With a powerful coloring grading platform such as DaVinci Resolve 14, achieving the visual aesthetics you want is now easier than ever before. What’s more, you can even emulate a high dynamic range look without even using a camera that has HDR capabilities.
Apparently, this innovative concept opens up a whole new array of creative possibilities which makes many colorists eager to explore the trending HDR workflow providing brighter, clearer, and sharper images. In the next video, Alex Jordan of Learn Color Grading shows off exactly how to create this aesthetic for your own shots.
The first step of the suggested HDR workflow implies compressing the exposure of your SDR image by bringing the highlights and shadows as close as possible so that there are no extremes between the two.
To do so, use the Shadow and Highlight Control located below the Offset Color Wheel and make your respective adjustments so that the highlights and shadows meet in the midtones area of the Waveform Scope.
Next, create a new serial node and by using curves, drag the upper right point of the line to the left. You will notice that the highlights in the waveform monitor will start to increase, just make sure you’re not overdoing your adjustment. Then slightly modify the shadows to your taste.
The last step of the process is adjusting the sharpness in the midtones so that the image remains as natural as possible. This effect can be achieved by tweaking the Midtone Controls located underneath the Gain and Gamma Color Wheels. As a rule, the overall image shouldn’t be too sharp, nor too soft either. Maintaining the optimal balance between contrast, color, and luminance should always be a leading guideline in the process.
That’s how with some quick exposure adjustments you’ll be able to mimic an HDR look inside of Resolve 14. Keep in mind, though, that this technique will not work for every shot, especially for those that are lit with too much of a harsh shadow/hard key light.
Ultimately, if you’re planning to obtain this look without the use of a camera that shoots HDR, it’s important to run tests with your lighting and color processing to ensure that the final result will serve your needs.