Using Davinci to Color Correct

So I recently downloaded davinci, and plan to use it for color correction and grading. But I'll still do the cutting and effects in hitfilm. My question is, what would be the best work flow between these two editting softwares? Best thing I can think of that the moment is to cut the footage in hitfilm. Once that is done, import the same video clips into davinci and color correct them, then export them from davinci. Then, in hitfilm, I would relink the video clips on my timeline to the video clips that I exported from davinci.

 

Anything that would work better and faster that I don't know of?

Comments

  • CNKCNK
    edited November 2016

    I use the same two software.

    What I do: Import my Canon 600D files which are H.264 .MOV to my PC. I then transcode those files to DNxHD175 .MOV. I open up HitFilm and start cutting and adding effects that I want in my scene. After that's done I export my HitFilm project to AVI, I then transcode that AVI file back to DNxHD175 and start color correcting then color grading in DaVinci. I then finally export my completely finished project from DaVinci using H.264 .Mp4, the bitrate is usually pretty high, it depends on how much movement is in my scenes, so I use variable bitrate for that reason.

    Something worth noting is that this workflow is tailored to my own needs, because if I don't export from HitFilm to AVI, what happens is that it makes correcting and especially grading a lot harder when I'm finally in DaVinci, the compression is especially noticeable in darker shades with my camera.

    The moment HitFilm releases the ability to work with color using nodes, that's when I'll exclusively use HitFilm, which would be much more convenient.

    Tools:

    • Canon 600D
    • Windows PC
    • MPEG Streamclip (transcoding)
    • Avid DNxHD (codec)
    • HitFilm (editing & effects)
    • DaVinci Resolve (everything that has to do with color, including tracked masks)

    Is it the fastest workflow? I have no idea, but it works and I've gotten used to it.

  • Well, the tricky part for me is when I import my project into Davinci, it's all one whole video. It's no longer a bunch of different clips put together. So I would have to manually cut the scenes apart, going frame by frame. But that wouldn't always work because of certain transitions such as dissolves. 

  • actually, just discovered the auto scene cutter in davinci. Certain transitions would still be an issue though.

  • That's true, for fast transitions it could be a problem. My workflow might not work for you if you have multiple scenes.

  • @CNK 's workflow is actually pretty close to what a larger scale production would do. However, typically the original footage would be color CORRECTED before editing, then the exported edit would be sent back to Resolve for GRADING.

    The difference here is that the correction phase is when you try and make all your shots match in a neutral fashion. correction is just about making sure exposure and colors are consistent across shots.

    Grading is when you're doing your creative edits to get the style you want--this is when you start adding contrast, color tints, gradients LUTs, etc.

    What slows Hitfilm down here is that Hitfilm currently doesn't import/export XML files. An XML export would basically let you export your edit from Hitfilm to Resolve for color correction. Note however, than XML exports are cuts-only. Actually, in general, transitions would be done near-last in an edit, anyway. Although that's a holdover from actual negative cutting and linear video.

  • Oh, okay. so I just need to rearrange the order that I do things . I always thought color correction was one of the last things u do followed by grading.

    so one thing that confuses me. triem, u said the color correction is done before the editting. wouldn't it make more sense to wait until after u have edited the video together? that way u only correct what needs to be corrected. plus if I were to correct it before editting, that would mean I would have to export a bunch of color corrected video clips over and over until I get them all done. or am I missing something?

     

    And cnk, what do u use to transcode? DaVinci doesn't want to open the avi export from hitfilm. I tried mpeg stream clip, but it didn't want to take the avi video either.

  • Color correction is about technical fixes like color temp, balancing and matching shots and making sure common elements like skin tones, are the same in shots that are supposed to be under the same conditions. Think like doing some outdoor shots in the morning  then doing more shots late in the afternoon. You'll want to do some correction early on so the shots are balanced and match so you have a baseline when you do edit them together and any grading will work the same across all the shots.

    Since you are already planning on using Resolve, use it to color correct and transcode to DNxHD/HR or ProRes.  Bring the corrected shots into HitFilm for editing and effects. Personally I would export PNG or OpenEXR image sequences instead of AVI for going back to Resolve for final grading.

  • Brain132, production order is always subject to change. When we're comparing to a studio production, remember that there's a colorist who is going to be dedicated to correcting footage. Additionally, editing might be simultaneous with CC--studios usually use proxies to edit*--and, as long as the proxy has the exact same filename as the original (you separate versions of footage by folder), then swapping files isn't a big deal. So your colorist isn't your editor.

    For a one-man-band you might want to switch this up. As you said, color correcting near the start means you might correct footage that ends up not getting used. But, it's always easier to cut something than to add it, so often you'll prep a bit more than you need or want. Also, I brought up XML export--but XML only exports cuts. Usually one would correct the footage in the cut, plus maybe a second before and after to have a little extra space to slip or extend something, or to have extra footage for a dissolve. That said, if I wait for color correction  until the edit is done, well, what if I have a dissolve between a shot that's overexposed to one that's underexposed? Once the dissolve is baked in there's no way to apply a single correction that works for both shots--so I'd want them corrected before I do the dissolve so I can just get creative.

    If it's your project, you work in whatever order you want. :-) Again, studios can do things in certain ways because they have the money and manpower to split up jobs. At a studio, the editor does NOT color, or composite or do animation. The editor just assembles the footage into it's final timing. An editor MIGHT do some quick, temp color work, or a rough composite, but that's with the guidance of the director and would be handed off to color or composite as a style guide. An editor might do a rough sound mix, but final audio is going to go to a different department as well. When you're doing everything yourself, do what works best for you.

