Window Layouts for Color Correction in Final Cut Pro

There are two window layouts that are especially convenient for color correction in Final Cut Pro:

You may also find it useful to create a custom layout of your own, depending on how you like to work. You can open as many Tool Bench windows as you like, each with different sets of Frame Viewer and Video Scopes tabs comparing different frames in your sequence. For more information on using and saving window layouts in Final Cut Pro, see Customizing Window Layouts.

Comparing Two Frames in the Frame Viewer

You can use the Frame Viewer to visually compare multiple frames from the same sequence. This is particularly useful when performing a color comparison of multiple clips in the same setting where the lighting attributes may have changed. The Frame Viewer is a tab in the Tool Bench window. In Final Cut Pro, you can open as many Frame Viewer tabs in as many Tool Bench windows as necessary.

In addition to comparing adjacent clips in a sequence for color correction, you can use the Frame Viewer tab for other tasks:

  • Performing a before-and-after filter adjustment: Using the Frame Viewer’s split screen, you can compare a frame from your clip with and without a filter applied, side by side.
  • Lining up horizons or the lines of a table or desk: This is especially useful when enlarging a shot in post-production.

You can set a Frame Viewer tab to display the current frame, adjacent edit points, or the sequence In and Out points in the Canvas and Timeline. You can also compare two frames within a single Frame Viewer tab using the split-screen buttons. You can split the screen either vertically or horizontally, or create a rectangular region showing the split as a picture within a picture. You can configure the Frame Viewer to display those individual frames that are most useful for making comparisons in your project.

Controls in the Frame Viewer Tab

By default, the Frame Viewer tab displays the previous clip from the selected sequence. As you play a sequence, the Frame Viewer shows the last displayed frame. When playback is paused, the contents of the Frame Viewer are updated relative to the new position of the playhead.

If you’ve arranged multiple Frame Viewer tabs to accomplish a specific task, you can save your custom configuration by choosing Window > Arrange > Save Window Layout. For more information about saving window layouts, see Customizing Window Layouts.

To open the Frame Viewer tab
  • Choose Tools > Frame Viewer (or press Option-7).

Figure. Frame Viewer tab in the Tool Bench.

You can customize the contents of the Frame Viewer tab using the following controls:

  • Frame Viewer pop-up menus: Two pop-up menus near the bottom control which two frames are displayed in the Frame Viewer.
    Figure. Frame Viewer pop-up menu.
    • None: This option is available only in the Frame Viewer pop-up menu on the right. If you don’t want to use the split-screen feature in the Frame Viewer, choose this option. When the None option is chosen, only the frame corresponding to the green frame boundary indicators is displayed.
    • 2nd Edit Back: Displays the frame of the Out point two edits back.
    • Previous Edit: Displays the frame of the Out point one edit back.
    • Current Frame: Displays the frame corresponding to the position of the playhead in the Timeline.
    • Current w/o Filters: Displays the same frame as the Current Frame option, without filters applied to the clip. If you have several layers composited together, composite modes are still calculated. However, all filters are turned off on all clips.
    • Next Edit: Displays the frame of the In point one edit forward.
    • 2nd Edit Forward: Displays the frame of the In point two edits forward.
    • In Point: Displays the frame corresponding to the currently defined In point of the sequence in the Timeline.
    • Out Point: Displays the frame corresponding to the currently defined Out point of the sequence in the Timeline.
  • Frame boundary indicators: Next to each Frame Viewer pop-up menu is a green or blue square indicator. These indicators are also located at the top of the Frame Viewer tab and indicate the timecode values of the frames displayed from the sequence. There are also four blue and four green frame boundary indicators at the corners of the split-screen window that correspond to the frames chosen in the Frame Viewer pop-up menus. The edges of the split screen can be manipulated by selecting one of the frame boundary indicators and dragging it to a new position.

    Note: By default, you won’t see two of the blue frame boundary indicators because they are slightly off the screen.

  • Split-screen buttons: These buttons allow you to quickly alternate between vertically split and horizontally split screens.
    • V-Split: Splits the screen vertically. (Click twice to switch sides.)
    • Swap: Alternates the content in each frame and switches the two Frame Viewer pop-up menus accordingly.
    • H-Split: Splits the screen horizontally. (Click twice to switch sides.)

Choosing Display Options in the Frame Viewer

The following section describes how to view and adjust split-screen displays in the Frame Viewer.

To choose a frame to display
  • Choose a frame to display from either the left or right Frame Viewer pop-up menu.

    You can also choose Current Frame from either Frame Viewer pop-up menu to view the frame at the position of the playhead.

To turn on the split screen
  • Choose an edit point from both Frame Viewer pop-up menus.

Note: Clicking the V-Split, Swap, or H-Split button puts the Frame Viewer into split-screen mode with Current w/o Filters selected in the left pop-up menu and Current Frame selected in the right pop-up menu.

To turn off the split screen
  • Choose None from the right Frame Viewer pop-up menu.

    The edit point represented by the green frame boundary indicators is shown.

To adjust the split screen
Do one of the following:
  • Resize the split screen by dragging a green or blue frame boundary indicator to a new position.

  • Move the split screen by clicking inside one of the Frame Viewer split-screen regions and dragging it to a different location.

Figure. Frame Viewer showing the split-screen region being adjusted.
To swap the contents of two split-screen regions
  • Click one of the split-screen buttons to display alternative views.