FCP X: New Color Temperature Settings

With the release of Final Cut Pro X v10.4, a new series of controls now appears at the bottom of the Color Wheels.

I call these the “Temperature Controls.” If we fully expand the settings, they look like this:

These controls fall into three categories:

NOTE: As with all controls, the small “hooky-arrow” on the right is the reset control to return all settings to their default.


The four groups of settings – Master, Shadows, Midtones, and Highlights – display in numbers the settings of each of the color wheels above it. This allows you to enter precise values – say to match shots between projects – without dragging a slider.

Modifying these settings numerically, you can alter the color of a clip the same as if you were dragging an interface control within a specific color wheel. Brightness actually refers to the luminance setting of a clip.

NOTE: The screen shot above is a composite created in Photoshop, we can’t actually move the numeric controls up next to the color wheel.


The Mix control determines what percentage of a color correction setting is applied to a clip. This Mix setting is available for the Color Wheels, Curves, and Hue/Sat Curves, but not the Color Board.

Most of the time – in fact, in my personal experience, all the time – you’ll want this set to 100%, which means that 100% of the color change is applied to the clip. However, by decreasing this percentage, you can decrease the amount of the color correction applied to a clip.

NOTE: Apple’s Help files describe Mix as a way to: “Set the amount of the original image to be blended with the color- corrected image.”


The Help files for Final Cut Pro X 10.4 state:

Temperature: Adjust the color temperature, in degrees kelvin, so that the image looks as natural as possible. Color temperature describes the color value of light when the image was shot (not the light’s heat value). Drag the slider to the left for blue tones. Drag the slider to the right for yellow-red tones. For example, if the image was shot under tungsten conditions, set the value between 2,500 and 2,900 degrees kelvin to white balance it.

Tint: Fine-tune the white-balance adjustment by neutralizing a remaining green or magenta tint. Drag the Tint slider to the left to add a green tint to the image, or drag it to the right to add a magenta tint.

Hue: Use the Hue control or value slider to set a value from 0° to 360°, effectively rotating all hues in the image around the perimeter of the color wheel. A value of 0° represents the original image.

What this means in more practical terms is that if you forgot to white balance a camera, so that the image leans toward blue or gold, moving the Temperature slider will adjust this better than tweaking the color wheels.

For example, tungsten lighting has a color temperature of 3200° K, while daylight is around 5,500° K.

Hue is what us “old-tape-guys” used to call “chroma-phase.” This allows us to rotate all the colors in an image equally and in the same direction. This is a very powerful tool where all your colors are just “off.” In the days of video tape, this was a common occurrence. In today’s digital world, this occurs much less often. However, this is the one color control in Final Cut that I really, REALLY missed.

Hue can also easily create some HIGHLY intriguing color looks that are very hard to achieve any other way.

I’m glad these controls are now available, you won’t need them often, but when you do, there’s nothing else in Final Cut that works as well.


Here’s the relevant page from Apple’s eBook User Manual. You won’t find this in the online help.

NOTE: Here’s an article that describes how to get this User Manual.

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One Response to FCP X: New Color Temperature Settings

  1. Jon Dickinson says:

    Regarding the FCPX “Temperature” control, why does it seem to be to be counter-intuitive to raise the temperature value of this setting to achieve a “warmer”, more orange look?

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