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How do you auto color grade in Final Cut Pro?

Color grading is an essential part of the video editing process. It involves adjusting the color and luminance of footage to achieve a certain look or mood. In Final Cut Pro, there are several ways to automatically color grade clips to speed up your workflow.

Use the Automatic Color Adjustments

The easiest way to auto color grade in Final Cut Pro is to use the automatic color adjustment options. Here are the steps:

  1. Select the clip(s) you want to adjust.
  2. Open the Color Board and go to the Color Wheels section.
  3. Click on the Reset button to clear any manual adjustments.
  4. Choose one of the automatic adjustment options:
    • Balance Color: Balances the black, mid, and white points.
    • Match Color: Matches colors between two clips.
    • White Balance: Neutralizes the white point.
    • Neutralize Clip: Removes color casts.
    • Neutralize Adjustment: Removes color adjustments.

The selected adjustment will be applied automatically to normalize and balance the colors. You can then tweak the adjustments further if needed.

Use Built-In Color Correction Effects

Final Cut Pro includes several built-in color correction effects that you can simply drag-and-drop onto your clips:

  • Auto Color: Automatically corrects color and contrast.
  • Auto Contrast: Balances color channel intensities.
  • Auto Exposure: Automatically adjusts image exposure.
  • Auto Levels: Sets black and white points.
  • Broadcast Safe: Limits luminance and saturation.

To use them:

  1. Select the clip you want to color grade.
  2. Open the Effects Browser.
  3. Find the color correction effect you want.
  4. Drag the effect onto the clip in the timeline.

The effect will instantly adjust the colors. You can make further tweaks in the Inspector window.

Use Preset Color Grading Looks

You can save time by starting with a preset color grading look rather than adjusting colors manually. Here are some ways to use presets:

  • Apply a Creative Look from the browser. These include stylized grades like black & white.
  • Use a custom Color Board Preset you’ve created or downloaded.
  • Add a LUT (Lookup Table) which contains color grading data.

To use a look or LUT:

  1. Select the clip(s).
  2. Open the Effects Browser.
  3. Find and drag the look or LUT onto the clip.

The preset will automatically adjust the colors as a starting point.

Copy and Paste Color Adjustments

An easy shortcut is to copy color adjustments made to one clip, and paste them onto other clips for a consistent look:

  1. Color grade a clip manually.
  2. Select the clip and choose Edit > Copy.
  3. Select the other clip(s) you want to match.
  4. Choose Edit > Paste Attributes.

This will copy the color adjustments from the original clip to the selected clips. You can select multiple clips to paste the grade onto.

Use the Match Color Tool

The Match Color tool automatically matches the color and tone of one clip to another:

  1. Select the clip you want to match to.
  2. Choose Color > Match Color.
  3. Click the clip you want to match the selected clip to.

This will automatically apply a color adjustment to match the first clip’s grading. It’s useful for color correcting interview shots to match a primary angle.

Batch Process Clips

You can batch color correct multiple clips in a few clicks using the Batch Render command:

  1. Color grade a single clip manually to use as your template.
  2. Select the clips you want to batch process.
  3. Choose File > Batch Render.
  4. Check the “Apply Color Correction” option.
  5. Click Add to Queue.

This will add the selected clips to the render queue and apply the color template to each one. It’s a fast way to normalize coloring across many shots.

Use Role-Based Color Adjustment

You can apply automatic color adjustments to entire video roles such as dialogue, music, effects, etc. To use it:

  1. Organize clips into roles in the timeline.
  2. Select the role you want to adjust.
  3. Open the Color Board and make color changes.
  4. Choose which other roles to copy changes to.

Any adjustments made will automatically apply to all clips of that role. This saves time when color correcting multi-clip projects.

Third-Party Plugins

There are many third-party color grading plugins available for Final Cut Pro that offer advanced auto correction tools:

Plugin Features
Color Finale Auto scanning, matching, and correction tools
Denver Uses AI to auto balance shots
Koji Color Powerful scene-by-scene color matching
Radium Auto look library and LUT application
Forgery Auto color, contrast, and exposure

These tools utilize advanced algorithms to analyze footage and make optimized color adjustments with just a few clicks.


Automatic color grading in Final Cut Pro is easy using the built-in adjustment tools, effects, batch processing, and roles features. For more advanced corrections, third-party plugins leverage the power of machine learning to speed up color balancing across entire projects with a single click. The key is finding the right auto grading workflow that fits your footage requirements and saves the most time in post-production.

With a little setup, you can quickly normalize shots, create stylized looks, and ensure continuity as you edit by letting software handle the tedious shot-to-shot color matching. This frees you up to focus on perfecting the grade and creating the exact look you want.