Color Grading Multicam Clips in Final Cut Pro – Leverage Roles and Titles for Color Correction Organization

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Flat Grades & Shot Matching in Multicam Clips

The one thing I absolutely hated about multicam clips in Final Cut Pro was keeping the angles in order while color grading. Normally I’m shooting with, at minimum, a Blackmagic Design Ursa Mini 4.6k and Canon 6D. Recently I’ve thrown a Canon T3i and even my Samsung Note 9 into some shoots. Couple this with recording audio externally and a multicam clip becomes a must for most shoots. 

Working mostly as a ‘one person show’ I’m always looking for ways to save as much time as possible, so I can obsess over looks for days. Multicam clips were always a speed dump in my workflow. There had to be a better way; a faster way, and well, there was. 

After Final Cut Pro does it’s multicam syncing magic, the first thing I do is create a flat grade to match the flat look of the Ursa Mini. To make this even more time-saving, I work inside the multicam clip (duh, Nate).

I’m sure to take my time at this stage, using my scopes to make sure I get all of my shots to match as close as I can. Even shooting with the Technicolor CineStyle profile on both the Canon cameras, there is quite a difference in the looks. The 6D tends to have more of a magenta hue in the skin tones, while the T3i actually looks a bit more true to tone. I have Magic Lantern installed on both Canon cameras and the T3i with ML can honestly run circles around the 6D. The picture is less muddy and just more pleasing overall. 

Another advantage of working inside a multicam clip while color correcting is the use of the Angles view. I’m constantly switching between my scopes and angles, so I can see all of the shots I’m trying to match in 1 view. 

Grade Outside of the Multicam Clip

Once I have a nice, flat even image across all my shots, I move outside of the multicam clip. This is where I get into the base grade of the entire video and start to think about the look I want to achieve. With all of my multicam clips looking similar, I can make changes to the entire clip and don’t have to worry about copy/pasting attributes to each angle. Sometimes there will still be instances where angles will need a minor change (like sun coming through a window mid-shot), but overall this is a much faster and cleaner way to grade. 

Leverage Titles and Roles for Organization

One thing I recently started doing to keep corrections in order was placing them on a blank title I created. This gives me the advantage of being able to name the titles based on what the correction is doing (e.g. desaturate oranges, soften skin tones, fix blue highlights, etc.) and I can quickly turn titles on and off using Roles and that set of corrections can come and go as I wish.

For example, after I have my main grade title to get the exposure and contrast I want, I start to layer titles to create a look. One title may add cool tones to the shadows, while a second adds some warmth back into the highlights. These titles could be named “Cool Shadows” and “Warm Highlights” respectively and they could also have the same Role assigned to them. I can then quickly turn either/or on and off if I want to try a new look for the project.