Generally, if you want to colour grade your footage more professionally and achieve a certain more stylized look you should approach every part of your image that needs to be colour graded separately. For instance, the saturation of your images shouldn’t be treated as one value or parameter. Instead, you should modify each part of the image accordingly. Usually, the shadows of the image are less saturated than the mid tones and the highlights, just like the highlights are more saturated than the mid tones.
The ability to control each section of the image individually is extremely important and separates the professional work of a seasoned colorist from the one of a less experienced person. Fortunately, DaVinci Resolve is extremely powerful colour grading software that puts in your hands all the tools and assets you will ever need to achieve the desired look and aesthetics for any project. For example, here’s how by modifying a simple curve you can control the saturation of your image and make your footage look more natural and cinematic.
First, it’s really important to understand how to control the saturation of your image. To make this simple technique work, you need to create a node and take the saturation down by using the curve as shown in the video tutorial. Create a new Node, go to Curves, navigate to Luma vs Saturation and take the saturation out of the shadows and increase it in the mid tones.
If you simply add a regular node and push the saturation of the shadows directly by using the Lift Colour Wheel inevitably you will affect the saturation of both the mid tones and highlights as well. Now try to apply the same trick but this time, use the last node with the decreased shadows’ saturation by keeping it active at the end of the nodes’ chain. The difference is obvious and can be spotted right off the bat. Here’s an example:
This is simple, yet extremely powerful way to make your footage look more natural and pleasing to the eye instead of just changing the saturation of the overall image. You can experiment further with the mid tones and highlights by applying the same technique and see what you can get on that side. Typically, the “less is more” approach works a treat here as it once again reinforces the idea that you simply need to apply the right effect at the right time by avoiding overdoing it to achieve the optimal results.