This may be one of my biggest peeves with FCPX (going on a few years). It really slows down color grading (if you're not using Chromatic). Everyone who bumps into this one (which is nearly everyone grading with FCPX's native tools) should hit Apple with Feedback on this one. For me it's one of the biggest misses in FCPX.
Since you typically need just one reference shot per sequence, you search for that one enigmatic frame, completely graded for look, make a freeze frame, connect it above your timeline and crop it according to your needs.
However, Larry Jordan somewhere says about treating audio with roles in 10.3 that this still took three times as long as a roundtrip to Adobe's Audition.
The same can be said about a Resolve roundtrip. There, the reference still *contains* the grade, and the crop is a handy wipe shortcut.
The solutions presented so far are workarounds in that they must work around the fact that there is no grading workflow conceived in FCP. Tom Wolsky used he word "clumsy". Jump between effects & color tab? Permanently? Clumsy.
Like before 10.4, FCP allows for very fast color correction. But that's all.
Axel wrote: Since you typically need just one reference shot per sequence, you search for that one enigmatic frame, completely graded for look, make a freeze frame, connect it above your timeline and crop it according to your needs.….
… not trying to defend FCPX' grading limitation (I like the differentiation of correcting vs grading… ), but I made me a designated Workspace:
what I have to do:
chose that Workspace …
set playhead in timeline to reference clip
shift-F to find ref-range in Browser
set skimmer to that range
select to be adjusted clip
start tinkering with knobs and sliders …
That's most probably not the easiest way, esp. compared to other tools I don't use, but for my simple needs good enough …
Karsten Schlüter wrote: … not trying to defend FCPX' grading limitation (I like the differentiation of correcting vs grading… ), but I made me a designated Workspace:
Just busy color correcting a wedding. Seems to work like a charm. Well, first catch your hare, then cook him. Was half way through in Resolve and will very critically compare the results. Danke, Karsten.
I found this video which attests to Karsten's way of achieving seeing clips side by side, noting his points around editing only the footage on the timeline vs editing the overall clip awaiting use in a project.
In terms of Chromatic, I've got it, but yet to play around with it much, not ready for colour correction in my current project. Will I be able to see them literally side by side to better match one clip with another. Colour correction is going to save me so much time in terms of masking, I'll tell you what.
To complicate things, it usually makes little sense to compare to a 'raw' browser clip. The reference clips needs to be not just color corrected but completely graded - for look! So you'd either had to grade a browser clip or make the reference clip a compound in order to be able to activate it in the browser.
That's where things are getting too clumsy for my taste. I finished the wedding in FCP, and I think it's fair to say that FCP is faster for a fast correction (but actually only because you don't have to roundtrip then), but, left to it's own devices, not well equipped for many stages, nodes, rooms.
Here is what I'd suggest:
1. Make a thorough primary correction using either curves "1" or board "1". Choose a clip that serves as a temporary reference, cmd-click to bookmark it with the playhead, then toggle "s" over other clips to quickly jump between them. Finetune the primary CC, until the sequence looks completely rounded. Take particular care of keyframed changes, be as exact as possible!
2. Make look corrections on the reference clip. Also make secondary corrections with keys/color masks, but leave out relighting or vignetting with shape masks for now. Select all those corrections (but NOT "1") and save them as effect preset "Look" in the effect category, er, something.
3. Select all but the reference clip and apply "Look". BTW: charming thing about FCP is that you can preview "Look" by selecting individual clips and skimming over the effect icon. If you did a good job with step one, the sequence should still look *rather* consistent.
4. But usually not 100%. Now it's time to decide why. Was it because step one was not perfect? Then you change "board 1". You don't touch "Look".
Or you apply another instance of any of the color tools on top (that means down in the pipeline/the effects list in inspector) to adjust that minor flaw. Again, don't touch "Look".
5. Apply shape mask related secondaries to each clip individually. It's a pity you cannot rename the correction (you can in Resolve).
6. Check again for consistency. This time, since it's the final step and you already know that it's the one that threw things out of balance, you directly adjust that "node", which I would have called "relighting" elsewhere. Typically this step isn't necessary at all (if you didn't mess around with "Look" earlier).
Thank you so much for taking the time to reply. As you say playing around with clips from the browser starts to enter the world of clunky.
Can I ask that the detailed instructions are using Chromatic or the built in FCP 10.4 colour correction? There are a few terms you use, e.g. Curves 1 and Board 1. As you can tell I'm new to this colour correction, so...
Are there any quality videos / tutorials I can watch to get a better understanding of the colour correction process in terms of workflow
I meant the built-in tools of FCP, don't have Chromatic.
As for the recommended workflow I described (actually I should have added a first secondary correction step before the "Look"), it's what a thousand and one tutorials/textbooks/manuals tell you: strictly separate individual corrections from overall style treatments. Be sure at any time to know the logical order of operations and where exactly to fix things. This is crucial. Timed this CF-tut:
I always remember the first CC advice I've ever heard/seen/read: "First grade for Look, then for consistency". That was a headline in Stu Maschwitz' DV Rebel, and that was when Resolve was still referred to as unobtainable because it was $100.000 then. What he meant was: After primary and secondary CC (which are both for balanced and pretty neutral images and therefore already for consistency), you find the look. If after that you still find that clips don't match (which is only by little now), you should treat them as if they were new, original clips. You add another correction (if you are positive that your primary CC was perfect, that is).