Sunkissed and Sepia Looks in DaVinci Resolve


A golden, sunkissed look is something all colorists should have in their toolbox.

Let’s break down what the  ‘sunkissed’ look entails and pull it off in a few different ways in Blackmagic’s DaVinci Resolve. We’ll also talk about applying a sepia tone grade that’s similar but has its own specific look.

Approaching the Grade

A sunkissed look, as one would imagine, is going to be skewed to the warmer side. However, we don’t just want to swing the blacks, mids, and highlights warm and call it a day. Sure, this is one way to go, but subtlety and nuance can also be employed to great effect. Depending on the source footage, the image may be highlight-dominant if it’s directed toward the sky. Or, the shot may contain lifted blacks, cueing us toward a look that is more slight. It’s contingent on how extreme of a look you want to impose on the image.

First, correct each shot in the timeline so that it looks balanced. This promotes consistency, giving you a more uniform place from which to start with each shot in the timeline. Once there you can exert a grade on every shot and make more minor adjustments to bring the shots to one level of uniformity. If you apply an extreme look right away, you may neglect small details of the shot that are getting lost due to an extreme grade. You might get lost in a sea of yellow.
The original image, courtesy of Shutterstock:

Original Image

My initial correction. Note the blacks were lifted. I made them a more true black and brightened up the image slightly:

Initial Correction

After your initial balance, push some yellow, orange or even red into the highlights. Note how even as different colors are put into the highlights, the effect can be quite pleasing to the eye. There are often many correct answers (or no wrong answers), it often comes down to the aesthetic of the creatives involved. In my image, I’ve had to compensate for the highlights which begin to clip in the red channel as the green and blue highlights diminish.

Read the full article on PremiumBeat’s blog here.

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