Glenn ChanREELSony Vegas Tutorials

A review of VASST's "Color Correction in Final Cut Pro"

This VASST title is Vol. 8 in their Final Cut Pro series and is taught by Richard Harrington. You can check out the websites for his Photoshop for Video blog and for his company (Rhed Pixel).

This DVD is put out by my friends at VASST and I appear in a very small bonus section on the disc. This material covers monitoring and calibration issues and was shot before the FCP disc was produced. I was not involved in the production of this training DVD.

The NLEs that I use the most are Sony Vegas and Final Cut Pro so it's nice to see a DVD come out for color correction in FCP. Note that this DVD covers the color correction tools from inside Final Cut and not Apple Color. Read below to see if the built-in tools are appropriate for you.

Should I use the color correction tools in FCP, Apple Color, or should I use other color correction tools?

Here's my rundown on which tool is appropriate for the job:

If you are hardcore about color correction, I suggest skipping Color and learning After Effects instead. There are third party filters such as Magic Bullet, Colorista, Nattress Film Effects that are halfway between full-blown color correction (i.e. Color, After Effects) and what Final Cut can do. Now this is just my opinion, but Final Cut plugins are mostly half-baked. At the end of the day, they are limited by their klunky interface, they tend to lack real-time performance, and lack advanced features like motion tracking. Either go all the way (i.e. Color, After Effects) or stick with the simple and effective color correction tools in Final Cut.

If you want to use Color or After Effects, getting the project into those programs is time consuming and you have to deal with learning programs that behave very differently than Final Cut. Also, they lead to a much slower workflow. Stick with the tools already in FCP if you want something simple, effective, and fast.

With that being said, let's talk about the DVD.

What the DVD is NOT good for

As mentioned above, skip this DVD if you are hardcore into color correction and have lots of time to spend on your projects.

The trainer, Richard, talks slower in this DVD than he does in real life. I'm an impatient guy. I tend to watch all training material at faster than 1X speed. If you're impatient like me, get DVD playback software that can do this.

And lastly, this DVD will not teach you how to make your film look like 300. It will not do that.

What the DVD is good for

The thing I like the most about this title is that it weighs in at a whopping 3 hours and is very thorough. It covers all of the color correction problems you will run into, e.g. color casts / white balance problems, underexposure, matching shots, etc. This DVD also contains media files and FCP projects for you to practice the techniques demonstrated in the video and follow along. This DVD is very practical as it will teach you how to solve all the major color correction situations that you will run into.

Richard breaks down the material in an easy to understand manner and doesn't assume that you know all the color correction terminology because you've already been doing this for years (sometimes I make this mistake...). He also does a good job in explaining complicated concepts like reading the waveform monitor and vectorscope. Some people find the scopes daunting because they have no idea what they're looking at (scopes refers the waveform monitor and vectorscope). Thankfully, the DVD has chapters devoted to them and does a good job in demystifying them. They aren't that scary.

Bottom Line

This DVD will teach you more than you wanted to know about about using the color correction tools in Final Cut Pro. If you are confused about color correction or don't understand it, this DVD will clear things up.

I hope this review helps! If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to email me at glennchan AT

Other reviews of this title:

VASST Color Correction in Final Cut Pro - a review by Steve Douglas.
Favorite quote: "There is, at the end of the disc, a bonus chapter on proper monitor calibration narrated by another VASST trainer. It is an area that can be essential to achieve proper coloration for any project. The narrator did a good job though he seemed to be a bit nervous facing the camera." (Yes, I am that guy.)

This site by Glenn Chan. Please email any comments or questions to glennchan /at/ Eric Caton / Jemtec Boundary Noise Reduction reviews / comments versus Picturecode Noise Ninja, Imagenomic Noiseware, Topaz Denoise, Picture Cooler, Neat Image, etc.

My plugins:
Photoshop color correction
Photoshop noise reduction

I wasn't satisfied with the tools in Adobe Photoshop so I made my own. Check them out!