In this tutorial, I will use Final Cut Pro 7 to transform footage from not so pro cameras into more professional (IE Hollywood style) movies. Not everyone has access to one of those awesome thousand dollar video cameras, so for anyone who only has a video camera good for everyday footage, there is Final Cut Pro 7. Using a few simple effects like color corrector, video overlaying, and film grain, we can professionalize your everyday footage. So load up Final Cut, import some footage, and here we go! Color Corrector and Video Overlay First, take your footage and duplicate it so you have two identical tracks. (You can click and drag the clip upwards while holding down Control + Option on the keyboard). The first effect we are going to use is called “Color Corrector 3-way”, it’ll be under Effects>Video Filters. You can just click and drag the effect on top of the video clip to add the effect to the footage. Do this to both tracks. You’ll notice that just inserting the 3-way color corrector made no changes to your clips. In order for the color corrector to do anything, you’ll need to personally choose how much it adjusts your clip colors. Open the upper clip in the viewer and click on the “Color Correct 3-way” tab. Lower the slider labeled “Sat” (or saturation) all the way. Once you’ve done that, right click on the upper video clip, look for “Composite Mode”, and then select “Overlay”. Once you’ve done this, you should get a warning about rendering the video, or the player might say “Unrendered Video” when you try playing the clip. Don’t worry about that for now, we will render the video in a moment. This is where it gets fun. Open the bottom clip in the viewer. Go to the same “Color Corrector 3-way” tab. Depending on your clip and your desired look, you will have to adjust your “Blacks”, “Mids”, “Whites”, and “Sat” slider accordingly. Here are some general rules:
- Increase saturation, as this will bring out the colors and make them more vivid.
- You might find that dragging the little circle towards the other colors is slow; this is because these adjustments are meant to be small. Therefore, don’t drag the little circle too far away from the original center, unless you wanted the whole clip to appear green, etc.
- Color corrector does allow you to create some cool color effects, like those in the movie Payback with Mel Gibson. For those who haven’t seen it, the entire movie has a stylistic grayish-blue hue, which was intentionally done. If you want to do something like this, just drag the “Mids” and “Whites” circles to color extremes and your video will have that hue
- While you’re adjusting the colors, have the original clip open to see just how much you have changed the newer clip; having perspective on the before and after helps you achieve your desired effect.
The pictures below demonstrate one way to do this, and for this clip, I wanted to make the room seem more warm and inviting. Notice how the circles have moved very little from their origin. How much you adjust the colors really depends on the original clip’s appearance and what you want the final clip to look like. Film Grain (if needed) I say to only use film grain if needed because the color corrector, when used properly, creates a cinematic look by itself, but if you are looking to be a bit old fashioned and want the clip to appear like it’s playing from film, we can use film grain. There are multiple ways to do this, but I find the quickest way is to use the “Noise” effect. You can find it under Effects>Video Generators>Render. The “Noise” effect works just like a clip; click and drag it onto your timeline. Stretch the ends of the effect so it covers the length of your other footage. Once you’ve done that, double click on the effect in your timeline to open it in the viewer. Click on the “Motion” tab, and then click on the little triangle next to “Opacity”. You’ve probably noticed that, by adding the Noise effect, it just looked like static in the player. Once you lower the Opacity of the Noise effect, the static begins to disappear and look more like film grain. Lower opacity below 10, and try to stay in the 4 or 5 range, depending on how much grain you want. Anything above 10 makes interrupts the video itself. Here’s an example of what Final Cut Pro can do
If you’re stuck with a low quality camera, but want professional quality looking clips, using Final Cut Pro is a great way to get there. Remember that it is all about the little adjustments. Once you’ve done that, you should now have a clip that looks more professional and cinematic than ever before!