Part I: Project settings
Part II: Color correction
Part III: HDR Palette, project render settings
Part IV: Addendum
Since publishing our exhaustive workflow for HDR 10 in Final Cut Pro, we’ve been inundated with requests to do the same for DaVinci Resolve – and with the introduction of customizable HDR color wheels that allow extremely precise exposure and color adjustments from super blacks to specular highlights in Resolve 17, a terrific NLE just got even better! It’s baffling how to this day the single greatest contribution to cinema since the talkies remains woefully neglected by many in the filmmaking community and that there exists in 2021 no one-stop source with concise, accurate, up-to-date information for the enthusiast on acquisition, processing and delivering HDR. Moreover, of the exceedingly few HDR tutorials that can be found on the Web, many have inaccurate, incomplete or outdated information. Our goal is to make this tutorial as intelligible as possible, with the aim of inspiring even more filmmakers to discover the incredible universe that is HDR. In part one, we’ll cover (1) how to set up your a7s III; (2) project settings you’ll need to grade HDR 10 in Resolve; (3) Blackmagic Design Desktop Video settings; and (4) how to configure your LG OLED for use as an HDR grading monitor.
Far from being just a gimmick, HDR is an entirely new language with its own unique vocabulary and an expanded tonal range, allowing for immense expressive possibilities. Yet much of the HDR content on video sharing platforms and streaming services like Netflix is virtually indistinguishable from SDR. And some HDR YouTube videos are so oversaturated, so grotesquely bright, so utterly lacking in contrast, with hideously blown-out highlights, that they resemble monstrous caricatures – yet unaccountably, they amass hundreds of millions of views – while at the same time exercising a corrupting influence on the taste of the general public. For an example of superb HDR cinematography and grading, we can’t recommend the exquisitely lensed Netflix thriller The Spy highly enough.
Here’s how to set up your Sony a7s III.
In spite of bizarre claims made in some online tutorials, MacBook Pro and iMac displays may not be used for grading HDR video. Furthermore, it is not advisable to connect either directly to an HDR monitor or television set without an I/O box. Nor should one be relying on a field monitor like the Shogun Inferno for color grading. Suitable displays include the Asus ProArt PA32 UC, ProArt PA32 UCX and LG OLED televisions. Apple’s Pro Display XDR is not recommended, as one can pick up as many as three Asus monitors or four 55″ OLED televisions for the cost of one XDR display with stand, nano textured glass and 3-year extended warranty. You might also consider adding a consumer reference display.
For sure, you’ll want to calibrate your LG OLED before using it as an HDR grading monitor.
Picture profile changed to S-Gamut3.Cine/S-Log3 from S-Gamut3/S-Log3. Color Management Preset changed to HDR P3 Broadcast from HDR Rec.2020. Input Color Space changed to S-Gamut3.Cine/S-Log3 from S-Gamut3/S-Log3. Changed ‘HDR mastering is for’ to 800 nits from 1000 nits.