New Ripple Training Grading in Resolve 11

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It’s taken Ripple Training a bit over a month to edit and polish the recordings I delivered just prior to getting out of town for my recent epic multi-country journey, but after much (amazingly well done) work, my brand new “Color Grading in DaVinci Resolve 11” title is finally available.

At 13 hours, this is my most comprehensive look at color grading in Resolve yet, and covers all features old and new found in Resolve 11 (this title supersedes my Resolve 9 and 10 titles). As with my previous titles, I methodically work my way through the workflows, tools, and features that are available, showing you how to grade using Resolve’s complete tool kit. Along the way, I do my best to liberally sprinkle tips and techniques that I find helpful throughout each topic, so you can get the most out of this powerful software.

If you’re a beginner, I do my best to concisely explain the background of each tool, so you’ll get a simple primer on color grading in addition to learning the tools. If you’re an advanced user, Ripple Training’s exhaustive bookmarks make it easy for you to jump right to the information you need.

For those of you’ve watched previous versions of my training for earlier iterations of Resolve, I’d estimate that this new title is approximately 30% new material, and 70% overlap. However, the comprehensive index makes it easy to jump straight to the information you’re looking for, so whether you’re only interested in new features, or looking to refresh your knowledge of seldom-used features, you can easily focus on the tools you need to learn.

And don’t forget that Resolve’s impressive new editing features are covered in my six-hour “Editing in Resolve 11″ title. Between the Editing and Grading titles, you now have access to 19 hours of training covering nearly every aspect of DaVinci Resolve 11.

For more information, and sample movies from both titles, visit the Ripple Training web site.


Color Correction Handbook 2nd Edition: Grading theory and technique for any application.
Color Correction Look Book: Stylized and creative grading techniques for any application.
Editing in DaVinci Resolve 11: 6 hrs of tutorials on editing in Resolve 11 from Ripple Training.
Grading in DaVinci Resolve 11: 13 hrs of tutorials on grading in Resolve 11 from Ripple Training.
Creative Looks in DaVinci Resolve: 90 mins of creative grading tips and techniques from Ripple Training.

Editing in Resolve

Great site – which I have just discovered. I am a technician at a UK university and we have recently made the move to shooting on Blackmagic cameras and using Resolve. You seem to be one of the few people going into depth about editing in resolve 11 – and I wondered if I could ask some advice. Is it now feasible to work completely in resolve 11? I am writing a new workflow and even though we also teach Avid and Final Cut – I thought maybe now is the time to actually teach editing and grading in the one package. Is this covered in your tutorials? creating and editing with proxies all with da vinci? 

To answer your last question first, my brand new “Editing in Resolve 11” title from Ripple Training is completely focused on how to edit in DaVinci Resolve, walking you through how to bring media into Resolve, organize it for editing, and cut and trim it into an edited program complete with transitions, composites, and other effects. There are a few lessons included that cover grading for editors, which are designed to give an introduction to those tools for folks that don’t know grading, but the overwhelming majority of the videos are all about the various editing, effects, and audio tools available in Resolve’s Edit page, and how they’re designed to be used together.

Now to answer your previous question. Yes, I consider it completely feasible to edit a project from scratch inside of Resolve 11. Obviously I’m biased since I helped design the feature set, but I’ve been using the editing tools as long as they’ve existed, and have cut a few very short projects with them, and I’m very happy cutting in Resolve.

Editing Tools in Resolve 11

Editing Tools in Resolve 11

Of course, the cool thing about Resolve is that it also has extensive support for importing and exporting XML, AAF, and EDL project exchange files between just about every NLE currently in use, so you can mix and match NLEs with your Resolve workflow in any way you want. But, if you want to take advantage of Resolve’s ability to let you cut away in the Edit page and then, with the single click of a button, start grading in the Color page, going back and forth as you please cutting and grading the same timeline within the same application, you’ve got a nice editing environment with which to do so.

Furthermore, Resolve 11 editing is based on an editor-friendly source-record style paradigm, with strong track management in the timeline that makes it easy to segue from craft editing into finishing. You’ve even got the ability to customize the name of each track. Bottom line, editors from other environments won’t have to relearn everything to start cutting in Resolve, and beginners will find a nice, clean UI that I consider to be very approachable.

The Editing Timeline in Resolve 11

The Editing Timeline in Resolve 11

However, in the spirit of complete honesty, there are a few caveats you should be aware of.

  1. There’s no multicam editing. If you require multicam, I recommend using FCP X’s wonderful multicam tools, and importing the result into Resolve via XML for finishing (works like a charm).
  2. Resolve 11’s current audio tools are a bit sparse. On the plus side, Resolve does have keyframable clip level overlays, multi-channel 16-channel adaptive timeline tracks, individual channel muting in source clips (via the Clip Attributes command), multi-channel waveform views in the Viewer and timeline, and a track/clip level mixer with assignable channel routing for both digital delivery and tape output, and crossfades. On the minus side, there are no audio filters, audio mixing cannot currently be automated at the track level, and there’s currently no way to export AAF to ProTools directly. However, you can export XML to FCP 7 and then export an OMF from there to ProTools (I’ve done it and it works).
  3. Media management in Resolve doesn’t work the way it does in other NLEs. That’s not to say Resolve doesn’t do media management, in fact it has a wealth of media management features, but they’re accessible in different ways, and they require some reading of the manual to get a handle on if you’re used to other applications.
  4. Given Resolve’s continued emphasis on top-quality, 32-bit floating point precision in all of its processing, even the editing tools benefit from the highest performance GPU you can give them. In particular, if you’re planning a classroom full of iMacs, getting the top-of-the-line GPU option is the best way to go (there’s an updated configuration guide if you want more information available at the Blackmagic Design support site).

Keep in mind that this is only DaVinci’s second year of adding serious editing tools, so there are bound to be small features here and there that you may find missing if you’re used to other NLEs. However, the team worked hard to put together as complete a set of editing tools as 24 months of arduous work has allowed, and there has been a lot of thought put into the current set of features to make sure the tools are robust and work together elegantly.

All of the basics are there including full JKL transport controls, absolute and relative timecode navigation and trimming, source-timeline viewer ganging, three-point editing, insert/overwrite/replace/place-on-top/fit-to-fill edits, a fantastic and complete set of trim tools, timeline and clip markers with multiple colors and notes with optional marker rippling, multi-clip selection with select all clips forward and backward commands, compound clip creation and editing, multi-take clip management in the timeline, per-clip transform and compositing controls, linear and variable speed effects with optical flow processing, keyframable effects with an in-timeline curve editor, paste attributes, some really nice media organization tools in the Media Pool, a filterable Edit Index that you can use to list all your markers, offline clips, through-edits, etc., and a great “Smart Cache” system for automatic render caching of processor-intensive effects. Obviously there’s much, much more to the Edit page then I can describe here, but these highlights should give you a good idea of how much there is to be found.

Markers in Resolve 11

Markers in Resolve 11

Furthermore, every function has been designed to work well using either the mouse, or via extensive keyboard shortcuts. An excellent example of this is the simple ability to add transitions. Using the mouse you can right-click on an edit and choose one of four different timings of the current standard transition. Or, if you select an edit by pressing the V key, you can use the U key to choose which side of the edit is selected (incoming, outgoing, or center), and then press Command-T to add the standard transition at the incoming, outgoing, or center of the edit, whichever is selected.

Adding Transitions

Adding Transitions

And of course Resolve’s extensive format support, support of mixed frame-rates/frame sizes/codecs within a single timeline, and extensive project import/export support for multiple XML, AAF, and EDL workflows makes it easy to use Resolve in an incredibly wide variety of workflows, including converting project exchange formats and exporting to just about any media format you’d want to.

Resolve 11 Export Formats

Resolve 11 Export Formats

Oh, and of course you can switch from editing to using Resolve’s incredibly deep grading environment with the single click of a button. No reconform needed, as you’re working on the exact same timeline in both pages.

Resolve 11 Grading at the Press of a Button

Resolve 11 Grading at the Press of a Button

While my current title for Ripple Training focuses on Editing, they’re working on my already-recorded “Grading in Resolve 11” title which is a completely updated grading title. It’ll probably be available in a month or so there’s a separate title on Grading that’s now available.

With all this said, I’d absolutely recommend downloading the Lite version (for free) and checking it out for yourself. The best way to get a feel for Resolve’s editing is to get your hands on it. I think you’ll like what you find. And don’t forget the newly updated Resolve 11 User Manual, written by yours truly, that comes along with the app (it’s installed in the same folder as the Resolve 11 application). The Edit chapters are totally revised, and worth a look if you want to understand how everything works.


Color Correction Handbook 2nd Edition: Grading theory and technique for any application.
Color Correction Look Book: Stylized and creative grading techniques for any application.
Editing in DaVinci Resolve 11: 6 hrs of tutorials on editing in Resolve 11 from Ripple Training.
Grading in DaVinci Resolve 11: 13 hrs of tutorials on grading in Resolve 11 from Ripple Training.
Creative Looks in DaVinci Resolve: 90 mins of creative grading tips and techniques from Ripple Training.

