Quick Tip: DaVinci Resolve White Balancing

June 20th, 2020

Circumstances don‘t always allow to properly white balance the camera on-set. There are many reasons for that like mixed lighting, discrete increments in the camera‘s Kelvin adjustments — like when shooting in Cine EI mode on a Sony camera — color casts from windows or streetlights or even an incompetent cameraperson.

White Balance with curves

Image credit. cinema5D

Even when everybody did their job right on-set, it’s often necessary to properly white balance material.

It does not matter whether you are just slapping a creative LUT on your footage to create a look or if you carefully color-grade manually — if you don’t start with a correctly white balanced image you are wasting time. For example, if you want to design Powergrades you need to make them in a way so that they are based on a correctly balanced image or you will be getting inconsistent results.

When I started using DaVinci Resolve I struggled a bit to get my shots white-balanced quickly. I frantically twisted colorwheels, and rolled Gain, Gamma and Highlight balls, guided by nothing more than a gut-feeling and an occasional glance at the vectorscope.

The built-in color temperature/tint parameters do work in some cases — like the first one I show in the tutorial — but sometimes they are just not precise enough and/or introduce color casts in darker or brighter parts of the image.

Getting the White Balance right

It was frustrating and time-consuming, so I looked for a more methodical approach. In this video, I share two of the techniques I found and most frequently use to take the guesswork out of whiterbalancing.

The first one is suited for situations when the image has a uniform color cast like the one that happens when the cameras Kelvin (color temperature) settings are off.

The second approach is useful when different tonal areas of the image have different color casts, for example, warm highlights, correct mids, and blue darks.

I hope this saves you frantically twisting colorwheels, and rolling Gain, Gamma, and Highlight balls.

If you have questions, ideas, suggestions or maybe have a little gem of knowledge to share, please put them in the comments!

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Too Busy
Too Busy
Guest
July 19th, 2020

How about you just spit it out, instead of being the kind of jackass who wastes time demanding people watch a video?

Johnnie Behiri
Admin
July 20th, 2020
Reply to  Too Busy

“Too Busy” to have a polite fruitful conversation?

 Alec Kinnear
Alec Kinnear
Member
August 6th, 2020
Reply to  Johnnie Behiri

Johnnie, basic documentation is often covered better in a couple of paragraphs than a time-wasting video.

Curiously Florian’s post of 22 June 2020 addressing colour spaces is a good example of written technical explanation.

Tim
Member
June 26th, 2020

Thanks for the tips Florian. You (and other readers) might be interested in looking at the Ultra Balancer tool – https://youtu.be/tttacsZElEk – it allows you to do white balancing *without any scopes or selections*, so basically as fast as the dropper but much more reliable and flexible.

Jim
Jim
Guest
June 21st, 2020

Hi do you have more tutorials on resolve? If so where can I find them? Hoping so.

Jon
Guest
June 21st, 2020

Thank you so much for the tips, Florian. May I ask what project and render settings you are using? When I upload to YT/Chrome, my videos are washed out. :(

Jon
Guest
June 22nd, 2020

Thanks Florian. I’m grading with a Mac connected to a reference monitor via an Ultrastudio Mini 4K. The reference display looks good, and the QTs say 1-2-1 (gamma 2.4), but after uploading to YT, they are washed out. Maybe I should switch to PC! ?

Crimson Son
Crimson Son
Guest
June 22nd, 2020
Reply to  Jon

If you go the BM Davinci Forum there is a pinned thread that discusses the complex and industry wide problem of gamma shift. It mostly plagues Quicktime files. There is no Silver Bullet to solve the problem.

 Steve Davis
Steve Davis
Member
June 21st, 2020

Such a simple method… thanks for the tip.

Frank
Frank
Guest
June 20th, 2020

Good video. I knew about using the curves for white balance, but I didn’t know you can use the waveform too. Isn’t the ideal to use a white/grey/black card in the scenes so every clip will be white balanced the same?

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