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Apple Color - What it can do.

COW Blogs : walter biscardi's Blog : Apple Color - What it can do.

So there's been a lot of talk on the forums lately about Magic Bullet Looks now being available for use in editing systems and I'm even going to try it out shortly myself. But for those of you with Final Cut Studio 2, keep in mind you have probably the most powerful color grading software available for desktop computers in Color just sitting there. Yeah it's not perfect, there are some issues to work around, but I have to admit, even with the issues, the end results are nothing short of stunning.

I thought I would share some before / after shots of a recent project I did that featured all archive (read Old) material. BetaSP, BetaSX, DigiBeta, DV, DVCAM, HDV were all used in this project that was ultimately delivered on DVD for a special event and also the Web. As a piece focusing on the natural beauty of the American West, I felt it was extremely important to bring this project into Color to take advantage of all the color controls I would have. Especially the ability to essentially 'clean up' the image and 'wipe away' the dirt.

Sure I can show you what Color does with our HD projects, but those look pretty darn good before we even get to color grading. Making a bunch of archive material in multiple formats look good, well that takes some work. The project run approx. 6 minutes and was able to grade the entire show in about 3 hours. It would have been faster but I really spent a lot of time tweaking the skies and greens.

If you want to see the whole piece, just go to

and then click on "Apple Color Comparison" under Corporate.

And of course, if you want to learn how to use Color, just pick up my DVD! Fresh from the Creative Cow Master Series - Stop Staring and Start Grading with Color!



Posted by: walter biscardi on Oct 27, 2007 at 7:00:08 amComments (4) editing, color grading, apple, final cut pro


types of corrections
by walter biscardi

Well the process generally went something like this.

Primary In Room to balance the shot first. No matter what the end product was going to look like, I balanced each shot so that the red, green and blues where essentially even across the board.


3 - 6 Secondaries per shot.

1 would be used to push the shot into the color range I was looking for.

1 for raising overall saturation and "pushing" the scene more if I needed it to go more into a certain range.

1 for pushing the blues including the Hue Curve if necessary.

1 for pushing the greens including the Hue Curve if necessary. (I used two for this because the Blue and Green are so close together on the curve, it was easier to use two)

1 or 2 would be used for vignettes if necessary. 

All Secondaries and Vignettes were keyframed as necessary as well. 


Color FX Room for noise reduction. I would apply the noise reduction only to the channel that had the most noise, usually the Blue channel.


Queue them all up and Render in 8bit SD Uncompressed.



Type of corrections...
by Kim Hill
I'm curious- what was the range of the corrections like? By that I mean -- obviously you had color corrections, enhanced saturation/contrast (curves?), and noise reduction, but I'm curious about how many individual adjustments there were from shot to shot. I ask that as someone who has gone no farther than FCP's 3-way correction w/eyedropper, and I'm curious about what the process was like for basic scene corrections in Color. 
Three hours grading
by walter biscardi

Just to clarify, that was three hours grading the piece, about another two hours rendering.

And this is just scractching the surface of Color actually. People seem to want "Looks" and Color is absolutely capable of incredible looks and effects. But at the end of the day, I really need something that makes the show "Look" really really good. Color is an excellent grading tool first and a powerful "looks generator" second.

Also keep in mind that you can save entire Grades, but you can also save FX, Secondaries, Primary In, Primary Out individually. So while you may not want entire "look" for each shot, you can certainly decide to start at the same Primary In and go off to some other look from there.

I highly recommend the Nattress plug-ins for Color as they include some very very nice noise reduction filters which played a very large role in this project. Old stuff always has noise and I was able to clean up a lot of that noise very easily.

Impressive work
by Kim Hill
Three hours? Color is looking very powerful...

Professional Video Editor, Producer, Creative Director, Director since 1990.

Credits include multiple Emmys, Tellys, Aurora and CableAce Awards.

Creative Director for Georgia-Pacific and GP Studios, Atlanta. Former Owner / Operator of Biscardi Creative Media. The show you knew us best for was "Good Eats" on the Food Network. I developed the HD Post workflow and we also created all the animations for the series.

Favorite pastime is cooking with pizza on the grill one of my specialties. Each Christmas Eve we serve the Feast of the Seven Fishes, a traditional Italian seafood meal with approx. 30 items on the menu.

If I wasn't in video production I would either own a restaurant or a movie theater.



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