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Old June 11th, 2012, 06:42 AM   #1
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About to grade this: do you think I can do it in Final Cut?

Due to our budget constraints I'm going to have to grade our film myself. I can handle the basics but I'm no artist when it comes to a grade. I'm wondering what your thoughts are as to whether I'm going to be able to do this using the three way corrector and magic bullet quick looks.
I got close to the look i wanted in camera using a custom picture profile but it's losing it a bit when I output to bluray, also some of the outdoor stuff has the quality of light I want but I think the levels are a bit wild for broadcast.
Here's some pictures of the scopes of a couple of scenes:
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Old June 11th, 2012, 06:44 AM   #2
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Re: About to grade this: do you think I can do it in Final Cut?

screen grabs of the final cut scopes (ungraded)
Attached Thumbnails
About to grade this: do you think I can do it in Final Cut?-outside.jpg   About to grade this: do you think I can do it in Final Cut?-pawn-shop-mid.jpg  

About to grade this: do you think I can do it in Final Cut?-proposal.jpg  
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Old June 12th, 2012, 06:40 AM   #3
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Re: About to grade this: do you think I can do it in Final Cut?

You can always grade and then run the whole project through the broadcast safe filter to limit the whites and chroma but I am wondering if you have a set-up that can grade properly in the first place. Color and gamma levels are very different between computer and TV monitors. You can coax a computer monitor into TV color space with various increasingly expensive options, with increasing acurracy, but ultimately it's an estimate how the audience will see it anyway you do it. Even with the best equipment.

If you don't have a professional TV monitor that you can preview the images, a good standard def tube monitor is still better than the average HD flat screen for accuracy (and FCP will output SD stills of paused HD projects thru the FireWire if you have a DV camera or deck attached), calibrate your computer monitors in system prefs using the advanced option or better see if you can purchase a Datacolor Spyder4Elite calibration unit. You can set that to calibrate your computer monitor for broadcast color space and, depending on the monitors you have, it will get within 90% accuracy. For better than that, it will get expensive.

On another topic, where do you expect the film to go? If your first goal is festivals, then get the color and levels set where you are happy. Make a test DVD and BluRay and check the disks on several different set-ups. They will be different but if they are similar to each other and you like the look then you can rest easy. After the festivals, if fortune smiles upon you, you can worry about redoing the grading because hopefully somebody will be financing it.

And, yes, you can use the tools in FCP for a final grade, many do.
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