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Forums DaVinci Resolve Underwater Colour Grade

  • Underwater Colour Grade

  • Sarah Bright

    September 8, 2016 at 3:27 pm

    Hi guys,
    I have some underwater footage that I have to grade and since there’s considerably less in the red channel than the other two, I need to somehow boost the red without causing distortion in the image (I only have prores qts from an FS7 to work from).
    I know that in Baselight you can use a plugin called ‘colour matrix’ that allows you to map information from one channel to boost another, do you know if there is such a feature in DaVinci Resolve Lite?

    Thanks in advance.

  • Hector berrebi

    September 8, 2016 at 3:52 pm

    few frames of the footage would greatly help giving you the best answer, (even one frame in tiff or dpx)
    i corrected several underwater shoots and each had its own look/issues

    here is a good basic workflow:
    try the channel mixer while monitoring RGB parade.
    you probably have a very strong blue or green channel (or both?) and a crushed red channel? how badly?

    try pushing in some red and reducing a bit of blue/green in the mixer
    then, in the primary bars, use the channel offset to straighten/even the channels if one is too high low.

    you can restore quite a bit of info using the mixer and get a pretty balanced look (if that’s what you are after) with offset.

    hope this helps.

  • Joseph Owens

    September 8, 2016 at 3:54 pm

    [Sarah Bright] “allows you to map information from one channel to boost another, do you know if there is such a feature in DaVinci Resolve Lite?”

    Yes, such a feature exists and it is not a plugin. It is the RGB Mixer in the Color page.

    Grading underwater footage can be tricky as the “red cut” varies with distance. Once you achieve a balance, you will note that if object distance from the camera changes, its tonal balance will shift, so you’re probably in for a certain amount of keyframing.


    “I always pass on free advice — its never of any use to me” Oscar Wilde.

  • Sarah Bright

    September 8, 2016 at 4:04 pm

    Hi both… Sorry, of course. Here’s a couple of screen shots:

  • David Roth Weiss

    September 8, 2016 at 5:38 pm


    Having made one of my many careers in the realm of oceanographic films, one of my most interesting findings was that no one has any idea what underwater images should look like, they only know when something looks like a mistake. And, as others have mentioned, the deeper one goes, the more red is filtered out. The camera’s distance from the subject also has a similar impact.

    That being said, you have a bigger issue… I was just trying to color correct your cuddle fish shot, and found there is absolutely zero color information other than cyan. No fact, it’s almost as if this material was shot in B&W, then tinted cyan overall. I suspect you may have a very difficult time making this particular footage look like something other than a mistake… I pride myself on making some of the worst looking stock footage acceptable, but I was unable to use any tricks of the trade to polish your cuddle fish shot. I’ve made many U/W similar shots look great, but those had at least some information on all color channels, why this seems to contain nothing but cyan.

    If you or anyone else here have different findings and can make the cuddle fish acceptably realistic, please do share your technique.

    David Roth Weiss
    Director/Editor/Colorist & Workflow Consultant
    David Weiss Productions
    Los Angeles

    David is a Creative COW contributing editor and a forum host of the Apple Final Cut Pro forum.

  • Hector berrebi

    September 8, 2016 at 7:23 pm

    I agree with David (hi David)

    color info is so bad on this footage that this will be very hard (if possible) to make it look realistic and/or pleasant.

    I do like a good color challenge so i gave it a try,

    4 nodes … rgb mixer and offset, primary wheels, saturation a soft mask with outside primary wheels work..

    not sure it would hold up on video and movement but probably could to some extent.
    its just going to be a lot of work on every shot for a meh.. result, the kind of job I usually wouldn’t take.


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