Sky Replacements Inside DaVinci Resolve Using Match Move OFX

November 24, 2023

Learn the fundamentals of DaVinci Resolve's OFX 'Match Move' plugin - in a color-managed pipeline replacing the sky with an sRGB image.

Working color-managed using an sRGB source for the sky replacement

When a client asks “is there anything that you can do to fix this blown-out sky?”, it can be heartbreaking to inform them that there’s just no highlight detail left to recover. Luckily, there’s a few options up your sleeve.

If you have no time and need a quick fix, the ‘Sky Replacement’ OFX tool is your new best friend. If you want to create a custom sky composite using a local JPEG on your system (or using a cool image that you’ve found online), whip out the ‘Match Move’ OFX operator and this heartbreaking scenario could be used as an opportunity to impress your client and to save the day.

Insight Details – Using the Match Move OFX operator

This insight will teach you to achieve a custom sky replacement in Resolve’s Color tab using the ‘Match Move’ OFX operator. It’s perfect for colourists who want to offer a range of sky compositing options but don’t want to dive into the Fusion page rabbit hole to do the work.

This Insight covers the basics of compositing, colour management, and tracking using an external image – everything you need to know to go the extra mile for your client (if time permits).

Just remember, opening up the “sky replacement” conversation in the suite can add a significant amount of extra time to the grading session, whether you are using the ‘Sky Replacement’ or the ‘Match Move’ OFX tool.
The first shot may be an easy composite, but the rest of the shots in the scene may be a nightmare. Assess the work required and be transparent with your client regarding how much time these operations take.

Key takeaways from this Insight

By the end of this Insight, you should understand how to:

  • Use the Match Move OFX operator to composite a sky replacement successfully.
  • Match different input sources with mixed colour spaces into a shared, working colour space.
  • Track the sky replacement image to align with the motion of the camera material.

Related Mixing Light Insights

Questions or Comments? Leave a comment!

My biggest question for the Mixing Light community is – do you want a dedicated insight on the best tips and tricks when using the ‘Sky Replacement’ OFX tool? If people are interested, I would happily do a follow-up insight that focuses on creating, tracking, and composing a sky pattern using that tool specifically. 

Let me know in the comments what your default approach is when handling sky replacements in the colour grading suite. Do you opt to create them inside Resolve, using an external image compositer, or avoid them altogether? It’s not our job after all, right? 😉

– Luke

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