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Color Correction and Tracking in Apple Color

Here's a great tutorial on using Secondary Color correction along with tracking data in Apple Color to fix a shot.  Click on the link above to visit the Apple Color Training Tutorial.
This video tutorial will walk you through the steps to correct a shot like this by using Apple's Color software.  

If the media you need to color correct is already within a Final Cut Pro sequence, you can right click on your sequence within the Browser window to send it directly to Apple Color.

Otherwise, click on the Setup tab at the top of the Color interface and navigate to your media folder.

Then double click on the clip that you want to color correct.  

This will add that shot to the timeline.

So, if you look at this clip it is extremely washed out.

This is indicated by the waveform display. 

You can see that the whites are crushed, and the black aren't quite at 0 IRE units.

We can fix this by navigating to the 'Primary In' room.

Now, If you are already familiar with the basic interface in Apple Color, you can skip this next section.

If you are new to Color, here's a quick tour of the interface.

The large video scopes window represents your video content using a set of graphs.

The most common graphs are the waveform and vectorscope.  

These two graphs represent the luminance values and color values of a video image.

For example, this waveform graph is showing that the white areas of this image have only a a value of 60 IRE units, which means the video image is a bit grey.

There are also various tabs that display different areas of the graph.  

You can view additional graphs right clicking within a graph area.

For example, you can display a histogram of colors, and then a 3D view of the color space.

The main interface window contains a set of tabs or rooms.  

Each room serves a unique purpose.

The setup room is where you'll adjust preferences and access media content.

It's important to note that each room will have an additional set of tabs to access specific functions.  

For example, these tabs within the Setup room allow me to move between my shots and user Preferences.

The 'primary in' room provides the main interface for color collecting individual shots.  

These controls affect the entire video image.

The Secondaries room is similar to the Primary In room, but contains the added ability to affect specific areas of the image.

There is also a Color FX room that's used for adding visual effects.

Within the Color FX bin, there are also presets that you can use to apply a series of effect filters with a simple double click.

The Primary Out room provides a duplicate set of controls that are found in the Primary In room.  

This allows a master adjustment that comes after all other processes.

The Geometry room is where you can draw shapes to project areas of an image.  

For example, I've drawn a quick shape that allows me to adjust the colors of the war memorial without affecting the background.

The geometry room is designed to work closely with the Secondaries room. 
The still store room allows you to compare your video content to various stills so you can match the color space.

And finally, the render Queue room shows clips that a ready to be rendered and sent back to Final Cut Pro.

Within the Primary In Room, increase the Master Gain parameter to increase the white values.  

You can do this by rolling the center mouse wheel upwards.

As you increase the gain, you may need to lower the Master Lift parameter to adjust the blacks back to normal.  

You'll have to use a combination of adjusting the Master Gain and Master Lift parameters to get things right.

The next step is to fix the washed out yellow within the sign.

Navigate to the Secondaries room.

Then move over to the Hue, Saturation, and Luminance Qualifiers.

Click on the eyedropper.

Move over to the Preview Display window and click within the faded yellow area of the sign.

While holding down the mouse button, drag through the yellow area of the sign to add to the selection.

This automatically turns on the the de-saturated preview mode option.

Click on the matte preview mode button so you can view the area that you will be isolating. 

Within the H S L Qualifiers, adjust the range and tolerance for the hue parameter until you get a decent looking matte for the Jamaica letters within the sign.

You can also adjust the key blur parameter to help soften the matte a bit.

Holding down the option key while you roll the mouse wheel upward will make the values move faster.

Next, click on the Final preview mode button to you can see the output of your clip in the preview display window.

Okay, now you can adjust midtone and highlight color wheels towards yellow.  

This will make the letters within the Jamaica sign really stand out.

The next step is to eliminate the water stains on the white wall.

This will require another Secondary color correction.

In Color you'll notice you have  8 secondary color correction banks.

Click on the 2nd bank.

From the shape pull down menu within the Secondaries room, select User Shape.

This will automatically take you to the Geometry room.

In the Geometry room, change the shape style from B-Spline to Polygon.

Also, go ahead and give the new shape a name.

Then trace around the edge of the sign.

When you're finished, click on the attach button.

This assigns the shape to the 2nd bank within the Secondaries room.

Now, since the image is moving, we also need to track the shape.

Click on the tracking tab within the Geometry room.  

Then click the new button to add a tracker.

Pick an area of high contrast to track.  

To zoom into the Canvas, hold down the right mouse button and move downward.

Then, if you hold the middle mouse button you can move around within the Canvas.

When you're picking a tracking point, keep in mind, that corner points generally track better.

Press the process button to generate the tracking data.

After the tracking is complete, click back onto the Shapes tab.

Then assign the shape to the tracker by clicking in the Use Tacker pull down menu.

Now, based on the point you'e chosen to track adjust the shape to offset it from the tracking point.

Look for the softness parameter and adjust the softness value for the shape to help feather the mask.

Now click back onto the Secondaries room.

Change the control menu from inside to outside.

Now you can crank up the master gain control and it will only affect the area outside the shape you've drawn.

Okay that's it. 

The last step is to send the clip to the render Queue.

Go ahead and select the clip in the timeline.

Then click on the Render Queue room.

Then press the add selected button.

And Finally, press the start render button.

For other great tips like this, or to enroll in a Final Cut Studio training course, visit GeniusDV.com


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Setting Preferences in Apple Color was the previous entry in this blog.

GoPro footage in Final Cut pro is the next entry in this blog.

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