The Public Beta of DaVinci Resolve 11

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I’ve had a lot of fun working with DaVinci this year, and version 11 a big new release that expands editing, improves grading, and makes nearly every workflow better. While I’ve been nose-to-the-grindstone finishing my film, “The Place Where You Live” for the last two weeks (I finished the last of the VFX yesterday), I’ve continued to keep pace with the DaVinci development team as they’ve been putting the final touches on today’s giant new release of the DaVinci Resolve 11 public beta.

If you’re a current Resolve user, or curious about what Resolve can do for you, there are public betas for both the full dongle-protected version, and the free Lite version. And I need to point out that nearly every feature I talk about in this article is available for free in the lite version. Both can be obtained at a brand new support page: http://www.blackmagicdesign.com/support/family/10.

This page also includes some videos showing what’s new, with specific looks at editing and grading in Resolve. However, if you were to ask me about my favorite new features, I would tell you to check out the following…

Editing, Editing, and Editing

One of the main themes of Resolve 11 is vastly expanded editing tools; you now have a video editor living directly alongside your grading environment, in which you can cut from scratch and immediately switch to grading with a single mouse-click. Or, if you’re like me, you can go back and forth between cutting and grading continuously, making grading tweaks to scenes right in the middle of your edit, creating quick matches when insert shots don’t look right, or creating that day-for-night look you need to make a particular scene work. I’ve actually cut a couple of short projects with these tools, and I think you’ll find the Resolve editing experience surprisingly robust given this is only the second year the team’s been working on it.

You need to check out the powerful trimming tools, including a fantastic implementation of dynamic JKL trimming (make a selection and hold the Command key down while using JKL), and the ability to disable tracks from rippling using the Auto Select controls. If you tried editing with version 10, rest assured that version 11 adds most of what you may have found lacking, including timecode entry for navigation and trimming, more JKL transport functionality, better keyframing and a new curve editor, improved copy/paste and option-drag to duplicate clips, Description/Comments/Keywords columns in the Media Pool, bin organization for timelines, trim start/end features and numerous trim functions, four-up trim viewer displays for slip and slide, key shortcuts for just about everything (including moving clips up and down among tracks) and editable key shortcuts, many improvements to the process of adding and modifying transitions, a new film style transition, an adjustable audio crossfade, new 16-channel capable adaptive audio tracks, a clip mixing mode in the Audio Mixer, title formatting improvements, compatibility with OFX transitions such as those in GenArts Sapphire, a find next/previous gap function, flag/marker/through-edit/offline filtering in the Edit Index, editable notes and colors for markers, a Paste Attributes function, new Compound Clip editing, and much, much more. Coupled with the multiple edit types, compositing and transform features, three-point-editing, speed effects, and draggable trimming that Resolve already had, these additions add up to a very nice experience. In fact, Editing is so big it’s now covered in chapters 6, 7, and 8 of the User Manual. And before you ask, no, there’s no multi-cam editing (I would point out that Final Cut Pro X has great multi-cam along with great import into Resolve).

And to reiterate, every single editing feature is available in Resolve Lite, for free, on both Windows and the Mac (there is no Resolve Lite for Linux).

Great New Grading Tools

There are many new grading tools, including the new Color Match palette for automatically grading a clip based on a color chart included in the shot, a new Sat vs. Sat curve that lets you precisely adjust the saturation of pixels in the image based on their level saturation in the picture, new LAB colorspace conversion within a node, vastly improved matte adjustment parameters in the HSL Qualifier palette, terrific new Highlights and Shadows parameters in both RAW and Color Match palettes for easily retrieving highlight and shadow detail in high dynamic range media, Color Boost and Midtone Detail parameters for creating adjustments similar to vibrance and definition, an Opacity setting for windows, improved automatic Color Matching tools for Stereo 3D media, updated LUTs, the ability to create multiple PowerGrade albums, Wipe, Split-Screen, and Highlight buttons at the top of the Viewer, new automatic Broadcast Safe settings, and UI improvements too numerous to get into here. Color grading has now been split into two chapters, 11 and 12, of the User Manual.

A New Take On an Old Tool, Groups

Also for colorists, the all new Group Grading features makes grading with groups easier and more intuitive than before. If you’ve avoided using groups in the past because they were too complicated to manage, give them another try in version 11. Creating a group enables two new modes in the Node Editor, Pre-Clip Group and Post-Clip Group, which can be used for creating node trees prior to and after the Clip node tree, both of which are automatically synced among each clip in the group. The Clip node remains separate from the group, allowing you to make individual per-clip adjustments. This way, you’ve got an easy way of creating one set of node trees that will ripple among the clips in the group, and a separate node tree that doesn’t. This feature let me remove a whole page of explanation from the manual because it’s so straightforward to use. Group grading is covered at the end of Chapter 13.

A New Render Cache

Whether you’re a colorist or an editor, all new Render Cache functionality lets you either manually or automatically (if you choose the Smart setting) cache source clip formats that won’t play in real time, cache Edit page timeline effects that are render intensive, and cache Color page nodes that are render intensive. Caching is done automatically and quickly, sneaking in cache processing whenever you pause working. Colorists can also turn on caching for a specific node in the Node Editor, which forces all image processing up to that node to cache, while leaving all downstream nodes live for editing. The format you cache to is user selectable (in the General Options of the Project Settings) and you can choose from among a wide range of video formats. Also, while exporting from the Delivery page, you have the option of choosing to either output the cached media, or force a re-render. Caching in Resolve is now a big topic, and full information can be found starting on page 97 of the User Manual. Not mentioned (yet) is the ability to delete your render cache, found at the bottom of the Playback menu.

Collaborative Workflow

Collaborative workflow (only available with the full version of Resolve) is a huge new feature that allows multi-workstation shops, both large and small, to have multiple Resolve users working on the same timeline at the same time. Setting up a shared Resolve project database to do this is relatively simple (there are complete instructions in Chapter 17 of the User Manual), and once you do so, an editor, a colorist, and some assistants can work together on the same timeline, at the same time, giving you yet another tool to manage those ridiculous client deadlines. Even if you’re a tiny boutique post house with two people, an editor and a colorist, you can set this up to use among your two workstations for the cost of only two licenses of Resolve.

Clone Tool

A new clone tool in the Media page makes it easy to duplicate camera card media, volumes, or even individual folders, to one or more destinations, complete with checksum reports written to the destination.

Delivery

There are even new features for delivery, including a new UI separating the output options into Basic, Intermediate, and Advanced sets of controls depending on how much customization you require, new H.264 one-pass encoding with user-adjustable data rate throttling and AAC audio encoding that produces fast and quality H.264 files, MXF OP1A encoding, IMF encoding for owners of easyDCP, and the ability to output clips of mixed resolutions at their original frame sizes when outputting individual source clips. All this and more is covered in Chapter 14.

Get It Now

These are just the highlights, there’s much, much more to this release than I can easily summarize here. It’s all covered in the beta version of the newly updated User Manual that accompanies the disk installation (the User Manual is now automatically copied to the application folder that’s now installed). The User Manual has been significantly reorganized, and as you can imagine there’s a lot more information in the editing chapters than there used to be. So, download the software, skim the User Manual, and give it a whirl. Integration between editing and grading has never been tighter, and while I’m obviously biased since I work with the DaVinci design team, I think you’re going to really like what you see.

And yes, as you can imagine, I’m hard at work on the updated version of my training videos for version 11, through Ripple Training. This year will be a total overhaul, which is a colossal undertaking, but well worth it. Stay tuned on my twitter feed (@hurkman) if you want to be the first to hear about it.


Color Correction Handbook 2nd Edition: Grading theory and technique for any application.
Color Correction Look Book: Stylized and creative grading techniques for any application.
Editing in DaVinci Resolve 11: 6 hrs of tutorials on editing in Resolve 11 from Ripple Training.
Grading in DaVinci Resolve 11: 13 hrs of tutorials on grading in Resolve 11 from Ripple Training.
Creative Looks in DaVinci Resolve: 90 mins of creative grading tips and techniques from Ripple Training.

Old Tricks in a New Way—Color Wash

Offset Color Balance

As I was puttering around the other week, I happened upon a small DaVinci Resolve grading trick that seemed worth sharing. Nothing earth-shattering, just a handy tip that might help out when you’re trying to add a color wash or tint to a clip, but you want to make sure that some of the underlying color still shows through.

For reference, here’s the original:

Pre-Tint Original

The simplest way of introducing a tint is simply to push one of the color balance controls aggressively towards a particular color. Depending on which control you use, such a tint will be emphasized in the highlights (Gain), the midtones (Gamma), or the shadows (Lift). The most aggressive tints, affecting the entire image, can be accomplished using the Offset control, which rebalances the entire range of the signal indiscriminately.

Here’s the trick for retaining a bit of naturalism. Before you touch the color balance controls, right-click the node you’re using to apply the tint, and turn off “Enable channel 2″ so there’s no check mark next to it.

