Your Guide to Understanding ACES (Part 3)

Let’s conclude our ACES learning series with this last part.

When we conclude this series on ACES, it will be time to build on the theory and workflow we have focused on so far and begin with the actual grading. This is the fun part, but also the difficult part because instead of learning new concepts, we have to rewrite our existing concepts. But before we get started, if you haven’t seen Part 1 or Part 2, make sure to check them out.

Now that you have been caught up, let’s talk about the key differences between manual assessment in DaVinci Resolve and a color managed environment like ACES.

Classification in ACES

There is more to an effective classification in ACES than we can cover today, but the best way to get started is by keeping these three principles in mind.

1. Think and work globally

What does it mean to think and work globally? The basic requirement is that our entire creative appearance for our content should not be provided for individual recordings, but for the entire piece. If we take the time to come up with a look that serves all of our material, and doesn’t vary, it will make for better looking and more efficient results.

2. Think and work photographically

If we carry out our assessment in a color space that is separate from our display, the image is much closer to the original capture state and reacts best if we decide not to work with it graphically but rather photographically.

This starts with anchoring our grades in photometric sound exposure and color temperature adjustments, but it shouldn’t end there – your goal should be to keep your thinking and adjustments in the photography realm for as long as possible.

3. Just think and work

This principle is critical given the power and complexity of a Resolve ACES workflow. We should always look for a solution that is as broad and simple as possible. Working this way increases our efficiency and produces cleaner images in the end.

I hope you enjoyed learning about ACES over the course of this series.

If you have any tips for other filmmakers, share them in the comments below.

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