Starting Point for Grading in DaVinci Resolve

In a prior post about Resolve, I wrote about my quick fix to get rid of magenta in the shadows and I mentioned it’s only one of several ways to get rid of it. All you want is a good starting point for your grading.

It’s in the grading that lies the power of the uncompressed raw CinemaDNG of course. That’s why you bought or use the camera in the first place.  As Ikonoskop has always mentioned: the dII does the capturing, your computer does the processing afterwards. There’s no processing of the image in camera. No curves, no rolloff, no LUT. There are many things you have to be aware of to get the most out of your Ikonoskop footage. After all, it’s all about luminance and chrominance. And with the dII, it’s you who’s in control, not the camera. You not only need to be maybe the director, DP, editor and colorist, you’re also the guy or girl in the lab developing your film.

That doesn’t make it easy to get quick results at first of course. It needs studying and a lot of trial and error. But after a while you get better at it, you’ll make your own presets and LUT’s you can trust and most of all, you will have control over your images like you’ve never had before.

So if you see footage out there with whites that aren’t really white, with harsh highlights, with a magenta or green or blue or whatever cast in the shadows, and it’s difficult to assume it was an artistic choice, don’t go blaming the camera or the sensor. They’re quite alright actually. It’s all in the hands of the one who’s responsible for the grading.

Just watch this to see how nice Ikonoskop footage can look:

But anyhow, I started out by mentioning those other ways to get a good starting point in Resolve, in addition to my IkonoVinci.lut. Apparently not everyone finds it so easy to install this LUT. And I really suck at making tutorials.

So I’ll leave the making of tutorials to people more capable and this leads me, quite seamlessly, to another way to get a good starting point without magenta in the shadows. It’s written buy a new Ikonoskop owner, Jesse Borkowski, and it’s a great tutorial. I’m not quite sure about using the Linear Gamma setting, but that’s just my opinion. 

The third possibility I’d like to share with you is something you might like if you’re used to working with LOG style footage. Like ARRI’s LOG C or Sony’s S-Log. Set the color space, in the Camera Raw settings (see video above) to BMD Film and be amazed by the details you’ll see in highlights and shadows without any strange color casts, but with the all familiar washed out LOG type ‘look’. Now drop your familiar LUT’s on your footage, and I’m guessing you’ll find that the result will be pretty close to what you’re getting with other LOG footage.

Reconforming Audio with Resolve 9

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The shoot I mentioned in yesterday’s post, was the first project we recorded audio on-board of the dII. 

It was also the first project I used Resolve (9) on for conforming and grading. 

So how do you get the audio, embedded in the DNG frames, in a format no single decoder can read at this time, synced to the DNG sequences?

  1. Use the Ikonoskop Audio Tool to strip the audio from the cDNG takes and output them as BWF;
  2. Rewrap the BWF files into WAV; as of version 1.1 it’s no longer necessary to rewrap the files - the option BWF creates WAV files with timecode.
  3. Automatically batch sync dailies in Resolve 9 Lite.

I’m not going to do much explaining about 1 & 3 in this post, ‘cause it’s been described elsewhere. Namely:

To do 1., download the Audio Tool and the minimalistic user guide for the tool from the Ikonoskop site.

To do 3., I refer you to page 258 (less minimalistic) of the wonderful Resolve Lite manual. “Open the Conform page, then Right-click the Master timeline in the Timelines list, and choose Link to Audio From Selected Bins …”

But what about 2.? Well, the Ikonoskop Audio Tool has three possible output formats: WAV, AIFF and BWF. Only one of the output formats supports Timecode, namely BWF. But Resolve 9 Lite only reads WAV. So the only solution at this time seems to rewrap the BWF’s as WAV’s. I used the first tool I came across: Name Munger. It changes the extensions extremely fast.

Update: as of version 1.1 it’s no longer necessary to rewrap the files - the option BWF creates WAV files with timecode.