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Davinci Resolve and Apple Color: Secondaries and Nodes.

COW Blogs : walter biscardi's Blog : Davinci Resolve and Apple Color: Secondaries and Nodes.
I thought I would put together a VERY simple example of the same shot getting essentially the same treatment in these two applications so you can see how they differ on what we would generally call "secondary color enhancement." Basically after the shot is balanced, you now go ahead and give it the "look."

In Apple Color we have 8 Secondary Rooms that essentially give you 16 levels of Secondary Color Enhancement. 16 from 8? Well, yes because you can work inside and outside a vignette in any room independently so in effect, you can have up to 16 levels of color enhancement using the Secondary Rooms.

Davinci Resolve uses a Node based workflow that gives you.... well essentially limitless possibilities depending on how complicated you want to get.

NOTE: As with other examples, these images are from the UI of each application because it's just quicker and easier. Images generally appear a little lighter with a bit more color on the actual output.

Now to get the shots into each application I created a very simple two shot timeline in Final Cut Pro. I used the standard "Send to Color" function to get the shots into Color. I created a CMX3600 EDL to get the shots into Resolve. The first shot of the timeline you saw used in the Auto Balance comparison. This is the second shot. Original is 720 / 60 ProRes codec.

First up, Apple Color.

Here's the original shot balanced and ready for some enhancement.

Now let's go into Secondary Room 1 to bring warm up the shot. You can see I'm pushing the Highlights in the Yellow / Orange Hue....

resulting in the image now warming up.

Next let's add a Vignette to the top of the image in Secondary Room 2 to add some crazy yellow / orange to the top and also bring down the blacks to make it look....

something like this. Altering reality a bit here.

Now moving into Secondary Room 3 I'll do the same, but a darker and more saturated version on the bottom to give the image...

this rather cool, golden look. Almost done, just want to add one more thing.

Drop into the ColorFX room to add a Vignette so I can blur the area around the driver....

and end up with something like this. Again, just a very simple thing, spent all of about 1 minute on this, to make it easy to illustrate how it's achieved here and how we can do something similar in Resolve.

Ok, now here's how I do a similar look using Davinci Resolve.

Our balanced shot again ready to move into secondary enhancement. Now Resolve just has one "Color Panel" where you do pretty much all the work from Primary to Secondary in one window. You just keep adding Nodes with no need to switch off between rooms.

Create a new Node and again, put a mask on the top of the image to alter reality a bit at the top....

Looking something like this.

Create another Node so I can once again create the bottom orange / darker mask...

And create a fourth Node so I can add another mask and the blur around the driver....

Resulting in something similar to what you saw in previously in Apple Color. It's a bit too orange at the bottom, the mask needs to be feathered more and I can further tweak it from here, but you get the general idea.

So the two apps take two different approaches to what we call secondary color enhancement. Which one works better? That just depends on how you like to work. They're both tools an they both do a fantastic job of color enhancement. Some folks are going to be more comfortable with the Color wheels and room workflow of Color. Some folks are going to find the Node architecture of Resolve more to their liking. I've been on Apple Color something like 5 years now and I'm picking up the Resolve workflow very quickly. In some ways I'm faster in Color and in others I'm already faster in Resolve.

One thing I will say. You absolutely MUST get a control surface for Resolve. It would be incredibly slow if you just tried to operate it with just a mouse, tablet or trackball. I run the Tangent Wave Panel with both Color and Resolve. With Color it's a bit easier to work with just a mouse or a tablet because of the color wheel architecture. The UI design of Resolve really lends itself to a control surface and I can't recommend the Wave enough. If you really have the money to spend, well then get yourself the full Resolve control surface from Blackmagic.

Since you've read this far into my blog, here is one neat little trick that does separate Resolve and Color. In Color, the 8 Secondary Rooms work from left to right. That is Room 1 comes first in the look, then Room 2 is added to that, Room 3 to that and so on. If you're in Room 4 and you realize you really wanted to have something different between Rooms 2 and 3 you can't just insert another tab or change the order of the tabs. Generally you would save off the various Secondary Rooms, erase All Secondaries, and start again.

Since Resolve works with Nodes, this isn't an issue. I've decided I really wanted to desaturate the entire scene before I started adding those masks to create the yellow / orange casts at the top and bottom. I simply insert a new Node in between Nodes 1 and 2. Technically it's Node 5 but it's now Number 2 in the tree so it's effect happens before the first orange mask....

And our image now looks like this. A much more desaturated scene making the orange cast at the top much more prominent, but enough color still in the scene to see a hint of green in the grass and the red of his jacket. And this literally took me a matter of seconds to make the change. Insert the Node, desaturate the scene at that Node.

Ok, so you're asking me "Walt, so which one do you like more? Which application is better?" Ah, that sounds like a good topic for the next blog entry. Until next time....

Posted by: walter biscardi on Sep 9, 2010 at 8:08:12 pm Davinci Resolve, Color Enhancement

Professional Video Editor, Producer, Creative Director, Director since 1990.

Credits include multiple Emmys, Tellys, Aurora and CableAce Awards.

Creative Director for Georgia-Pacific and GP Studios, Atlanta. Former Owner / Operator of Biscardi Creative Media. The show you knew us best for was "Good Eats" on the Food Network. I developed the HD Post workflow and we also created all the animations for the series.

Favorite pastime is cooking with pizza on the grill one of my specialties. Each Christmas Eve we serve the Feast of the Seven Fishes, a traditional Italian seafood meal with approx. 30 items on the menu.

If I wasn't in video production I would either own a restaurant or a movie theater.



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