Your Guide to Understanding ACES (Part 3)

Credit: AMPAS
Let's close out our learning ACES series with this final part. 

As we wrap up this series on ACES, it’s time to build on the theory and workflow we’ve focused on thus far, and get into actual grading. This is the fun part, but it’s also the tricky part, because instead of learning new concepts, we need to rewrite our existing concepts. But before we start, if you haven't watched Part 1 or Part 2, be sure to check them out.

Now that you're caught up, let’s talk about the key differences between grading in DaVinci Resolve by hand versus in a color managed environment like ACES.

Grading in ACES

There’s more to effective grading in ACES than we can cover today, but the best way to get started is to embrace the following three principles.

1. Think and work globally

What does it mean to think and work globally? The core premise is that we want our overall creative look for our content to be deployed across the entire piece, rather than on individual shots. If we take the time to cultivate a look that serves all our material and doesn’t vary, it provides for better-looking and more efficient results.

2. Think and work photographically

When we’re doing our grade in a separate color space from that of our display, the image is far closer to its original capture state and responds best when we choose to work with it photographically, rather than graphically.

This begins with anchoring our grades in photometrically sound exposure and color temperature adjustments, but it shouldn’t end there—your goal should be to keep your thinking and adjustments in the realm of the photographic for as long as possible.

3. Think and work simply

This principle is vital amid all the power and complexity of a Resolve ACES workflow. We should always be seeking the broadest, simplest solution possible. Working this way increases our efficiency and produces cleaner images in the end.

I hope you’ve enjoyed learning about ACES over the course of this series.

If you have any tips for other filmmakers, let them know in the comments below.      

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