Reviews, Video

Hawaiki Analysis makes colour correction in FCP X and Premiere Pro a breeze

Hawaiki Analyzer

Final Cut Pro X and Premiere Pro users rejoice: colour grading just got a lot easier. Thanks to Hawaiki Analyzer, a FxFactory plug-in that works with Final Cut Pro X, Premiere Pro, Motion and After Effects, you can now pinpoint problems with colour areas that you just can’t seem to get right using the vectorscope or RGB parade.

A FxFactory plug-in for video editors (NLE) Final Cut Pro X and Premiere Pro, Hawaiki Analyzer, makes colour corrections a lot easier by analysing pixel colours under a loupe or area tool. I tried out Hawaiki Analyzer with Final Cut Pro X in which it behaves like a Title overlay on top of your clip. Hawaiki Analyzer also has a histogram tool that works with areas.

When you drag the Hawaiki Analyzer Title tool to the Final Cut Pro X timeline, a quite impressive number of controls become visible in the Title Inspector. The developers went out of their way to give you a maximum of control and functionality with their colour analysis tool. Even if you’d never use it to correct colours in your footage, its 100%-3200% magnification loupe still allows you to check your clip for details, dust and more.

However, for correcting colours, there isn’t anything like Hawaiki Analyzer. It really makes the job a lot easier. The loupe and area controls are user-friendly, the visual feedback is excellent. And best of all, you don’t need to adapt your workflow to Hawaiki Analyzer. The only thing you shouldn’t forget when you start using the plug-in is to switch to your actual clip before you start colour correcting.

Usually when you colour grade footage, you’ll start by checking (and perhaps correcting for) white balance. Then you’ll make sure shadows and highlights are all balanced and finally you’ll want to have your skintones to look good. When all that has been done, you can start the colour grading process. The latter sets the mood of your footage. For a colour correction job, I’ll use the RGB parade and then check with the vectorscope before finishing the whole process.

The problem with the RGB parade and vectorscope is that they analyse the entire frame, so it takes quite a bit of exercise and skill to get white balance and colours, especially skintones, right. This is where Hawaiki Analyzer comes in. I still used the RGB parade to keep an eye on the total picture, with Hawaiki Analyzer’s own colour bars only representing the colour values under the loupe or area you select.

The loupe placed on a surface of which you know it should be white, is a great way to quickly and accurately correct for white balance. Using Color Finale, I had my white balance set in seconds where before I struggled to get it just right. All I had to do was place the loupe on a white wall, set the pixel matrix to 3×3 to rule out stray pixels and adjust the colour wheels in Color Finale. The colour bars responded in real-time and were far less cluttered than the RGB parade. At the top of the clip I had a numeric colour value readout as well.

Skin colour correction with Hawaiki Analyzer

Skintone analysis is a difficult domain for most video editors who aren’t colour grading scientists. With Hawaiki Analyzer it’s much easier. Instead of the RGB parade, I used the vectorscope, checked the Skin Analysis setting, left the tolerance at its default value and positioned the loupe over my subject’s face. I then checked the “Swatch Fullscreen” option. This fills the loupe with the swatch colour you’re pointing at.

This immediately reflects in the vectorscope readout. As you know which colours make up for skintones, you know the vectorscope should show a narrow spike in this area of the scope. By fumbling with the colour wheels in Color Finale, I could quickly adjust the skintone of my subject towards a less purple hue.

The plug-in’s own colour bars change in Skin Analysis mode. The alpha bar changes to the skintone colour and stretches towards 100% as you move closer to a natural skintone adjustment. What ‘natural’ means to you is what you set in the tolerance setting.

Is Hawaiki Analyzer worth the $49 charge?

The Hawaiki Histogram is an extra reason why you might consider buying the plug-in. It is a replacement for the Final Cut Pro X built-in histogram, but with an extra capability: measuring the values within a rectangular area you define. The histogram shows as a semi-transparent overlay on top of your clip — with the ability to place it elsewhere, change opacity, etc.

The cleverest about Hawaiki Analyzer is that it’s actually a Title that goes on top of your clip. This means that when you’re finished colour correcting, you just throw out the Analyzer title or mute it and you’re back with a perfect looking clip. You can also just drag the Analyzer title from clip to clip in the timeline to correct colours from one clip to another if needed.

That is to say Hawaiki Analyzer is all about ease of use, a smoother workflow and a less steep learning curve for correcting colour in a video editing environment. I immediately saw the plug-in’s potential when I viewed the developer’s intro movie. Of course, most developers will make their intros look like it’s dead easy to work with their stuff, only in this case it’s actually true.

The Hawaiki Analyzer costs approx. €45.00.