FCP X: Use the Broadcast Safe Filter Safely [Video]

Posted on by Sudd

[This is an excerpt from a recent on-line video training: Advanced Color Correction in Final Cut Pro X, which you can download from our store. You can also access all our training when you become a Video Training Library subscriber.]

The Broadcast Safe filter – in the Effects Browser – prevents white levels from exceeding safe parameters when sending programs to broadcast, cable or DVD. The problem is that when you apply it like any other effect, the protection you expect doesn’t work.

In this short video tutorial, Larry Jordan explains what the Broadcast Safe filter does, how to apply it and how to determine if it is working. He also explains when to use the Broadcast Safe filter and when to adjust gray-scale levels using the Color Board.

Demo: Applying the Broadcast Safe Filter

TRT: 5:19 — MPEG-4 HD movie

NOTE: This video may not play inside FireFox, if so, please use a different browser.


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7 Responses to FCP X: Use the Broadcast Safe Filter Safely [Video]

  1. James says:

    How the heck would you handle using the broadcast filter with an hour and half movie in the story line that contains ton of clips? Your information was an eye opener to say the least.

    As always you always provide great Information!


  2. Philip Snyder says:


    Has this oversight been brought to Apple’s attention? This seems like a lot of unnecessary work to make a simple overall correction. It would mean making a compound clip out of every clip in the storyline in order to make it broadcast safe. I’m curious to know how Adobe Premiere Pro deals with this problem. An overall adjustment layer with a broadcast safe filter applied?


  3. Tim says:

    A much easier way to apply Broadcast Safe (or any other effect) to a whole range of clips is to use the “Adjustment Layer” title you can download for free here: http://blog.alex4d.com/2012/03/19/adjustment-layer-FCPX/effect/ (No, I’m not affiliated with that blog, I just find the technique handy.)

    Basically, this is an empty title, created in Motion and published to FCPX. You can build one yourself if you have Motion. It takes advantage of the fact that a Motion title template can modify the entire video stack below it—as long as you leave the video placeholder intact in the Motion file!

    When I want to apply Broadcast Safe, Letterbox, a stylized look, or any other effect to a whole range of clips in my project, I simply stretch this “Adjustment Layer” title over the appropriate range and apply the desired effect(s) to the Adjustment Layer, rather than the clips themselves. As Larry would say, “Woof!” Instant broadcast safe, across my entire project, applied AFTER any other effects and grading that would otherwise mess it up.

    This method has the extra benefits of allowing you to easily turn the added effects on and off by disabling the Adjustment Layer (V key). You can also easily edit individual clips without having to dive into a compound clip. Finally, you can easily leave a clip unaffected here and there by simply lifting it from the Primary Storyline and placing it above the Adjustment Layer.


  4. Gintas says:

    Thank you Tim for suggesting the “Adjustment Layer”, except the URL wasn’t correct. Here is the correct URL:
    This sounds like a much better solution to me, unless Larry or someone else might find any disadvantages in this method.

    • Tim says:

      Thank you for correcting the URL, Gintas. For some reason I wasn’t able to paste into the comment field, so I had to transcribe by hand. I was pretty sure I had dashes instead of slashes, but something either went wrong in my brain or in the comment system!

  5. Lydia Robertson says:

    Hi Larry,
    It has been a few years. It turns out I have quite a few clips where the broadcast safe filter is not working for me either in a compound clip or as an adjustment layer. Not sure what to do, but thought I would ask.

    • Larry says:


      Hmm… I will look into this.

      Virtually all my work these days is for the web, and I don’t use the Broadcast Safe filter on a regular basis.


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