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First impressions of Color Finale for FCPX


utsira
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I've been playing with the 7-day trial of Color Finale. First impressions are very good. First of all the interface is very nice. Putting all the colour controls in their own floating window works well. If you have the window open for one shot but shut for another, it will disappear and reappear depending on whether you have selected a clip that you have color finale open for (does that make sense?). If you have color finale open for a bunch of different clips it will switch to represent the settings of whichever clip is currently selected (ie it behaves as you'd expect it would). It plays nice with fullscreen mode too. The only slight disappointment with the windowing is that although you can drag the window to a secondary display, if you start selecting different clips the window snaps back to your primary display. I don't think this is a huge issue, as most of us have large primary displays, and probably want to colour correct on the primary display anyway. (I don't have any 4K/ retina displays, so can't comment on how well it scales). Performance is nice and snappy (even on my bottom-of-the-range Macbook Air). There is a split second delay when flicking between clips for the newly-selected clip's settings to appear in the window. This windowed approach is what all plugins for FCPX should use for their interface IMO, rather than overlays on the main video display.

The best thing about Color Finale though is that it gathers all your most commonly used colour tools (LUT, curves, wheels, lift/gain/gamma) in a single window, and lets you add multiple instances of a given tool, change the order they are all applied in, adjust the opacity for each one, flick them on and off, rename them etc. For instance, I've got a primary curves correction, then a LUT, then a secondary curves correction on top of that. This is a big improvement on my FCPX LUT workflow up til now, because by default FCPX only gives you very limited control over what order effects are applied in: it only lets you change the order of effects within the "effects" section of the inspector pane (ie it doesn't let you sandwich, say, a colour-board correction between two effects slots, or two colour-board corrections either side of an effect or a LUT; if you wanted to do something like that you'd need to use an RT adjustment layer, or nest a clip inside a compound clip). Color FInale is not as powerful as a full-blown nodes system like Resolve of course, but I could see it becoming my one and only colour tool within FCPX. It's nice to have traditional colour wheels back too. 

What else is good... the new LUT manager lets you put LUTs in custom folders (so no more scrolling through endless lists of LUTs).

Here's a link to NoFilmSchool's voucher: http://nofilmschool.com/2015/04/color-finale-fcpx-discount

I'm not affiliated with anyone at Color Grading Central

 

 

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Seems like I spoke too soon.... Just downloading FCPX 10.2 now, and I see that the built-in colour corrector is now classed as an effect, so it seems you can now sandwich it between other effects slots. It's not clear yet whether you can have multiple instances of the colour-board though (ie for the kind of pre-LUT/ post-LUT correction I was describing above). If my internet connection ever gets through the 2gb download, I'll report back.

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Yes, in FCPX 10.2 you can now have multiple colour boards, and place them either side of effects slots. 

Color Finale is still very nice though for curves, wheels, LUT organisation and so on.

 

Screen Shot 2015-04-17 at 17.16.18.jpg

​You always could have multiple color boards in FCP X - with "+". 

Color Finale is nice, particularly that it doesn't slow down performance. But it isn't 'Resolve in FCP X'. If not for the integrated LUTutility it adds no new possibilities. It's still not keyframeable, and the '6 vectors' are actually less powerful than FCP X's color mask.

That's Resolve, in comparison.

FCP X with or without Color Finale is best if you want to enhance your clips quickly and intuitively. FCP X is the fastest editor, suitable for many, many clips that need to be viewed and edited.

If, on the other hand, you are working hours on just one take, these advantages count no more. Because your options in FCP X would be limited - and because you are slow anyway ...

 

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​You always could have multiple color boards in FCP X - with "+". 

Yeah but you couldn't place them either side of an effect like a LUT because they were in a separate colour pane set apart from the effects pane. So if you wanted to do a pre/post adjustment you needed an adjustment layer. ​

I'm certainly not suggesting Color Finale is comparable to Resolve! 

it adds no new possibilities

Perhaps not, especially if you already own LUT Utility, plugins for gamma adjustments etc. And the color board does everything color wheels do, it's just a different arrangement. But if you need to use LUTs, and don't have LUT utility already, or you want an interface that gathers a useful set of tools together, this could be one to go for. As a LUT Utility owner, I'm on the fence with Color Finale (perhaps if their upgrade pricing was a little more generous....) In terms of new functionality for me (in terms of plugins I already own etc) the curves are a useful addition.

And yes, it is disappointing that the colour board still isn't keyframable in 10.2. (though the master "opacity" slider for Color Finale is).

 

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I use color finale on an adjustment layer over all my footage with a contrast curve, saturation boost and LUT applied. Helps me not get too used to the flat settings I shot on. I still grade in Resolve usually, since Color Finale is too slow (currently) to use on a ton of a clips. I really don't enjoy using the FCPX color boards, so it's very nice to be able to use curves and color wheels.

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