Using Data Burn-In & Text Layers For Legible Client Notes

Using Data Burn-In & Text Layers For Legible Client Notes

January 9, 2015
Robbie Carman C.S.I.

Take notes in a grading session? Have bad handwriting? In this Insight learn how to create client notes directly in Resolve with data burn-in


Bad Handwriting? Ditch The Paper

There is no way to hide it – I have terrible handwriting.

From writing a note to leave on the kitchen counter for my wife to writing a check or for the purposes of this article, taking notes in a supervised grading session – my handwriting stinks.

I can’t tell you how many times during a long session I’ve written pages and pages of notes only to come back later on and realize that I can only make out about half of them!

Generally speaking, I prefer (when in a supervised session) to just make a change or work on a shot when the client says something about it.  That way I don’t have to make notes!

However, there are times when a client doesn’t want to stop, they just want to watch down the entire project and then either come back later to make fixes, or more common, to watch through, tell me what they like and don’t like, and then they’ll come back in later for a final review after I’ve made changes.

I’ve literally tried every method of note taking – taking notes on my laptop, using an iPad with a keyboard case, iPad with a stylus, using a Microsoft Surface 3 with its really nice pen and yes, I’ve even tried dictating notes into an audio recorder app on my phone!

Over the past couple weeks, I’ve found a couple new options using Resolve directly to make client notes and that’s what I want to discuss in this Insight.

SpeedGrade Is A Good Model

A while back I shared an Insight about using Annotations in Adobe SpeedGrade.

I think Annotations are a novel and really powerful way of working.

Between adding text and even drawing directly on screen they provide a great way for a colorist to make shot specific notes.

Unfortunately, there’s not an equivalent method for note taking in Resolve (my primary grading tool).

I’ve been searching for a way to get the basic functionality of SpeedGrade’s annotations in Resolve and I think I have, but not using tools that are perfectly suited for client notes.

Burn-In & Text Layers

I’ve discovered two ‘hacks’ for making legible client notes by using tools that you wouldn’t initially go to for this type of thing.

First up is data burn-in.

The burn-in toolset in Resolve is very powerful, but when I think about burn-in I think about timecode, shot names and other things like that.

However, Resolve’s burn-in tool has 3 custom text burn-in options.  It’s these custom text layers that I use for adding client notes.

This method is pretty good, and as you’ll see in the movie below, you can have your custom text on all the time, turn it off or have the layers fade in or out.

While the data burn-in method is actually pretty good, the thing I dislike is when I want to toggle the burn-in off, I have to jump over to the burn-in tab, scroll to find the custom text entry and then turn that off.

My second way of adding client notes on top of your footage is to use a sliced up text layer.

I really like this method and the convenient thing is, if you always display the mini timeline like I do on Resolve’s Color page, you don’t have to switch over to different tabs – you can simply enable or disable the text layer as you need to.

Hopefully, these two methods will help you take more legible client notes if you have terrible handwriting too!

As always, if you have thoughts, comments or things to add to this workflow please use the comments below

– Robbie

Using Data Burn-In & Text Layers For Legible Client Notes

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