How to select a color correction plug-in for FCPX

How to Select a Color Correction Plug-in for FCPX

December 12, 2015

Learn from a professional colorist how to select a color correction plug-in for FCPX. What are main features you should be looking for?

Day 12: 25 Insights in 25 Days Holiday Marathon

Wrapping up the FCPX  Desert Island Challenge

What car should we all buy next?

An Audio A3, Range Rover Evoque or a Nissan Leaf? Basically, they’re all the same, right? They all get you (and your family) from Point A to Point B. The differences are price, size, reliability and performance. And depending on the mix of what’s important to you – YOU, specifically – it’s impossible to say what’s the correct purchase for most people, generally.

There is no ‘most people’ when it comes to selecting a car. It’s all about your personal situation.

What color correction plug-in should you buy for FCPX?

There is no ‘most people’ when it comes to selecting a color correction plug-in that extends the capabilities of your host software. Depending on your specific budget, experience and needs—you’ll choose a different plug-in.

BUT – just like we can say there are specific tranches of car buyers (sports car buyers, SUV buyers, teenage buyers), it’s safe to say there are different tranches of color correction plug-in buyers.

First, you need to decide what type of plug-in buyer are you?

For the purposes of this Video Insight, I’ve broken us down into three broad tranches:

  • The FCPX user who has zero intention of learning another non-linear editing system: Maybe post-production is a casual affair for you? Or maybe you just love the FCPX mental model and would rather quit the business than work in Premiere, Avid or Resolve?
  • The non-linear editor who needs to bounce between software platforms: Freelancers fall into this category. You need a consistency to your add-on products that work in multiple apps, since you’re already juggling enough differences between those apps.
  • The colorist who would only color correct in a non-linear editor if they were dropped onto a desert island with only FCPX and a single add-on plug-in: 🙂 Of course, that would be someone like me! In my case, I want to do as little re-learning as possible to maximize the muscle memory I’ve developed across almost two decades of executing in my post-production niche of color grading.

Then, you can select a plug-in that best suits you.

If you remember early in this series, I’m fairly satisfied that FCPX has a good set of core color correction tools. My problem is that they completely broke away from the rest of the industry with the Color Board… and for no apparent reason other than they could.

Watch the Insight below to learn which 3rd-party color correction plug-in you should consider.

And we’ll also wrap up with some final thoughts.


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Homepage Forums How to Select a Color Correction Plug-in for FCPX

  • Brilliant! What a series, good job over a year Pat!

    As to me, my personal pick is Color Finale. Because FCPX is my NLE of choice, and because it supports the muscle memory towards color wheels, as you’re saying. Another reason I like to use it is can you can turn all your layers of color correction in one click in the inspector. You can do that at the top of the FCPX inspector as well, but in that case, you’re also turning off all the others non-grading plugins you might want to keep on for evaluating your grade before & after. Little detail, but helps a ton in my workflow. And combined with the strength (= opacity) you can adjust whether at the layer level (LUT/wheels/curves/hue) or at the overall level (inspector), it offers me a level of control that FCPX alone doesn’t. Finally, the overall UI is way more friendly than navigating multiple instances of the color board, or the much required scrolling in Colorista III.

    The thing is ‘if I need more tools to grade the project than Color Finale offers me, then it’s a project I’ll jump into Resolve’. If not, then the project stays 100% FCPX and I’m saving a back and forth in Resolve. So I’m probably a guy located between the first and second tranche. 😉

    Again, good work on the run, now I can’t wait to see what you will cook in Premiere.

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