Blackmagic's DaVinci Resolve Color Grading Panels: What You Need To Know

Blackmagic's DaVinci Resolve Color Grading Panels: What You Need To Know

An art of nuance and subtlety, it takes an expert eye to manipulate colour in a way that enhances the storytelling without overtaking it. In our latest George's CameraTV video, we explore the potential of DaVinci Resolve colour grading panels - specifically, the Blackmagic Design DaVinci Resolve Mini Panel and Blackmagic Design DaVinci Resolve Micro Pane



The Significance of Colour Grading

Before we delve into these essential tools, we should explain why colour grading is important. The workflow extends beyond simply adjusting colours and luminosity in a video. It is a crucial element in post-production, enriching the visual storytelling with added complexity and subtlety.

While audiences may not always consciously notice it, skilful colour grading significantly impacts their emotional connection to the film. One cannot overstate the value of having the right tools to facilitate this process; this is where the DaVinci Resolve colour grading panels come into play.


The Learning Curve: Ease of Use for Beginners and Pros

For individuals just stepping into the complex field of colour grading, the DaVinci Resolve Micro Panel serves as an ideal entry point. Its simplified interface offers a concise set of features, making it less intimidating for beginners. Despite its compact form factor and fewer controls, it provides a solid introduction to essential colour grading tasks.

The software is designed with a user-friendly interface and offers tutorials to guide newcomers through the intricacies of colour grading. Moreover, the tactile nature of the hardware allows beginners to grasp the fundamentals more intuitively, as they can see real-time changes while manipulating the controls.

In contrast, experienced colourists will find the DaVinci Resolve Mini Panel a more fitting companion for their advanced requirements. The panel incorporates additional functionalities, such as extra buttons and screens for visual feedback, catering to a professional's need for intricate control and customisation.

While the Mini Panel offers a steeper learning curve, its complexities are not an obstacle but rather an advantage in speed for the expert user. With an array of quick-access buttons and customisable features, the Mini Panel facilitates a deeper exploration into advanced grading techniques, effectively serving as an extension of the colourist's expertise.


YRGB Colour Correction and Workflow

One of the remarkable features of DaVinci Resolve is its YRGB colour correction. This feature enables you to manipulate luminance levels separately from the colour channels. The independence between brightness and colour tones allows for refined and sophisticated results, a capability well-leveraged by professional colourists. 


Features of DaVinci Resolve Mini Panel and Micro Panels

Both the Mini and Micro Panels are equipped with three trackballs, wheels, and 12 control knobs. The trackballs are primarily responsible for adjusting colour values across different tonal ranges, while the wheels control exposure. The knobs, meanwhile, fine-tune aspects like contrast, tint, and temperature. These controls redefine how one uses the software, offering direct and intuitive command of essential colour grading aspects like colour balance, contrast, and exposure.

The DaVinci Resolve Micro Panel is a compact option designed for novices or colourists working on the go. In contrast, the DaVinci Resolve Mini Panel caters to more advanced users, boasting two additional 5-inch LCD screens for visual feedback and extra buttons for swift access to grading tools. This minimises the need to switch between a mouse and the panel, streamlining the entire grading process.


Enhancing Workflow Efficiency

The tactile nature of the controls facilitates simultaneous adjustments and enables a level of precision that is hard to achieve through conventional keyboard and mouse setups. Dedicated buttons for adding nodes or applying grades make the process far more efficient.


Which DaVinci Resolve Model Is Best: Mini or Micro?

Regarding functionality and control features, both models exhibit distinct differences designed to cater to varying needs and expertise levels. Both panels offer the standard controls that handle the core tasks of colour grading. However, the Mini Panel takes the control aspects a step further with its additional features. Notably, it boasts two 5-inch LCD screens, providing immediate visual feedback and facilitating real-time adjustments, offering an enhanced interactive experience.

The Mini Panel also offers greater control customisation through its expanded set of buttons. These additional buttons provide quick access to various grading tools and options. For instance, the Mini Panel includes dedicated buttons for adding nodes, applying grades, and even using power windows. This added functionality streamlines the grading process and eliminates the need to constantly alternate between the panel and a mouse or keyboard, thereby enhancing workflow efficiency and creative control.

Moreover, connectivity options on the Mini Panel are more versatile than those on the Micro Panel. While both panels support USB-C connections for plug-and-play ease, the Mini Panel offers an additional Ethernet connection. This feature allows for networked setups, useful in larger studios where multiple devices may need to be interconnected.


Portability and Setup

Crafted for the convenience of portability, the DaVinci Resolve Micro Panel has dimensions of roughly 17.4 x 11.3 x 1.3 inches and a weight close to 4.6 kg. The panel's small footprint renders it ideal for freelance professionals and colourists who frequently shift between various locations or have confined work areas.

In contrast, the DaVinci Resolve Mini Panel is more substantial, with dimensions of about 20.5 x 11.8 x 2.5 inches and a weight of approximately 7.98 kg. The Mini Panel's added weight and size accommodate its additional features making it better suited for fixed, professional studio setups. Though the Mini Panel also provides plug-and-play functionality through USB-C or Ethernet connections, its larger form factor makes it less ideal for portable use. 


Compatibility and System Requirements

The DaVinci Resolve Micro Panel and Mini Panel offer broad compatibility, integrating effortlessly with DaVinci Resolve software that runs on Windows, macOS, and Linux operating systems.

For the hardware aspect, it is advisable to use a computer equipped with a minimum of a quad-core processor and 16GB RAM for peak functioning. Additionally, a specialised graphics card containing a bare minimum of 2GB video memory is likely to boost the quality of your color grading tasks.

Both panels require a USB-C port for connection, although, as mentioned previously the Mini Panel also offers an Ethernet port for networked setups.


Gain Lifetime Access to DaVinci Resolve Software

Developed by Blackmagic Design, the same company behind the panels, DaVinci Resolve is a powerful post-production software suite that caters to editing, colour correction, visual effects, and audio post-production needs. The software uses YRGB colour correction to allow luminance adjustments independent of colour, facilitating more nuanced results. It is embraced by novice and expert colourists working on various projects, from low-budget indie films to high-profile productions.


Final Thoughts

Overall, while the Micro Panel is designed to be a compact and straightforward tool ideal for beginners or those who need portability, the Mini Panel is targeted at more advanced users who require a broader range of controls and functionalities for their colour grading tasks.

So, whether you are in the early stages of your colour grading knowledge or an industry veteran, either DaVinci Resolve panels will offer unmatched utility and sophistication. For those interested in learning more about the art of colour grading, head on over to our Eventbrite page and join us at an upcoming workshop that will cover additional information on these panels.