: walter biscardi's Blog
: Davinci Resolve and Apple Color: Auto Balance
Here's another workflow comparison between Apple Color and Davinci Resolve. Auto Balance. As in "my colors are really out of whack so can you please balance the colors for me to make the whites and blacks appear normal?"
Most Colorists cringe at the thought of an "Auto Balance" button / knob / feature because balancing a shot is just a basic job function of the Colorist. But for folks coming from a Non-Linear Editing background who are used to having a 3 Way Color Corrector with nice little Shadows and Highlights picker, it's a nice way to start out in the application. If the application can get the colors balanced, you can take it from there.
NOTE: The following images are screen grabs from the UI of the applications, not from their outputs.
Why? Well it's just easier to do screen grabs when you're pulling a lot of images for this and upcoming blog entries. They are very representative of the changes that each application performed. The images on the output were definitely a bit brighter than what you see here.
First up, Apple Color.
Here's the untouched image. Yes it's pretty dark, shot inside with available light also giving the entire shot has a green cast.
Now here's the image after using Auto Balance in the Primary In Room.
Not bad. You can see the white bottle is pretty white, still a little yellow, but not bad. In all honesty this is the BEST I've ever seen the Auto Balance feature work in Apple Color. Maybe because the white bottle and pills are so dominant in the image. Generally when you use this feature in Color the entire image turns blue, so most of us never use it.
Now on to Davinci Resolve.
Again, here's the original image. It's in a slightly different position, but it's the same video before the pills were poured.
And now using Auto Balance in the Color Panel.
Doing a real close comparison, what I see is that the arms are little less red in this one and overall, there seems to be less green in this image than the Apple Color image and it's a little brighter. For this particular image, the results are very very similar and quite honestly that was a big surprise to me.
But... oh yes there's a but..
Testing the Auto Balance feature across all manner of shots shows that it works consistently in Resolve. It doesn't work perfectly every single time, but I would say more than 75% of the time, Resolve brings the scene into balance so you have good color to start with. With Apple Color.... well I've been using the application for over 5 years now and I think the Auto Balance feature was added 2 years ago. This is the first time I can remember where I've seen it actually do what it's supposed to do. As I said earlier, usually you end up with a blue image that's generally worse than your starting point. In all honesty, the 3 Way Color Corrector in FCP does a better job of auto balancing a scene than Apple Color.
Obviously Auto Balance is by no means a "make or break" feature for any color enhancement tool
. If you're going to be a colorist or make color enhancement a service you offer, you darn well better know how to balance a scene manually. That's color enhancement 101. But it does offer a nice simple comparison point between the two apps.