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How to Colour Grade Video Backgrounds in DaVinci Resolve

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Learn to colour correct and colour grade video with our free course DaVinci Resolve Colour Grading for Beginners. You'll learn how to use each important tool in Resolve, including how to set up your project using scene cut detection, how to get clean skin tones with noise reduction, and how to create cinematic looks.

This lesson is a quick look at creating the perfect ambience in your video background.

How to Colour Grade the Backgrounds in Video Using Resolve

Backgrounds can be tricky when it comes to colour grading. You still want it to look good, but you don’t want to overpower your main focus. Here’s a quick run-through of how you can colour grade your background in Resolve.

Here's the footage how we left it from previous lessonsHere's the footage how we left it from previous lessonsHere's the footage how we left it from previous lessons
Here's the footage how we left it from previous lessons

This is the stage the footage is at from previous lessons in this course. Using the jog wheels under our colour wheels, we'll make small adjustments, paying attention to the background colours and tone.

Create Contrast

Here, we’ve brought the shadows down a bit and bumped up the mids and highlightsHere, we’ve brought the shadows down a bit and bumped up the mids and highlightsHere, we’ve brought the shadows down a bit and bumped up the mids and highlights
Here, we’ve brought the shadows down a bit and bumped up the mids and highlights

Here, we’ve brought the shadows down a bit and bumped up the mids and highlights. You can see now there’s a nice hard light on his hand, and it melts into the background with a nice contrast to the skin tones in the foreground. It’s probably a little over-saturated, though.

Desaturate

Drop the saturation so it isn't distractingDrop the saturation so it isn't distractingDrop the saturation so it isn't distracting
Drop the saturation so it isn't distracting

Under Gain, we’ve dropped the Saturation from 50 to 30 and you can see that’s a lot better—it looks a lot more balanced now.

Result

Before and afterBefore and afterBefore and after
Before (top) and after (bottom)

Here’s the before (top) and after (bottom). The changes are subtle, but you can see that the background is darker and less saturated now, which makes the foreground pop and draws our focus to where we want it. In an upcoming lesson, we'll look at 'dialling in the look' when it comes to the rest of your footage.

More DaVinci Resolve Colour Grading Tutorials

About the Authors

Tom Graham created the video course that includes this lesson. Tom is a multi-skilled content creator with a background in commercial filmmaking.

Marie Gardiner wrote the text version of this lesson, and it was edited and published by Jackson Couse.

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