January 29, 2013

Tutorials Galore: Dailies in DaVinci Resolve, CinemaDNG to ACES Conversion, Plus What's a LUT?

Ever asked yourself, "What in the f#$% is a LUT?!" Or what a LUT's relationship is with color space? Or what a color space is? If "yes," not to worry -- these concepts can be fairly confusing. Fortunately, engineering can and will work for you as an artist, so long as your understanding of it covers the fundamentals. And even if you answered "no" to all the above, you should still check out some of outstanding basic-breakdowns of these concepts below -- including how to convert CinemaDNG footage into the Academy Color Encoding Spec color space (ACES) in Davinci Resolve, plus how to use that very program to generate dailies (like a boss).

The Basics of the Lookup Table (LUT) vs. Color Space

The first tutorial is a good place to start in understanding LUTs, colorspace, and how they relate -- courtesy Igor Ridanovic of HDhead.com on Avid's official Vimeo account. You may notice it's only Part 1 of 2, but I really didn't feel like holding this one out on you guys any longer than I had to -- rest assured, the second part will find its way into further tutorial roundups after it's posted. Like any such tutorial, it is a great refresher (as are those below) regardless of your familiarity with the topics at hand.

This video brings up several questions I know I've definitely had, such as whether or not it's possible to exactly represent any given color transitioning from one given color space to another -- the answer, as I should've expected, is a definite "not necessarily." This is, of course, one of the many seemingly obscure things to be keeping in mind in post (especially if your NLE is doing everything itself), though it may constitute a negative altogether outweighed by the positives of whatever type of transcode we may feel compelled to implement. The old but still preferable DSLR footage ingestion workflow is an example of a (maybe inadvertent) color space transposition.

The Basics of CinemaDNG Conversion to the ACES Color Space in DaVinci Resolve

The Academy Color Encoding Specification (or 'System) color space is to digital color reproduction what CinemaDNG is, Adobe hopes, to RAW/intermediate/mastering/archival formats. Thanks to Jesse Borkowski and his YouTube channel for what is an incredibly intuitive (and graphically node-based, to my appreciation) foundation-type tutorial on converting CinemaDNG footage to the ACES space in Blackmagic's Davinci Resolve:

As a little bonus, and since Jesse seems primed to release a lot of very illustrative tutorials on his channel, here's his video on beginning to grade Ikonoskop A-Cam DII Footage in DaVinci Resolve:

Creating Dailies in DaVinci Resolve

DaVinci Resolve itself may be a bit industrial for beginners, but luckily Andy Shipsides from AbelCine has once again offered a thorough but comprehensible set of tutorials, this time regarding a workflow for producing dailies using the software:

What do you guys think? Do you have experience making dailies or working with ACES in DaVinci Resolve? Did you find the LUT vs. Color Space video helpful?


Your Comment


I stumbled upon an amazing free LUT for Resolve on Reduser.



The footage coming off of this looks amazing. It takes some tweaking but the results are fantastic.

January 29, 2013


Very cool, I went to watch the LUT video to refresh my memory.
Comming from a graphic design background I already dealt with lots of
sRgb to CMYK conversions wich is quite the same.
Thanks for sharing!

January 29, 2013


Looks like Igor needs a refresher. He confused additive as being subtractive color. RGB isn't subtractive it's additive. Gamma also isn't mid range, it's the entire range of white to black. Seems he's working on an optimized PC, which makes sense for the confusion. Other than that, a nice little intro.

January 29, 2013


Amongst colorists, the midtones are referred to as gamma.

January 29, 2013

Chris larsen

Great post, Dave! I've been a bit obsessed with learning color theory lately, so this was a very welcome read! Looking forward to part two.

January 30, 2013


In 'Intro to Luts' that was the most confusing explanation of gamma I've ever seen.

January 31, 2013