Tips for Coloring Talking Head Interviews in DaVinci Resolve

This article was originally published in PremiumBeat’s blog.

Talking head interviews are a great place to sharpen color grading skills. Let’s take a look at some ways we can push and improve upon this common setup in DaVinci Resolve.

Any working colorist will likely encounter their fair share of talking head interviews. It’s a great idea to use these projects as opportunities to up your skills. Here are a few quick and easy tips to consider when applying your magic to interview footage.

Pick an Identifying Frame

Choose a frame where the subject’s eyes are open and acknowledging the camera or the interviewer off-camera. This will help us engage with the speaker, allowing us to judge exposure and color tints with better acuity. Picking a moment when the talent doesn’t look their best will hinder our ability to color them in the best possible way.

It’ll be easier to engage the subject if they’re engaging you.

Tips for Coloring Talking Head Interviews in DaVinci Resolve: engage-subject

Initially, Focus on a Single Correction

Rather than creating multiple nodes to grab skin tones and other features in the shot right away, try to accomplish as much as possible in a single correction. This will enable us to correct for exposure and color shifts with the simplest, cleanest method before working on other aspects of the shot.

Matching Two Angles

Matching close and wide shots is easier if both cameras are identical models and are calibrated with similar settings, but this will be the exception rather than the rule. Many filmmakers will choose their best camera for the wide and a comparatively inferior one for the closeup due to various shooting constraints. This means matching shots may be more difficult since the cameras are not only shot differently but inherently contain different sensors and characteristics.

First, perform the best possible grade on the wide shot. When switching to the closeup, grab a still of the wide and put it next to the closeup shot by selecting Play Still. Often, the two angles will frame the interviewee in the same quadrant, so don’t be afraid to move the closeup over using the Sizing tab so you can clearly see the subject in both frames.

Here, the close and wide are framed similarly, which isn’t optimal since part of the talent is covered.

Tips for Coloring Talking Head Interviews in DaVinci Resolve: match-angles-squish

The Sizing tab allows us to move one angle aside to reveal the pertinent parts of both shots.

Read the full article on PremiumBeat’s blog.

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