Everything You Need to Know to Get Started in Color Correction and DaVinci Resolve 9
If you've been reading this site for the past few months, you know we've talked a tremendous amount about a little company called Blackmagic Design who happens to make a little camera called the Cinema Camera. There's no question the specs are interesting, (and preorders are flying out the door) because there has never been a camera at the $3,000 price point that could give ProRes, DNxHD, and RAW all in one camera body. Not only that, but it happens to come free (that's right, free) with a color correction/color grading program that used to cost about what you'd pay for a new car until Blackmagic took over the development. That program is called DaVinci Resolve 9, and if you're curious about what the big deal is, and you'd like to get started with it before you get your Blackmagic Cinema Camera, check out the videos below.
This is a Rule/Boston Camera's Learning Lab with colorist Rob Bessette of Finish Post. Rob goes over not only DaVinci, but also color correction and grading in general. It's a bit long, so this may be one that you'd be better off downloading from the Vimeo site.
Here is writer/director/colorist Alexis Van Hurkman at a post-NAB talk all about getting started with Resolve 9:
It should also be mentioned that a somewhat limited version of Resolve, called DaVinci Resolve Lite is available as a free download from the Blackmagic website. Though it is the older version (Resolve 8), it's free, and it should help you get a head start on Resolve 9, which will be available in its free form sometime this month. It features the exact same interface as the pro version, but is limited in a few ways:
The free DaVinci Resolve Lite includes the same high quality processing as the full DaVinci Resolve with unlimited color correction nodes, however it limits projects to SD and HD resolutions, a single processing GPU and a single RED rocket card. Stereoscopic 3D features, 2K, noise reduction, power mastering, remote grading and sharing projects with an external database server are features only offered in the full DaVinci Resolve and are not included in this free DaVinci Resolve Lite edition.
Color correction and color grading are not necessarily easy concepts to understand, and it takes years of training to not only be able to recognize the problems in a scene that need fixing, but also the creative instinct to know how far to push a color grade. Many colorists will only briefly look at a scene and know what they need to fix, because if they spend too much time staring at the same scene without knowing what they're going to fix, it becomes a forest for the trees (or trees for the forest) situation. If you're curious about color correction and grading, Alexis recommends not only his own book (obviously), Color Correction Handbook: Professional Techniques for Video and Cinema, but also another book called The Art and Technique of Digital Color Correction, Second Edition from colorist Steve Hullfish. Both of these are platform agnostic, so it won't matter if you're coloring in Premiere or in Resolve.
There are many more great resources available at the Vimeo account for Rule/Boston Camera, so you should check them out if you haven't seen any of htem before. Would you guys like to see more resources on color correction theory, or color correction programs, or both? Let us know below.