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at the same time – not always what you want (and can be turned off)
but this can save you from copying and pasting filters in FCP.
Showing standard 3way colour corrector panel in FCP
with the ‘limit effect’ options being used to select blue
eyes for Rutger hauler.
Davinci start up splash.
Davinci Resolve colour panel using a ‘power curve’ that
was very quickly tracked to follow the contour of the
mountain as the shot pans down.
control otherwise its lift, gamma and gain controls
instead with colour wheels or an alternative
bars interface. Resolve adds a curves palette
and if you’re familiar with using curves in Adobe
Photoshop then you will be able to quickly use
these to manipulate your primary grade and add
S-shaped curves which would need specialist
filters in FCP.
Resolve is node based like Apple Color and has
a mechanism to allow you to save your grades,
which can be applied to other clips or re-use
favourites in other projects. Nodes allow you to
add a series of changes that form your grade
– a bit like stacking filters in FCP – but you see
helpful thumbnails of how each node is affecting
the grade. You can also buy pre-made ‘looks’ as
groups of nodes in a similar way to Magic Bullet
Looks or GenArts Sapphire Edge plugins for FCP
to give you a quick way to finish after primary
grading. Shots from the same physical video
file are also linked so that when you modify the
grade on one shot, it is applied to all linked shots
For secondary correction you may want to adjust only certain parts
of your shot, based on the luminance levels (e.g. the sky) or based
on the colour range of an object in the scene (e.g. a red jacket),
without affecting the rest of the shot. These types of corrections can
be achieved within FCP but take patience to select the correct colour
and luma ranges that limit the effect of the change your making. You
can stack several 3-way colour correction filters on a clip in FCP –
one for your primary and then one or more for your secondary and
use the ‘limit effect’ control to mask out part of the scene, but you
can end up with a fairly horrible mask if your not careful. Resolve uses
a Qualifier panels to select the hue, saturation and luma (HSL) ranges
using an eyedropper tool and shows you an intuitive mask to see
exactly what portions of your image you will be working on for the
If you have objects that cannot be ‘keyed’ directly by their colour or
luminance values, say you need to lighten only the face of a person in
a shot, then you need to build a mask shape in FCP using a multi-
point garbage matt or similar and then apply this to another layer
of a duplicate clip before applying correction – all complexity that
can easily go wrong. In Resolve you can use the windows palette to
quickly build a suitable mask from ‘power’ shapes like circle, square,
curve or custom shape – all of which can be combined into a single
mask if needed, then adjusted as often as necessary to easily apply
the grade to just the masked area.
If your masked object moves in the frame over time, then the
complexity increases, as you need to track the object so that the
colour correction follows the movement. This is where Resolve
comes into its own with a fantastic built in surface tracker similar to
Mocha in After Effects that can automatically track moving objects.
In FCP you would have to manually key-frame the mask or export
via Motion or After Effects and do the mask tracking separately. With
Davinci Resolve you get a lot of power for primary and secondary
correction that makes it fairly painless to achieve good-looking results
quickly. It’s certainly on my list of new tools as long as I can squeeze
in an extra graphics card with lots of CUDA processing cores to
make it work faster.
Mark Brindle is a award winning filmmaker who
runs a video production and kit rental company
in north Devon. You can contact Mark via his
website www.maniacfilms.com and you can learn
more about digital filmmaking in his new Handbook
available from Quercus press...
Davinci Resolve colour panel showing the use of the HSL qualifier panel to
create masks for secondary colour correction.
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