The 10-Minute Grade: Shot Balancing

June 10, 2020

In this installment of The 10-Minute Grade, Cullen Kelly walks you thru a few different techniques to quickly get shots balanced when time is of the essence


Editors Note: On 6/23/20 we updated this Insight video to show more explicitly the problems with the built-in temp/tint controls in wide gamut projects (in this case ACEScct) as well as share Cullen’s opinion on the Chromatic Adaptation OFX toolset in DaVinci Resolve which spurred his development of his KELVIN DCTL. What’s more, prior to this Insight update, KELVIN was only available as part of the Colloid bundle.

Cullen has made the DCTL available for Premium members at a very special price. If you’re a Premium member be sure to log in to reveal information about this offer.

Shot Balancing

Sooner or later, we all encounter a situation where we need to get a grade on its feet fast.

Maybe you’ve fallen behind due to other projects, maybe you’ve had this one dropped in your lap last minute, or maybe it’s a small budget and you need to be disciplined with your time in order to make it work.

Whatever the reason, in these moments our success hinges on having an efficient and effective approach. Finding that ideal approach for the various aspects of our grades is what this new series, The 10-Minute Grade, is all about. 

In this installment, I’m going to show you a simplified approach for quickly color balancing your shots, covering:

  1. The vital role color management plays in helping us achieve good balance quickly
  2. Visualizing an “X” within our vectorscope to identify where we want to reposition our signal
  3. Repositioning our signal along the color temperature axis
  4. Repositioning our signal along the green/magenta axis

For our color temperature adjustment, I’m using the KELVIN tool from my Colloid DCTL tools. Colloid is a set of user-adjustable Resolve DCTLs for grading, film emulation and look creation. These are tools I’ve developed over the years for my own grading, which are now available for monthly, quarterly, or annual licensing.

You can learn more about Colloid DCTL tools, and get a free 7-day trial of the full bundle at http://www.colloid.cc.

Why use the KELVIN tool instead of Resolve’s built-in temperature knob?

Resolve’s temperature knob is designed to work in a Rec 709 gamma environment, while I prefer to work in a larger gamut log space, where the knob doesn’t yield good results. KELVIN was designed to fill this gap.

In the video, you’ll also see me adjust a node by turning off the red & blue color channels and then adjusting gain.  Why use green gain instead of Resolve’s tint knob?

Same answer — the tint knob has a more complicated response than a gain adjustment, because, like temperature, it’s designed to work in Rec 709. When we’re in a large gamut log space, the cleaner math we can apply, the cleaner our results tend to be.

If you have any questions, thoughts or something to add to the discussion, please use the comments below.


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