DaVinci Resolve Efficiently Grades on a Tight Budget
Robbie Carman, co owner of postproduction finishing company Amigo Media, excitedly joined the project in 2012 as its colorist. As with every other aspect of the film, the deadlines were short and finances were tight. Robbie turned to DaVinci Resolve to get the job done.
First, Robbie received the cut film from the editors. The film was edited in Adobe Premier Pro using footage from various source media at different frame rates and frame sizes. In Resolve 9, selecting the “Handle mixed frame rate material” checkbox in the Master Project Settings panel allowed Robbie to painlessly conform the project.
“There was a lot of snow in this movie. It’s a difficult element to grade and get the tonal ranges to match, so each scene flows seamlessly into the next,” Robbie described. By viewing the clips in Gallery mode or using a Split Screen of two shots, he could easily compare the tone of each shot. The power of multi GPU processing and the Resolve Control Surface also sped up the entire workflow, providing tactile control over every single parameter.
For the interview scenes, Robbie relied on the flexibility of Resolve’s Power Windows and tracking. By placing Power Windows in a scene, he could sharpen the features of an interviewee’s face or darken and blur a window, making the interview even more compelling.
“One of the ENG cameras was set on Auto Iris and Auto Exposure during the shoot,” said Robbie. “As the camera moves and subtle light changes happen, the exposure fluctuates. Covering the more gratuitous exposure changes with key frames in Resolve is very easy and it makes the film flow much better.”
Once he had finished the grade, Robbie used Resolve to quickly and simultaneously render out H.264 and ProRes versions of the film. “Having all the deliverables for review in one place at the same time is a huge productivity booster,” Robbie explained. “I don’t have to go back to Final Cut Pro or Premier to render out new files. By doing it all it Resolve, it’s a huge time saver.”