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Color Grading: Color Managed Workflow in Resolve

The intent of this document is to serve as a reference for configuring Resolve in a way to support a color managed pipeline, which ultimately enables the delivery of quality archival assets to Netflix, including Non-graded Archival Master (NAM), Graded Archival Master (GAM), and Video Display Master (VDM).

The steps in this document are not proposed as requirements, but instead as recommended practices. The approaches described below are for an ACES Workflow, but do not cover all possibilities for a color managed workflow.

This guide is currently updated for Resolve 15.1.1 versions.

ACES Workflow

If you are unfamiliar with ACES, please visit ACES Central for more information on the Academy Color Encoding System.

Project Settings
Once you create a new project, go to the Project Settings > Color Management panel. The first thing you will want to change is the Color Science settings to ACEScct. If you don’t have a specific reason to use ACEScc, it is recommended to use ACEScct.

PLEASE NOTE: Since the ACES color space is Linear, the ACEScct and ACEScc spaces were defined as logarithmic (log) working color spaces, so that traditional color correction tools would feel similar to other log color spaces.

ACES Version will default to v1.0.3 which is fine to use. There is also a v1.1 which includes updated Output Transforms for HDR output color spaces. This is also fine to use. Generally, we recommend using the latest ACES version which, as of today, is v1.1.

Set your ACES Output Device Transform to match the calibration of your video display:

  • For SDR, this will be Rec. 709, which corresponds to a monitor calibrated to Rec. 709 / BT.1886 with 100 cd/m2 peak luminance.
  • For HDR, this will be P3-D65 ST.2084 (PQ) with the corresponding nit level your monitor is capable of. Today, most commonly, this will be P3-D65 ST2084 (1000 nits).
    • PLEASE NOTE: Rec.2020 is not used for Netflix deliveries at this time.

With ACES Output Device Transform set to None, Resolve will output ACES Linear (AP0). This will be relevant for NAM and GAM renders later in this document.

Standard Dynamic Range (SDR)ColorManageResolve_01_SDR.png

High Dynamic Range (HDR)ColorManageResolve_02_HDR.png

Bringing in Clips
By default, for RAW clips, Resolve will automatically debayer images into ACES and you should see a normal looking image.

For non-RAW formats (such as DPX, ProRes, XAVC, etc), Resolve may not automatically detect the color space, so you will have to manually select your ACES Input Device Transform (IDT).

You can do this by right-clicking on a shot or group of shots in the Media Pool, as shown in the screenshot below.

Example: you shot XAVC on the Sony F55 using the SLog3-SGamut3.CINE color space, and bring these clips into the Media Pool. Resolve is not able to recognize this based on the metadata, so you must manually select “Sony SLog3 SGamut3CINE” from the ACES Input Device Transform dropdown list.

ColorManageResolve_03_BringInClips.png

You may also set your Project to default to a specific ACES Input Device Transform. This may be handy if the majority of your clips will be in a common color space and cannot be auto-detected.

TIP: Sorting your Media Pool by “Format” or “Video Codec” columns can help batch-assign IDTs to groups of clips highlighted at one time. See screenshot below for an example.

ColorManageResolve_03_Tip.png

Rendering Deliverables
When you are ready to render your deliverables, open up the Deliver page.

VDM
For the SDR Video Display Master, ensure you have the following render settings:

ColorManageResolve_04_VDM.png

For the Dolby Vision Video Display Master, ensure you have the following render settings:

ColorManageResolve_05_VDM2.png

Screenshots of Deliver Page settings are below.

ColorManageResolve_06_SDR_VDM.png     ColorManageResolve_07_HDR_VDM.png

GAM
For the Graded Archival Master, you will need to disable the ACES Output Transform, which you can do by going back to Project Settings > Color Management, and set ACES Output Transform to “No Output Transform” -- this will ensure that your render will be in ACES.

ColorManageResolve_08_GAM.png

Once this is done, go to the Deliver page and ensure you have the following render settings:

ColorManageResolve_09_GAM2.png

ColorManageResolve_010_GAM3.png

PLEASE NOTE: For Codec "half" = 16-bit half-float. Using "No Output Transform" will output ACES Linear aka. ACES 2065-1 (AP0).

NAM
For the Non-graded Archival Master (NAM), as with the GAM above, make sure you turn off the ACES Output Transform in order to output ACES Linear data as shown below:

ColorManageResolve_011_NAM.png

To disable the grade for your NAM render, the Enable Flat Pass option on the Deliver page can be used. See screenshot from the Resolve 15 Manual below:

ColorManageResolve_011_NAM1a.png

Ensure you have the following render settings:

ColorManageResolve_012_NAM2.png

PLEASE NOTE: For Codec "half" = 16-bit half-float. Using "No Output Transform" will output ACES Linear aka. ACES 2065-1 (AP0).

Note: Resolution may vary depending on the project’s framing, but should be at UHD resolution (3840 x 2160) or higher. 

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