To build a correction when shot matching in DaVinci Resolve 11, make sure you have a plan first. As a rule of thumb, focus on carefully correcting a few major shots, and then make alterations on close-ups and other shots in accordance with those wide shots. Correcting chronologically tends to create a "drift" effect that subtly transforms the video over time. Examine the key wide shots to find anything distracting or undesirable, and pull up waveforms to discover subtler problems.
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- As we get into the discussion about the tools DaVinci Resolve offers for shot matching ... And yes, there are a ton of different tools to help us do this ... I want to take a moment first to have a really important workflow discussion about how we start off this shot matching process. While we do this, I'll also introduce you to the first of the tools that you can use to help you match your shots. We're here on our hero shot timeline, and if you're following along with the exercise files, be sure you've enabled the blue-flagged clips.
We're now thinking about getting the shots to all match each other. The question is, well, where do we start? Do we start with a single shot? Maybe we start with the two closeups here, then move to this slightly wider shot, and then maybe we move to the three shot, and then maybe we finally end up with the wide shot? Doesn't sound like a bad idea. It certainly sounds like a plan. Number one, it's really good to have a plan. Number one. Number two, that's probably not the plan I'd execute. Why? In my experience, closeups like this are really easy to take you down the wrong path.
What I mean by the wrong path is, I can make this shot look awesome, only to figure out that, on this angle here, there's no way of making it happen. Then, when I get to the wide shot, it may be even worse. Better is going the other way, starting wide and moving to our closeups. I mean, after all, what do editors and directors call a wide shot? They call it an establishing shot. Let's start and establish the overall color palette, and then we can move in and get the two shots, the reverse angles, the singles, to all match the wide shot.
And, if they're all matching the wide shot, in theory, they should all match each other. Which brings us to another possible workflow. Again, it's one workflow I absolutely don't recommend, is, you just start with the first shot of the scene, whatever it might be, then you go to the second shot, match it to the first shot, go to the third shot, match it to number two, and you just go on, matching to the shot previous to it, working your way through the scene, matching each shot just to the previous shot, and you should be okay, right? And the answer is, probably not.
What often happens is, you end up getting drift. At some point, maybe you put a little bit more black into the shadows on shot number four, and then you move along, and maybe on shot number seven you've got a little bit more red in the blacks, and you push a little bit more blue in the highlights, and then, by the time you get to the last shot in the sequence, it's got these nice, rich blacks in the shadows, these awesome super blue highlights, and it looks nothing like the original establishing shot. You know what? The director's going to call you out on that. You don't want to be called out.
Much better, pick one or two shots that you can use as, sort of, your color correction establishing shot and then match everything else to those one or two shots. That will help ensure consistency across the scene, and, frankly, across an entire project. Once we select our color correction establishing shot, we need to make sure that we're pretty happy with it, because the decisions we make on this shot are going to ripple through the entire scene, because we're matching everything back to it.
Remember, we've done the base grade, we haven't created the look. I'm not saying we create the look right here. What we really want is a base grade plus matching shots, nice, neutral images that allows us to then take the image where we want to go when we're creating the look. What I'm going to do is, having gone through and did the base grade on all of these shots, I'm going to take this wide shot and give it another close look. I'm going to shift + f, then I'm going to put it into loop, and I'm going to hit play and just take a look and see what I see.
What is it about this shot I don't like? I'm going to take care of those problems. I'm going to solve things like, well, he's looking a little oversaturated to me, I don't like the prominence of this big red sticker here, my eye keeps getting attracted to it. I'll probably also de-emphasize the yellows in this sign and probably the reds up in this sign. I'll take care of all those problems before I actually start executing the shot match, so when I shot match to an angle that also has this sign in here, I've already fixed this on the wide shot, and now I know what to do with it when I get to alternate angles that include this element in the image.
The other thing I'm going to take a look at here is, just reconfirm, how does my base grade look? it's not always a good idea to just trust your eyes. Yes, I could pull up my waveforms and take a look at my waveforms. But I want to show you something else. And I kind of see a problem here on my waveform. The problem I'm seeing is an imbalance in the shadows. What I'm going to do is, pull up another tool to show you a different way of evaluating the image. I'm going to make sure, in the pull-down for the viewer here, I'm going to turn on the qualifier, I'm going to right-click in the viewer, and I'm going to select Show picker RGB value.