Disabling Channels

This prevents anything you do in this node from affecting channel 2, which is the green channel. Now, when you push any of the color balance controls around, you’ll be rebalancing the red and blue channels, but not green. Even when using Offset to create a massive tint.

Offset Color Balance

The result is that you actually retain a good whiff of the original color balance in the midtones, as you can see in the following comparison of differently tinted versions, all using the Offset control.

Comparison of Grades

Why lock off the green channel to do this? Well, when you’re rebalancing color, the green channel sits right in the middle, betwixt and between red and blue. Locking green off means that red and blue then see-saw up and down on either side of green. The result is that, while the midtones do become tinted along with the rest of the image, they’re prevented from becoming tinted so much that the original balance of colors is obscured.

You can see this when comparing the original and tinted images in an RGB Parade scope. Here’s the original:

Untinted Image

Now here’s the tinted image:

Tinted Image

Since we’re pushing this image towards green using the offset control, you can see that the bottoms of the red and blue channels are being clipped, but the green channel remains stolidly where it was. A tint is being created, but leaving the green channel out of the operation prevents you from going overboard too easily.

So there you go. It’s a small thing, and while you probably already had about eight different ways of tinting an image if you’ve read my Color Correction Handbook and/or Look Book, this gives you one more for those special cases.


Color Correction Handbook 2nd Edition: Grading theory and technique for any application.
Color Correction Look Book: Stylized and creative grading techniques for any application.
Editing in DaVinci Resolve 11: 6 hrs of tutorials on editing in Resolve 11 from Ripple Training.
Grading in DaVinci Resolve 11: 13 hrs of tutorials on grading in Resolve 11 from Ripple Training.
Creative Looks in DaVinci Resolve: 90 mins of creative grading tips and techniques from Ripple Training.

All About Resolve 10.1

This is just a quick post as I’m out of the country and about to take my first meaningful vacation in two years. DaVinci recently released version 10.1 of Resolve, with a bunch of great new features; not wanting to rerecord my just-finished “Resolve 10 In-Depth” title for Ripple that runs four hours and covers everything that’s new as of 10.0.2, I thought I’d make things easy for everybody and record a set of free tutorials that only cover the very newest features in 10.1, so that everyone can keep current.

There are seven movies totaling less then an hour, covering new editing features, improvements to Color Trace, an explanation of the new way the Resolve handles stereo, an update on different ways of copying grades in the color page, and much more. You can either access them on YouTube at the Ripple Training channel, or you can view them on a dedicated page at the Ripple Training site. For now, here’s a taste (for some reason I can only link to the very last movie), hope you find them useful!


Color Correction Handbook 2nd Edition: Grading theory and technique for any application.
Color Correction Look Book: Stylized and creative grading techniques for any application.
Editing in DaVinci Resolve 11: 6 hrs of tutorials on editing in Resolve 11 from Ripple Training.
Grading in DaVinci Resolve 11: 13 hrs of tutorials on grading in Resolve 11 from Ripple Training.
Creative Looks in DaVinci Resolve: 90 mins of creative grading tips and techniques from Ripple Training.

DaVinci Resolve 10 In-Depth From Ripple Training

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I try not to post two promotional articles in a row, but I’m still wrapping up the whopping five book year I started in 2013, and I’ve been too busy to bloviate any further here since my last two books came out. However, many of you have been clamoring for Resolve 10 training, and with Resolve 10 finally shipping on November 7th, I’ve heard your pleas and have been working with Steve Martin and the good folks at Ripple Training to make it happen, incorporating updates for 10.0.1 and 10.0.2 as they’ve since come out.

It wasn’t easy! Resolve 10 was a deceptively gigantic release, as is reflected by the now-available DaVinci Resolve 10 In-Depth title’s length—5 hours divided into 48 movies that are focused exclusively on the new features found in DaVinci Resolve 10. And I do mean every feature, large and small. Updates to the Media page are discussed. There’s a whole series of movies on the brand new editing features in the updated Edit page. Of course, there’s lots of content covering the myriad new grading features to be found in the Color page, including an overview of how to use Resolve Live. Finally, there’s a substantial amount of updated workflow information, including tips on new Deliver page functionality and a quick look at easyDCP integration.

Best of all, we’ve kept the price low, so it’s an easy add-on for folks who already own the Resolve 9 Core Training title, or who are already familiar with Resolve. In fact, this title is designed to work together with the previous Resolve 9 Core Training title, which remains the main starting point for people who are just getting started with DaVinci Resolve, since most workflows and much of the basic and grading functionality remains the same.

Depending on what you need, there are three ways you can get Resolve 10 In-Depth:


Color Correction Handbook 2nd Edition: Grading theory and technique for any application.
Color Correction Look Book: Stylized and creative grading techniques for any application.
Editing in DaVinci Resolve 11: 6 hrs of tutorials on editing in Resolve 11 from Ripple Training.
Grading in DaVinci Resolve 11: 13 hrs of tutorials on grading in Resolve 11 from Ripple Training.
Creative Looks in DaVinci Resolve: 90 mins of creative grading tips and techniques from Ripple Training.

Late-Breaking New Features in DaVinci Resolve 10

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If you’re reading this, you probably already know the public beta of DaVinci Resolve 10 is available for download, soon to be followed by the final version. As is usually the case, I had to turn over the User Manual (also in beta) to production much sooner than the software was actually finished in order to create the final layout. Because the DaVinci engineering team is so ambitious, this means a few new features were slipped in at the last minute that either aren’t in the manual, or are easy to miss. Here, then, is a short list of some great new features you should know about, lest they slip beneath your radar.

Importing Media into a Blank Project Updates Project Settings

A welcome update, if small, is an automatic prompt whenever you import media into an empty project that lets you change your project settings to match the incoming media. No more accidentally creating quick projects for dailies processing that accidentally have the wrong frame rate.

Speed Change UI in the Edit Page

A late-breaking feature is a new “speed widget” for creating multi-speed effects in the timeline of the Edit page. Select any clip and press Command-R (for “retime”) to turn a clip into a speed effect clip.

A new UI for multiple-speed changes in the timeline.

Once the clip has been set up as a speed change, you use the pop-up menu at the bottom to set speed handles at the position of the playhead that you use to retime clip speed segments. Once handles have been added, you can drag them to the left or right to create fast or slow motion effects. Clicking the close button at the upper left-hand corner of the speed widget hides the speed controls, but a stopwatch icon in the collapsed clip shows you it’s a speed effect, and you can press Command-R again to open the speed controls back up for further manipulation.

The pop-up menu you use to add speed handles and choose from preset speed settings.

The pop-up menu you use to add speed handles and choose from preset speed settings.

This pop-up menu also has options for setting speed segments to preset speeds, reversing clips, and adding speed ramps to ease into or out of speed changes.

Independently Resizable Video and Audio Tracks

This one’s actually in the manual, but it’s easy to overlook. You can choose separate sizes for the video and audio tracks in the timeline. Handy for prioritizing space in the timeline depending on whether you’re working on the audio or video of your program.

Composite and Transform Settings in the Title Generators

This was a late-breaking feature that I wasn’t able to demo in any of the available videos, and that isn’t yet in the manual. There’s a set of composite, transform, and cropping parameters available at the bottom of the Inspector when you select a text effect in the timeline. These can be used to blend text into superimposed layers using any of the available transform modes, and to fly text around using keyframable pan/tilt/zoom/rotation and anchor point parameters.

Composite and transform settings are available in the Inspector for blending and flying text effects around.

Composite and transform settings are available in the Inspector for blending and flying text generators around.

Where’s the Loop Option in the Edit Page Viewers?

In the event you were looking for the Loop control in the Edit page, it’s a menu item in the Option menu (in the upper right-hand corner) of each of the Viewers.

Duplicate Timeline

FINALLY! I’m as excited about this small but meaningful feature as you are. Simply right-click any timeline in the Timelines list to access options to rename, duplicate, and alter the timecode of timelines. More than any other new feature, this makes me want to buy the whole engineering team beers.

Append At End and Select Clips Forward Key Shortcuts

This is in the category of features it’s easy to think Resolve doesn’t have because there’s no visible control. There’s a whole edit method hidden in the Edit menu, “Append At End,” which does exactly what it says. Additionally, there are commands to “Select Clips Forward” on the current track or all tracks. You can either use the Edit menu items, or the corresponding keyboard shortcuts shown below to initiate these commands.

Hidden features in plain sight

Hidden features in plain sight

Copy and Paste Grades in the Color Page

In the Color page, you now have a new way of copying grades. Simply select the thumbnail of any graded clip and press Command-C to copy the grade, then select another clip and press Command-V to paste the copied grade. As an added bonus, keyframes and motion tracking are also copied and pasted when using this method.

You should note that if you don’t want to copy tracking data and keyframes, you can still use the middle-mouse button method of copying grades.

