Wednesday, 15 January 2014

Davinci Resolve: Part 18. Primary correction #2.

In the last tutorial we looked at one method of primary correction using the Contrast and Pivot controls available in the Color Wheels pane of the Color window.

Whilst this may have given us better values for our black, and white, levels - it really didn't give us the correction that was needed. This quick method of using just the Contrast and Pivot controls can be all that is needed, so it's a useful tool to try out.

The image we were using needed another method of primary correction, and that's what we will look at in this tutorial.

Let's remind ourselves of the starting point for the primary correction first of all...

This time we will use the Lift, Gamma and Gain controls to set the levels that we will base whatever colour grading we'll do to this clip. I'm going to start by setting the Gamma levels first, and I will achieve this by using the Gamma master control wheel to raise the mid-point of the waveforms shown in Parade.

We don't appear to have stretched out any tonal values doing this, just raised the mid-point levels and the image now looks brighter. What we need to do now though, is set our black and white points. Setting the blacks can be done with Lift master control wheel...

See how this has affected the lower levels of the Parade waveforms, as well as the actual image clip? But there's a new problem, if we have complete black in the image, then all three channels - R, G and B - should be at zero. However, in this image only the green and blue channels are at zero, with red a little above.

I want to come back to this in a moment, but first I'm going to set my white point by using the Gain master wheel control to raise the highlights...

Remember that a value of 1023 is pure white, and that means there is no detail in it - if your image has areas of pure white (specular highlights for example) then these can be set to 1023; but if you want to retain some detail you may want to consider setting your highlights to some value lower than this... perhaps around 900-ish.

With the highlight levels set, I'm going to return to the problem of ensuring my blacks are black! I'll use the Lift colour wheel to do this, by dragging the central circle away from red, to raise the levels of green and blue, until they are all at the same low level.

However, that means that now none of the channels are at zero - but that is easily remedied by using the Lift master wheel control to bring the lowlights back down again.

And at it's simplest level, we're done for this clip and can move on to the next clip(s).

Please do drop me a line and let me know how you are getting on with using Resolve, and don't forget to send me a link to any videos you correct / grade with Resolve... I'd love to see how you are getting on!


  1. Fantastic tutorial. This was exactly what I needed cause I didn't completely understand which wheel did what and how to balance the scopes. I'm going to try and work on my first video and I'll definitely let you know when I'm done.

  2. I really enjoyed your tutorials and learned very much! I think your text-tutorials are much better than most of the video tutorials, because its very easy to follow and there is time to play around in your own DaVinci without having to pause the video.

    I am looking forward to read some more like details about the curves or the grading process.

    Thank you very much so far!

  3. Very good! I didn,t even open up the program yet, but following all the steps as described, only reading them first, will get me started so much faster.

  4. Really nice, basic tutorials. I liked how you put these tutorials in small parts and really focus on 1 thing in 1 part. Very easy to follow. Please keep posting.

  5. Having never opened Resolve before, I installed it this afternoon, and have spent the evening following all of your tutorials through from start to finish, I now feel like I have a good understanding of it and confident to let myself loose on my footage. Thanks so much for creating this great resource!