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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.

Link: Blackmagic Design Support – Download DaVinci Resolve

[via Cinescopophilia & Rule/Boston Camera Learning Lab]


We’re all here for the same reason: to better ourselves as writers, directors, cinematographers, producers, photographers... whatever our creative pursuit. Criticism is valuable as long as it is constructive, but personal attacks are grounds for deletion; you don't have to agree with us to learn something. We’re all here to help each other, so thank you for adding to the conversation!

Description image 34 COMMENTS

  • Great post! Thank you.

  • more on color theory! pleeease!

  • Would love to see more on color grading, color correction and color theory. Thanks for all you guys do already.

  • Yes please.

  • Lliam Worthington on 07.12.12 @ 11:51AM

    Yes I would.

  • Resolve is only $995. However, if you want BMs control surfaces, it’s 29,995

  • how do i download the vimeo video, it’s not playing here…

    • Click on the word “vimeo” and it will take you to the video on Vimeo’s page. Below it there is a black “download” box. Click there and it will give you different options for quality. If you’re on a Mac, right click and “save as” and if you’re on a PC… I’m not sure.


  • I could get down with some more fundamentals of color theory. There is a ton of material on tools and tricks, but I for one would like a deeper understanding of why certain looks work and others don’t. These books sound awesome.

  • Vashi Nedomansky on 07.12.12 @ 2:47PM

    Wonderful post and great info on both videos. Thanks Joe!

  • matt amrich on 07.12.12 @ 5:46PM

    we want more color! :) and thanks

  • Would love to see more posts about colour correction and theory. I think its one thing we can constantly improve on. I’ll be ordering those books soon as well!

  • Please, more color correction stuff would be Great!!

  • Steve Nelson on 07.12.12 @ 10:22PM

    I can highly recommend both of those books. If you’re serious about being a colorist you’ll find yourself referring to them periodically. If you visit Alexis’ blog site he recommends some other books as well including some of the works of Joseph Itten. Patrick Inhofer’s Tao of Color website also offers training for Resolve 8 and he plans on offering a version for 9 in the future. All good stuff…….

  • PJ Palomaki on 07.13.12 @ 4:26AM

    I would consider myself a novice in color correction / looks with experience in the usual NLE color correction tools and Apple Color but I still _feel_ like I haven’t truly dived into it properly – like there’s two stages to color correction – first is for everyone from producers to editors and then there’s a whole another level as a colorista that only a few really master. Would love to get there.

    I also feel like there are some fundamental requirements to it so that not everyone CAN learn to be a good colorist, is this actually true? You almost get the sense that if your eyes are in a certain way and see in a certain way you just can’t do it properly, know matter how much you train. I hope I’m wrong!

  • I’m diggin’ the color.

  • Yes more color-posts! :D

    and on an unrelated note. GOD! I HATE it when editors go lazy on these videos and don’t know what to show when. It’s so frustrating. Especially in that 20 min youtube-video. Because I would be asking myself. “Uhm…you know, what he’s talking about sounds interesting. Why the F aren’t you showing me what he’s doing on screen instead of the talking head just showing him talking. I have no idea how amazing the feature he’s showing off is if you don’t show us it! …” and a couple seconds before he moves on to the next bit, the editor remembers his job and shows us 1 second of the amazing feature. Great. Just great. I applaud that you almost made an effort there…

  • Hey Joe,I know I’ve been quite a pain in the a-s but it would be awesome if you did a post on project mango. They are making Blender a better video compositor among other th ings.

  • I am very interested to learn Davinci resolve but my problem is that they are launching V9 with a complete new UI and I can’t start with the V8 because of this. I think they should release a beta version even if it is not production ready for people like me or even season Davinci user so that they can get along with the new version and workflow until the Final V9 comes out.

    From some conversation I found on reduser it is close, but it would be nice to start to learn even before it is complete.

    • It’s still worth learning 8 for a number of reasons, but the main one being that the basic color principles learned as well as the core Resolve tools will not be changing in 9.

  • Great video, thanks. Just wish the presenter wasn’t interrupted so much!

  • more colour correct articles please!! this was so helpful!

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