Create Color Separation & Textural Depth in DR18

Note: The video should be watched in a pitch-dark room. HDR is supposed to be graded in an environment with ambient lighting at 5 nits, which might help to explain why so many complain about HDR being so dark. Unlike SDR, the PQ curve is absolute, meaning that, unlike SDR, the image can’t be made any brighter without destroying creative intent.

This video uses a couple of techniques to create depth: (1) complementary or contrasting colors and (2) accentuating grain in the background while reducing the amount of grain in the talent’s face (we use the word talent loosely here). One way to create color contrast is split-toning using the custom curves; another is to download Cullen Kelly’s free Kodak 2383 PFE LUT, which is what we did here. But since we wanted more teal in the curtains, we took advantage of the Color Warper in DaVinci Resolve.

We all like us some film grain, but you probably don’t love when it’s swarming all over the talent’s face – and neither do professional colorists. In order to reduce the amount of grain in the face, we used the Depth Map in DaVinci Resolve Studio 18. You can learn all about this and more in our Monster Guide.

Just one more observation: we would have preferred to apply a much finer, more aesthetically pleasing grain but YouTube’s compression algorithms utterly destroy high frequency detail, necessitating adding a great deal more than we’d have liked, resulting in a coarser texture that we don’t find particularly attractive. For those interested in learning more about the film look, we’ve got a great piece coming out soon where Cullen Kelly shares his insights into film emulation. It’s a must-read.

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