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Out of all of our tutorials, the "Pleasantville" or "Schindler's List" effect is one of your enduring favorites.  Long story short, you render an image in black and white, except for a single color (quite often red).  Today, we'll take a look at Apple Color's HSL curves in the Secondary rooms, and use those to execute a very quick "Pleasantville Effect" in Color.


The HSL curves in Apple Color's Secondary rooms are very cool: they let you selectively manipulate the tonality of a specific range of your image's hues, and, unlike key-based selections, they force a smooth transition between "in-selection" and "out-of-selection" regions.  In other words, they take care of those splotchy parts of your matte without the need to fiddle with HSL key controls.

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The curves appear on tabs across the bottom of your Secondary room, alongside the Preview tab.  Each curve appears as a straight, horizontal line; if you have Monochome UI turned off in your User Prefs, that curve will show up as a rainbow.  Simply click on the line to place a control point (and remember, like every curve in Color, these are B-splines: your control points exert influence over the curve, but they never really touch the curve).

Each curve -- hue, saturation, and luma -- works the same way.  Today, since we want to desaturate most of the image, we'll use the Saturation curve.  Shifting the curve upwards increases the saturation of the color range you're nearby, while shifting the curve down decreases the saturation.

Step by Step

  1. Send some footage to Color by right-clicking on your sequence in FCP, then clicking Send To, then Color.
  2. (Optional) To help with this tutorial, you probably want to be sure that Monochrome UI is switched off in your User Preferences.  This makes your controls appear in color instead of tan-colored, and will help you visually see what regions of color you're affecting.
  3. (Optional) Perform any primary corrections that you might need.
  4. Enter the Secondaries room.  Click the Saturation curve.
  5. For this footage, we want to preserve the saturation in the red-orange range.  Click on the curve near the red-orange range.  Note that, although the curve is flat, it's kind of like they took one of your hue wheels, snipped it at the top of the wheel, and stretched it out: the curve both starts and ends on red, and there is actually a control point there that will affect both ends of your curve.
  6. Now, click on either side of the red-orange range, and drag the points all the way down to fully desaturate those colors.satcurve-done.jpg
  7. Render your footage, and you're done!filtered.jpg


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Changing Transitions Timing in Final Cut Pro was the previous entry in this blog.

Sony Downloads for XD Cam Media is the next entry in this blog.

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