How to Color Grade iPhone 12 HDR 10-bit Video in Resolve 17

If you didn’t know, the latest iPhone 12 series can actually record true 10-bit HDR video. For real. Being Apple though it’s not a super standard file type that you can just pop into whatever software you want and get perfect results.

Apple uses an interesting Dolby Vision wrapper over HLG. It’s weird. It is also very good – especially considering that this is still a smartphone.

That doesn’t mean it isn’t worth using and that you can’t make the most of it. Filmmaker Jamie Fenn has this tutorial on how to best apply a grade to iPhone footage using DaVinci Resolve 17.

Being 10-bit HDR makes the iPhone a much more appealing choice for videographers looking for an ultra-portable camera or even just an extra camera. It’s also very weird and Apple-y. If you want to use it correctly in an NLE like DaVinci Resolve you need to be careful.

After pulling it into Resolve you may notice it becomes washed out. Working with a few serial nodes (three to be exact) on the Color page you can make some tweaks to get it right.

Selecting a Color Space Transform and applying it to the second node will give you some options. For the Input Color Space you should select Rec.2020 and for Input Gamma select Rec.2100 HLG. Then, for Gamut Mapping Method choose Saturation Compression.

Image Credit: Blackmagic Design

You should see a little more saturation and contrast. Next, you’ll want to head to your first node and apply a light grade. Jamie uses the curves and pulls it down slightly right in the middle and it gives it a lot of pop.

Add a little saturation and you are looking good. It compares very favorably to an SDR version of the clip.

It’s a little more effort to work this way, but the 10-bit HDR files are going to give you the best quality and detail from your iPhone. It is actually usable in many workflows.

Plus, if you use an app like Filmic Pro you can get even better footage than the stock camera app.

Do you have any tips for working with iPhone clips?

[source: Jamie Fenn]

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