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Video Editing Quick Tip: Matching Shot Colors

Logan Baker

Matching shot colors between two clips is easier than ever with these simple tips for Premiere Pro and Final Cut Pro users.

Top image via Shutterstock

Keeping your shots well lit and consistently colored throughout your project can be one of the most challenging aspects of video production. Whether you’re shooting with different cameras, shooting at different times of day, or receiving footage from many different shooters, maintaining a consistent visual aesthetic can be difficult — but not if you know how to properly ensure your shots are colored the way you want them to be. Let’s look at the best way to make it happen.

Matching Shot Colors in Final Cut Pro

Final Cut Pro offers the easiest way to match color, thanks to the accurately titled Match Color tool. The method is fast, efficient, and can cut time from your workflow. Larry Jordan recorded an excellent tutorial showcasing the simple process and the steps needed to maximize quality and efficiency. He uses vastly different clips to attain totally different looks for his footage. You can watch his tutorial here.

We briefly covered the Match Color tool in our previous creating stylized grades in FCPX tutorial. Jump to the 2:50 mark in this tutorial to see how easy it is. – You can download free footage to follow along with this tutorial on our FCPX page.

First, select the clip you want to change. Under the Enhancements menu, select Match Color.

Video Editing Quick Tip: Matching Shot Colors - FCPX

Next, scrub through a different clip that you want to match the color from. Then hit Apply Match. Voila!

Video Editing Quick Tip: Matching Shot Colors - FCPX Match Color

Matching Shot Colors in Premiere Pro

Matching color in Premiere Pro isn’t as simple as it is in Final Cut Pro, but it’s still relatively easy nonetheless. Instead of offering a one-click route, the best option is to physically tweak the colors.

Jordy Vandeput from Cinecom gives us a condensed walk-through on which steps to take in order to match clips correctly. He begins by stating the obvious: Consider every single object, person, and background in the shot in order for the transition to look natural. The three most important settings to address — in order — are color temperature, exposure and saturation.

Though this may seem tedious, it does allow you to work in greater detail with your images. For additional help with matching shots, PremiumBeat’s own Noam Kroll wrote an in-depth article on creating a seamless blend in two-camera projects.

Know of any other short cuts for matching color? Let us know in the comments below!