4:29 AM #

    I got to play w/the CC in FCP X today and was pretty let down.  I too had assumed that some tech from Color had been rolled into FCP X but obviously not.  The color board is an attempt to re-invent the wheel (pun intended!) with no real upside, IMO, and the loss of the HSL qualifiers for the limiter feature really undercuts its usefulness.  The increased speed and responsiveness is awesome but I feel like the tools themselves have taken too far a step back overall.  FCP’s 3-way CC might look more complex at first blush, but it only takes a minute of instruction to demonstrate how to use it.  I look forward to Colorista and the Baselight plugin coming to FCP X.

  7. JonathanEricTyrrell June 26, 2011 at 11:09 AM #

    Thanks for taking the time to research and compile all of this. Very much looking forward to the follow-up.

    There’s a Broadcast Safe Effect in FCP X. However, I can’t find equivalents for the Frame Viewer from legacy FCP or Still Store from Color. Have you encountered anything of the kind?
    Happy to see you can map Control-G to Color Board: Toggle Correction on/off, which might help some of that muscle memory this weekend!

    • Patrick Inhofer June 26, 2011 at 4:59 PM #


      I’ll hunt down that Broadcast Safe Filter. I should have done a keyword search in the User Manual (doh!). I’ll update the article once I figure it out.

      I really do like how they integrated color correction as part of the interface – rather than a filter add-on that you may or may not ever discover or use only occasionally. 

      • JonathanEricTyrrell June 26, 2011 at 6:03 PM #

        Bizarrely I couldn’t find a reference to Broadcast Safe in the manual, but the effect is definitely included in FCP X (listed amongst the Basic Effects)!

        It’s great that colour correction is so prominent, but in addition to the need to support reference monitors, I wonder how panels will fair…?

        • Patrick Inhofer June 26, 2011 at 7:48 PM #

          Yup. Found it. The controls are massively simplified. The article has been updated. Thanks!

          Yeah – I’m thinking control surfaces are lower on their list of priorities. But who knows?

          • JonathanEricTyrrell June 26, 2011 at 8:08 PM #

            I haven’t seen anyone mention control surfaces yet… Of course that may be because those who would think about them can’t get past go without a reference monitor. I only bring it up here because you were considering the significance of the shift to the Color Board. Even if connection protocols become available, I wonder how the controls would map to the software?

  8. Dermot Shane June 27, 2011 at 3:09 AM #

    Hey Patrick, as always a well thought out look…

    This color tool is pretty much a straight rip from Discreet’s Combustion circia 1999… 


  9. Jmorgade June 27, 2011 at 5:38 PM #

    The fact that you can’t copy color corrections from one clip to another is something hard to understand. Now, your only choice is to copy paste all the effects, but this also copies and overwrites whatever other effects the clip has, including opacity and audio keyframes. No way to avoid this, as there is no longer a window to select exactly what you want to copy. All or nothing. If I am not missing something here, it looks like a nightmare to grade any edit longer than, let’s say, two cuts.

    • Rob June 28, 2011 at 1:29 PM #

      If you click on the little gear icon in the bottom right of the window (you can see it in the image I uploaded to your comment below this one) you can save a preset and easily apply them to other clips. 

    • Anonymous June 28, 2011 at 3:50 PM #

      You can also remap your keyboard to “apply color correction from previous edit” as well as 2 and 3 previous edits.  Haven’t found from “next edit” though.

    • Mr Bad Back June 29, 2011 at 10:08 AM #

      You can also copy and Paste effects.  Paste effects pastes everything including all video and audio filters but it does paste CCs too.

      Just another option to explore.

  10. Jmorgade June 27, 2011 at 6:28 PM #

    You can’t invert masks either! That could have been easily implemented and is a must for secondary color correction. I can’t figure how they missed such things.

    • Rob June 28, 2011 at 1:27 PM #

      At the bottom of the Color board window there are buttons to select whether you are working inside the mask or outside the mask.

      • Patrick Inhofer June 28, 2011 at 6:28 PM #

        Exactly. The integrating masking tools is a nice (and overdue) addition.

  11. Richard Sisk June 28, 2011 at 7:36 AM #

    No tone curve tool is the big bummer for me. I can’t use this. Guess I just wasted $300.

  12. Rob June 28, 2011 at 1:36 PM #

    Great article and really looking forward to upcoming articles. I’m sure there will be a large market for third party color tools (I believe Red Giant has already stated they will be bring the new Magic Bullet software to FCP X as soon as they can).

    One of my issues with the color board, although I have not experienced it in normal workflow, and maybe the chance of it happening is very small, but it is possible that the highlight, mid, shadow and global controls can be placed on top of each other on the board, and there is no way to grab one that is below another. You have to move the top one first. I thought maybe selecting the text line below would “activate” that particular control, but no dice.

    • Patrick Inhofer June 28, 2011 at 6:26 PM #

      I could see that being a problem. I also sometimes get lost distinguishing between the global control and the midtone control.

  13. Sybren July 5, 2011 at 9:13 PM #

    Maybe, Apple designed FCP-X as a basics-only platform for plugin makers to build upon to make it ‘pro’. A trendy, WordPress-like business model. It encourages innovation and rewards talents without hiring them. We’ll see in a year or so.

  14. Mark Raudonis July 9, 2011 at 7:33 AM #


    Great review.  Even though you said, “Don’t get me started about output”, I think this needs to be discussed… painful as it is.   In a broadcast environment where many deliverables are tape based, the third party solutions offered so far are lacking.    For me, this is a deal breaker.


    • Patrick Inhofer July 9, 2011 at 2:15 PM #


      Good to see you.

      It’s funny – I did go on a rant about monitoring, but decided it was outside the scope of the article and I replaced it with that simple line.

      I’m constantly amused by folks who think accurate monitoring is some sort of ‘high-end’ requirement. It amazes me that so many people think seeing what your images *actually* look like is elitist.Of course, these are the same people who burn a DVD and then blanket online forums about why their titles don’t look right on TV but they look perfectly fine in FCP.

      Sheesh… see what you did! And I’m barely getting started… but it’s Saturday and I have a Newsletter to get out.  😉

  15. Motion Picture July 22, 2011 at 11:17 AM #

    what about fcpx Colour Pass
    sin city effect

  16. Allan White September 7, 2011 at 10:17 PM #

    As soon as Colorista II (III?) for FCP X is released, or a workflow bridge to Resolve built, the problem is solved. 

    I found the Color Board to be completely unintuitive and clumsy.

  17. Allan White September 7, 2011 at 10:17 PM #

    As soon as Colorista II (III?) for FCP X is released, or a workflow bridge to Resolve built, the problem is solved. 

    I found the Color Board to be completely unintuitive and clumsy.

  18. Shashaben September 27, 2011 at 1:45 PM #

    is it possible to loed lut or look fils to fcp x?

  19. Ronnatural October 31, 2011 at 10:43 AM #

    I appreciate this article on color correction in FCPX. I am a doctor making training videos using a video studio in the house, and currently use a Euphonix color board for color correction. I have come to love the whole process of color correcting video, including the physical feel, which I see is not yet available with FCPX. For now the new version of final cut does not meet my needs.


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