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Pleasantville Effect for Final Cut Pro

Here's a short tutorial for creating the Pleasantville Effect for Final Cut Pro.  This tutorial will also show you how to isolate more than one color at a time.

You can also create the Pleasantville effect using the 3 Way Color Corrector in Final Cut Pro.

Please rate this free tutorial on how to create the Pleasantville in Final Cut Pro.  This will help use improve our content as we continue to create additional free Final Cut Pro tutorials.
 A common effect that you'll see on television is the Pleasantville effect.  This type of effect can be done quite easily directly within the Final Cut Pro software.

To keep things simple, look for a dominant color in the video frame that contains a specific color. Keep in mind that, brighter colors tend to work better than dull colors.

Let's say that I want to preserve the red color, and leave everything else black and white.

The first step is to duplicate the clip directly above itself.  Hold down the option + shift keys and drag the clip up a layer.  If you don't have a video two layer yet, Final Cut Pro will automatically create the new layer for you.

Double click on the bottom layer.  This loads that particular clip into the Viewer window.  Anytime you see sprocket holes in the Viewer Window, this means you'll be affecting a specific clip from within the timeline.  You'll make this layer black and white.  

Navigate to the effects menu and select Video Filters,  Image Control, Desaturate.  This will make the bottom layer black and white.

If you turn off the visibility for video track two you'll see that you have a full color clip on top of the same black and white clip.

Double click on clip that's on  V2.  This will load it into the Viewer.  

Navigate to the effects menu and select Video Filters, Key, Chroma Keyer

This will add a Chroma Key filter to the top clip.  

Click on the Chroma Keyer tab at the top of the Viewer window.

Use this eye-dropper to select a color that you'd like to preserve.  

For now, the chroma key filter is going to remove this particular color, but later we'll invert the key to preserve this color.

Turn off these blue check boxes for Saturation and Luminance.  We only want to select the color values.

You may need to adjust these pins to expand the color range a bit until youíve successfully eliminated the colors you've selected.

After you're satisfied with the color selection, press the invert button.

So the next question is, how do you select an additional color?  Youíll need another video layer to do this.  Since both clips already have filters on them, copying the clip again would also copy the filters.  

Press the F key.  This will match the clip you are parked on with the original clip from the Browser window that doesnít contain any filters.  

You can drag this new copy down to the timeline and put it down to V three, or in my case Iím going to patch V1 to V2 then drag the clip in the viewer to the superimpose button in the canvas window.

Double click on V3, which will load this clip into the Viewer window.

Once again, if you turn off the visibility for V3, you'll see it's a full color clip over top of your last composite.

Now we'll start the process over again.  

Navigate to the effects menu and select Video Filters, Key, Chroma Keyer

This will add a Chroma Key filter to the clip on V3.

This time, use the eye-dropper to pick a different color from the previous one.  In this case, I'll pick yellow.  

Again, remember to de-select the range for Saturation and Luminance.  

Then remember to invert the key.

Now occasionally, you will run into a problem where there are multiple elements in the frame that contain the same color.  For example, let's say I want to eliminate this yellow strip that matches the same yellow on the sail.

You can simply turn on the image plus wireframe mode in the Canvas window and crop out the area that you don't want.

The crop tool is down towards the bottom of your tool palette.  You can also press C to activate it.

Beyond this, you could also create a series of masks or keyframes your crop controls.  I urge you to visit the GeniusDV website for additional tutorials or assistance on how to accomplish that.

But at least for now, you should have the basics for creating the Pleasantville effect.

Clair said:

Good day - I wonder if you can help me.. I am VERY new to FCP and trying to teach myself the basics. I have successfully applied the "Pleasantville" effect to my project (thanks to your excellent tutorial - THANK YOU!!), but when I put a transition onto the clip it seems to pixelate the picture while it is moving from one shot into the next.. Any ideas what I am doing wrong? The clip itself is fine (no pixelation) after the transistion, but during the transition between the previous clip and itself there is definitely something wrong..

Any advice would be GREATLY apprecaited!
Kind regards - Clair

John said:

Hi Clair:

Do you see the same pixelation after you export a full quicktime movie? What you are seeing in the Canvas window is only a proxy and doesn't represent the final output quality.

Also, there are some render settings you can adjust by right clicking on your sequence and choosing setings from the contextual menu.

Then within the Sequence Settings dialouge box, click on the render control tab.


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