I’ve watched dozens of color grading tutorials, but one thing that always eluded me was how colorists determined which points on the curves to raise or lower highlights and shadows. If they wanted to reduce highlights, they’d just randomly grab a point toward the top; if they wanted to crush the shadows, they’d arbitrarily select a spot toward the bottom of the curve. It always looked haphazard, and it seems to me that the very last thing someone wants to do in an NLE is to leave things up to chance. I say haphazard because seldom did colorists take the time to explain why they chose a particular point on the curve to make their adjustments. Just to be clear, I’m not saying all colorists work that way; but if you’ve watched as many tutorials as I have, you’d probably agree that their working methods often leave a lot to be desired. So it was with great interest that I watched a recent FCPX 10.4 tutorial which addressed this concern. In the curves board, simply click on the eyedropper, and as you drag it around the image, a thin vertical line corresponding to the brightness will move up and down the curve, eliminating any guesswork.

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