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Fix It In Post: Correcting Footage and Audio in Final Cut Pro

Color, footage stabilization, audio, fixing your project in post can be tricky. Here are a few FCPX tips that’ll help.

One of the worst things you can hear on set is: “We’ll fix it in post.” But, how often does that actually happen where you’re left with a bunch of footage and audio that’s completely unusable.

Well, let’s talk about what to do, how you can help out the project, and dare I say, fix it in post.

Color Correcting and Color Grading in FCPX

As an editor, having a working knowledge of color is essential. Image by Hans Christiansson.

Color correction and color grading (which are different things) have become a huge part of a video editor’s workflow.

Some productions use professional colorists to fix footage or create the overall look and feel of a film after it’s been shot. Others develop a look with the DP so they can know what they’re shooting. More often than not, however, it falls upon the editor to have a working knowledge of color. This includes both color theory and an eye for what the project needs to look like when it’s all said and done.

Final Cut Pro X features an amazing tool called Match Color. This tutorial from Pixel Film Studio shows you just how easy this tool is to use inside Final Cut.

If you want a little more of a deep-dive on the subject, our boy Larry Jordan posted a segment from one of his stellar webinars on matching two different cameras while editing in FCPX.

Check it out below.

Handheld Camera
Begin by slowing down your footage. Image by file404.

Have a problem with shaky footage? You can stabilize your clips within FCPX. In this tutorial from Serge M, we see three different ways you can stabilize unusable shaky footage.

First, slow down your footage. Now, obviously, if you’re working with footage shot at a frame rate that wasn’t intended to be slowed down, this can lead to some horribly choppy, unprofessional-looking footage. But, with FCPX’s optical flow, we can see how the tool smooths out the choppiness and stabilizes the shots as best as it can.

The second method is to use the program’s built-in stabilization tool. Like any program that offers stabilization, expect FCPX to crop in on your image. So, you’ll lose some of the composition, but it’s better than shaky footage.

The third route? Use third-party plugins. In the example above, he actually uses Pixel Film Studio’s “Stabilizer” plugin. I’ve found more luck in the past using third-party plugins than the native tools offered in the big editing programs. It’s definitely worth checking out.

Boost and Smooth Audio in FCPX

Audio EQ
Often overlooked, audio is crucial to the success of your project. Image by chromatos.

Working with bad audio is hard. It’s . . . really, really hard. But, it doesn’t mean the project is doomed.

In this simple but effective tutorial from Josiah Vaughan, he breaks down how to use the Channel Equalizer, then goes over his process for finding and removing unwanted sounds and frequencies.

Like anything with editing, sometimes you just have to play around with things until you hear something you like (or dislike).

Now, let’s say you’re working on an interview segment or documentary, and the audio you get from the interview is hot garbage.

In this tutorial from Ben Johnson, he walks you through how to approach this problem and improve the overall clarity of someone’s voice.

Audio is still somehow an unknown world for me. I think more than any other aspect of production, audio intimidates me the most. But creators like Ben are a safety net for me as an editor, because I can always rely on help like this and his many other FCPX tutorials.

A few more editing tips, tricks, and advice for you:

Top image by Hunterframe.

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