Must-Have FREE DaVinci Resolve Resources
So you want to be the best you can be at colour grading but not sure where to invest your money?
Visit these Free DaVinci Resolve resources first.
These resources are all from respected sources and are regular go-to resources for all of our colourists, who are grading broadcast shows daily.
Here are my favourite forums, YouTube channels, tutorials, references and even free high quality footage for download. You will be well immersed into the world of colour grading after you’ve explored these resources.
Find answers to all your colour grading questions at Lift Gamma Gain forum. Members of the forum are very active, with new posts on a daily basis. The topics covered are extensive– ranging from industry news, colour grading techniques and a wide range of colour grading tools not just DaVinci Resolve. A common question in the early days of your setup will be around hardware. This forum is where you want to be.
Personally, I enjoy reading threads in which members recommend films and shows with great colour, such as this one about Tales from the Loop. It is also awesome how some of the colourists of the shows are active on the forums themselves and are happy to answer questions or offer further insights into their workflows.
Not only is Alexis Van Hurkman a director and colourist, he is also the author of the DaVinci Resolve User Manual as well as the industry-standard Colour Correction Handbook and Colour Correction Look Book. This is your man when it comes to in-depth knowledge of the system. Spend some time with him. You won’t regret it.
We were starstruck when Alexis visited our office a few years ago to meet our team. So starstruck we forgot to take a photo.
We get a few pop-ins from the DaVinci Resolve development team, as our office is down the road from where the development magic, led by the charismatic Aussie Peter Chamberlain, happens. We love it when Peter visits ‘cos he never fails to bring donuts;), like on this day (photo below) when he came with his team to chat with Mel, our Senior Colourist and editor about the early versions of Resolve’s edit functionality.
But, I digress. In his blog, Alexis shares his insights and extensive experience in colour grading and post-production with readers. His recent posts about creatives working from home have been especially relevant to the CoVid-19 situation across the globe.
Currently, he is hosting a free 8-week Q&A webinar – Every Friday, from 27 March to 15 May 2020 – where he answers questions about colour grading, editing, finishing and DaVinci Resolve. You can be sure that I will be tuning in!
Founded by Patrick Inhofer – professional colourist and owner of Fini.TV – the website comprises a free weekly newsletter, a podcast interview series and a blog. The newsletter is particularly helpful as it is filled with informative articles to keep you up-to-date on the latest industry developments, with some occasional tips thrown into the mix.
One of the articles from the newsletter that caught my attention was The 5 Most Underrated DaVinci Resolve Tools, which shines the spotlight back on some of the common but overlooked tools in Resolve that are more useful than we think. Another interesting article is The Verge’s Mac Pro Review: Power If You Can Use It, which puts the new 2019 Mac Pro to the test, up against the softwares Adobe CC, DaVinci Resolve, Cinema 4D and ProTools.
There are some superb YouTube channels which provide clear and detailed tutorials on colour grading in DaVinci Resolve. Some of these tutorials focus on the technical aspect of Resolve, while others provide tips and tricks on how to utilise these tools to create interesting looks.
Waqaz Qazi’s channel is my most recent discovery and hands down my favourite in this list. In his tutorials, the Founder and Senior Colorist at The Post Village breaks down his colour grading workflow in great detail, whether it is in creating a glossy commercial look, or emulating the colour grade of a movie, such as Skyfall and Mad Max: Fury Road. Watching him work is pure delight and every tutorial is overflowing with brilliant gems of advice.
Free Footage and Look Up Tables (LUTs)
Practice makes perfect, but there would be no practice without footage to experiment with. Thankfully, camera manufacturers such as Arri, Blackmagic and RED provide sample raw footage. Besides being useful for some trial and error, they also offer colourists a chance to better understand different camera formats and codecs. These clips can be downloaded from the following links:
Arri, Blackmagic 1, Blackmagic 2, RED
There are also a plethora of LUTs online that you can play around with. Some are technical LUTs (for converting one colour space to another), while others are creative (for replicating looks such as Vintage and the Hollywood-favourite Teal and Orange).
Below are some of the LUTs you can download for free:
- Free Color Grading LUTs by Ground Control Color
- 35 Free LUTs for Color Grading Videos by RocketStock
- 36 Free LUTs by Color Grading Central
- 7 Free LUTs by Lutify.me
Interviews with Colourists
Who better to learn colour grading from than the pros themselves? In these video interviews compiled by Jonny Elwyn and PremiumBeat, accomplished and seasoned colourists answer questions ranging from how they ventured into colour grading to their technical and artistic approaches to grading films.
Some of these colourists include Stephen Nakamura, Kevin Shaw and Dado Valentic, whom our Senior Editor & Colourist Mel had the opportunity to train under during his Feature Films and Commercials Masterclasses in London.
Check Mel’s tips & tricks under our the colour grading category.
Another resource worth mentioning is FilmLight’s Meet The Colourist Series, which interviews BaseLight colourists about their works. Much of the advice given in these interviews is invaluable and I highly recommend them to all who are passionate about colour grading.
Film Colour Palettes
Last but not least, film colour palettes can serve as a source of inspiration for colour grading. Websites and instagram feeds such as Movies in Color, Color Palette Cinema and Film and Color feature stills from films and their corresponding colour palettes, which demonstrate how cinematography, set design, production design and colour can come together to form the look and feel of a film.
These stills are useful for honing your eye for colour, helping you to develop an opinion about the type of colours you like or dislike and building up a reference library for your future projects.
One of the films I’ve found memorable is Blade Runner 2049. The film is so visually stunning that it’s no surprise that many people have been inspired to replicate its grade, such as in this tutorial.
Well, that should be more than enough DaVinci Resolve resources to help you start off on the right foot. I’m sure there are a lot more I’ve missed. Let me know in the comments. I’m always looking for knowledge to improve my skills.
Have fun and enjoy every step of your colour grading journey!
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