Apply Grade Keyboard Shortcuts for Everyone

This one actually is in the manual, but I wanted to point it out to make sure you knew about it. Two features long enjoyed by owners of the DaVinci Control Surface are “Apply Grade From One Clip Prior” and “Apply Grade From Two Clips Prior.” They’re fantastic for rapidly moving through scenes shot with coverage when doing shot matching, and they’re now available to the masses via two keyboard shortcuts.

Split Screen > Gallery Grades

This is a feature I actually hadn’t seen until hitting the show floor at IBC (proving the DaVinci team surprises everybody). More options have been added to the Split Screen submenu for creating whole frame side-by-side comparisons in the Viewer of the Color page, and all of these options are now available in the Viewer submenu, which is very convenient.

Split Screen options in the Viewer submenu.

Split Screen options in the Viewer submenu.

One late-breaking new feature is “Neighbor Clips,” where you see a four-up display showing the current clip next to the previous and next clips in the timeline, automatically. However, another new feature that bears a bit more explanation is “Gallery Grades.” Basically, once you choose this option, any saved grades you select in the Gallery of the Color page are displayed side by side as they’d appear applied to the current clip. This can be seen below.

Using Split Screen > Gallery Grades to preview different grades as they'd look on the current clip.

Using Split Screen > Gallery Grades to preview different grades as they’d look on the current clip.

This’ll be a really useful feature for style-intensive projects in which you want to raid your personal collection of swank looks, and you want to preview a selection for your client. Like all the other split screen options, this will be displayed on your hero monitor via video out.

Grab Missing Stills

Another small new feature is “Grab Missing Stills,” which only grabs stills from clips you haven’t saved stills for already. This is useful for timelines where you’ve already saved a set of archival stills in a gallery, but in which you’ve added some shots that you’d also like to archive without spending time overwriting everything you’ve already saved.

Shape Presets UI

This made it into the manual, but it seemed worth pointing out here since it’s quite useful, but may not be immediately obvious. If you’ve created one or more windows that you think will be useful to apply to other shots later on, you can save and recall them using commands in the Window palette’s Option menu.

Saving preset shapes

Saving preset shapes

Choosing Save Preset As pops a dialog you can use to name the window preset.

Clicking OK saves your newly named windows preset to the preset pop-up menu in the lower right-hand corner of the Window palette.

To apply a window preset to the current node, choose the window preset you want from this pop-up menu, then open the Option menu and choose Apply Preset. Window presets overwrite any other windows you’ve already set up in the current node, so you may want to create a new node before applying window presets.

Burn-In Palette Gang Render Text Styles

Another small change that’s easy to overlook is the ability to either gang the styling of all text items you’re burning into the timeline, or to independently style each text item by disabling this option in the Options menu of the Data Burn In palette.

New Camera RAW Settings

Two new items available in the camera raw settings for all formats provide both convenience and quality for folks pursuing raw workflows. The first one, Decode Quality, lets you choose from Full, Half, or Quarter resolution debayer settings for all formats, making it easier to work with camera raw formats on lower power workstations.

An additional parameter, Sharpness, applies a brand new sharpening algorithm specifically for improving camera raw media conversions should you be someone who likes to add a bit of sharpening (similar to what Lightroom does by default). This new Sharpness parameter is automatically set to 10.

It’s a very subtle adjustment; the two images below show a comparison of the maximum setting of 100 (I cranked this setting to make it obvious) and the default setting of 10. You should zoom in to see the difference more clearly.

Max Sharpening

A zoom in of maximum debayer Sharpen being applied to a CinemaDNG image.

Default Sharpening

A zoom in of the default debayer Sharpen being applied to a CinemaDNG image.

Render to AVI

Personally, I can’t remember the last time I rendered an AVI file, but apparently there are still plenty of you who do, and the Resolve team has listened to your pleas.

You can now render to the AVI format.

You can now render to the AVI format.

When you choose AVI from the Render to pop-up menu of the Deliver page, you get access to the four codecs that are available to this format. This option is available to Resolve on OS X, Windows, and Linux.

Where Did the Select All Button Go?

Lastly, some folks have been asking where the Select All button I’ve been demoing in the Deliver page went. In a last-minute change, this was changed into an icon to conserve space, but don’t worry, it’s still there.

The now textless Select All button.

The now textless Select All button.

There’s Plenty More

That’s all for now, but of course there are many, many more new features available in DaVinci Resolve 10. In the coming weeks, I’ll be working with Ripple Training to create a new features tutorial specifically for covering all the changes for folks who’ve purchased my Resolve 9 training title. Until then, this and the manual should get you started with this big new release.


Color Correction Handbook 2nd Edition: Grading theory and technique for any application.
Color Correction Look Book: Stylized and creative grading techniques for any application.
Editing in DaVinci Resolve 11: 6 hrs of tutorials on editing in Resolve 11 from Ripple Training.
Grading in DaVinci Resolve 11: 13 hrs of tutorials on grading in Resolve 11 from Ripple Training.
Creative Looks in DaVinci Resolve: 90 mins of creative grading tips and techniques from Ripple Training.

Some Things I Saw at NAB 2013

The 2013 National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) show was so very busy that only now has the dust settled enough for me to write anything. Unfortunately, I hadn’t the time to visit everyone I wanted to, but between the madness I did manage to catch up with a few of the companies who make products that interest me. While there were some major announcements that grabbed a lot of attention, here are some of the smaller pieces that you may not have noticed.

One of the reasons the show was so hectic for me this year was that it came just as the short film I’ve been directing has been winding its way through post. Just before leaving for Vegas, I posted a two-minute teaser online to have something to show off while the overall 12 minutes is finished. The inestimable Brian Mulligan, who’s been contributing compositing to my film (he’s responsible for the dimensional doorway effect) was at the Autodesk booth showing how he created this and several other effects using Smoke 2013 on the Mac.

Brian Mulligan showing how to make a burning doorway in Smoke 2013

Brian Mulligan (right) showing how to make a burning doorway between dimensions in Smoke 2013

While Autodesk wasn’t showing anything brand spanking new just yet, a “technology collaboration” was announced between Autodesk and Blackmagic Design that should eventually be great news for folks using products from both of these companies. There’s plenty of synergy I’d like to see; time will tell.

Speaking of Blackmagic, the upcoming DaVinci Resolve 10 was the other reason I was so busy. They piled in so many new feature announcements that I couldn’t even cover them all in the 25 minute Supermeet 2013 presentation I gave.

The video shows most of the headline features including a continued focus on application interoperability, online-oriented editing features such as timeline audio tracks, 3-point editing, and a unified trim tool; text generators; integrated optical-flow processing of slow motion speed effects; a completely revamped windowing interface with bezier drawing, unlimited window support within one node, a new gradient window, and window naming; all-new tools for splitting color channels in different color spaces for individual adjustment; and support for OpenFX plugins allowing Resolve’s capabilities to be expanded with whatever compatible plugins you want to use.

All of this just scratches the surface, however, and I’ll be demonstrating even more announced features at various events in the coming months (starting with an appearance at the BOSCPUG on May 29th). I’ll be demonstrating the new live on-set grading tools, more online editing features, the new optical-flow based noise reduction and motion blur features, and more.

Speaking of OpenFX plugins, GenArts announced version seven of their enviable Sapphire plugin collection. Anyone doing serious work in postproduction has either used or wanted to use these plugins, which in addition to compatibility with every major plugin format in use, is also available in the OpenFX format, meaning Resolve 10 users will have access to the phenomenal optical glows, lens flares, and video/film damage effects that you know and love.

In version 7, GenArts has added a new Beauty plugin for fast, targeted edge aware skin-tone smoothing, a new general purpose Edge Aware Blur for blurring low-detail portions of an image while retaining edge detail, and an update to their glow filters which allow for the addition of animated atmospheric noise as part of the effect (providing an illusion of volume). In addition, they’ve improved their Lens Flare engine, undertaking a project to shoot real flares through a wide variety of popular and vintage lenses, and rebuilding their flare elements library from terabytes of these scanned source images.

This year, I happened by the Eizo monitors stand, and noticed that they have a pair of LCD-based displays they’re hoping will appeal to the video postproduction crowd. The Eizo CG246 (a 24-inch LED edge-lit display) and CG276 (a 27-inch CCFL-backlit display) both feature DVI-D, 10-bit DisplayPort, and 10-bit HDMI inputs for convenient Rec.709 monitoring.

The Eizo

The Eizo CG276 27″ monitor

An additional feature of these monitors is a built-in Konica-Minolta colorimeter that pops up from the bottom bezel, and takes color measurements via built-in calibration software that can be invoked manually, or scheduled for routine automatic calibration.

The Eizo display's built-in Konika-Minolta colorimeter

The Eizo display’s built-in Konica-Minolta colorimeter

After the calibration routine has been completed, a convenient window can be summoned that shows how the calibrated result lines up with the designated target brightness, white point, and gamut, all built right into the display via its internal menus.

