Sculpting Clipped Highlights – Roll-offs, Tints, Glows, and Streaks

January 11, 2020

Dealing with clipped highlights is a regular annoyance. Learn how to make these artifacts look more natural & intentional with color grading.

Day 11: 24 Insights In 24 Days – 2020 New Year Marathon!

How to make clipped highlights look more natural or more intentional (in DaVinci Resolve)

It turns out, even in this world of raw & log footage formats, we still occasionally run into blown-out, unrecoverable highlights.  In my day-to-day, I handle a lot of reality & doc content, where blown-out highlights are very common due to poorly controlled lighting conditions. But these issues crop up in commercials and features as well.  Handling them gracefully is a big part of a colorist’s job.

In this Insight, I share a collection of basic go-to techniques I use in Resolve to smooth clipped highlights and integrate them into the scene plus a couple of fun methods to give bright sources, like light fixtures, a bit of character.

Techniques Covered

  • Roll-offs (Y soft clip, Y curves)
  • Tints (RGB soft clip, key + offset, RGB curves)
  • Glows & Streaks (flexible manual method that avoids OFX )

Related Insights

Here’s a list of other great Insights related to highlights:


“Loved Ones” TVC footage courtesy of The Film Bakery

Ursa Mini 4.6k Test Footage courtesy of Blackmagic Design
Download Links:  Balcony Shot  Car Park Shot

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