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Blackmagic URSA Mini Test Part 4: Color Grading Day Ext. with DaVinci Resolve

written by Shane Hurlbut, ASC

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As we briefly navigate away from the in-camera testing, we are going to take a look at the URSA Mini’s post-production workflow. DIT and Colorist Derek Johnson will take you through coloring day exteriors, presenting his methods along with a few tricks to save you time and energy. You’re not going to want to miss this!

Derek Johnson, DIT and Colorist

Derek Johnson, here, DIT and Colorist for Shane. We shot a lot of footage during our tests of the Blackmagic URSA Mini. After the tests, I went through the footage with Shane and color corrected it. I’m going to deconstruct my process with you and share a pretty impressive discovery I’ve made along the way that sped up my workflow!

But first, let’s recognize our team working…

We wouldn’t be here without the men and women giving it their all to give us the best possible image to work with. Shane and his team go all in on every single one of these tests!

Getting started, I usually like to use a LUT provided by the manufacturer to see what the intended Rec.709 looks like. We’re going to go into 3D LUT, and under Blackmagic Design, we’re going to select Blackmagic 4.6K to Rec.709 v3.

Balancing the image

Now, normally when I’m color correcting footage, I try to balance things out by either finding a white object to white balance to, or I balance the shadows.

Action Color Match >> Datacolor SpyderCHECKR 24

After I’ve balanced the footage, I’m going to go to the Color Match window and click Datacolor SpyderCHECKR 24. I really like applying the Rec.709 for target gamma and I do this by selecting Rec.709Target Color SpaceRec.709 and then clicking Match. The Color Checker gives us good, accurate, natural looking colors and it saves me a ton of work.

There is an option for Blackmagic Design 4.6K Film or whatever source gamma you already have with your camera, but what I really like is applying the Rec.709 for target gamma—Rec.709Target Color SpaceRec.709, as well, and click Match; and the colors will look more natural. Beyond this, I’ll make some more adjustments.

Adding Additional Node

The first thing I noticed with the LUT are the highlights tend to be a little blown out, so I’ll add another node, get my false color up on the Flanders, and just bring down those highlights a little bit. Overall, I think that looks much better than just going off the straight up LUT!

Just take a look at this image for a moment. I can’t stress enough how important it is to really put in the time and effort to capture pristine images, so you aren’t stuck once you get to post.

When you’re sitting where I am…

Luckily for me, Shane really works with the best of the best!

I’ve tried some different methods. I’ve used the Color Chart just by itself without the LUT and kind of let that create the LUT, and that has an interesting look to it. We can try that out real quick and see what our results are.  

Action: Source Gamma>>Blackmagic Design 4.6K Film

So now instead of Rec.709 being the source gamma, I’ll go to Blackmagic Design 4.6K. Rec.709, which is still our target, and I’ll click Match.

LUT: Blackmagic Design Rec709 v3 vs. LUT: Blackmagic Design 4.6K Film

As you can see, this method versus using the LUT and then the SpyderCHECKR is looking pretty dark and gloomy overall. If this is what you’re going for, this could be another method to try. It’s all about where you’re exposing and where you want the image to fall in with this.

Let’s break it all down:

  • Start with the RAW DNG file
  • It’s a good idea to use a LUT provided by the manufacturer to see what the intended Rec.709 looks like
  • Try to balance things out through either white balance to a white object or balance the shadows
  • Turn on Color Chart feature and line it up with your color chart
  • Apply the Rec.709 for target gamma—Rec.709Target Color SpaceRec.709 and click Match; the colors will look more natural
  • Once you’re able to match the LUT, you can make adjustments with the levels to tweak the image to suit your needs
  • The Color Checker helps give you good, accurate, natural looking colors

Now, let’s take a look at our table of contents to see what we’ve covered and where we’re heading:

PART 1: Overexposure and Skin Tone

PART ONE TOTAL VIDEO CONTENT: 1 HOURS 20 MINUTES

  • Overexposure at ISO 800 – Runtime 9 minutes 35 seconds
  • Overexposure at ISO 800 Shane’s Review – Runtime 16 minutes 14 seconds (SIC EXCLUSIVE)
  • Overexposure at ISO 1600 – Runtime 8 minutes 21 seconds
  • Overexposure at ISO 1600 Shane’s Review – Runtime 17 minutes 1 seconds (SIC EXCLUSIVE)
  • Overexposure at ISO 800 vs. ISO 1600 – Runtime 13 minutes 46 seconds (SIC EXCLUSIVE)
  • Overexposure at ISO 800 vs. ISO 1600 Shane’s Review – 16 mins 2 seconds (SIC EXCLUSIVE)

PART 2: Underexposure and Skin Tone

PART TWO TOTAL VIDEO CONTENT: 1 HOUR 21 MINUTES

  • Underexposure at ISO 800 – Runtime 10 minutes 11 seconds.
  • Underexposure at ISO 800 Shane’s Review – Runtime 18 minutes 50 seconds (SIC EXCLUSIVE)
  • Underexposure at ISO 1600 – Runtime 10 minutes 47 seconds
  • Underexposure at ISO 1600 Shane’s Review – Runtime 12 minutes 34 seconds (SIC EXCLUSIVE)
  • Underexposure ISO 800 vs. ISO 1600 – Runtime 15 minutes 50 Seconds (SIC EXCLUSIVE)
  • Underexposure ISO 800 vs. ISO 1600 Shane’s Review – Runtime 13 minutes 34 seconds (SIC EXCLUSIVE)

