Apple Color – First Impressions from production

We just completed a small job for Thai Nissan’s new car “Teana”. I figured it would be a perfect opportunity to test out Apple’s Color seeing as the commercial only had 5 shots in it.

The colouring toolset in Color is fantastic compared with FCP. There are good tools in FCP, but Color takes it to another level.

The Workflow
After skimming over the Color manual I had got the idea of how it is meant to work. Basically:

Treat it as if you were taking an online edit to a telecine session.

Understanding that makes it all so simple.

I was making the mistake of thinking I could easily jump BACK and FORTH between FCP & Color and use lots of layers, but it is not meant to we worked that way.

How I do this:

  • Do your best to make your get your FCP sequence to be 1 video layer
  • Make sure your sequence is either Apple ProRes or Uncompressed 10bit/8bit CODEC. These are the native CODECs for Color.
  • Make sure all the elements in the sequence are Apple ProRes or Uncompressed 10bit/8bit CODEC QuickTime movies. Nested sequences and Still frames ARE A NO NO! This may mean that you have to export out portions of your edit as QuickTime movies clips and import them back into your sequence
  • Getting there and back

    There seems to be 2 ways to get your edit from FCP to Color and back to FCP.
    1. Use the ‘send to color’ & ‘send to fcp’ option
    2. export your sequence as xml from FCP, then open it with Color, then export as xml from Color, and import into FCP.

    I used option 1 for the Nissan job, but today I have been using option 2. I prefer this option because it allows me to save the XML files where I want to (good for our current workflow).


  • Color keeps all project files and renders in 1 place – similar to FCP, but more strict. FCP lets you save a project where ever you want to.
  • Any translations you do in FCP on a piece of video – such as Position, Anchor, Scale, Rotate – are transferred to Color and back to FCP
  • Any cropping/filters/animation will not be visible in Color – but it will be present once you go back into FCP from Color.
  • This takes me back to what I said about “Treat it as if you were taking an online edit to a telecine session”.
  • Basically what you send to Color should be like what you might ingest from a Digibeta tape – ‘a piece of video’.
  • I think Color is a fantastic version 1 release and hopefully it means there will be a lot more cool stuff to look forward too.
    Apple’s Color Discussion forums

    Final Cut Pro
    Final Cut Pro-xml.png

    2 thoughts on “Apple Color – First Impressions from production”

    1. excellent.. yes been playing a little with this myself… but to this depth. any more hands on is appreciated!

      for HDV is there any advantage in the workflow to go to 10bit colooour depth as you describe?

      Also there is a suggestion in some fcs manua somewhere to do the colour grade BEFORe the final edit (excluding traisions and some fliters)… good or bad? y/n?
      w 🙂

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