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I’m editing some video (and audio) I captured at an outdoor wedding a couple of weeks ago. I shot it with a consumer-grade Canon camera, but I had Automatic White Balance turned on. I did not shoot a color card. Weather was broken clouds, sometimes overcast, sometimes partial sun, and I had several different framings (pan/zoom). I’m doing the final edit in Final Cut Pro (and I have an audio track from a Zoom H6 that I want to use for 2/3 of the final product).

I’ve brought all of the video and audio clips into FCPX, and synchronized them. But now that I’m editing this, I see some very distracting shifts in the color balance where the camera was “helping”. These happen when I changed the framing, or when the sun goes behind a cloud or comes out. The grass changes color, the distinctively colored wall in the background changes color, the groom’s pink/white plaid shirt changes color.

Rubber duck time… What I think I want to do is to start over from the raw clips. Bring the video clips into Davinci Resolve (free version), join them into one track, and manually adjust the color balance in each “scene” to look better/close to reality. Then dump the improved/color-corrected video track into a brand new FCPX project, bring in the audio tracks, and continue from there (to do the audio fades, correct some camera tilt, and zoom into some scenes).

Is that a reasonable approach? Is there a better way to fix this mistake?

(I’ve turned off the AWB on the camera, so that if I don’t shoot a color card next time, at least I’ll only have one color change to make. And I’m going to order a color card too).

3 Answers 3

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Maybe "Shot Match" is what you are looking for (citing page 2802 of "Chapter 126 Automated Grading Commands and Imported Grades" from DaVinci Resolve 18 Reference Manual):

After you make a general adjustment to improve the color of a clip in a scene, one of the other principal tasks of the colorist is to adjust all of the clips in that scene so that they match the clip you started with, such that they all look like they were shot at the same time and in the same place. This is called scene-to-scene color correction, scene balancing, or shot matching. While there are abundant tools in DaVinci Resolve to ease the process of doing this manually, wouldn’t it be nice if you could just select a series of clips that you want to match, and have the software do the work? That’s exactly what Shot Match has been designed to do.

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DaVinci Resolve is industry standard for colour grading. However if you don’t need very special and specific functions in DaVinci Resolve, you can do the grading in FCP as well. In your situation I would not think you need all this back and fourth to DaVinci.

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Resolve has a color stabilizer effect that’s expressly for this purpose. I don’t remember offhand if it’s included in the free version, but I’ll update my answer when I find out.

If there’s any clipping in your image, though, shifting the white balance will cause the pure white areas to change color unnaturally, whether keyframing in FCPX, or by automated effect in Resolve.

You might try to desaturate the high luminance areas in this case, but at that point it’s more damage mitigation than color correction; not an unusual scenario, but one where having a good toolset is helpful.

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