Final Cut Pro: How To Use the Waveform Displays

The Waveform displays can be useful in Final Cut Pro for creating different types of color grading, and also to ensure that what you are printing is safe to broadcast. The Waveform displays include the luminance and brightness of the video, and this is shown on a graph. Whether you are using Final Cut Pro to make yourself some videos for display on TV, or for Internet and digital broadcasts, you need to use the Waveform display to enhance your media files. If you are not sure how to manage the video displays, and want to know how to set up and manage the Waveform monitor, then you can do this quite simply by following a few steps.

Materials Needed

  • Final Cut Pro
  • Computer
  • Media Files

Step 1: Set up the Waveform

Before you can start using the Waveform to monitor the brightness of your media, you will need to set it up in your Final Cut Pro software. Install some clips from your media file onto the timeline portion of the Final Cut Pro screen, open up the Tool tab, and pick Video Scopes. This will allow you to see all of the monitoring devices for your video system. Open up the drop-down menu box, and select Waveform from the list of monitors. The Waveform will then be expanded to fit the whole of your Final Cut Pro screen.

Step 2: Arrange Color Correction

Once you have the screen open, you can then open up the Windows menu, and select Color Correction from the Arrange tab. You will then see a lot of buttons for color correction on the monitor setups. You can take these buttons and add them to your timeline, so that you can easily correct the color as you go along with the clips. In the larger Final Cut Pro browsing window, you will see the color correction port over your canvas window.

Step 3: Using Color Correction

Take your clips, and place them on the timeline. Select one, and then press the Effects tab. You can find Color Correction under the Video filter button within this tab. Click on Color Correction 3-way, and this will help to reduce the color impacts from areas such as the horizon, sunlight through windows, or camera flares. Place your mouse button over the Waveform monitor, and watch the yellow line that will read out the brightness values of that position. You can then work out how bright your clip is from this line. You will also be able to see thin purple lines, which are your target lines. These lines suggest where the clip should be in terms of brightness, so you can move the color correction levels while keeping your eye on the target brightness lines. You can turn these lines off if you choose, but there is no real reason for you to do so.

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