Convert Power Windows to Bezier Curves in DaVinci Resolve 12

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Power windows can now be converted to Bezier curves in DaVinci Resolve 12. Learn how to use this timesaving feature.

Colorists use tons of power windows in typical sessions. However, using a standard circle or polygon shape can sometimes “give away” especially extreme corrections.Bezier curves provide finer control by having the ability to add additional pointswithout the jagged edges of the polygonal shape. Bezier softness around each point can be controlled as well, and with their amorphous shapes, they run less risk of being found out by the audience.

In a brand new feature in DaVinci Resolve 12, power windows can now be converted to Bezier curves with the click of a button. This can help you to work faster in session. Let’s take the image below. Perhaps we want to treat the window differently than we want to treat the subject, a normal usage of power windows.

The client has called out the window as being a bit too blue. Normally, the colorist would create a power window to address this concern.

Convert Power Windows to Bezier Curves in DaVinci Resolve 12: starting shot - no correction

Our workflow will be to generate a power window using one of the standard shapes, and then convert it to a Bezier curve for further modification. I’ve found the simpler shapes to be faster to control, and after getting the window into a place we generally want, we can then add nuance by converting the circle to a Bezier shape. Let’s start with a circular power window.

Circles can be faster because the softening affects the entire shape, unlike the polygonal window where each of the four corners has its own softening. Circles are also great to use for ovoid human faces. Draw the general shape, but don’t increase the softening, as converting to a Bezier object will reset any softening information.

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Speed Up Your Color Workflow Using Scene Cut Detection

This article was originally published on PremiumBeat’s blog.

DaVinci Resolve’s Scene Cut Detection function chops a single file into multiple shots. Here’s how to how to use this time-saving feature.

Colorists occasionally work on projects that only exist as a single file with no accompanying project or EDL. It may also be easier to grade a single file when working with a previously conformed spot, a reel, or in scenarios where the client is located remotely and it’s not practical to upload gigabytes of material.

DaVinci Resolve’s Scene Cut Detection function can analyze a single file and chop it into multiple shots based on where it believes there are cuts in the program. This important feature saves hours of time from finding edit points manually. Let’s look into how to use this feature.

Before importing the single movie file in question, locate it in the Media Storage and right-click it. Select Scene Cut Detection.

Once you find the file that needs to be chopped up, right-click it and select Scene Cut Detection.

Scene Cut Detection Select

A window appears with several options. Click Auto Scene Detect in the lower left. Resolve will try to locate all of the cuts within the piece, which may take a little while depending on the speed of your computer and the piece’s duration.

After analysis, a bunch of lines are created across the timeline. The length of the line corresponds to how confident Resolve is in determining a cut. The purple line that cuts across the interface is your tolerance bar, which will include any lines above this line and exclude those below it. You can drag this tolerance bar to include or exclude shots.

Once Resolve has analyzed the video file, the interface will resemble the image below. The green lines denote where Resolve thinks cuts occur. The purple line is the tolerance bar; all vertical lines above this bar will be included; those below will be greyed out and excluded. More on the image thumbnails below.

Scene Cut Detection Interface

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Blockbuster Looks in DaVinci Resolve: The Matrix

This article was originally published on PremiumBeat’s blog.

The green tint of the Matrix universe drips with dystopian atmosphere. Learn how to achieve this look in DaVinci Resolve.

Above image from The Matrix

In an previous article, I analyzed the orange-teal look, a style popularized by theTransformers series that’s now featured in numerous Hollywood films, regardless of genre. Before Transformers, there was The Matrix, which showcased its own distinct look.

The Matrix depicts a technological dystopia, so the filmmakers decided the overall green tint was a nod to the monochromatic green of command-line computing, one of the first images used in the movie.

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The most interesting aspect of the film from a color perspective is that The Matrixruns contrary to traditional styles of rendering skin tones in healthier yellow, orange, or magenta registers. Skin is colored by the epidermis’s melanin as well as red-colored hemoglobin in the blood. Green skin, on the other hand, evokes decomposing or dead flesh.

Most skin complexions fall in a general range that is approximated by DaVinci Resolve’s Skin Tone Indicator, which can be activated in the Vectorscope preferences. The indicator line runs between red and yellow, the combination of our skin and blood.

DaVinci Resolve’s Skin Tone Indicator shows roughly where most healthy skin tones will fall, at least on typical jobs. Access this feature by clicking on the lower right preference button.

Blockbuster Looks in DaVinci Resolve: skin tone indicator

Certainly you wouldn’t see a Matrix grade on most fashion jobs, where healthy, vibrant skin tones are the name of the game. Many artists who use Photoshop’sCurves to manipulate a fashion image tend to steer away from the green slider, instead opting to utilize the red and blue to create distinct looks. The Matrix is the furthest thing from a fashion job though, so the Wachowskis went in a different direction by addressing the science fiction tone of the film.

