Streaming Media

Streaming Media on Facebook Streaming Media on Twitter Streaming Media on LinkedIn

Review: Blackmagic Design DaVinci Resolve 14

Paul Schmutzler looks at Blackmagic Design's DaVinci Resolve editing and color grading solution from the perspective of a longtime Premiere Pro editor.

Page 3: Grading

When I first got into the grading page for Resolve, I was overwhelmed. There were so many buttons and scopes, I didn't know where to start. I asked Blackmagic, "For a basic editor who's not an experienced colorist, how would you suggest that they start with grading in Resolve to keep it simple?" They told me to begin with two basic features in the grading page.

The first is curves. Even someone who's worked in Photoshop or some other photo editing application knows how to work with curves. It’s easy. You have different color channels and they're represented by the color these bars shown in Figure 8 (below). At the bottom left are the shadows, and on the top right are the highlights. When you click on one of these bands, it creates a point that you can then move towards the shadows or towards the highlights. Then you pull it up or down diagonally into the corners to affect that particular range of color. Moving, say, the reds bar up or down in the midrange or the shadows or the highlights affects the image differently.

Figure 8. Working with curves

The second feature they recommended is Resolve’s color wheels. Color wheels can be a little intimidating if you don't understand what lift, gamma, gain, and offset are. But if you just look down at the bottom of Figure 9 (below), you’ll see they do have some simple controls like contrast. Everyone knows what contrast is. You can even adjust the pivot, which affects the contrast. Then, of course, saturation and hue affect the actual color of what's on screen.

Figure 9. Color wheels

You’ll find a second panel that gives you color temperature, tint, and then down at the end, shadows and highlights, which will add more of a granular change to your contrast.

I noticed that there was nothing in here that was very simple just to grab an effect like a Lumetri panel and just throw it onto a clip. But then I found this little automatic button (Figure 10, below) and I realized that you could let Resolve do a few things on its own without having to adjust every single thing yourself. If you have an annoying client that you don't want to put a lot of time into grading for, you can use that. Or if you just need something quick that looks fine, click that A button and it'll get you started.

Figure 10. Click the A button for automatic grading.

The other thing to me that was a little surprising was the fact that the effects under open effects at the top right-hand corner are available under the Grading page. You would expect to find them in editing because that's usually when we apply effects like fixing camera shake or applying these unique image effects. But in Resolve those are considered part of the grading process.

The clip I’m working with in this project has some camera shake to it. In Figure 11 (below), I’m dragging the Camera Shake fix effect onto the node for the clip.

Figure 11. Dragging a Camera Shape fix effect onto the clip

What happens next is what you would expect for any camera shake or stabilizing plugin. It's going to look at the footage and decide how much to zoom and where the movement occurs so it can adjust left or right, pan and zoom. Then I can play it back and see how it looks. My first attempt made it worse. But, as usual with stabilizers, there are many attributes that you can change, including the cropping ratio, or how smooth it is or rough. As you continue fine-tune the stabilization, and find for yourself what works for you on your clip, the nice thing is that Resolve does not reanalyze the clip every time. It's already analyzed. All you do is make your changes and then hit play and it shows those changes immediately.

Page 4: Audio

The audio page in Resolve is brand new in version 14. It includes the Fairlight workspace (Figure 12, below). Fairlight brings with it the ability to do multitrack editing and surround sound audio and 360-degree panning for up to 22 channels, which is really important for things like VR and AR these days.

Figure 12. The Fairlight audio workspace, new in Resolve 14

Since my project is very simple and I only have one music track, I don't have to do a lot of audio editing beyond the fades.

Related Articles
Blackmagic Web Presenter ($495) is a standalone, dual-input capture device that can make SDI or HDMI sources look like a webcam for input into Skype or any livestreaming software program.
This article continues our series of looks at alternative nonlinear editors from the perspective of a longtime Premiere Pro editor. In this article and video we'll explore Vegas Pro 15 from MAGIX.
This article continues our series of reviews of alternative nonlinear editors from the perspective of a longtime Premiere Pro editor with a look at HitFilm Pro from FXhome.
In this latest installment of our series on alternative NLEs from the perspective of a Premiere Pro editor, we'll look at EditShare's Lightworks, an NLE as noteworthy for its unique hardware as for the software itself.