How to Use Manual Color Trace in DaVinci Resolve

How to Use Manual Color Trace in DaVinci Resolve

June 25, 2014

This is Part 3 in a series on using DaVinci Resolve's Color Trace function. In this final movie we explore the Manual Color Trace mode.


Color Trace Part 3: The Manual Color Trace Mode

In Part 1 of this series of Insights, I introduced the overall Color Trace workflow in DaVinci Resolve… which is used to copy your color grades from one timeline into another timeline, even if they’re in different projects within the same database.

In Part 2 I showed a slightly more complicated workflow where we Color Traced in Automatic Mode from a 100-minute film on one database to a 5-minute cut-down on a completely different database.

Here I Part 3 I’ll wrap this series showing how to do a Manual Color Trace, for those times when Automatic Color Trace doesn’t work.

When Automatic Color Trace Fails

There is one very specific scenario where Resolve colorists find themselves forced into doing a Manual Color Trace: When you’ve color corrected an entire timeline – but suddenly realize you need to change the time-base of the timeline.

I’ve had this happen a few times when I needed to change from 23.976 to 29.97. In Resolve, there’s no way to do this without completely deleting everything from the project and starting fresh. If you’ve been color grading 1200 shots for 5 days, deleting all your work and starting from scratch is a sure way to lose your sanity and your client.

This is one case where the Manual Color Trace comes to the rescue.

How to Use Manual Color Trace

When you need to Color Trace between two timelines that have different time-bases, DaVinci Resolve forces you into Manual Color Trace mode. Automatic Color Trace isn’t an option.

In this Insight, I’ll first show you a very simple Manual Color Trace, that about 5 clicks if your two timelines are completely identical. I’ll then show you the more complicated version when doing a Manual Color Trace between two different timelines that are also at different frame rates (believe it or not, I’ve had this situation happen to me more than once).

What do you think of this Insight?

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Homepage Forums How to Use Manual Color Trace in DaVinci Resolve

  • VitusSoska

    I have a problem with ColorTrace, not all my graded Timelines are listed. Any suggestion?

  • Patrick Inhofer

    Is it a timeline in the same project? Or a timeline in a different project in the same database? Or a timeline in a different database? If the timeline is in a different database then you could try to import that Project into your current database and see if that helps.

    Otherwise, this project is a good candidate for the Resolve Support team… but use their support phone number. On email they don’t always respond as quickly as you’d like.

  • VitusSoska

    It’s a timeline in the same project and database.

  • RobbieCarman

    Is the project locked? If you enter the database as Admin user can you access the project/timelines?

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