When referencing The Matrix, consider your project’s material and how much healthy skin tones matter. It may seem an obvious choice if you’re grading a fantasy, noir, or science fiction movie, but why not experiment with other genres?

Bringing in one of the stills from the film shows a definite bias toward green, and the image deviates from the Skin Tone Indicator as we suspected.

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Speed Up Your Session With DaVinci Resolve Power Grades

This article was originally published on PremiumBeat’s blog.

Check out seven awesome Power Grades that can help you quickly apply killer looks in DaVinci Resolve. Download them now!

Top Image from Blackmagic Design

In DaVinci Resolve, the Power Grade folder stores common custom grades and is the portal for sharing grades between projects. Power Grades can serve as useful shortcuts in session to quickly apply looks that might take more than several minutes to execute. In fast sessions, any time gained is instrumental to focusing on the task of creative grading.

Creating a Power Grade

To create the most effective Power Grades for your color grading style, identify what actions you’re executing over and over again, especially the ones that take either a long time or involve multiple steps. Then strip the look or the function down to its most basic nodes and grab a still of that. Be sure to label it so you can refer back to it.

The fastest way to apply a Power Grade is to double-click it, rather than choosingDisplay Node Graph to select and apply individual nodes. Double-clicking will append the entire Power Grade to the end of the shot, on top of what’s already been performed. To minimize confusion it’s important to include only the nodes you want to repeatedly apply to the shots. Most of my Power Grades are not crazy looks. Rather, they’re usually executions of one specific action.

To strip down a shot for use as a Power Grade, create a second version of the shot you want to be a template for the Power Grade and remove the extraneous nodes, or save a still that you can revert back to while you destruct the node tree to create thePower Grade.

The case for keeping Power Grades simple is that many projects widely veer from each other in terms of how they were shot and the unique stylistic sensibilities that are needed for different projects. It’s best to proceed in small steps toward the grade you’re trying to achieve.

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Everything You Need to Know About DaVinci Resolve 12

This article was originally published at No Film School.

davinci-resolve-12
The Blackmagic team must not sleep.
They just released the first Public Beta for Davinci Resolve 12, which you can download here. Resolve 12 brings over eighty new features to the popular color grading tool, with a host of editing, audio, workflow, and of course, color grading improvements.

Let’s get a little more in-depth with some of the more exciting improvements.

Editing

Resolve is one of the leading color grading platforms, especially among indie filmmakers who can’t afford a Baselight, Pablo, or Quantel system. Having primarily focused on color grading for over two decades, the DaVinci team is now switching gears to develop and push Resolve’s editing capabilities. Its aim is to position the software as a full-fledged editing platform that competes with Premiere, Avid, and Final Cut. Many of Resolve 12’s new features revolve around editing, perhaps because the color grading tools are already so sophisticated.

Several of the tools at the heart of all professional editing systems have been ported to or improved upon with this version, including the familiar overlay that displays options on whether a clip will be inserted, overwritten or fit-to-filled when placed into the timeline.

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Dragging a clip to the source monitor functions much the same way as popular NLEs.

Working in the timeline is much faster. Context-sensitive trim tools avoid the need to constantly change tools to make a precise edit. The trim tool transforms into a ripple, roll, slip or slide tool depending on where the cursor is positioned over the clip. Multiple clips can also be trimmed at the same time.

Asymmetric trimming allows changing multiple clips in opposite directions from each other simultaneously. This can be performed on multiple clips on the same track as well, which was previously not possible. A dynamic trimming option allows you to use the standard J, K, and L playback keys to scrub for an ideal edit point. Just like other NLEs, the audio can play back along with the video. Once you get how these controls function, editing clips in the timeline is a cinch.

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Adjusting multiple clips is a snap in Resolve 12.

The brand new multicam feature in Resolve 12 features a straightforward implementation of working with multiple angles in a project. Grouped angles are clustered together on the source monitor, and editing together a video is as simple as selecting the appropriate angle when it’s needed in the timeline. The timeline gets chopped up accordingly, leaving the editor to further refine edits from there. The multicam clips can also be expanded into their constituent video layers for working in a more traditional, layered approach. This mode also enables slipping of individual tracks in case they weren’t synced properly.

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The brand new multicam feature allows you to select from a handful of angles when editing.

One of the biggest additions in Resolve 12 is the completely new media management system which collects all assets with handles for archiving or exporting to another system. The interface should come familiar to anyone used to Avid or Final Cut, and copying, moving, transcoding, consolidating, and deleting unused media are all available options.

