Sometimes, through no fault of your own, the exposure or white balance shifts during a shot. It might also just be that a proactive camera operator was jumpy on the exposure dial or aperture and made a change mid-take that you don’t necessarily want to keep in the final edit. If it is the best or only take you are now stuck trying to figure out how to make it work in post.
Coming from professional colorist Darren Mostyn is a tutorial on how to easily fix exposure or white balance shifts that happen the middle of a shot. This is all done in DaVinci Resolve 17 using some of the included tools.
The example Darren is using is a single drone shot. In the shot there is a subtle shift in exposure as the sky is accounted for in the auto exposure mode.
The tool to be used is the Color Stabilizer. The first thing to check is to make sure that you don’t have overexposed highlights. Using the offset and lift, gamma, gain, he is making some basic adjustments to bring down the exposure and make some slight color tweaks to get it to a neutral starting point. In a second note he just uses highlight recovery to pull out a tad more detail.
Adding another serial node he applies the Color Stabilizer. This tool has a few options. The region of analysis allows you to be more specific in which part of the frame you want the tool to work off of. You can even use the white balance function of the tool on the individual red, green, and blue channels if you so choose.
For just stabilizing brightness, the goal here, there is a stabilize mode. You can select how the tool works to adjust levels and contrast. You can also select offset and gain.
In this case, Darren chose offset because he is in a display-referred color space. He has already adjusted his nodes to be in Rec.709. If you were working straight from the camera’s space, such as a log gamma, you might choose something else.
You will have to pick a frame that best fits your end result. This will be the reference the tool uses to balance the rest of the clip. That’s pretty much it.
However, in this case, it didn’t quite do the job. Since there is a huge difference between the sky and trees it didn’t do a great job with a whole frame analysis.
If you go with a selected area, say the forest, you can ensure the most important or noticeable area is stabilized. By selecting the trees he is able to make it look very smooth.
It’s a good tool that I didn’t know about before but that looks like it’ll work well for some types of shots.
Have you used this tool before? Are you going to test it out for yourself?
[source: Darren Mostyn]