Resolve 17 Color Management Tips and Pat’s Revised Fixed Node Tree

January 13, 2021

Learn how to set up Resolve Color Management for success. You'll also see a colorist's node tree, designed for RCM & the HDR Palette.


Series
Day 13: 24 Insights in 24 Days New Year Marathon

HDR Palette 101 Part 4 – Setting up RCM 2.0 and Pat’s New Node Tree

In our 2020 New Year Marathon, I shared the evolution of my fixed node tree in ML #918. Today, you see how I’ve modified my workflow and node structure to accommodate the HDR Palette and working within the confines of Resolve Color Management (RCM). But before we talk about that…

Part 1: The Basics of preparing your color management settings and input color spaces (for the uninitiated)

The first 9 minutes of this Insight I walk you through how I think about setting up Resolve 17’s color management options. We start with a system-defined preset, switch it to Custom, and tweak it a bit. We also talk about the importance of tagging your footage’s ‘Input Color Space’ – for this workflow to perform as intended.

Part 2: The re-evolution of my fixed node tree

Many of us at Mixing Light, if we’re color grading in DaVinci Resolve and do lots of long-form work, are fixed-node junkies. In fact, Joey D’Anna and I have both added Insights to this series on fixed-node trees. So it’s not surprising I want to spend some time talking about how RCM 2.0 and the HDR Palette have changed my approach to building a fixed node tree.

This happened after I spent 60 hours on an indie feature film (including 20 hours of pre-color grading testing of Resolve 17 Beta), and found I wanted to completely re-work my node structure.

At 9:30 into this Insight, we take a tour of my revised node tree.

If you’ve watch my ‘Evolution of a Node Tree’ Insight then the back end of this node structure looks very familiar. It’s the front half of the node tree that I made some big changes. I’ll need a few more projects to see how this stands up – but I always expect to do some customization from project-to-project.

Questions? Comments? Thoughts?

Share them with us in the comments! It’s how the Mixing Light community comes together to help each other out.

– pat


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Homepage Forums Resolve 17 Color Management Tips and Pat’s Revised Fixed Node Tree

  • This topic has 25 replies, 1 voice, and was last updated 10 months ago by Pat Inhofer.
Viewing 24 reply threads

    • James L
      Guest

      Thank you for sharing your updated node tree! One note to add about that Canon footage which was clipping at the edge of the gamut — Canon Log from the C100 is always captured in the REC709 gamut (as are MP4/AVCHD Canon Log files from the C200) not the Canon Cinema Gamut. Since Resolve has no preset for that combo it’s necessary to tick the “separate color space and gamma” option to be able to set those attributes of the input color space separately in order to tag log files from the C100 correctly as Canon Log + REC709 gamut.


    • Pat Inhofer
      Guest

      Thanks James. It didn’t seem quite right when I was doing it – but I haven’t worked with footage from that camera in a few years. Once again, showing how important you understand the footage in front of you when attempting color managed workflows.


    • Stephen A
      Guest

      Thanks Patrick. Tons of nice tips there, an intriguing update to creative colour choices.

      On the subject of getting the right input transform: sometimes I’ve received footage where *no-one* kept a note of the camera colour settings, and the DP doesn’t remember! Profile-bashing doesn’t always give you much certainty, but I’ve had some luck using the command-line tools Exiftool and FFMPEG to sniff around the camera metadata. You’d be surprised what you can find!


    • Pat Inhofer
      Guest

      Stephen, thanks for that tip. I don’t know why I’ve not used FFMpeg? I’ll look into it.


    • Stephen A
      Guest

      It’s the most epic Swiss Amy knife for hacking away at video files, things like re-muxing without re-rendering can be helpful in a pinch, and also useful for diagnosing exotic problems. Bit of a learning-curve for sure, but I’ve found it a useful quiver. But for metadata it’s as simple as: terminal > ffmpeg -i [drag in source file from finder] and then having a look through the video channel.


    • James L
      Guest

      It’s a real challenge with independent documentary projects as quite often it’s difficult (and sometimes impossible) to determine in which OETF and gamut the footage was recorded. Sony and Canon both have created too many different log curves + gamut combos and then buried that metadata in byzantine folder structures that only their proprietary tools can read.


