Color Finale: An Overview of a Color Correction Plug-in for FCP X
The FCP X Desert Island Challenge Part 10
We are entering the homestretch 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 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 supplement 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 offering 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 up front, 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 it’s 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