The “Pleasantville Effect” is a video color correction effect made popular by the late 1990s movie, Pleasantville, starring Tobey Maguire. Though that is in no way, shape or form the only movie to use the isolation of color, it certainly has inspired the use of the tool in many movies (and home movies) since. Basically, the idea is to isolate one color at a time and have everything else in black and white. It gives the picture real “pop” and, when used correctly, can be a great story telling device. Here’s how to create the Pleasantville effect in Final Cut Pro 7.

1. Work carefully to pick a video clip with vibrant colors in it. You really want to have one color pop from the rest. This will make the rest of the process way easier. We chose a shot of school children where one student was wearing a bright red shirt.

Pleasantville Effect Step 1

2. Put the clip on your timeline and go to Effects>Video Filters>Color Correction>Color Correction 3-way. This will open the effect in your preview monitor.

Color Correction 3-Way

3. You should see a screen with three circles in it. At the very bottom, it says “Limit Effect” and it has an arrow by it. Drop down the arrow to get more options.

Pleasantville Effect Step 3

4. Now there should be a few slider bars. All the way on the right there is an eye dropper tool. Select that tool and then click on the color you want isolated in the clip.


5. Back by the slider bars, uncheck “Luma” and uncheck “Saturation”.

Pleasantville Effect Step 5

6. Go back to the three buttons where you found the eye dropper tool. This time, click the bottom one that looks like a trapezoid. This will invert your selections so the color you want will remain bright and everything else will go black and white.


7. Back up on the top of the color correction window, bring the Saturation bar all the way down to zero. Now you should see the effect come to life!

Pleasantville Effect Step 7

8. Play around with the different slider bars and saturation levels until you find the perfect combination for your shot.

Pleasantville Effect Finished

Pretty easy, right? Have fun experimenting with this new trick!

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