DaVinci Resolve Workflow: How to Prep for a Color Session

This article was originally published on PremiumBeat’s blog.

Be prepared! When you’ve got a color session looming, do yourself a favor and take these steps to set yourself up for success!

All images from Blackmagic Design

Prepping for any color session entails optimizing elements from one piece of software and translating them over to another platform for further work in the post pipeline. For most jobs, once the offline edit has been locked, the editor must prep the timeline for the colorist. How files are prepped for color can make a huge difference in how much work the colorist must perform before he can actually begin grading the project. If the prep has technical issues, it can add time to debugging, extending the session time, or leaving less time for the creative aspects of the job. Let’s discuss the elements that make a good color prep.


1. Before anything else, it’s necessary to duplicate your timeline. Since you’ll be simplifying the sequence, which means destructing it, you’ll need a way to get back to the original edit in case there are revisions or you need to create other outputs and preps. The original timeline can also be used to create a reference movie for the colorist.

2. Remove any unused clips that won’t be graded. Often, editors work loosely and have lots of extraneous clips scattered across the timeline. Many editors also toss extra clips at the end of the timeline. Delete all of them.

3. Remove the audio tracks. Most of the time, audio will not be an aspect of a color session, unless I play a rough cut for a client for their reference. Having audio tracks come in with the XML is a distraction to the colorist and they are most often removed right away.

DaVinci Resolve: Prepping for a Color Session

4. Simplify the timeline by moving all of the video clips down to the base video layer as much as possible. Sometimes you’ll need multiple video layers, but the XML format can support this.

Read the full article on PremiumBeat’s blog.

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