Grading Composites In DaVinci Resolve

Grading Composites In DaVinci Resolve

February 26, 2014

Color grading composites, like picture in picture effects, from a single render is hard. Learn how to attack these shots in DaVinci Resolve.

Using The Layer Mixer & Keyframes To Grade Picture-In-Picture Shots

Oh! The picture-in-picture effect! It’s often hated by colorists since we have to isolate the two images to color correct them separately. Depending on how the project is delivered, this can be VERY tedious.

The composited picture-in-picture effect is something that is used all the time on instructional and corporate videos as well as everyone’s late night favorite – the infomercial! It seems like it’ll never go out of style, so it’s something we all need to know how to deal with.

With DaVinci Resolve’s sophisticated handling of XML and AAF files, color grading the picture in picture effect is not nearly as annoying as it has been for colorists in the past. Using XMLs and AAFs the elements of the picture-in-picture effect—multiple video tracks, re-sizing, images moving around that transition on and off—can be passed from the editing software over to Resolve rather easily – assuming that you’re in a workflow with access to the original footage.

But what do you do when you don’t have the ability to conform a mutli-layer timeline or don’t have access to the original footage?

What do you do when you must work from a single flattened movie file that has the picture-in-picture effect baked in? What if a floating video box is moving AND has a transition applied to it? In DaVinci Resolve, the answer is: The Layer Mixer.

Leverage The Layer Mixer and Keyframes

Over the years using Resolve I’ve really come to LOVE the Layer Mixer Node and how it allows me to composite and color correct different parts of a shot together.

For a composite—like a picture-in-picture effect—the Layer Mixer, along with a well placed Power Window, lets you separate parts of your image so they can be treated differently even if they’re part of same shot in a single rendered movie file.

If you follow up the Layer Mixer using Resolve’s Keyframes then you can quickly isolate animated boxes and transitions.

Yes, as you watch this Insight there are quite a few steps and at first it’ll seem very meticulous to get setup but after tackling a few composited shots with this technique, you’ll be making short work of these situations when they pop up in your own projects.

Got Questions?

After checking out the video does something not make sense? Got other variations of this approach you’d like to share? Go ahead and use the comments down below the video!

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