Tonal Range Sliders in SpeedGrade CC

How to Use the Tonal Range Sliders in SpeedGrade CC

September 28, 2013

SpeedGrade CC is one of the few color correction apps that lets you fully modify how the Lift / Gamma / Gains overlap. Learn how simple it is to adjust.


SpeedGrade CC: Tonal Range Sliders

If you’ve ever wanted to customize the way the Shadows / Midtones / Highlights tonal ranges overlap in your 3-Way Color Correction tools, only a few color correction apps let you do this. It turns out that SpeedGrade has a very user-friendly manner in manipulating these overlaps while clearly allowing the colorist to visualize which pixels in the image are getting assigned to which tonal range.

In this Insight, I’m going to cover how we do this in SpeedGrade CC. This non-obvious feature is another example of how SpeedGrade hides its complexity from the end-user… taking a simple-looking app and adding a ton of user control without overwhelming the interface.

Note: For reasons explained at the end of this video, this particular feature was not covered in MixingLight’s SpeedGrade Training Title. But here it is now, to help you kick up your SpeedGrade chops to another level.

– pi

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9 thoughts on “How to Use the Tonal Range Sliders in SpeedGrade CC”

  1. I am a pretty new colorist having only been learning this 2 years now but I have ran into the problem quite a bit while grading student short films. Some people will film in a low codec and a grade that looks great for one shot may end up not working for another because of either noise issues, different iso between shots, or just different lighting setups. This problem is most fustrating when you are able to pull a clean key on one shot but can’t do the same for another. Very informative, always like time management videos for color grading because that is something I struggle with on every project.

  2. This is a really helpful insight. For me the scariest version of this single-shot-focused tunnel vision is when you only have a few hours with the DP and director, and you do a spotting session across multiple scenes, perhaps a whole feature. You collectively fall in love with grades on hero shots for each scene, then the DP and director leave, and you’re left to not only make each scene as good as its hero shot, but the whole piece as good as one shot from one scene!

  3. This is particularly difficult for independent colorists who don’t have an in-house producer who can come in as the “bad guy” and warn the client they have to work faster (nicely). Even on a very fast spot with 30-40 shots in :30 seconds, I think once you spend more than 3 minutes correcting per shot, and go over the entire commercial multiple times, everybody can lose focus on time and budget to the point where it goes south very quickly. Managing client expectations is very high on the “most difficult” list.

  4. Right. I think one feature of Resolve I love using and that can help is grouping clips and then grading on the post group nodes. For one thing it makes you think which clips will need similar treatment and segment the grade accordingly. But also it makes it very easy to see how a particular grade will work for all the different clips in the group, so you can back off if you’re about to dig a hole.

    Use the individual clip just for matching, post-group node tree for look. If you have one clip that needs some extra tweaks you can always collapse a group grade on a clip-by-clip basis (or add it back in later).

  5. Very nice Insight, like always! But one point on editing your camera inside the video: I really like the idea, but I think it will cause problems with the picture in picture if you use some tools on the right side of Resolve’s GUI 😉 And I would love seeing a perspective of your suite too!

  6. Great Insight … I ran into this with a sci-fi short I am doing. The director, DP, and I found a very cool look for a hero shot and while it will make a great “poster” for the movie, it’s an unreasonable grade for the whole movie. Impossible really. Thanks for sharing. This Insight serves as a very nice redirection orientation.

  7. Always amazing to hear the gurus like Marc talk about 30-40 seconds per shot. That blows my mind. Is it even possible to do any sort of shot matching in that short window? Or is the trick to only worrie about the 2 clips either side.
    But that s always the thing. Pros make things always look so easy and effortless and the sigh of a real pro, regardless of profession or sport for that matter.
    Personally , thanks to Patricks good tutelage , i can to love the hero shot workflow and then use pre/post group grading to get the look per scene consistent. With the crappy base material i generaly work with it sort of works but falls apart across multiple scenes, where in a second third or fourth pass tweaks are always needed. But as i am learning i dont mind and actualy love it.
    I guess the better the material you get to work with , speacily where all grading/look dev etc has been done in camera for most of the way, the faster it is possible to grade. And of course nothing beats experience…

  8. To put a slightly technical spin on it – visual adaptation is real, and it’s dangerous for what we do. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0042698907003756

    There have been lots of studies about adaption but the typical person as Glenn points out, generally adapts to a shot within 30-45sec. It’s counter intuitive but the more you look at a shot the more likely you are to make it worse.

    I recently taught a Resolve class to photographers diving into video and the concept of ‘passes’ and moving on the next shot because of adaptation was hard concept for them to grasp – they were so used to staring at one frame and making it ‘right’ before moving on. That ‘may’ work for a single frame but on a timeline with 1500 shots its a death sentence in terms of productivity, creativity and shot matching.

    While many of us do this intuitively, it’s important as reminder to keep your timeline playing and your head on a swivel between your reference monitor and your scopes – and to take breaks! And to get acclimated back your environment after a break!

    Pat, Dan and I have a couple phrases we use in presentations about this kind of thing (if you’re NAB this year chances you’ll hear one of us say them.

    The first is – JUST GET TO THE END.

    I grade a lot of long form TV and feature length projects. My first stab at the film is not about perfection, hell its not even about details. I’m pounding through the timeline making big corrective moves. Because I’ve been coloring for 20 years I tend to mix in some shot matching and some secondary work but I don’t care of those are perfect. I’m just trying to get to the end of the timeline with the idea that I’ll go back and refine. You can utilize a hero shot workflow in this first pass

    Which leads the 2nd phrase – GRADE IN PASSES.

    Pretty self-explanatory. With each pass on a timeline I have a goal – shot match, detail matching etc etc.

    Last phrase – NOT EVERY PROJECT IS ART.

    Or famously said ‘flims aren’t finished they’re abandoned’ Budget, Time all of course play a roll, But there is no such thing as perfection. As a whole we’re an OCD bunch and letting go sometimes is the best remedy for a project. As a group colorists tend to be over critical of their work, where as clients are often amazed by how much the little things we do improve their images.

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