Caleb Ward at Premium Beat explains the best way to round trip timelines between video editing applications utilizing AAF and XML files.
In an ideal world you would be able to open any video editing project file in any program, but it’s not that simple. Each video editing application has it’s own set of tools, workflow and effects, so the round tripping process is somewhat convoluted. This is where AAF and XML files come into play.
AAF and XML files are designed to help migrate sequences between video editing apps. They make it possible to go from FCPX to Resolve to Avid to Premiere and anything in-between. However, there is a specific workflow that should be followed for each migration to ensure success. In the following post we will take a step-by-step look at the migration process between the big 4 editing softwares: Avid, Premiere, Resolve, and FCPX.
Colorists spend years learning their craft and tools, but there’s no reason that you can’t learn some of the basics such color theory, color matching, and color grading. Knowing and utilizing even the most basic color grading tricks will give your projects the professional boost they deserve. Luckily, there are loads of tutorials and plug-ins to help you achieve the best results in a fast and easy manner.
First, let’s get the whole color grading vs. color correction spelled out. Color correction is what you do first to fix contrast, skin tones, bad white balance, color shifts, and that type of thing.
Color grading is the process of modifying the tones and colors in your project to give your footage a look or mood. These tutorials and tools often can do both. Sci-fi films tend to have crushed blacks and blueish tones. Romance movies may have warmer tones and a softer color palate. Action films often have saturated and contrasting colors.
Color Grading and Color Correction Tutorials
Understanding Color Theory
Let’s start out with the very basics. If you don’t quite understand color theory, Blender Guru has a nice tutorial on understanding the basics, like complementary colors, split complementary colors, tertiary colors, etc.
Color Matching and Color Grading in FCP X
Premium Beat has a cool training feature that came out around NAB Show that goes through the basics of color grading using the color board in Final Cut Pro X. They also explain the process of matching color between shots that do not match. The tutorial comes with media that you can download so that you can play along. Color grading and color matching are great skills for any editor to have.
Larry Jordan also had a program on color matching.
Final Cut Pro X – Color Grading a Film Tutorial
Denver Riddle has a full hour-long class about color grading a feature film in Final Cut Pro X that will get you started.
Plug-ins for Color Grading and Color Correction
Hawaiki Auto Grade
Hawaiki Auto Grade is an automatic white balance correction tool with several of extra grading features. It’s fast and easy to use. It works in Final Cut Pro, Premiere Pro, After Effects & Motion. Buy Hawaiki Auto Grade at Toolfarm for just $46.55. It sells everywhere else for $49.
The video below is from Larry Jordan and he goes through some of the features in Auto Grade.
Synthetic Aperture Color Finesse
Synthetic Aperture Color Finesse – Standalone and plug-in for After Effects, Final Cut Pro, Motion, and Premiere Pro. Now you can have telecine-style color correction that fits your workflow rather than imposing a new one. Color Finesse 3 gives you the high-end color correction and enhancement tools you need both as a plug-in for your favorite application.
Red Giant Colorista III
Red Giant Colorista III brings gorgeous color grading to your favorite editors and moves between them with consistent, natural-looking results. Its three stages of correction — Primary, Secondary, Master — use a color engine that’s similar to big-budget systems. Included with Red Giant Color Suite and works with After Effects, Premiere Pro, and Final Cut Pro.
Red Giant Magic Bullet Looks
Red Giant Magic Bullet Looks works with After Effects, Photoshop, Premiere, FCP X, Motion, Avid and Sony Vegas. This is a tool for specifically color grading, and starts out very simple, with 100’s of beautifully designed presets and treatments, ranging from practical lighting to popular Hollywood looks. Or you can always create your own.
Tiffen Dfx is a standalone and plug-in for After Effects, Photoshop, Premiere, Final Cut Pro and FCP X, and Avid. Tiffen Dfx simulates 2,000+ popular award-winning Tiffen glass filters, specialized lenses, optical lab processes, film grain, exacting color correction, plus natural light and photographic effects. The Tiffen Dfx digital filter suite is the definitive set of digital optical filters for top motion picture filmmakers, video editors, and VFX artists worldwide.
Boris Continuum Unit: Color and Tone
Boris Continuum Unit: Color and Tone unit is for After Effects, Premiere Pro, Final Cut Pro and Motion and it brings professional grade color grading tools to the table. It includes videoscope monitoring to ensure that your colors are safe. BCC 3 Way Color Grade lets you independently adjust the bright, mid, and dark region of a clip via built-in color spheres which are not only easy to use but offer real-time results. BCC Color and Tone filters are also included with Boris Continuum Complete.
Yanobox Moods – Plug-in for FCPX, Motion, Premiere Pro and After Effects. Moods is a unique color grading plug-in with a full-screen interface.
Nattress Levels and Curves
Nattress Levels and Curves are plug-in for FCP, Motion, and After Effects that use the power of curve-based color adjustments applied in film-log space.
“Apple’s recent Final Cut Pro X update includes a convenient new feature that allows users to easily assign default audio and video effects to their clips using a simple keyboard shortcut. Let’s take a look at how it works.
With the latest version of Final Cut Pro X, Apple is certainly not attempting to reinvent the wheel. For the most part, the update includes bug fixes, performance enhancements, and other new features, such as the ability to output to multiple YouTube clips at once. But one of the more interesting additions to 10.2.3, one that will make certain editorial tasks easier and more convenient, is Final Cut Pro X’s ability to customize default effects.
Many of you are probably already familiar with Final Cut Pro X’s default transitions as a result of using the shortcutCMD+T. With a clip selected, this will automatically apply a cross dissolve, giving editors a very fluid method for applying a transition without using their mouse.” – Noam Kroll | PremiumBeat
“Looking for free action elements for your video projects? Want HUNDREDS of free action elements? Well, you’re going to love this.
Whether you’re a video editor, VFX artist, or compositor, chances are you probably use elements on a regular basis. This is especially true if you are working on an action film. However, if you’ve done your research, you know that good action elements can be really expensive.” – Caleb Ward | Premium Beat
Increasingly, color grading is being handled by video editors working on laptops and desktops instead of calibrated displays. Here are some ways to make this reality work for you.
“Professional color grading applications have plummeted in price from six figures to zero. Meanwhile, accurate, grade-quality monitors have continued to remain expensive and out of reach. This bifurcation of technology has created a whole generation of people doing color work on video without the ability to evaluate the results on a properly calibrated display.
First off, a caveat: it is a much better experience to color grade in an environment suited for accuracy with a color-calibrated display. The problem with color is that it is so hard to do right, and so easy to really screw up.
If your pipeline includes finishing in a color suite with a skilled colorist, then stop reading now. If, however, you are part of the vast majority of people doing color work for video who are precisely NOT colorists, then this article will have some helpful tips to get you through to the finish line.
Increasingly, color correction and grading is being handled by editors on portables and desktops, creating content that will live on mobile phones and in someone’s Facebook feed. For most content, color doesn’t need to be perfect — it just has to be in the ballpark.” – Eric Escobar | Premium Beat
“Don’t reinvent the wheel! Final Cut Pro X actually ‘converts’ the tagging and folder structure you’ve setup for your media in Finder into Keyword Collections. You can organize the media on your drive into folders based on the type or subject of your footage. Then, get even more granular by applying Finder tags to individual clips or media files (a feature that was introduced in OSX Mavericks). When you import into FCPX, voilá, this info is translated into keyword collections.” – Ben Consoli | PremiumBeat