Rethinking Saturation in DaVinci Resolve

August 7, 2016

If you're looking for ideas on controlling excessive saturation in DaVinci Resolve, this tutorial will offer some food for thought.


Controlling Saturation in DaVinci Resolve: A Fresh Look

Part 1: ‘HSL Isolation’ or ‘Sat vs. Sat’?

One of the curses of being a long-time user of a piece of software is that habits you establish early in your mastery tend to outlive their usefulness. It’s not very often any of us take a fresh new look at doing our mundane tasks. For me, one such ‘mundane task’ is dealing with excessive saturation.

I have a ‘Desaturation’ PowerGrade that I’ve been using for years

It’s a simple HSL qualifier that selects the most over-saturated pixels and desaturates them – bringing them into ‘legal’ (and usually, more life-like) range.

But there’s a User Interface convention in Resolve’s HSL Qualifier that has been bugging me from Day 1

In this Insight, you’ll learn what that UI annoyance is… and how I’ve recently thrown away my old habit for dealing with desaturation—and why I think this new approach is much better.

In truth, I’m not so sure why it’s taken me so long to fully embrace this new approach, except that the initial implementation may have been a little noisier than I liked. Or maybe… it’s always worked as well as it does in Resolve 12.5 and I’ve never had a reason to question, much less change, my old habit.

Coming Up in Part 2: Controlling RGB Gamut Errors with Software

Along the same lines, I’ve starting thinking about what we can do as digital colorists to try and minimize RGB Gamut errors during the color correction process. I’ll share those thoughts in Part 2.



Member Content

Sorry... the rest of this content is for members only. You'll need to login or sign up to continue (we hope you do!).

Membership options
Member Login


10 thoughts on “Rethinking Saturation in DaVinci Resolve”

  1. Very nice. I’ve been using the Sat v Sat curve to do this for a while. I’ve always wondered why the saturation scale in the HSL controls is so expansive, especially since the sat v sat UI shows essentially the same information, but in a usable scale… I wonder if there’s a reason the developers did this?

    1. Peder – ‘Expansive’: That’s the word I was looking for to describe it – but couldn’t find. Thank you!

      I’ve got to think there’s some Math reason – some hypothetical range of saturation that you can potentially select? But I have no idea. I keep trying to remember to ask the Team this question at NAB… but I always forget đŸ™‚

  2. Patrick, while you’re asking them about the Sat mode, ask them why Hue doesn’t rotate phase in a precisely uniform way. Rotate the hue of a compound clip of bars and see what you get.

  3. I’ve been using the Sat vs. Sat curve in this way for a while, especially when dealing with oversaturated elements such as traffic lights or other forms of heavily colored light sources. I actually programmed this into my Xkeys: one button cycles through a few Sat vs. Sat curves.

  4. I do a lot of industrial videos where crappy factory lighting causes huge color balance problems. Often, balancing for skin and other things causes unpleasant tones to be picked up in the metal of factory equipment. This stumped me for a long time. There seemed to be no way to balance the color balancing requirements to get everything perfect.

    Then I tried using sat v sat to just desaturate colors with low saturation. It cleans that metal up with no real hassle. The versus curves in resolve are great tools!

Leave a Reply

Hundreds of Free Tutorials

Get full access to our entire library of 900+ color tutorials for an entire week!

Start Your Free Trial