Now, when the color picker is hovering over the viewer, it's going to give me an RGB readout of what I'm hovering over. It's saying, right now, the color picker readout is 102 for red, 65 for green, 72 for blue. if I want that to be neutral, then I need red, green and blue to be really close to each other. Right now, there's clearly a red bias in the side of that speaker. But maybe there should be. It's kind of near the floor. The floor may be reflecting back up onto it.
It's not really near pure black. My red channel is near 100. That's 10 percent of the way up to 1023. I'm thinking I want something that's closer to true black, maybe something on this side of the speaker. Or I'll look elsewhere in the image. Maybe down here is where I want something closer to true black. Yeah, those values are lower. I'm still seeing a red push in those values. I could take a look at maybe the side here, of the stand.
Those values are a little tougher to get at. 53, 41, 37 -- yeah, red's a bit of a red push there. Maybe even up here? I'm getting the same thing. Not quite as much. I think I'm going to pick right around here. It's in the shade, it's relatively dark, probably not a lot of reflections popping up off of it from the wood floor. I'm going to use that to decide, do I have a problem in this image? And yeah, it looks like the red channel's a little too high. I'm going to shift + f out of this. Now, my next decision is, what node do I do this in? We're technically still correcting the base grade, but I already did one pass on this shot.
I was relatively happy with this. Maybe whatever I'm about to do, I decide ultimately I don't want to do, and so, if that's the case, I'm going to option + s, create a new node, and just make this fix here, in the new node, after the base grade. It allows me to reverse out of that decision at any time. I'm protecting my initial thought, and now I'm layering a new thought on top of it. If I do that, and then option + f or alt + f, what I'm going to do is, use these RGB sliders to make very targeted corrections. After all, we're getting an RGB readout.
I know, looking at this, that I need to drop my reds to get them more in balance with green and blue. But remember, if you need to be refreshed on YRGB processing, roll back to earlier in this title where I discuss YRGB processing. Also, the lum mix control, because we're about to go to that, to defeat the YRGB processing and get Resolve to process in pure RGB. That'll get rid of the cross-talk so that, as I lower the red channel, it's not going to affect the green or blue channels. I'm going to go ahead and, on this node, turn off the lum mix.
Now, I'll drop the red a little bit, and I'll do it a little bit by eye. Yeah, I got rid of some red in there. What do those numbers look like? 52, 37, 35, that's a little better. Let's drop it even a little bit more and see what we think. 42, 42, 40, there we go, a pretty balanced image. Could I add a little bit more blue? Yeah, but, you know, those two points really aren't going to mean a whole heck of a lot to me. I think I'm going to call this balanced. Now I'm going to command + d to turn this active node on and off.
That's off, turn it back on. You can see, in the shadows, how much red I've taken out of the shadows. You know what, I kind of like this as a more neutral starting point, even though I like the colorfulness of the more enhanced reds in the shadows. If I decide to do that, I'll do that as part of the look. Right now, I want a nice, balanced grade that I can use as a reference for everything else. That's my basic approach to starting off the whole shot matching process: Pick a shot, re-examine the shot, fix problems, and then start my shot matching.
Be sure to check out the chapter on in action, where I go through the shot matching, and I'll go ahead and solve all these big problems and show you how I went ahead and did that.
In these tutorials, indie-feature-film and broadcast colorist Patrick Inhofer guides viewers through color grading with DaVinci Resolve and Resolve Lite 11. With emphasis placed on real-world techniques and workflows, the course will help editors and aspiring colorists edit in the timeline, perform primary and secondary color corrections, match shots from multiple cameras, create mood-rich looks, and render out movies to share with clients. Interspersed throughout the course are "lingo" movies, which will help you learn the language of colorists, and "in action" chapters, where Patrick applies the lessons learned to a real-world music video for the band Minimus the Poet.
- Building a Revolve system
- Comparing Resolve and Resolve Lite
- Tweaking preferences for better performance
- Getting clips, timelines, and projects into Resolve
- Editing footage in Resolve
- Evaluating images like a colorist
- Working with serial nodes
- Making contrast and color adjustments
- Making targeted secondary corrections with keys and shapes
- Creating looks with third-party plugins
- Matching shots
- Rendering, delivering, and archiving footage