    • Evan A
      Guest

      Great insight! I have v17b6 on a MBP to play with I’m starting to re-build my node tree for v17. I’m trying to anticipate workflow. What are your thoughts on using the regular Color Wheels vs. the HDR wheels. I’m mostly asking about a SDR project. Do you think there is merit in using Reg CW first as a “base” then HDR CW after? Or just HDR CW?


    • Marty
      Guest

      Not Pat, but I’ve been playing around with that workflow a bit

      I’ll get a rough balance with lift gamma gain wheels then in the following node use the HDR controls to build a bit of a look. Usually mostly just lifting up the specular/highlights or just pulling the shadows down to black. Then when I past the grade onto another shot I can just massage it around with the Lift gamma gain node to get it sitting in the right place underneath that HDR node.

      There’s no reason you couldn’t use just the HDR tools though. I think you just need to dive in and try it. See what works for you. Sometimes If I’m stuck I might just blow away what I’ve got and start again with a different method. I think it’s good to get comfortable working in different ways so you have options when you need them.


    • James L
      Guest

      I just tested FFMPEG with some Sony MXF files and some Canon MXF files and it didn’t read the OETF and gamut metadata from the files. All it reported for those attributes was “stream” ¯_(ツ)_/¯


    • Stephen A
      Guest

      Yup, YMMV. How did exiftool do?
      Admittedly, the ‘prosumer’ cameras tend to write more metadata that these two tools can read. Panasonic GH series writes a ton readable to EXIF, and DJI cameras often do, too.


    • James L
      Guest

      No luck in exiftool either, even when I requested output for every bit of metadata in the files. I tested files from Canon C300 Mark II, Sony FS7, and also prosumer digital SLR cameras like the A7sII and Canon 1D Mark IV.


    • Pat Inhofer
      Guest

      Robbie mentioned this metadata-reading tool in our first Mailbag LIVE yesterday: https://mediaarea.net/en/MediaInfo


    • James L
      Guest

      https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/7611fed8f31dcb670701fa4d2fec687b2fcaa75df27c7aa722bdb28d39e9c793.png MediaInfo is great for checking out the codec, bit depth, audio tracks, subtitle tracks, etc but unfortunately it doesn’t report the color space or gamut info either beyond telling you that it’s “YUV” and full range. The OETF and color primaries metadata fields read only as “stream”
      If Robbie knows how to get MediaInfo to dig out the OETF + color primaries/gamut metadata, it would be super useful info.


    • James Boyd
      Guest

      I use mediainfo with DJI cameras; useful as I use several different Zenmuse and lenese.
      Under the Tree heading I am able to ascertain the codec used, whether it’s MAIN or MAIN 10 @ HIGH 5.1, whether it’s 709 (next line states -limited) or 2020 et.al., but yes I do not recall seeing an EOTF and/or gamma however something like a Mavic 2 pro sensor is using the Hassleblad color science (info on there page) and the Dlog is there own Dlog-M (h.265 10 bit) and luts are provided to rec709 as an input whereupon you can set output to Rec2100 PQ w/ Rec2020 color space or 2084.
      The Zenmuse X5 and X5S while different stories (using EI?) Are easily contained / controlled using DR17 RCM where you set the output.
      I use the HDR node before the Primaries- correct in Pri, the go back to hdr and setup as usual .
      So nodes would look like > NR , HDR, PRI then your usual flow.


    • James L
      Guest

      The biggest challenge is with Canon and Sony cameras where any combination of 3 different log gammas and multiple gamuts can be set in camera. If producers don’t take notes on the particular settings used, the only way that the information can be confirmed in post is by using Sony and Canon’s own tools. There is no third party app that I’ve ever found which can dig through to determine the OETF + gamut used to record a particular file. The worst is when Atomos recorders are used as they don’t record any metadata at all, so there is no way to confirm what the cameras was set to output.


    • James Boyd
      Guest

      James; Quick question, their tools do provide you with the OETF and the gamut they were shot in? I have friends who are simply resorting to S Log 3.


    • Myles G
      Guest

      Trying to get up to speed on what is new about the CM workflow vs Legacy CM workflow. If there’s a better tutorial tackling that, please point me to it!