Part 3: Day ISO/Finding Native

PART THREE TOTAL VIDEO CONTENT: 58 MINUTES 24 SECONDS

  • Day ISO Noise Test – Runtime 3 minutes 59 seconds
  • Day ISO Noise Test Shane’s Review – Runtime 13 minutes 55 seconds (SIC EXCLUSIVE)
  • Day ISO Noise Test Compared Against ISO 400 – Runtime 4 minutes 3 seconds (SIC EXCLUSIVE)
  • Day ISO Noise Test Compared Against ISO 400 Shane’s Review – Runtime 7 minutes 32 seconds (SIC EXCLUSIVE)
  • Day ISO Noise Test Compared Against ISO 800 – Runtime 4 minutes 5 seconds (SIC EXCLUSIVE)
  • Day ISO Noise Test Compared Against ISO 800 Shane’s Review – Runtime 13 minutes 18 seconds (SIC EXCLUSIVE)
  • Day ISO Noise Test Compared Against ISO 1600 – Runtime 4 minutes 2 seconds (SIC EXCLUSIVE)
  • Day ISO Noise Test Compared Against ISO 1600 Shane’s Review – Runtime 7 minutes 30 seconds (SIC EXCLUSIVE)

Here’s a look at what’s in Shane’s Inner Circle for Parts 1 – 3:

Part 4: Color Correcting Your Blackmagic URSA Mini 1

PART FOUR TOTAL VIDEO CONTENT:  7 MINUTES 13 SECONDS

  • Color Grading Day Exteriors with DaVinci Resolve  – Runtime 7 minutes 13 seconds

Part 5: Color Correcting Your Blackmagic URSA Mini 2

PART FIVE TOTAL VIDEO CONTENT: 8 MINUTES 34 SECONDS

  • Color Grading without a LUT Under Tungsten Lighting – 5 minutes 14 seconds
  • Color Grading under Mixed Color Temp Sources – 3 minutes 20 seconds

Part 6: Combating IR Pollution Using Straight NDs and IR NDs

PART SIX TOTAL VIDEO CONTENT: 51 MINUTES 01 SECONDS

  • IR Pollution Test with Straight ND – Runtime 6 minutes 46 seconds
  • IR Pollution Test with Straight ND Shane’s Review – Runtime 19 minutes 25 seconds (SIC EXCLUSIVE)
  • IR Pollution Test with Tiffen IR ND – Runtime 6 minutes 44 seconds (SIC EXCLUSIVE)
  • IR Pollution Test with Tiffen IR ND Shane’s Review – Runtime 18 minutes 06 seconds (SIC EXCLUSIVE)

Part 7: Combating IR Pollution with True NDs & Our Battle Royale Finale

PART SEVEN TOTAL VIDEO CONTENT: 45 MINUTES 32 SECONDS

  • IR Pollution Test with True ND – Runtime 6 minutes 29 seconds
  • IR Pollution Test with True ND Shane’s Review – Runtime 16 minutes 01 seconds (SIC EXCLUSIVE)
  • IR Pollution Test ND Battle Royale – Runtime 4 minutes 55 seconds (SIC EXCLUSIVE)
  • IR Pollution Test ND Battle Royale Shane’s Review – Runtime 18 minutes 07 seconds (SIC EXCLUSIVE)

Part 8: Night ISO Test

PART EIGHT TOTAL VIDEO CONTENT:  19 MINUTES 49 SECONDS

  • Night ISO Noise Test with Chelsea – Runtime 3 minutes 04 seconds
  • Night ISO Noise Test with Chelsea Shane’s Review – Runtime 5 minutes 46 seconds (SIC EXCLUSIVE)
  • Night ISO Noise Test with Mason – Runtime 2 minutes 33 seconds (SIC EXCLUSIVE)
  • Night ISO Noise Test with Mason Shane’s Review – Runtime 3 minutes 18 seconds (SIC EXCLUSIVE)
  • Night ISO Noise Test with Chelsea vs. Mason – Runtime 5 minutes 08 seconds (SIC EXCLUSIVE)

Part 9: Rolling Shutter Test

PART NINE TOTAL VIDEO CONTENT: 8 MINUTES 06 SECONDS

  • Rolling Shutter Test with Car – Runtime 1 minutes 41 seconds (SIC EXCLUSIVE)
  • Rolling Shutter Test with Car Shane’s Review – Runtime 6 minutes 25 seconds  (SIC EXCLUSIVE)

All videos were edited on HP Z840 workstations using HP Z24x DreamColor monitors.

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1 comment

Greg greenhaw April 23, 2017 at 5:22 PM

You should correct the highlight before the lut node since the lut will clip them. Better yet you should the color space conversion filter since the math is in 32bit and does not clip.

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