DaVinci Resolve Tutorial Part 33: Color Correction – Correcting with Primaries Bars

By Kevin P. McAuliffe

In our previous lesson of our look at learning BlackMagic Design’s DaVinci Resolve, we discussed the color wheels, how to access them, and what their purpose is inside of Resolve.  In this lesson, and the following lesson, we’re going to color correct a shot in our timeline, to show you the basics you need to know, as I always say that every shot requires color correction, whether you think it does or not.  We’ll be using the Primaries Bars for our color correction in this lesson!

So, we have our shot, and we have the color module open.  Let’s get in and color correct this shot. The first thing that I normally do is adjust the Lift to crush the blacks slightly, and give the shot a little more contrast.

Once that’s done, it’s onto the Gamma, or Midtones, where I will normally bring them up a little, to give a little more detail to the mid-range brightness of the shot.  Finally, I will make the appropriate adjustments to the Gain, to make sure that the levels stay within legal levels, and to make sure that they are not too bright that you begin to lose detail.  It’s okay to throw in a little bit of saturation so, the final color correction of the luminance or brightness levels (with a hit of saturation) should look something like the below image.

You’ll notice an immediate difference in the trees, sky and golf course immediately, and all this was done with some minor tweaks to the Lift, Gamma and Gain, and a hint of Saturation.  Now, I want to talk for a second about what happens when you “Crush the Black levels” or “Crush the White levels”.  What these terms mean is that if you were to take the Lift, and lower it’s level down, further and further, all the details that are in the shadows will eventually disappear, until everything that is in a dark area is just black.  Well, the same works in reverse as well. If you keep cranking the Gain up, you’ll eventually have nothing but white/brightness in the Highlights of your shots.

DaVinci Resolve Tutorial Part 33: Crushed Black Levels

DaVinci Resolve Tutorial Part 33: Crushed White Levels

Now, this is half the job done.  Assuming the colors in your footage look okay, you can be done at this point.  If the colors are not okay, you can proceed to the next lesson, where we talk about working with the color wheels.

Meanwhile, check out our entire catalog of tutorials for DaVinci Resolve here.


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