3rd Party Color Correction Plug-ins for FCP X: Color Finale

3rd Party Color Correction Plug-ins for FCP X: Color Finale

June 21, 2015

This is a video overview and breakdown of the FCP X color correction plug-in 'Color Finale'

The FCP X Desert Island Challenge Part 10

Color Finale: An Overview of a Color Correction Plug-in for FCP X

We are entering the home stretch of what has turned into a marathon of Insights building up a professional workflow for color correcting in Final Cut Pro X. It’s now time to find one single plug-in to supplement the core filter set of FCP X to help us work faster or more intuitively.

What are some of the key features I look for in a quality color correction filter to plug into a non-linear editor?

Generally, I want my go-to color correction plug-in to have as many of these features on possible:

  • 3-Way Color Wheels: If you’re a professional, you’ll probably need to get proficient on several different post-production apps over any 5-year period. As much as possible, you’d like those apps to have similar interfaces. For color correction, the 3-Way is the de facto standard for making primary adjustments. There’s no reason to throw that muscle memory away when using FCP X.While its Color Board is solid, it’s also a one-off interface unlikely to make it into other apps. If I’m going to add a color correction plug-in, at a minimum it needs the industry-standard 3-Way interface… if for no reason then for my ability to transpose the color correction skills I learn in FCP X to other apps, later in my career.
  • Vibrancy, Blur, Offset / Setup Controls: I like plug-ins that offer multiple tools in a unified interface, just like the FCP X Color Board. These are some of my favorite little bonus add-on features. But if you find a plug-in that supplements the core feature set of your NLE with some other nifty set of tools—all the better!
  • Keys, please: I need to be able to isolate my color corrections with a Hue, Saturation, Luminance keyer. Ideally, you’ll want to be able to switch on/off any combination of those three choices to dial in your keys.
  • Masks? YES!: This used to be a big deal to me. But with both FCP X and Adobe Premiere Pro CC 2015 both offer integrated shapes to help you isolate your corrections, you can use those built-in tools. But if you’re running with older software then you’ll want a color correction plug-in that adds some sort of masking or shape tool.

Let’s kick off our mini-roundup of 3rd party color correction filters with one of the newest entries: Color Finale

Color Finale is from Color Grading Central, masterminded by Denver Riddle. You can download a fully functional 7-Day trial, which is what I did for this overview.

In this video Insight, we’re going to:

  • Evaluate this filter just like we did with the Color Board, using a grayscale to evaluate the math behind it
  • Look for any workflow gotcha’s that we need to know if we’re going to adopt this filter as our go-to 3rd party color correction plug-in.
  • See if we can find some additional feature sets, beyond the 3-Way Color Wheels.

I’ll tell you right now, there is a gotcha

And since we’ve discovered that gotcha upfront, we can work intelligently around it. Also, the fact that Color Finale ships with a built-in LUT tool? That’s big, given how prevalent LUTs have become in many professional color pipelines.

I won’t tell you if Color Finale is our big winner (or not)

That announcement will come at the end of this series. But I will say, at $99 its price point is really hard to beat. And it’s core feature set is very solid. So we’ll see…

Is there a color correction filter you’d like to see us evaluate for this FCP X Challenge?

Use the comments and we’ll check them out. Coming up in the next Insight in this series: Colorista III

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