Eizo calibration report

Eizo calibration report

In terms of gamut, I’m told they boast 100% of Rec. 709 and sRGB, 97% of Adobe RGB, and 92% of DCI P3, all of which are reasonable given their respective price points of $2400 (CG246) and $2700 (CG276). I’m told the black levels of these displays is respectable, although it was impossible to tell in the predictably wretched viewing conditions on the floor. There are trade-offs, though, as there are no built-in HD-SDI inputs available for more conventional facility installations. I’ve heard that Eizo has a great reputation among photographers, and I’d venture to say these look like excellent displays if you’re an editor or compositor, or if  you primarily do grading for web video, with a bit of work for video output here and there.

One last note, in keeping with the general theme of 4K throughout the show floor, Eizo was showing a 4K prototype that’s being adapted from one of their high-resolution air traffic control displays (Eizo also makes displays for a variety of other niche markets), so one might hope that they could eventually come up with an affordable 4K display solution.

Speaking of display technology, Flanders Scientific came out with two sets of new displays. The color critical CM series consists of the 17-inch CM171 ($3,295), the 24-inch CM240 ($4,995), and the 32-inch CM320TD ($5,495). The CM series have 10-bit panels that display native 1920×1080 video. Of these, the two that are probably of interest to the colorist due to their size are the CM320TD, and the CM240.

The 32-inch Flanders Scientific CM320TD

The 32-inch Flanders Scientific CM320TD

A 32-inch display is a reasonable size for a display with good off-axis viewing, in a medium-sized color grading suite, in which you’ll be working supervised with clients sitting behind you. Thus, it’s tempting to think that, at a mere $500 premium over the 24-inch CM240, the CM320TD is an easy choice. However, be aware that there are key differences between these two displays that you may or may not find important.

  • The CM320TD is capable of passive stereoscopic 3D, has a glossy screen, and a higher 1,600:1 contrast ratio. Its panel is native 10-bit. It’s also an LED edge-lit display, for which no warm-up period is necessary for critical viewing. However, this results in a narrower gamut then the CM240; the CM320 displays 100% of Rec.709, but it covers a smaller portion of DCI P3 then its 24-inch counterpart.
  • The CM240 is not stereo capable, it has a matte screen, and a 1,100:1 contrast ratio. It uses FRC to achieve 10-bit performance, which you’d likely never notice. Using CCFL fluorescent backlighting, its native gamut is wider then that of the CM320TD, covering approximately 97% of the DCI P3 colorspace, however CCFL needs a warm up period of approximately 30 minutes to fully stabilize.

Other then the size, if you care about glossy versus matte, or stereoscopic 3D-capable versus not, then you’ll have a decision to make. If you care about the difference in P3 gamut, that’s fair, but be aware that both monitors are capable of being switched to the DCI-P3 standard using the proper color transform, white point, and gamma setting with which to get a preview of how this transformation will affect your image.

Flanders also announced the new BM series of lower cost, LED edge-lit, 8-bit displays. The BM210 is a 21.5-inch model ($2,495), while the BM230 is a 23-inch model ($2,995). While not being marketed as color-critical displays, and having a lower 1,000:1 contrast ratio, these are nonetheless great-looking displays covering 100% of Rec.709, and will be right at home in any video village or editing suite.

It’s also worth mentioning that both the CM series and the BM series feature Flanders’ CFE2 Color Fidelity Engine, which allows for the use of two 64-sided LUTs, one for calibration, and a second one for applying “looks” in the field. CFE2 is also compatible with LUTs generated by LightSpace CMS, and in fact Flanders and Light Illusion have announced “LightSpace for FSI Monitors,” which is a lower-priced ($2,500) version of LightSpace CMS specifically for use with FSI monitors for calibration and LUT generation, facilitating a wide variety of workflows. Probes Flanders recommend include the Minolta CA-310 and the Klein K10-A (more on that later).

Incidentally, I did an interview with Larry Jordan on Digital Production BuZZ in which I erroneously mentioned the existence of HDMI input on the Flanders displays. Afterwards, I went back and chatted with Bram Desmet at Flanders as I couldn’t believe I had gotten that wrong. It turns out that, while there is not in fact an actual HDMI connector on these displays, their DVI connector is pin-compatible with HDMI.

The connections available on the back of the Flanders Scientific CM320TD 32" Display

The connections available on the back of the Flanders Scientific CM320TD 32″ Display

This means you can connect, for example, the micro HDMI output of the upcoming Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera to any of the Flanders displays via a simple adaptor. And I mention the Blackmagic Design camera for a reason—Flanders Scientific also added BMD-Log “standard” and “full” monitoring modes, so you can monitor a normalized image even while shooting using the film log setting of this family of cameras. This is in addition to the C-Log and S-Log modes the monitors already support. In conjunction with built-in video scopes and the new ability to display two separate video signals  side by side via two simultaneously connected inputs, these are incredibly flexible displays for field use.

And by the way, that Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera is ridiculous; I can’t wait to get my hands on one. A super-16 mm sized sensor shooting 1920 x 1080 video with a micro four-thirds lens mount on a pocketable body recording compressed CinemaDNG raw media to affordable SD cards for $995? Unbelievable.

BMG Pocket Cinema Camera

Connecting the BMD Pocket Cinema Camera to a cinema zoom is a “Where’s Waldo”-esque exercise

After learning of LightSpace and Klein compatibility, I had to pay them a visit, too. The Klein K10-A is an improvement to the original Klein K10 colorimeter, which they’ve been kind enough to provide me for classes I’ve done on monitor calibration. The K10-A has been out for some time, but I finally got the chance to ask Klein president Luhr Jensen just what’s better about it. The K10-A boasts a three-times improvement in lowlight sensitivity over the previous model, and a longer focal length that’s also appropriate for cinema applications where you’re measuring the screen. Like its predecessor, the K10-A is appropriate for measuring CCFL and LED backlit LCD, CRT, Plasma, DLP Projector, and OLED, so it’s an extremely versatile instrument.

The Klein K10-A colorimeter, taking a reading

The Klein K10-A colorimeter, taking a reading

LightSpace, from Light Illusion, wasn’t announcing anything specifically at NAB (they’ve been announcing new features all year), but after some prodding Light Illusion principal Steve Shaw did mention a just-released improvement for identifying probe-induced errors, specifically for darker readings that can be problematic even for high-end equipment. LightSpace is able to use statistical analysis to identify spurious out-of-trend data and average it out of the final result.

Getting back to grading, SGO was showing great new features in Mistika 7, including an all-new (to them) curves interface.

Mistika Curves

RGB curves are new to Mistika 7

This isn’t just limited to the RGB curves (shown above) and Hue vs. Hue, Hue vs. sat, Hue vs. Luma curves often seen in other grading applications. Mistika also includes Luma vs. Luma, Sat vs. Sat, and Luma vs. Sat curves. Those of you looking for a professional grading environment that has a “Vibrance” control, appropriate use of the Sat vs. Sat curve opens the door to all that and more.

New Curves

Mistika 7 also has Luma vs. Luma, Sat vs. Sat, and Sat vs. Luma curves

Another thing Mistika was showing off was an extensive suite of tools for improving qualified keys. As you can see below, shrink, grow, gaussian blur, de-speckle, fill-holes, and median blur filters can be applied to refine your qualified key. Additionally, qualifiers can now be combined using blend modes. But that’s not all…

Key filtering

New qualifier key filtering in Mistika 7

Taking this one step farther, Mistika provides the ability to adjust the lift and gain of the qualified key, as well as a “Key Curve” that lets you adjust the contrast of your key in fantastically specific ways. This is a terrific level of control more typically seen in a compositing application.

Qualifier grading

Keys can now be adjusted with lift, gain, and a separate curve control in Mistika 7

Mistika 7 also adds an interface for assigning individual settings to multiple simultaneous outputs, in order to apply different transforms, LUTs, or other effects to each individual output. For example, this lets you apply a transform and LUT to 709 output sent to a conventional HD display, while also applying a separate LUT or other adjustment to XYZ output being sent to a 2K projector. The UI has room for nine different output definitions, which can be used for monitoring and also for rendered output if you’re creating multiple masters.

Multiple Outputs

You can assign individual LUTs and transforms to multiple simultaneous outputs in Mistika 7

Additionally supporting XML import, integrated DCP Creation, and ACES, this is a good update for Mistika-using colorists.

Last, but certainly not least, FilmLight had some great announcements, starting with the sexy new Slate control surface. At $12,000, this is a more affordable Baselight-specific control surface then the Blackboard range, and looks like it pairs well with their more affordably priced Baselight ONE (dropped to $46,000 without external storage). With its compact size, it’s a good fit for smaller suites and on-location work, and connects via either Ethernet or USB.

The new, compact Slate control surface

The new, compact Slate control surface

Like its big brother the Blackboard 2, the Slate has remappable buttons (66 of them) with names and icons that change as you change modes. Along with 12 rotary encoders, and sets of six remappable buttons above each of the three trackball/ring controls, this is a serious control surface with great feel and solid build quality.

More here

The Slate has remappable buttons with updating displays

It’s worth noting that, if the Slate is too rich for your blood, the Baselight One (and Baselight editions NLE plugins) are compatible with the Tangent Element, Wave, and Avid Artist Color panels.