    All that said, yeah, I'll usually correct my footage first. Otherwise I might reject a shot in editing, thinking "Oh, that's too dark, too light, too green," where correcting first lets me know if that shot is going to work and can be used.

    Also note with studios, you're talking about a production that's been guided by a storyboard animatic--in effect the first edit of most movies is complete before it's shot. (Find

    *Proxies--so Hitfilm has a "proxy" system that might, more properly, be called a "prerender." Hitfilm's proxies write a losslessly compressed file that is easy for the computer to read, and these proxies are intended to prerender complex composites that are slowing down editing. Traditionally a proxy is a lower-resolution file used to keep edits quickly. So, 10-15 years ago when we were still working in Standard Def, a proxy would be 320x240 to keep things quick. Once the edit was more or less locked, one would bring in the full-res files for color grading. These days studios will often use a 1080p proxy for 4k work... Why? SInce 2005 we've moved from the majority of video being SD to a lot of people working in 4K. 4K has 32 times the pixel data of SD. However, in that same time frame, computers and GPUs have gotten about 20 times faster. This means that a modern editor working in 4K should expect slower performance than an editor 10 years ago working in SD! (And this is why you can't expect real-time 4K editing on a $500 laptop.).

    Finally, Film Riot had a very good episode on Color Correction this week:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d6bsUVsJw-Y

    And, as a fun little side note, here's a comparison of Animatic vs Final for "The Nightmare Before Christmas." Note that this is old enough where the animatic would basically be cut penciled storyboards, but, these days an animatic might have full 3D renders. Like Lord of the Rings.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rqw9yJL-hQ4

    These days, the previs might actually get passed up the chain, having lower-res or untextured elements replaced, with the previs being massaged until the previs IS the final shot.

    Take a look at this Previs from Rise of the Planet of the Apes, and note that things like lenses and set sizes have already been determined before production!

    https://vimeo.com/95194792

  • Okay, thanks guys. that answers all of my questions. I'll be sure to check out those videos, Triem.

  • If you want to use Resolve for grading then would it not be easier to use Resolve for editing as well. Then just use Hitfilm for effects shots. Convert effects shots to image sequences in Resolve. Then use Hitfilm to do the effects and then replace the sequence in Resolve with the Hitfilm result.

    Until such point that Hitfilm has the workflow ability to grade scenes, then why try to use the Hitfilm editor. I think HF has the effects to grade but not the workflow. 

  • Yes, unfortunately HitFilm is an all or nothing solution... it doesn't have a good way of exporting edits to other tools. Hopefully that will change in a future version.

    Fortunately, it can do a lot, and has good color tools in spite of some  big gaps like not having any scopes, so it's in some ways better for a one-person workflow.

    The big secret that's not really a secret for simplifying the dailies color correction process is to get your exposures right. Concentrate on getting your skin tones exposed consistently throughout each scene instead. 

    There are a few situations where ETTR makes sense, but it should be an exception, not a rule; most of the time, it just leads to having exposures foor shots all over the place and creates a lot of extra work in dailies color. Do it right instead and you can match your dailies for an entire scene with a single preset or LUT.

     

     

  • Like White Crane says, proper exposure in camera is important. If your camera has a waveform monitor, a good rule of thumb is to put specular highlights on a Caucasian at about 80%. If you have zebras, set those to 80% and use that to check highlights. Adjust as needed if you're shooting darker skin tones, but even then you shouldn't have to adjust too much. 

    If exposure and color on skin are consistent, you're halfway there. After that, check foliage, then sky. Match up those three things and everything else takes care of itself. 

  • CNKCNK
    edited November 2016

    I didn't think of that. Well maybe I should start editing in DaVinci instead. I really hope that they introduce a "real" color system into HitFilm, for the lack of a better word to use.

    These tools:

    • Color vibrance
    • Grading Transfer
    • LUT
    • Shadows & highlights
    • Vibrance
    • 2D presets

    Don't include monitoring, which you'd think would be an essential thing when trying to correct and grade your media. I really hope that the new 5 Pro or 5 Express adds this functionality, because even for highly compressed media like created by my Canon 600D, it's still not enough.

  • With a 60D it's even more important to get both your exposures and your white balance right in camera.

    If you have access to false color, use that; it's what I use for evaluating exposure on my cinema cameras. Since it's a stills camera, it's likely that it doesn't have any sort of false color option, so that might require an external monitor.

    I'm hoping that HitFilm will gain both scopes and better workflow integration; scopes + sound syncing functionality would make it possible to use HitFilm for short turnaround projects, and better workflow integration would enable using it for both editing and finishing on projects with post teams.

  • @WhiteCranePhoto If you were talknig to me, I'm using a 600D, and I use MagicLantern to get exposure right.

  • Good point. Guess I will use Davinci for cutting. Useful info about skin exposure, by the way. I'm going to be buying myself an external monitor on black friday, so I'll be playing around with all of the false color and zebra and what not. Just discovered that Hitfilm ignite actually works in Davinci though. For special effect purposes, the ignite would be just as good as hitfilm 4 itself, correct? So I wouldn't even have to convert between the two softwares.

  • As far as effects go, to the best of my knowledge the Ignite effects are the same as the HitFilm effects, so yes.

    And IMO they are a match for the visual quality of the Sapphire effects. I use the side by side now and then, and I anticipate using them both interchangeable in the future.

     

  • edited November 2016

    Okay, here's one more question for anyone who might know: 

    How do I get the ignite plugin inside of Davinci Resolve? I tried googling it, but no luck. 

     

    Never mind. something was wrong with davinci.I reinstalled it and now i'm good to go.

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