Still Grading with Resolve 11

Nearly 2 months since the last post about the grade and I’m still at it, only a couple of hours a day but it’s an interesting way to work.

My use of groups has caused a few problems between the various “final” versions of the cut but I’m learning how to deal with this.

There’s a great facility in Resolve 11 that lets you assign a collection of shots to a “group”, within that group you have the ability to apply a pre-clip grade to all the shots in the group, this can be a full multi-node job if you like, then you can grade each clip separately as you would in a conventional grade, then you have a post-clip grade that applies an overall post clip grade to the group and finally a timeline group that puts a grade across the entire timeline.

I’ve been using this a lot, using pre-clip to get the exposure into a “normal” and neutral colour balance position.

Then I use the clip to match each shot in fine detail.

Then the post-clip is used to add an overall look to that group.

If you think scene rather than group it makes a lot more sense.

Over all of this I can then make entire timeline tweaks, I’ve used this for a slight de-saturation of the entire film and also for a tiny detail increase in the mid -levels. The great this about using this overall change is that I can easily tweak it in and out and currently I’ve got the de-saturation off.

I love the ability to change scenes as a whole whilst retaining all the matching, which often includes layers of window correcting specific things like faces.

Some scenes shot in mixed light have benefited hugely from using a selective filter to reduce certain green tones in the pre-clip.

It’s a learning experience about which layer to use for what but I’m getting there.

The only fly in the ointment is that Colortrace only uses the clip by clip grade so if you want to work between various edits you need to save the pre and post stills which contain their grades manually. With only 20 or so groups in this film it’s not too hard but I could see it being a problem on some jobs. C’mon BMD! make it an optional feature of Colortrace.

Another week of tweaking at home, the 4K Dell monitor I have now has calibrated 100% with Lightspace and I’m really happy about it with one exception, Windows/Resolve don’t handle the scaling of menus very well. In most menus in resolve you need a magnifying glass to be able to read the menu’s, I’m constantly sliding my specs to the end of my nose and leaning in closer to try and read the options. I’m lucky that I know the menus well enough to know that the second one down is add a dynamic link as there is almost no chance of me reading it!!

We finish the film at UWE in a full Resolve suite the week of the 18th.

It’s been an interesting experience, grading while they edit, the multiple versions have caused some issues but that’s partly because of the speed of my system and partly due to the use of very new facilities in the software.

I was really pissed off a couple of days ago when a guy in a post house involved in the job queried why it would take 20 hours to render a full 3K 16bit DPX version when “my Pablo will do it in 30 minutes”  yeah well mate how long at your rate card could we have spent grading this? maybe a couple of days rather than a couple of months. Oh and how much did your entire system cost? Mine was about 6 grand.

The need for speed is hugely over stated when it comes to grading.


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