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Creating color vignettes using Apple's Color

You can produce some excellent looking work with Apple's newest addition to Final Cut Studio By Kevin McAuliffe

One question I seemed to get asked more and more these days is "How can I learn Color?" as most people seem to be very intimidated by Apple's newest application.  In this article, I thought I would take a look at how to do a very simple effect I like to call a "Color Vignette," which is where one area of a shot is in vibrant color, and the rest of the shot is in black and white. Most people would use After Effects, Motion or even Final Cut Pro to do this type of effect, as it can be done with color correction effects and masks, and let's face it, those applications are most editors comfort zones. We're going to do this with the program it's meant to be done with, Color, and you will be amazed with the results you will get with about 10 minutes worth of work.

First things first, you will need to pick a shot you want to use.  As you can tell, I like to use footage from my wedding video, as I always say that in alot of cases, wedding videos are exercises on how not to do things. Also, wedding videos are great to use effects like this one, as they are quick and easy to do and produce great results. You will probably also notice that this shot I'm going to use is one that I have already "Smoothcam'd" in a previous article. 

One thing that is VERY important to keep in mind is that in most cases, many effects that you have applied in your Final Cut timeline will not appear in Color. That doesn't mean that they are not there, it just means that Color will not preview or render them.  They will reappear when you send your project back to Final Cut, so don't worry about that. Once your timeline is ready to go, simply select FILE>SEND TO>COLOR. You will notice that a window will appear asking you to name your Color project, and normally, I will just name my project the same as my timeline. Simply click "O.K.," and Color will open.     

Now, here's where people start to panic a little. There are alot of windows that do alot of things and people get confused and frustrated quickly, but if you think things through, it's actually quite straightforward. What we want to do here is a secondary color correction (since I am happy with the primary highlights, midtones and shadows) with a mask (which in Color is considered a "Geometry"). Therefore, we are using two of the eight tabs (or Rooms as they are properly referred to in Color), which makes our job much easier to wrap our head around. We're now ready to "Color!"


For the purposes of this tutorial, I want the flowers to have a very vibrant, over saturated look, while everything else is black and white. Since we are doing this as a secondary color correction we will need to activate it, so Color knows that's what we are doing.  

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