This article was originally published on Premiumbeat’s blog here.
There are a lot of hidden features in DaVinci Resolve, and some that are downright confusing. The average Resolve user may have little use for “Printer Lights Hotkeys,” the “easyDCP” tab, or the Resolve Live features. However, there’s one feature called Chroma Dark that I keep in my back pocket for dealing with footage with messy blacks, often found in the blue channel.
Chroma Dark is a preset in DaVinci Resolve, but it’s different from the presets found in the Gallery page. This preset serves to modify part of the image as opposed to applying a stylized grade to an entire shot. Think of it as a node, not a look. To see what it does, go ahead and perform a primary correction on your shot, and create a new Serial Node. Assuming you’re in the Color page, Chroma Dark is under the Color menu, then under Presets, and then “Preset – Chroma Dark.” This applies to both Resolve version 10 and 11.
Chances are you won’t like what the resulting image looks like, and that’s fine…in fact it’s normal. Good practice dictates we should always tweak a shot after we apply a general preset. You can see what Chroma Dark does at the middle bottom of the screen inside the Qualifier tab. The preset pulls a luminance key on the bottom half of the image, and desaturates that bottom half completely. For Chroma Light, this effect is essentially reversed, although the cutoff point for the luminance is a little different. The effect is simple, but we also only want it to do one thing: control that volatile, noisy blue channel. The saturation at zero is not going to help in most contexts, but it allows us to analyze what the effect is doing.
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