Better Blurring In Davinci Resolve: Part 1

July 30, 2020

In this Insight, Joey D'Anna shows you how to take simple blurs to the next level on the DaVinci Resolve Color Page


Stepping Up The Quality Of Your Blurs

In non-fiction and documentary TV, blurring out things like product logos, license plates, addresses, and names is almost a guaranteed task most colorists will have to tackle at some point.

However, if you watch any TV these days – you’ll notice that this has become a bit of lost art. The amount of really ugly, lazy, badly done blurs and paint jobs I see on TV absolutely drives me insane!

Adding Value For The Client

Personally – I always try to take my blurs/paints to the best level they can be.

I really feel like my clients appreciate the little bit of extra effort, and it helps them keep coming back. So in this Insight – I want to go through some of the techniques I use on the Color Page to get more seamless, better-looking blurs.

I’ll walk you through:

  • Looking for challenges to address when doing a blur
  • How to get better window tracks by separating window positioning from tracking
  • Where to put blurs in the node tree
  • How to use color generators for more seamless patches where possible
  • Keyframing tips to deal with objects going off-screen or drifting
  • Using garbage mattes to deal with foreground objects and letterboxes
  • Keyframing blurs/patches on and off

This Insight will focus on Color Page techniques – which is where I do most of these kinds of fixes. However, for some shots – more horsepower is needed, and the Fusion Page can really come to the rescue. In part two, I’ll go over a technique for painting out logos in Fusion.

Until then – leave any questions or comments below


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Homepage Forums Better Blurring In Davinci Resolve: Part 1

  • Greg Greenhaw

    On the blue car I seems like you would get a better result by simply using node spacing to slide the blue from the right of the license over the license.

  • Joey D’Anna

    Definitely a good way to go as well – thats another technique i employ sometimes, and can help a lot with lighting changes.

  • Marc Wielage

    Hey! I didn’t know about the Color Generator, so I learned something. Here I’ve been doing it the hard way for 10 years…

  • Joey D’Anna

    Yea i use it for all kinds of utility stuff in the node tree. I’ve even used it to make drop shadows for green-screen keys by pulling out the matte and corner pinning it then filling it with a translucent solid.

    I feel like it hasn’t always been there, but i dont remember exactly when they added it.

  • Shawn Convey

    I am going to watch these this week but wondering if any of these techniques could be used for achieving a realistic DoF blur (lens falloff and even a light Bokeh) from Mavic Air 2? I have this idea which could only be done with a drone but I don’t want that “infinity focus” that built in cams give.

  • Joey D’Anna

    In theory – yes depending on what you want to do. Faking DoF cleanly is going to depend on getting really good tracked masks to lens blur specific regions, so some of these techniques may help

    I’m a bit of a drone guy myself – what are you thinking of doing?

  • Steve Sebban, CSI

    I didn’t neither. Thanks Joey!

  • Shawn Convey

    Sorry for the slow reply I somehow missed your response 🙂 Actually, what I want to do is quite simple, I would like to use my drone very sparingly for a very cinematic observational doc I am shooting abroad and am unfortunately acting as a one man band. So I would like to use the drone at medium high angles that would be impossible w/ a tripod and at time (when nat sound wont be needed). From those “basic tripod-esue” types of shots I would also like to mix in subtle pans, tilts and possibly some tracking shot BUT I want it to match as well as possible my vintage Angie lenses on my BMP6k sensor to the point where the viewer isn’t taken out of the scene when mixing camera and drone shots. (which I know is going to be difficult to get too close) but any tips at some starting points for testing would be greatly appreciated 🙂

  • Joey D’Anna

    oh sounds cool! Yea if you have a DJI style drone that does GPS lock, you should be able to just sort of park it where you want it and shoot without worrying too much about it. I fly racing/freestyle drones so they don’t exactly hold still or stay in one place ;).

    As for subtle moves my only recommendation is to slow down the control settings, and start the move a bit before you would want it – give it some lead in that way you don’t get that little bump of when the move starts. If you haven’t learned to pinch the controls instead of using thumbs – practice that, it gives you WAY better control.

    One thing for drone footage is i think its often oversharpened in the camera (especially if your mixing it with vintage lenses). I use a pretty cool technique for reducing that a bit that I go over here:

    but another thing i would do is really think about your framing when you shoot – and maybe leave some negative space for a windowed lens blur or a tilt shift blur to fake some depth of field. That should work a lot better if you are actually planning it in how you frame though.

    Handling Over-Sharpening: How to Soften Footage Without Losing Detail

  • Ilya T

    If you use the ofx plugin you better create a serial node with alpha translation after mask node. Otherwise, you have a chance to get a problem with the keyframe of animation. After applying animation you can’t correct your mask. For example, you can’t animate transparent of the mask because of bugs.

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