      I understand the merit to setting “bypass” as the global Project Settings Input Space, and then using the Media page to tell Resolve exactly what inputs per footage to use, but why did you leave the DNG Black Magic RAW input space as “Bypassed” as well instead of telling it which BM colorspace it was actually shot in?


    • Bhavya S
      Guest

      Hey Everyone! Hope you’re all doing sweet! A new subscriber to Mixing Light here. Loving this so much!
      Thanks a ton Patrick for such great insights! Always helps newbies like me. I have 2 doubts? If you or anyone on here can clarify? : )

      1) If we are selecting DaVinci YRGB Color Managed and the Wide Gamut thing for our project while working on a laptop screen (my case here) to have an output color space of sRGB (since laptop screen), what’s the use of selecting the wide gamut in the first space since I won’t be seeing anything that lies outside of sRGB space, right? : (

      2) Okay this one is a bit tricky for me. Say that I have 2 footage:
      A – rec.2100 HLG original right out of camera
      A” – The exported version of A from After Effects since I had sent A for Mocha Stabilization. And then, I exported that in ProRes 422 HQ. I did NOT do any color grading or anything. Brought in, stabilized and exported.

      When I bring these 2 to Resolve, with all the settings you mentioned, footage A behaves as the way as expected but footage A” does not. And this is kind of a bummer coz I have a music video laid out with normal shots and stabilized exported shots and while doing the XML, this thing can hurt a lot.

      Sorry for the long text but would you like to guide me? Thanks again, in advance!


    • Pat Inhofer
      Guest

      Hi Myles – I missed your comment when you originally made it. With RAW, Resolve automatically bypasses the Input Color Space setting. It uses the Raw metadata to debayer directly into the working color space of the project. The Input Color Space is *alway* ignored for RAW footage.


    • Pat Inhofer
      Guest

      I’m sorry I missed this when originally posted. Marty, thanks for sharing your thoughts!

      I completely agree with Marty. There is no ‘wrong’ workflow that I’ve seen, in this regard. I’m finding that I like using the HDR Global Exposure setting to set the overall exposure and temp/tint operations. I rarely reach for the Primary Gamma, as a result. Then I’ll tweak as necessary. If I want to do a straight scaling operation, then the Primary Lift / Gain tools work just as well as using the Custom Curve endpoints – so choose whichever you prefer.

      More and more I find the HDR Zone tools I’m using just for targeted operations, in the way I always wanted the Primary Log controls to work – but they never did. I also love the HDR Zone controls for targeted saturation control.


    • James L
      Guest

      Yes, their tools do provide that exact info — but only for clips recorded in their cameras. If the files are recorded in Atomos, there is no OETF + gamut metadata at all. With files recorded in Sony cameras, Sony Catalyst works regardless of whether the insane card structure is preserved. With Canon, the original card structure has to be preserved. If not, Canon’s app refuses to even see the files.


    • Gerfried G
      Guest

      Hello and thanks for those great tutorials on HDR pallete and color managed workflows! Just switched and really loving it so far. Did setup Resolve exactly the same as in the video. Only problem I’ve run into: graphics and fusion title templates seem to look washed out. On the color page I can check “bypass colormanagement” but it makes no difference. Any ideas which switch to flick to get those Fusion titles look correct?


    • Pat Inhofer
      Guest

      Gerfried, I’ve not used Fusion titles in this workflow. But according to Joey D’Anna, try nesting those elements and using a colorspace transform. Be sure to check out Joey’s recent series on working SDR > HDR with graphics: https://mixinglight.com/color-grading-tutorials/sdr-to-hdr-graphics-part-2/


    • Yash M
      Guest

      Hey Pat, thanks for the insight. I would like to confirm one thing. When we are working in DaVinci Color Managed workflow, we do not need to assign the Input Color Space and Gamma to the HDR Pellet, right?


    • Pat Inhofer
      Guest

      Hi Yash, the HDR Palette by default is set to the timeline color space and gamma in your color management preferences. All your footage will be color managed into that common timeline color space/gamma – giving your color grading controls a similar feel for all your shots.

      So the answer is, you are correct: No, not by default. Personally, I’ve not found a reason to do so.

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