How to Add Tone & Color Bars in Final Cut Pro

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Television calibration is a major part of maintenance and this is no wonder why filmmakers, or distributors for that matter, continue to put color bars and tone into films. The reason for this is so that the viewer can coordinate the sound and color scheme for their TV according to what is provided. All people know how the colors are supposed to appear on the color bars and usually how the sound is, so they can then try and match it with their TV settings. Final Cut Pro makes it incredibly easy to add bars and tone to your project in a couple different ways.


The main way to do this is to grab it out of the effects area. Go to the Browser and then click on the Effects tab up top. Go down to Video Generators and then select Bars and Tone. From here you can drag and drop it into the timeline, stretch or shorten it according to your preference, or select it and bring it up into the Viewer to alter it according to settings or other video filters.

Printing to Tape

Another way to do this is when you are printing to tape in Final Cut Pro. Once you select to print to tape a window opens up asking you some of your preferences for this tape recording. These include things like whether or not you want a countdown generated at the beginning of the video clip you are exporting or if you want the tape deck you are printing to to start recording to tape automatically once the software is ready. Here you can also click a box to add bars and tone at the beginning of the clip.

Proper Use

Remember that bars and tone at the beginning of a video clip is somewhat common when a video is on tape, but never happens if it is on DVD. In fact, video clips on DVD rarely contain bars and tone. This is because bars and tone are specifically placed on a separate video track when DVD authoring. Consider just exporting a ten to fifteen second clip of bars and tone out of Final Cut Pro to add to a separate track in your DVD authoring software.

This post is part of the series: Final Cut Pro Tools

Here are some easy Final Cut Pro tutorials on tools you can use.

  1. FCP Timecode Generator
  2. Using Final Cut Pro Log Notes
  3. Using the Vectorscope in Final Cut Pro
  4. Adding Bars and Tone in Final Cut Pro
  5. Using a Color Solid in Final Cut Pro