Getting back to the Baselight, FilmLight is clearly interested in making the Baselight ONE a more affordable and attractive option for smaller facilities. The diskless version of the workstation comes in a 4U tower that’s been engineered for quiet, for installations lacking a machine room. With an internal 2TB SSD drive cache, it’s meant to connect to an external SAN or NAS of your choice (although Filmlight’s FLUXStore is always an option) via fibre-channel or 10Gig-E. Filmlight old-schoolers can still get a rack mounted Baselight One with a built-in 28TB or 56TB RAID, but the rackmount and tower versions have identical performance, so it’s purely a matter of form factor convenience.

Baselight also sees some nice improvements targeted at the experienced colorist. For example, a new Result Blending control lets you mix back to the original image, or any other specific layer, at any point in your grade. This also works in conjunction with each layer’s blend mode and source control.

More

The Result Blending control mixes any other layer into the current one

A related feature lets you layer any image into your grade. For example, you can use this feature to add texture to your grade using a film-scan of grain. As an open-ended control, there are all manner of things you could use this tool for.

Image Layering

Layering an image into your grade to add texture

FilmLight has put some effort into streamlining stereoscopic 3D workflows, as well. Stereo clips now appear within a single timeline, rather then requiring you to manage two separate timelines. A new color-matching algorithm does per-pixel color matching across the entire frame, simplifying the hassles of matching both eyes before getting into your real grading. Geometry matching can now be accomplished using track points to account for situations where you need to deal with a moving shot with a flexing rig. On top of all that, automatic stereo correspondence handling has been added for shapes that you’re using for secondary work.

The FilmLight FLIP portable on-set grading workstation has been updated to be thinner, and now has the capability of communicating with compatible cameras via WiFi to, for example, copy metadata from the FLIP to the Arri Alexa, to be written along with the rest of the recorded data. This is all part of their “FilmLight at every stage” initiative, using the BLG (BaseLight Grade) format to copy grade metadata from set, through editorial and compositing (using Baselight Editions plugins), and finally through to be available for finishing inside of one of the Baselight grading workstations.

There were plenty of other announcements from Avid (new Media Composer features), Sony (updated OLED studio displays with wider viewing angles), Assimilate (demoing Scratch 8), and much more, all of which I sadly missed. But that’s okay, it’ll just give me more to see at IBC in a few months.


Color Correction Handbook 2nd Edition: Grading theory and technique for any application.
Color Correction Look Book: Stylized and creative grading techniques for any application.
Editing in DaVinci Resolve 11: 6 hrs of tutorials on editing in Resolve 11 from Ripple Training.
Grading in DaVinci Resolve 11: 13 hrs of tutorials on grading in Resolve 11 from Ripple Training.
Creative Looks in DaVinci Resolve: 90 mins of creative grading tips and techniques from Ripple Training.

Creative Looks Video Training

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By popular request, I’m pleased to announce that I’ve done another video training title for Ripple Training, “DaVinci Resolve – Creative Looks.”

Whereas my “DaVinci Resolve Core Training” title provides an 11 hour tour of DaVinci Resolve, from workflow through each of the many tools, this title is a focused 90 minute exploration of the creative process. I’ve long made a point of saying that the whole reason to use a dedicated grading application, rather then filters with preset looks, is that a grading application’s more sophisticated toolset makes it possible for you to be the plugin, crafting custom styles to match the content at hand.

Since the scenes in every project have unique visual characteristics, I show you how to approach each of a variety of oft-requested image stylizations in a variety of ways, in the process unlocking the flexibility of the DaVinci Resolve toolset to quickly customize an image’s look. I demonstrate different methods of evaluating how to apply a given look to a scene, and explore how you might combine techniques to create a style that’s completely your own.

So if you know the basics of DaVinci Resolve and want to get a look at some more things you can do, please click the link and check out some of the sample movies. $29.95 for 720p movies (playable on anything), or $39.99 for full 1080p playback (suitable for a 3rd or 4th generation iPad).


Color Correction Handbook 2nd Edition: Grading theory and technique for any application.
Color Correction Look Book: Stylized and creative grading techniques for any application.
Editing in DaVinci Resolve 11: 6 hrs of tutorials on editing in Resolve 11 from Ripple Training.
Grading in DaVinci Resolve 11: 13 hrs of tutorials on grading in Resolve 11 from Ripple Training.
Creative Looks in DaVinci Resolve: 90 mins of creative grading tips and techniques from Ripple Training.

Flagging Autolinked Clips in Resolve

Flagged Clip

I know; it’s not the most clever title. However, once I fully understood the implications of how flags and marks work in Resolve 9, I discovered a practical use for flags that hadn’t previously occurred to me.

To clarify, I wrote in the Resolve manual that flags are intended to highlight a whole clip, while markers let you highlight individual frames within a clip. This is true; you can only apply one flag of a particular color to a clip, but you can apply several markers of a color to different frames within that clip.

What I hadn’t thought to emphasize, however, is that when you flag a clip, you’re really flagging the source clip within the media pool (in other words, the clip that appears in the Master Timeline). This means that, if there are several clips in an edited timeline that all connect to a single source clip in the media pool, flagging one of these clips results in you flagging them all.

At first, I thought this was a nuisance, until I realized the following:

(a) While flags exhibit this behavior, markers are specific to a particular timecode, which makes them specific to a particular clip. So, if you want to mark just one clip for future reference, you’re better off using a marker.

(b) Flags follow the same rules as auto-linked clips in timelines using Remote grades.

This latter behavior is what leads to a valuable tip—you can use flags to quickly isolate every other clip in the timeline that’s auto-linked to the current clip. This gives you a way to deal with situations where you’re not sure how many other clips will be affected by a grade you’re about to make when you’re working with automatically linked clips and Remote versions.

The following example shows a timeline using Remote grades, where the currently selected clip is auto-linked to other clips in the timeline. This means that any changes you make to the grade of the current clip will automatically ripple to all other clips that exhibit the little orange arrow (to the right of the timecode above each thumbnail).

A timeline with auto-linked clips

A timeline with auto-linked clips

A frequent criticism of this behavior is that it’s impossible to know, at a glance, just how many other clips to the right and left of the visible area of the timeline are automatically linked. In particular, it’s not uncommon for there to be a handful of auto-linked clips that require a different grade; for example, a section of interview after an exposure adjustment has been made.

Using flags, there’s a simple way of filtering just the auto-linked clips. First, right-click the thumbnail of one of the auto-linked clips, and add a flag using the Flags submenu. In this case, I’m adding a blue flag.

Adding a flag using the contextual menu

Adding a flag using the contextual menu

Now, each auto-linked clip will have a blue flag attached to it. Even auto-linked clips outside of the currently visible area of the timeline.

FlagB2

Flagged thumbnails in the timeline

Now, using the Timeline Filtering pop-up menu, you can filter out everything but the blue-flagged clips.

Filtering only the blue flagged clips on the timeline

Filtering only the blue flagged clips on the timeline

This results in a shortened timeline that shows every single clip that is auto-linked to the current one.

Only the auto-linked clips are filtered, using flags

At this point, you can spot check the other clips to make sure they match, and you’ll know for certain just how many other clips, to the front and to the rear of the current one, will be affected by the operation you’re about to perform.

When you’re finished, choose Show All Clips from the Timeline Filtering pop-up menu.

Showing all clips again

Showing all clips again

If you want to get rid of the flags, you can choose Clear All from the flags submenu of the thumbnail contextual menu.

Clearing all flags

Clearing all flags

Keep in mind that this behavior works when your timeline is using Local grades. In the following example, the timeline is set to local grades, which can be seen by the (L) underneath each thumbnail. However, the procedure is the same.

Filtering clips using Local grades

Filtering clips using Local grades

This means that, even if you’re grading each clip individually, you can still take advantage of Resolve’s built-in auto-linking to sort groups of related clips in the timeline.

So there you go, one more use for flagging and timeline filtering, to help you keep organized when grading long timelines. I’ve been working as 2nd colorist on a History Channel program, and using Remote grades has been a real time-saver since there are so many repeated sequences of clips. This technique has been helpful in letting me keep keep track of auto-linking in situations where I want to check to see how many clips will be affected by a particular adjustment.

Special thanks to producer Neil Gobioff and Director Shawn Paonessa for thumbnails from their short, “The Bedford Devil.”


Color Correction Handbook 2nd Edition: Grading theory and technique for any application.
Color Correction Look Book: Stylized and creative grading techniques for any application.
Editing in DaVinci Resolve 11: 6 hrs of tutorials on editing in Resolve 11 from Ripple Training.
Grading in DaVinci Resolve 11: 13 hrs of tutorials on grading in Resolve 11 from Ripple Training.
Creative Looks in DaVinci Resolve: 90 mins of creative grading tips and techniques from Ripple Training.

New Video Training for DaVinci Resolve 9

First, I want to express my sincere gratitude to everyone who’s been waiting so patiently. It’s a tough balance between waiting for DaVinci to nail everything down so my lessons are as up-to-date as possible, and getting things started in time for Ripple to be able to add the kind of polish and organization that makes their titles something special.

