If you were inspired by a previous post about color theory 101, then get ready to delve into the world of color correction! And, you might have be wondering what tools for color correction are available to you.
Great news! There are several amazing color-correcting tools out there; some that you may already have and some that are available for a reasonable price.
If you use Final Cut Pro (as part of the FCP Studio) you already have at least four powerful tools for coloring your footage. Check these out:
This is a factory effect that comes with FCP and allows you to adjust the color and luminance of your footage in the standard 3-color-wheel setup: shadows, mid-tones and highlights. 90% of color correction is done using the “push-pull” method of these three color-wheels.
There are some obvious limitations in color correcting using only this plugin, but you’d be surprised how much better your footage can look after just a few minor adjustments.
2. Apple Color
Did you know Apple includes a professional level color-correcting environment in their Final Cut Studio? A lot of people who’ve worked in FCP for years have never clicked the colorful film reel that is Apple Color. A pro color-correction tool that I already own? This is great news!
The bad news: it has one of the least intuitive user interfaces that I’ve ever come across. And that’s saying something (cough*Photoshop*cough). The interface is completely foreign to even very experienced filmmakers. I took the time to go through some tutorials about a year ago, and I absolutely love Color, but for people who aren’t interested in putting together a group of HSL Key and Blur nodes it might be a little overwhelming.
If you don’t use Final Cut Studio, or are willing to pay for a tool that is much more intuitive to use, you may be interested in one of these Magic Bullet products.
Not only does this come with an amazing set of presets that serve as a starting point for a huge variety of color-grading looks, but it does it right in your NLE. It works on a variety of editing platforms (notably on After Effects) and does a fantastic job with even high compression footage (like you get from a DSLR).
At the risk of sounding like I’m being paid by Red-Giant Software, this is another amazing tool. It takes the professional precision of a color-correcting environment (like Apple Color or DaVinci Resolve) and puts it right in your editing software. Pretty sweet if you ask me.
I’m sure there are more great tools out there for color correcting. Have you tried something else?