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  • Writer's pictureAlex Groom

Exploring DaVinci Resolve's Sky Replacement Tool

DaVinci Resolve 18 has been a powerhouse in our post-production pipeline. Among its impressive features, we recently utilized the Sky Replacement Tool to finish out one of our recent productions. In this blog post, we delve into the exciting possibilities offered by this tool and how it added a touch of magic to our recent commercial production for Phillips 66 and their innovative Fuel-Forward App.

*Example of the Sky Replacement Tool in action.

The commercial revolved around the captivating journey of two friends embarking on a road trip. From picturesque coastal areas to awe-inspiring mountains and hidden gems off the beaten path, we scouted some of the most breathtaking locations across western Washington state. However, even with such remarkable landscapes, we faced a common challenge: unpredictable weather.

As luck would have it, our shoot coincided with late winter, a season notorious for its moody skies. While overcast weather can create a beautifully diffused lighting effect, it didn't translate the idea of a fun road trip the way we intended. We stumbled upon the Sky Replacement Tool early into post-production, which allowed us to quickly and easily replace the lackluster skies with vibrant alternatives.

The Sky Replacement tool is located in the color tab. After adding an Alpha output and defining qualifiers for the sky, we added the Sky Replacement Tool to our node tree. Voila! The sky was already transformed. But that's not all—the interface also allows us to fine-tune the new sky's color gamut and gamma to fit our REDlogFilm footage; adjustments to the sky's clouds, horizon, scale, and color can be easily made within the same node. Enabling real-time playback for review—an absolute game-changer that has saved us countless hours compared to previous workflows.

One of the standout features of the Sky Replacement Tool is its built-in tracking. Whether utilizing the point tracker or manually setting keyframes, the tool's native tracking functionality worked like a charm. We were pleasantly surprised by how flawlessly the opening shot aligned, lending authenticity and credibility to the sky replacements. With some minor masking along with minor adjustments to the sky's look, the shot was complete. This showcased the tool's versatility within our budget and elevated the overall quality of our finished product. We were overjoyed with the results achieved with this tool.

The possibilities with the Sky Replacement Tool in DaVinci Resolve 18 are endless. From adding a touch of drama to your scenes with fiery sunsets or creating a dreamy ambiance with fluffy clouds, this tool empowers post-production workflows previously impossible to everyone, large and small. We'll have to find a way to utilize the re-light tool in the upcoming DaVinci Resolve 18.5 release.

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