So here’s the announcement—Ripple Training has completed and made available my DaVinci Resolve 9 Core Training. Right now.

This is a completely new title, dramatically expanded to almost 12 hours of instruction covering nearly all of Resolve 9 from media ingest and project conform, through every grading tool that’s available, to final output for a variety of workflows. In total, 65 exhaustively chapter-marked and organized movies span the gamut of techniques that DaVinci Resolve 9 makes possible.

All new lessons on multi-node grading

This title is appropriate for both DaVinci Resolve and DaVinci Resolve Lite (the free version). And since both versions of Resolve now allow the use of unlimited nodes, this new title has all new lessons on multi-node grading for both practical and creative effect.

If you’re brand-new to Resolve, this series will walk you through all of the basics, and move you seamlessly from importing projects to making the grade. If you’re an old Resolve hand, Ripple Training’s fantastic chapter-marker organization makes it easy to zero in on just the features you’re interested in, and with 12 hours of content to choose from, you’re bound to learn something new. It’s like having a video handbook for using Resolve.

Each movie has extensive chapter markers, making it easy to find the information you’re looking for

I’ve worked hard to offer information and instruction that’s concise, yet clear to users of all levels of experience, that also includes interesting tips and techniques that I employ in my own work. I’m thrilled with how this title has turned out, and have to give everyone at Ripple my sincere thanks for doing such a great job of adding editorial polish and visual clarity via zoom-ins, graphics, and call-outs, to make every control and adjustment immediately obvious at every step of the way.

This entire collection of 65 movies is available at two resolutions—

  • 720p download ($79.99) for optimal playback on the iPad 1, 2, and mini
  • 1080p download ($89.99) for playback on desktops, laptops, and the iPad 3 and 4
  • If downloading is a hassle, you can also order the whole set, at either resolution, on a whiffy Ripple Training USB thumb drive ($99.99)

The audio and visual quality have been vastly improved over the prior version – the 1080 version in particular really looks fantastic – making for an extremely enjoyable watching experience.

We’re deliberately keeping this affordable, despite the expansion, so that no one has any excuse not to be able to add this to their reference collection, alongside the other great training resources that are available. So please, check out Ripple Training’s DaVinci Resolve 9 Core Training page, which has example movies, stills, and a complete table of contents. If you’re been wanting to learn Resolve, or have just upgraded to Resolve 9 and want to learn how to get more out of it, you can get fast answers and support this blog of mine by ordering your copy today.

Thank you for your support.


Color Correction Handbook 2nd Edition: Grading theory and technique for any application.
Color Correction Look Book: Stylized and creative grading techniques for any application.
Editing in DaVinci Resolve 11: 6 hrs of tutorials on editing in Resolve 11 from Ripple Training.
Grading in DaVinci Resolve 11: 13 hrs of tutorials on grading in Resolve 11 from Ripple Training.
Creative Looks in DaVinci Resolve: 90 mins of creative grading tips and techniques from Ripple Training.

A Sneak Peek

I’ve been spending a bit of time tidying up the blog, knowing that my Resolve 9 training title from Ripple Training is just around the corner. Well, no sooner did I finish then Steve Martin released a small tidbit on YouTube. This is just one small movie out of many hours of content, but it’ll give you an idea of what’s coming.

This is a total redo, covering all features of DaVinci Resolve, new and old, found in version 9. It also adds many topics I didn’t cover in my version 8 title, as they weren’t originally available within DaVinci Resolve Lite. This time, no limitations! The whole series is due to be available on November 19th.


Color Correction Handbook 2nd Edition: Grading theory and technique for any application.
Color Correction Look Book: Stylized and creative grading techniques for any application.
Editing in DaVinci Resolve 11: 6 hrs of tutorials on editing in Resolve 11 from Ripple Training.
Grading in DaVinci Resolve 11: 13 hrs of tutorials on grading in Resolve 11 from Ripple Training.
Creative Looks in DaVinci Resolve: 90 mins of creative grading tips and techniques from Ripple Training.

Could We Split the Difference?

No matter who the client, or what the project, sooner or later you’re going to be asked “can you split the difference?” between your interpretation of what the client wanted, and what they discovered they really wanted once they saw what you were up to.

This will make you quietly, politely crazy, and is one of the reasons you need to cultivate a great reservoir of equanimity to do this job.

At the end of the day your client’s needs are more important then your mad skillz, so you’ll make the change, render out the project, and hopefully leave work on time to go knock back a beer or two during happy hour, recalling fondly how cool that program would have looked had they only let you off the chain. This is one reason why colorists still do music videos, despite the woefully poor budgets the majority of them have. Because most low budget music videos seem to want wall-to-wall insanity in the grading.

I was flipping through a fashion catalog (Free People, November) that featured some nice, gentle faded and flared film-ish treatments, and mulling over how I’d achieve those looks in different applications (as I am wont to do over my morning coffee). My wife Kaylynn is a photo stylist who works on these kinds of things, so she gets most of the relevant fashion magazines and catalogs, and we often compare notes on the changing styles of photography from season to season, which is a nice bit of casual research.

Then, of course, I dig into my grading project of the week, and inevitably they don’t want any of that; I’m told they want a nice clean grade, a little warm, with good contrast but no crushing, and FOR GOD’S SAKE DON’T CLIP THE SKIN TONES.

All of which is fine. Your average documentary is not wanting to look like a music video. Still, it makes me treasure all the more those projects that are looking for bolder color treatments. So when I get a project with a flashback or dream sequence, or for which the client is wanting signature looks for specific scenes or acts, and they let me go a little crazy, the pang I feel when I hear “could we split the difference” is just a little more pronounced.

Here’s a pretend example of what I’m talking about. This is an amalgam of different experiences; the example clip did not undergo this, I’m simply using it because it’s at hand (it’s available as one of the clips on the disc of my Color Correction Handbook), and I feel the need to point out that the particular client who brought that project to me was great to work with.

One of the first things I usually do is a simple, non-destructive and neutral grade of the image just to see what I’ve got to work with. In this instance, a very simple set of Lift/Gamma/Gain adjustments and a modest YRGB curves adjustment to compress the toe of the shadows yielded the following image:

At this point, the client tells me, “Yeah, I saw these great color treatments in the Free People catalog, and I really like that faded color with blue shadows, and a faded light-leak on the side. Could you do that? Let’s go crazy!”

And I say, “Heck yeah.” And proceed to start abusing the image, first using the YRGB curves to create nonlinear, per-channel color adjustments to the highlights and shadows to create a warm/turquise disparity, with high contrast specifically targeted to the tonality of the image to maintain a smooth falloff, and a blue lift via the blue channel’s YSFX slider (a DaVinci Resolve-specific adjustment).

Then, I use a Luma vs. Sat curve to create a gradual desaturation of the highlights, muting the colors of the skin tone.

Finally, I add a really, really soft window, and use it to limit another curves adjustment to create the light leak effect.

Then, I show the client the result. Predictably, after a period of silence, the client asks, “I’m not sure about the flaring. Could we split the difference?” The remainder of this narrative could go on and on, but to make a long story short, oftentimes situations like this have the following evolution.

My first take based on the reference imagery the client used:

Splitting the middle by fading/dissolving the curves adjustment literally by 50%, and losing the light flare:

What the client eventually signed off on:

The final solution ends up being slightly warmer midtones and very neutral shadows, easily accomplished by deleting all my other adjustments and making two simple color balance tweaks to Lift and Gamma. The reference image turned out to be a macguffin that served only to show the general direction of the correction. It was not, in fact, what the client wanted.

This happens all the time, and consequently I find I’m a bit skeptical when someone asks me to do something incredibly brash and bold. I don’t want to spend too much of the client’s time working up an elaborate grade when all they really want is something pretty simple. On the other hand, you want to take the client seriously, and if they really are looking for something bold, you don’t want to seem too meek, lest you’re thought of as a creative simpleton.

At the end of the day, I find it all boils down to getting to know your client as well as you can, and your first two hours are critical. Pay particular attention your client’s verbal and nonverbal cues as you create the initial, exploratory grades for a new piece. Chances are, you’ll know within three adjustments if you’re on the right track, and you can swiftly change course if you’re not.

And besides, if you create some super-cool look that the client doesn’t ultimately want, you can save it for some other job. That’s what the still store is for.

Download This Example

Added Nov 3rd, 2012—At reader’s request, I’ve uploaded a saved still and the grade I use as an example for you to download via this link. If you want to apply it to the clip in this example, this very clip comes with the media that accompanies my Color Correction Handbook. To import it into Resolve 9, download the file and uncompress it (it’s a .zip file), then open Resolve, Right-click in the Gallery, choose Import, then select the SplittingDifference_1.30.1.dpx file, and click Import. The still and its grade should import.