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Documentary Film Editors Talk About Their Process

This article was originally published on PremiumBeat’s blog.

Some of Hollywood’s top documentary editors got together at Sight, Sound and Story 2015 to discuss their process. Here are some highlights from their chat.

Documentary film editors Andy Grieve (Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief, The Armstrong Lie), Zac Stuart-Pontier (The Jinx, Catfish), and Pax Wassermann (Cartel Land, Knuckleball!) sat with Garret Savage (My PerestroikaReady, Set, Bag!) in conversation as part of Sight, Sound and Story’s annual New York City event, presented by Manhattan Edit Workshop on June 13th. Here’s some of what they talked about.

DOC PANEL
Image from Sight, Sound & Story

Garrett: What kind of thoughts or advice can you give on how to start a film and how not to start a film?

Andy: I think about it as compartmentalizing information. The worst situation is like when you’re on the subway listening to music and your headphones are tied in a knot. You don’t want to end up like that. Start small. Don’t think, “This is the first scene, this is the first clip, this is how I start or end the film,” just watch the footage and make small things and gradually connect things together. I never tie knots I don’t think I can untie. A lot of times I don’t even do much cutting, I just kind of watch and add locators, or cut selects before I really start to assemble scenes. For me a mistake would be cutting a bunch of stuff that becomes useless. It’s getting ahead of the process.

documentary editors
Image from HBO

Garrett: You don’t like creating a ton of select sequences, you like creating fewer rather than more?

Andy: That’s evolved with technology because you can have longer sequences. I just don’t like to have tons of bins open which can be messy. You can find the process that works for you. I know editors that write out tons of note cards and put them all over the wall. Everyone has their own sort of process, but in a bigger sense it’s about not being overwhelmed and finding a way to keep things separate, and then once you’re ready, start putting it all together.

Pax: I have a discussion with the director about why they wanted to make the film and what moments they really want to pop in the film. A lot of times those moments aren’t reflected in the footage. Sometimes you do have to cut a scene to get the director’s confidence in order to have the room to play. With the younger directors that’s even more necessary because they’re more nervous and anxious.

But first do a very quick overview of watching everything, making a lot of notes, holding on the first impressions. I make all kinds of stickies with all sorts of musings and ideas. It gets kind of ridiculous, but I try to hold onto those thoughts because by the time you get the first rough cut those first impressions are gone and you can’t get those back.

Then you make a basic overview reviewing stuff, some of it watching very intently, definitely not going crazy with selects. Selects become a burden at a certain point. You can become beholden to the selects when what you really need to do is just look at the footage. Keep it all open for as long as possible, especially selects for an interview.

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Reality Television Editors Sound Off on the Craft

This article was originally published on PremiumBeat’s blog.

Some of the best reality television editors sat to chat on a panel at this year’s Sight, Sound and Story in NYC. Here are a few highlights of the talk.

Reality TV editors Alanna Yudin (Ink Master, Mob Wives), Joe Schuck (Alaskan Bush People, Best Funeral Ever), and Julie “Bob” Lombardi (Teen Mom, Town of the Living Dead) spoke with Gordon Burkell of AOTG.com as part of Sight, Sound and Story’s annual New York City event presented by Manhattan Edit Workshop on June 13th. Here’s some of what they talked about. Reality Television Editors: Ink Master
Image from Ink Master

Gordon: How do you handle the amount of footage that comes in?

Julie: I always watch the raw footage. I make the time. I like the producers kind of telling me what the scene is about, but then you just dive in and watch it all. If you’re on season three it’s a lot easier to know what you’re looking for.

Alanna: Yeah, I’m the same way. I’ll use the producer’s selects just as a guideline, but then go back and find what you need.

Julie: Editors are used to manipulating footage. Some producers don’t know how to watch footage and how you can manipulate it, so they cut something because they think it doesn’t work. Or they might not give you a great piece of audio because it’s off camera and they don’t know you can cheat it. But you have to look at all of the footage. That way you have all the pieces to the puzzle to make the best picture.

Alanna: Ultimately it does end up saving time. If three hours have been shot for a two-minute scene, well, I have three hours.

Julie: And when you have notes you already have the answers.

Alanna: I think the difference in the way producers or people who don’t edit look at the footage is as one ongoing scene with no cuts. But as an editor we watch every second and every frame, every piece of audio, as its own entity.

Julie: You’re looking for glances, looks, smirks, any piece to make the story more believable or more dramatic. So if the camera catches somebody giving the stink-eye to the producer or the audio guy or whatever, you can always use that to manipulate the edit, which is so important.

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