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Mike Taylor

Professional Grading vs DIY

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Hey! Im after your opinions on something, if you will oblige -


I recently shot a personal music video project, which i self funded, and shot on a Sony F55 with Cooke S4 minis, 2K, XAVC 4:2:2. Video looks nice and Im happy with how its turned out but now wondering about grading.. I dont know a lot about grading but have film school friends with access to good davinci suites who could help me out (though none of us are pros by any means). Alternatively a quote to professionally grade the clip is about 600$ or so.. which is already a LOT considering this is a self funded project.


I think I have a decent eye and am not bad with photo manipulation, so I'm wondering, am I going to get 90% of the way there if I have access to a davinci suite and plenty of time? Or would you highly recommend a professional grade? The final product will be mainly for internet, maybe a bit of TV.


I know when I finish mixing music, there's no question about getting it professionally mastered - its just such a dark art, you really need a professional to what they're doing. Grading to me feels like its perhaps a bit more accessible.. but by all means explain to me why Im wrong.


Thanks for your input!

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How does your material look now? Are you happy with it? Are there things that need to be fixed?


If it's 90% there, then by all means, grade it yourself. There is no right or wrong grade, it's purely what you are happy with.


If there are shots that need some work, have a go yourself, or get one of your friends to do it. If that doesn't work, then maybe you need professional help.


Bottom line is, your friend's DaVinci suite is likely pretty much the same as the Pro DaVinci suite. What you are paying for is the Colorist's experience, and that may not even be a factor if your material already looks the way you want it.

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Well its currently in SLOG so no it doesnt look how I expect it to look in the end. But I'm not expecting a huge amount of manipulation. Then again I'm not really sure whats possible. Does Davinci have presets which allow you to trial various looks and then adjust them to taste?


Btw, the Davinci suite my friend has access too IS quite pro, its part of a film institution. Its just that the people sitting behind it (i.e us) wont be.

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You can take a look at LUT options, for example, Filmconvert Pro and ImpuZ LUT pack both have LUTs specifically designed for SLOG2/3, you can pick any look you want and tweak to your taste.

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