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DAVINCI RESOLVE


In this blog post I would like to answer questions that arise when getting started with DaVinci Resolve. Questions like: “What are the best courses, the best YouTube channels? Which monitor should I buy? Which hardware? Why do the colors look different in Quicktime Player or on YouTube? What format should I render my movie in?” This blog post is a collection of links paired with my own experiences and tips that will hopefully help you to evolve your color grading skills.


BOOKS

These books are about color in general. They deal with subjective perception and objective color principles and present the key to understanding color. If you click on the covers, you will be redirected to Google. (Support your local bookstore if you can.)

by Alexis Van Hurkman
by Johannes Itten
by Patti Bellantoni
by Margaret Livingstone
by Jerod Foster
by Michael S. Tooms
by Dr. R.W.G. Hunt
by Dr. R.W.G. Hunt
by David Stump
by Scott Arundale

ONLINE COURSES

If you are new to DaVinci Resolve I highly recommend to start with the Training Videos by Blackmagic Design. Also check out the “Training Books”. (All FREE)

I have mixed feelings recommending courses. I am more of a minimalist, as you can tell by this site. I often like “fundamental courses” more than “creative ones”. Sometimes “advanced courses” are going in a direction I personally would not recommend (For example: “Qualifying the skin”). In any case, it’s important to understand that there is not ONE right way when it comes to color grading – there are many.

With that in mind, I’d recommend starting with DaVinci Resolve’s tutorials first. Learn the basics. Learn how to read the scopes. The next step is to find a teacher / course that suits you. Every technic is just a tool and just because some professionals prefer certain tools it doesn’t mean you have to use the same tools if they don’t feel right to you.

Learning tools is one thing. What I also highly recommend is to take a closer look at the philosophical aspects of grading and communication with clients. I really enjoy watching interviews from colorists whose work I admire. What I do is this: I go to IMDB of a movie I like and click on “Full Cast & Crew” and search for “colorist”. I copy the name into google and search for videos, articles and interviews. This way you will find some great and inspirational content.

I encourage you to do the same. Here are just two examples:
1. Walter Volpatto interviewed by Edi Walger. ColorDoctor.
2. Colour on Stage: Eric Weidt / Creating the unique look for ’Mindhunter’

One last advice on this matter: Don’t get lost in courses and training videos. Learn the basics and then grade projects. You only get better by practicing and working on real projects.

blackmagicdesign.com

Start with the Training Videos by Blackmagicdesign:

ravengrade.com

Good fundamental courses, like for example this one:

tacresolvetraining.com

Another fantastic site.
Check out:

demystify-color.com

For advanced users. Lots of color science research, DCTL and more.

More courses:
colour.training
fxphd.com
mixinglight.com
rippletraining.com


YOUTUBE CHANNELS

Here are some of my favorite YouTube channels. There are many more great channels out there. This is just my personal list that I can recommend to 100%. Be sure to check out Goat’s Eye View. Daria Fissoun talks a lot about DaVinci Resolve 12.5, but most of her advice is still valid today.

Darren Mostyn

Goat’s Eye View

CookeOpticsTV

Farbkanal

Cullen Kelly


GRADING MONITORS

I personally recommend at least one monitor from the EIZO ColorEdge series, which starts at around 1,500 euros, to get started.

Affordable Colour Grading Monitors
is a fantastic article by Jonny Elwyn.
Last Update: May 7, 2021.

Jonny Elwyn is a freelance film editor and writer,
living and working in London, UK. Check out his website:
jonnyelwyn.co.uk


HARDWARE

SHOPPING GUIDE

CPU – Get the fastest CPU you can afford.
GPU – Get the fastest GPU you can afford. More VRAM = better
RAM – Get as much ram as you can afford.


For specific Hardware selection, check:

Hardware selection and Shopping Guide for DaVinci Resolve 15
by Blackmagic. This PDF needs an update. It might be still helpful to get an overview about hardware selection.

