Blackmagic Design has come a long way in the recent years with its professional cinema camera line, but still many filmmakers who’ve been using those cameras on a daily basis are wondering what is the best approach when it comes to color grading BMC footage for optimal results. To put things into perspective, seasoned colorist and indie filmmaker Casey Faris will take us through his top tips for color correcting and adding style to Blackmagic footage shot with BMDFilm4K and BMDFilm gammas while using a few simple techniques in DaVinci Resolve 12.5.
Apparently, there are multiple ways to tackle this aspect of the process such as doing all your primary color adjustments manually by using the Lift, Gamma, Gain along with Saturation controls in DaVinci Resolve 12.5 in the first place. Obviously, when shooting in BMDFilm4K and BMDFilm gammas, your footage tends to be way too flat and desaturated. So, tweaking the highlights and shadows of the image is what Casey suggests as a starting point.
Pumping up the saturation thereafter will also help you to get a well-balanced image, plus that way it’s easier to see if there are any color casts or other inconsistencies in your footage. As Casey points out, if your image still lacks saturation, there is nothing wrong if you add another node and increase this setting even more.
Another approach to deal with the flat Blackmagic footage is applying a dedicated BMDFilm to Rec.709 LUT in the first place, and doing the rest of the color adjustments manually afterward. Typically, these LUTs are created for perfectly exposed images, so if that’s not always the case with your footage you will still have to do a few further adjustments. As a rule, using a look-up table in the first place probably will save you some effort in the pipeline and it’s certainly a viable option when you’re working under tight deadlines.
Whether you opt for using a LUT or not, you can still add an extra Node in the beginning of your Node chain and utilise Curves to fine tune your image by bringing more detail or simply balance the overall look by picking a point on the curve and slightly moving it up or down until you get the desired result. Finally, you can wrap up the process by adding another LUT to customize the final look of your footage. Ultimately, you can download for free all the LUTs Casey Faris is using in this tutorial by heading over to Ground Control website here.