 


Color Correction Handbook 2nd Edition: Grading theory and technique for any application.
Color Correction Look Book: Stylized and creative grading techniques for any application.
Editing in DaVinci Resolve 11: 6 hrs of tutorials on editing in Resolve 11 from Ripple Training.
Grading in DaVinci Resolve 11: 13 hrs of tutorials on grading in Resolve 11 from Ripple Training.
Creative Looks in DaVinci Resolve: 90 mins of creative grading tips and techniques from Ripple Training.

Six, (er) Seven New Features in Resolve 9

So, Resolve 9 has finally been made public after much anticipation since its unveiling at NAB. Many of the new features have already been shown and discussed, but there are even more features being shipped then have been talked about previously, and I thought it’d be nice to highlight six seven of those in this post. (The lead engineer reminded me of, how could I have forgotten, the updated video scopes, which are so pretty I had to add a screenshot.)

Mixed Frame Rate Support

For me, this is the single biggest new feature in this release. Bigger even then the new UI. Mixed frame rate media has been a frequent hassle in projects I get from clients. Most NLEs let you edit any kind of footage you want together into a single timeline, regardless of frame rate. And as you may or may not know, mixing frame rates can be rather challenging when it comes to finishing, since you can ultimately only output one frame rate as your finished media file or tape output. Prior versions of Resolve were constrained by only supporting a single frame rate in a particular project, but no more.

Resolve 9 lets you mix and match whatever frame rates are necessary within a single project, so long as you turn on the “Handle mixed frame rate material” checkbox in the Master Project Settings panel of the new Project Settings window (available by clicking the gear icon in the lower left-hand corner).

Mixed Frame Rate Support

You have to turn this checkbox on before you import an AAF or XML mixed frame rate project (to learn why, check the manual). After you import your AAF or XML file with mixed frame rate media, you’ll want to make sure that your “Playback framerate” is identical to the “Calculate timecode at” setting for optimal performance. (Both settings are also in the Master Project Settings panel of the Project Settings window.)

When rendering a Mixed Frame Rate timeline, how the media is output depends on whether you render to Source or Target mode. In Source mode, each clip is rendered at its native frame rate, for handoff to another NLE or finishing application. In Target mode, all frames are converted to the frame rate specified by the “Calculate timecode at” setting of that project, letting you output the entire project as a single media file at the target frame rate.

I don’t know about you, but this alone is going to save me, and my clients, hours of project prep.

Light Box View

This is another new feature that was previously unannounced. While working in the Color page, you can click the Lightbox View button:

Lightbox Button

…to view every clip in your timeline using the Resolve Lightbox.

The Lightbox

The Lightbox view makes it easy to scan through your project looking for a particular scene, to make multiple selections in order to create groups, or to use the new Flag command to assign differently colored flags to various clips to note things you want to do. This is a terrifically timesaving feature for projects of any duration.

Clip Attributes

Another interesting new feature is the Clip Attributes window, found in the Media Pool. This window replaces many of the contextual menu commands available for altering various editable properties of clips, for example, to change data levels, pixel aspect ratio settings, or to reinterpret the alpha channel mode now that Resolve 9 supports alpha channels for imported media. It also handles timecode alteration and manual, per-clip reel name changes, as well as stereoscopic 3D media assignments.

The Clip Attributes Dialog

What’s notable is that you can select multiple clips, and use the Clip Attributes window to change them all at once.

Metadata Editor

I had shown the metadata editor in my video presentation (viewable here), but since I’ve shown it last, a shedload of editable metadata attributes has been added. Far too many to show on one page.

More Metadata

Fortunately, they’re organized into groups, which are available from a pop-up menu at the upper right-hand corner of the metadata editor.

Metadata Groups

If you’re working on digital dailies, or you’re an extremely organized colorist, this is going to be a benefit.

Big Ass Curves

One frequent complaint I’ve heard is that the relatively small size of the DaVinci Resolve custom curves made them difficult to use for precision adjustments. I myself had never quite noticed this to be a problem, but fortunately DaVinci heard your anguished cries, and provided a new Large Curve mode for the Custom Curves. Clicking a button at the bottom of the Custom Curves:

The Large Curves Button

…opens up a window presenting a huge version of the same curves, with all the same controls.

Big Ass Curves

Having used the large curves for a while, I can safely say that they’re a huge improvement (ha) and truly do give you more refined control of your curve-driven adjustments. I never knew what I was missing until I started using these, and now there’s no going back for those finicky log-to-linear custom adjustments I now find myself making with more frequency.

Updated Video Scopes

While they were updating the rest of the UI, DaVinci decided to update the video scopes, too.

New Video Scopes

The new one-window scopes look beautiful, and I find them easier to manage then the four individual windows that were available previously. Providing an analysis of every single line of image data, the Waveform, Parade, Vectorscope, and Histogram are all there. However, if you like, you can change the number of scopes displayed to 1-up, 2-up, or the default 4-up, which lets you enlarge individual scopes if you don’t need the whole shooting match. Performance is dependent on how much GPU processing power your workstation has, so single or dual GPU systems may have less then stellar performance. However, folks who routinely use the Resolve scopes have cause for rejoicing, as these are a distinct improvement over what was there before.

A New Manual

You knew I was going to mention this. I’ve been hard at work (which explains the paucity of blogging around here) for the last three months writing what has ended up being a 600 page, near total rewrite of the DaVinci Resolve 9 User Manual. (To give you some perspective, the previous version of the manual was 435 pages)

New Version, New Manual

It’s been quite a challenge keeping up with the DaVinci Resolve team as they’ve piled on the improvements and evolved the UI over the months, but it’s been a truly rewarding experience, and I’m rather proud of the result.

Now, bear in mind that, as the product is still in beta, the user manual is also a work in progress, with edits and screenshot changes yet to be put in. However, I’m glad that the team has seen fit to make it available to the public, so that everyone can get a jump on what’s new. There are a lot of subtle refinements, and I’ve tried hard to capture all the little things and interoperabilities.

There are a few things of which, however, I’m particularly proud. “Before You Conform,” on page 111, contains detailed information about project preparation, effects support from NLEs, an explanation of the rules for media conforms, details about image processing and clip data levels, a summary of ACES support in Resolve, and an overview of digital dailies workflow. I tried to answer a lot of the questions that folks have had about Resolve’s inner workings in this section, and I think you’ll find it illuminating.

Also, “AAF Workflow Overview” on page 137 provides a detailed overview, from soup to nuts, of how you get projects from Media Composer or Symphony to Resolve and back again. The DaVinci Resolve team has worked extremely hard to make this workflow smoother and easier in version 9, and I executed each workflow personally while writing this section (kudos to Avid for answering my questions and giving me additional support while I developed the content). If you’re dealing with AAF, read this section. It may explain some of the issues you’ve been having, and will guide you through ways of getting the job done.

If you’re completely new to DaVinci Resolve, there’s a new, almost 30 page tutorial on page 71. It’s basic, so if you already know Resolve, you can probably skip it. But if you’ve never used Resolve at all, it’ll give you a quick and thorough tour of bringing a project in, doing some grading using a core selection of the Resolve toolset, and then rendering your project out. And, you can follow along using the sample media that comes on the DaVinci installer disk (and is also available by downloading from Blackmagic Design support).

So, I hope you find the new version of Resolve as big an improvement as I do, and I hope the new manual helps you to get the most out of it.


Color Correction Handbook 2nd Edition: Grading theory and technique for any application.
Color Correction Look Book: Stylized and creative grading techniques for any application.
Editing in DaVinci Resolve 11: 6 hrs of tutorials on editing in Resolve 11 from Ripple Training.
Grading in DaVinci Resolve 11: 13 hrs of tutorials on grading in Resolve 11 from Ripple Training.
Creative Looks in DaVinci Resolve: 90 mins of creative grading tips and techniques from Ripple Training.

Gone to Texas For the Day

Note to all clients, while I’ll be in Austin, Texas doing a DaVinci Resolve workshop on Wednesday November 16th from 8-10pm, never fear. My trustworthy assistant will be taking care of all grading sessions in my absence.

I've been training him in for years

In other news that promises to make my presentation more interesting, at InterBEE (Japan’s equivalent of NAB or IBC), Blackmagic Designs announced that the newest version of DaVinci Resolve Lite now has no restrictions on the number of nodes you can use in a grade. Also, all versions of Resolve will start including DNxHD compatibility for free (you used to have to buy an additional $500 add-on).

Lite is still limited to SD/HD resolutions, has no noise reduction, stereoscopic tools, or remote grading, and is also limited to only using a single processing GPU. Otherwise, the free version just became a useful tool for doing all kinds of HD projects. You can read more here.

As I said on Twitter, use the money you save on Resolve Lite to buy yourself a control surface.


Color Correction Handbook 2nd Edition: Grading theory and technique for any application.
Color Correction Look Book: Stylized and creative grading techniques for any application.
Editing in DaVinci Resolve 11: 6 hrs of tutorials on editing in Resolve 11 from Ripple Training.
Grading in DaVinci Resolve 11: 13 hrs of tutorials on grading in Resolve 11 from Ripple Training.
Creative Looks in DaVinci Resolve: 90 mins of creative grading tips and techniques from Ripple Training.