Tweaking Narrow But Adjustable Ranges Of Tonality
In a previous Insight, I discussed how you could use the Contrast and Pivot controls to create an S-Curve and in a general sense have a lot of control over shadows, mid-tones and highlights in your shots.
In previous versions of Resolve, the Contrast and Pivot controls were tucked away with the Primary LOG controls. Not surprising, given how the two sets of controls are frequently used together.
What are the Log controls?
Many colorists aren’t familiar with these tools (thinking perhaps they’re some special tool for Log footage – not true!) and some love ’em so much that’s really the only set of tools they use for primary grading.
In essence the Log grading controls operate (by default) with a much more narrow range of control that the traditional Lift, Gamma, Gain controls. The cool thing is that the center point of range Between the Shadows / Mid-Tones and Mid-Tones / Highlights can be adjusted. This enables you to force a wider range on the Shadows corrections, for example. But since the overlap between the ranges is very narrow, even if you significantly widen the effect of your Shadow control you can still keep the Shadow control isolated from the highlights.
It’s this flexibility of defining the portion of the tonal range of each of the Log controls that give them their power and why a lot of colorists love them.
I use the Log controls a lot and the other day I was talking to Patrick who was recording on a movie on the Log controls for our upcoming Resolve 11 training title and he mentioned while he sometimes uses them as a primary tool he mostly uses them as a secondary tool.
A little perplexed I asked him some more questions and by the end of the discussion I totally got where he was coming from so in this Insight I’m going to explore using the Log controls as a secondary tool.
Primary vs Secondary
If you’re new to colorist lingo, you might ask what do we mean when Pat and I talked about using the LOG wheels as secondary controls?
A secondary correction is a targeted correction effecting a portion of the shot. That portion might be the corner of the screen isolated with a power window, or a red shirt keyed with the HSL controls, or brightness of green grass brought up with the Hue vs Lum curve.
Because the Log controls operate in narrow yet adjustable ranges of tonality they can be used quite successfully as a secondary tool for targeted corrections.
Want to isolate just the brightest portions of the image without overlap to other parts of the tonal range? Easy to do with the Log Controls.
But I Do That With Another Tool!
If there is one thing I’ve learned about Resolve over the years is its varied toolset gives colorists a wide range of controls that duplicate or have very similar behaviors.
In this Insight, I’m going to show using the Log controls in a way that could be replicated or mimicked with custom curves or using an HSL key to isolate portions of the tonal range or even a Y-only correction.
That’s OK! Each approach is subtly different and where one tool fails at accomplishing a specific goal, another may succeed.
Me? I find that I’m using the Log Controls (instead of curves) because I’m faster with the LOG controls with the big Resolve colorist control surface.
Besides – at the end of the day its always good to have another tool in your belt. So lets open up our tool chest and explore the LOG controls as secondary tool in this video Insight.
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