DaVinci Resolve Minimum System Requirements | A Reality Check
by Richard Lackey. August, 2021

Hardware Recommendations for DaVinci Resolve
by pugetsystems.com (not sponsored)


STUDIO SETUP

© Tim Yemmax / Farbkanal

On these pages you will find detailed information on setting up a grading suite. As a beginner, at least make sure you have good backlighting for your monitor. 6500k, High CRI. I can recommend the lights from “MediaLight”. (not sponsored)

Anatomy Of A Grading Suite: Design
by Robbie Carman / mixinglight.com

The Beginner’s Guide to Building a Color Grading Suite
by Ben Bailey / blog.frame.io

MediaLight Mk2 Eclipse (not sponsored)
by biaslighting.com


COLOR MANAGEMENT

THE BASICS

There are many ways to set up color management in DaVinci Resolve.

Color management is about carrying out an image pipeline with technical transformations to bring the color space of a camera into the color space of a display.

In this blog post, I will explain the very basic difference between “scene referred” and “display referred” and what a scene referred workflow looks like. I will show an CRI chart and share my favorite videos, which I think are the best and easiest way to learn more on color management.


CODECS / FORMATS

H264 / RAW / ProRes / DNxHR

This graphic is very simplified. H.264 / H.265 belong to the “Group of Pictures (GOP)” type. Long-GOP codecs were developed to keep the video file size as small as possible. They were never intended for further processing / editing. If you try to edit those videos, DaVinci Resolve Studio has to decode those highly compressed files. Real-time playback is rarely possible and slow, jerky playback occurs.


H.264 / H.265 DECODING IN DAVINCI RESOLVE
Own blog post on h264 decoding and transcoding.


FREE VS. STUDIO

FEATURE COMPARISON

Here are some differences between
the “Free” and the “Studio” version.

STUDIO:
– Render in 4k (4096 x 2160) and above
– Noise Removal and Motion Blur
– Remote Grading
– Film Grain
– Lens Blur
– Lens Distortion
– Halation

Here is a comparison PDF between the “Free” and “Studio” Version by Blackmagic. Maybe they will update this PDF some day:

DaVinci_Resolve_15_Feature_Comparison.pdf
by blackmagicdesign.com

FREE:
– Render only in UHD (3840 x 2160)
– No Noise Removal and Motion Blur
– No Remote Grading
– No Film Grain
– No Lens Blur
– Lens Distortion


UPLOAD GUIDELINES

YOUTUBE & VIMEO


YouTube, Vimeo, and every other video platform often provide detailed guidelines for video and audio. There is no trick how to get better Quality on those platforms. The only “trick” is to upload in 4k. Your video will be transcoded with a higher bitrate.

YouTube: Recommended upload encoding settings
Vimeo: Video and audio compression guidelines

Vimeo also provides an article how to use “HandBrake” to compress and prepare MP4 videos for the upload on Vimeo. Click here. 99% of the time, I am rendering a DNxHR master out of Resolve. In the second step, I use HandBrake to convert those file into h264 before uploading it to Youtube or Vimeo. Another good converter is shutterencoder.


SAMPLE FOOTAGE

BRAW / PRORES / ARRI / RED


WEBSITES

MISC

liftgammagain.com

blackmagicdesign.com/support

yedlin.net


ACES

HERE ARE SOME LINKS IF
YOU ARE INTERESTED IN ACES

Why You Shouldn’t Use ACES

acescentral.com

What Is ACES And How Do You Use It?


FILM STILLS

SOME LINKS WHERE YOU
CAN FIND FILM STILLS

shotdeck.com

film-grab.com

evanerichards.com

filmcolors.org

MORE:
https://stillsfrmfilms.wordpress.com/
https://movie-screencaps.com/
https://www.bluscreens.net/
https://beta.flim.ai/
http://stills.gallery/


Have fun.

If you have any questions / suggestions / comments, feel free
to contact me at stefanATmononodesDOTcom

If you want to support me and the content here,
then you can ‘buy me a coffee‘. Always appreciated.