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The Beach Should Be Sunny

Changing a Cloudy Day in Byron Bay with Ben Allan and DaVinci Resolve
Ben Allan ACS had one day to shoot at Byron Bay in New South Wales. One day to capture the sand, surf and beautiful weather that has made Byron Bay a vacation paradise.

But it was raining. And not a nice quick sun shower. Raining buckets.



The Project
The New South Wales (NSW) Creative Industries and the NSW Creative Achievement Awards are Australian government initiatives aimed at celebrating and rewarding outstanding work from the various creative industries to help raise the global profile of Australian companies.

Ungraded

As part of the NSW Achievement Awards, the NSW government decided to shoot a video showing the various regions and the amazing creative work coming out of those regions. Australia is a beautiful country and highlighting its natural wonders, along with the work being done in each region, would be a perfect way to show potential companies what the Australian creative industry can offer.

The Film Bakery was hired to pull this video together and had to work on a tight schedule and budget at the gorgeous Byron Bay. What were the chances of rain at one of Australia's ideal sunny beach resorts?

Apparently, the chances of rain were pretty good.  

Turning Gray to Sunny
"We headed up to Byron Bay to interview one of the winners from the first NSW Achievement Awards and wanted to show not only them, but also the area itself. And we just had incredibly bad luck," said Ben.

Graded

"The worst nightmare we could think of was being in a vacation spot for only one day and only having the ability to shoot flat, gray skies. Especially since we had to use highly compressed 8 bit cameras. As a cinematographer, you never want to finish a shoot with low expectations for the footage," Ben continued.

To try and salvage what he could, Ben brought the footage through his DaVinci Resolve color grading and finishing software on his MacBook Pro and iMac.

"At first, I was thinking of just trying to add in some blue grads here and there. I put in Bezier shapes using Resolve's Power Windows so I could key out the darker clouds to turn them to blue sky and keep the brighter, white clouds. It was at this point I realized that Resolve could make this footage look beautiful," he said.
"Quick and easy, and we had blue sky and fluffy clouds. It was quite an amazing discovery to see how effective it was even with those compressed images," Ben continued.


Once that day's footage was graded and met the image of what Byron Bay should look like, Ben used Resolve for color correction on the entire project, as well as for rendering and moving all of the project's footage from grading to editing and back.

Ben continued: "We edited in Final Cut Pro X, and one of the great things with Resolve is that it works so well with any of the post software that we have. In this case, Resolve was a life saver because of its ability to handle large files and get them ready for the rest of post.


"We were able to get 225 GB of RAW material down to 30 GB of proxy files to edit. We cut proxy files and exported XML in Resolve. Then it was dropped over WIFI and imported to finishing without re-rendering the media, since the media was already there. We could then grade while the edit was taking place. That made it easy for the director/editor Clara Chong to sit down wherever she happened to be and work. Within an hour of an edit pass being finished, we had a graded final pass ready for the client.

"I have been a fan of DaVinci since it was a $250k product before Blackmagic bought it. Now, to have unlimited access to a Resolve suite for $1,000 anywhere I go is such a wonderful thing," Ben concluded.


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Related Keywords:BlackMagic Design, DaVinci Resolven color correction

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