5 Reasons to Get a Color Grading Control Surface

This article was originally published on PremiumBeat’s blog.

A control surface is an essential piece of gear for professional color correction. Here are five good reasons why.

Though this is no secret to seasoned professionals, many aspiring colorists don’t realize the inherent value that a color grading control surface will bring to their work. After all, many professional software packages can be used without additional hardware.

DaVinci Color Grading Control Surface

The DaVinci control surface maps many of Resolve’s functions to dedicated buttons and knobs, making grading a breeze. However, its hefty price tag is out of reach for many. Luckily, third-party surfaces from Tangent, JL Cooper, Avid and newcomerOxygenTec harness much of the DaVinci panel at a fraction of the cost. With fewer buttons and dials, you’ll be scrolling through menus to find the parameter to change,far from a deal breaker to many.

No matter which model you choose, a control surface is an essential aspect of getting any job graded and delivered on time. Let’s take a look at several specific reasons why any surface is a must for the serious colorist.

Tangent Element Color Grading Control Surface
1. Speed and Multiple Actions

The biggest and most obvious advantage to using a color grading control surface is speed. With dedicated knobs, buttons, dials and wheels set to specific functions,muscle memory quickly develops as you learn your panel. When you get fast enough, color grading is no longer frustrating, it’s actually fun! You’ll be wondering how you ever did good work without a panel for this reason alone.

Speed isn’t just about jumping to specific commands to alter your image. When coloring, it’s helpful to adjust several parameters at once to see how the image reacts. This will enable the colorist to experiment with a wide range of looks to gauge a favorable client reaction.

OxygenTec Color Grading Control Surface

2. Trust Me, Your Work Will Improve

Working with a panel enables an organic relationship with your images. By controlling the color wheels, you’ll intuit where the image wants to sit. The physical nature of working with your hands will also prevent you from processing every job in the same way.

Using the color wheels and dials allows for finely-tuned adjustments that are difficult to articulate with a mouse. Many times in session I push the slightest change in the hue of a skin tone to satisfy the client. The software color wheels inside Resolve are small, making these kinds of moves cumbersome.

Read the full article on PremiumBeat’s blog.

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