DaVinci Resolve workflow tip: Use groups and timeline filtering to make your grading a whole lot easier!

Grading something like a music video — where you have different scenes, locations, and looks intercut together — can be hard to manage, to say the least. By default, you can’t easily see all of the clips from a particular location all together. You can’t easily add your look to a whole scene and still easily go back and tweak across all clips. And it’s harder to keep an eye on things like skin-tone consistency across the different scenes. Luckily, DaVinci Resolve gives you some great tools to group and filter the shots in your timeline.

In this real-world example, I had a music video featuring several different narrative scenes, all intercut with a “performance” section that lasts throughout:

Grouping and Timeline Filtering in Resolve: Lightbox View Unfiltered

Using DaVinci Resolve’s grouping feature, I was able to filter my timeline to see and work on one scene/location at a time, and apply looks and corrections across the whole scene as one.

To create a new group or assign a clip to an existing group, right click on the clip’s thumbnail. At the top are the grouping options. For this project, I created several groups based on the scene, and ended up putting a few clips into subgroups for some specific corrections.

Grouping and Timeline Filtering in Resolve: Assigning to a group

Once you’ve got clips assigned to groups, you can easily filter your timeline to only those clips by clicking on the magnifying glass at the bottom right of the timeline (along with filtering by group, there are a multitude of other useful filtering options). This lets you see similar clips side-by-side, giving you a great way to check consistency at a glance when doing your initial matching/correction. This is especially helpful when pairing it with the lightbox view.

Grouping and Timeline Filtering in Resolve: Filtering by Group in the Timeline

Grouping and Timeline Filtering in Resolve: Lightbox View Filtered

Up in the top right of the Node panel, you’ll see a drop-down that says Clip by default. Clicking on that gives you a few other options:

Grouping and Timeline Filtering in Resolve: Node Tree Options

This is where the power of grouping really comes out. By choosing Group Pre-Clip or Group Post-Clip, you can apply a separate node tree to an entire group at once, and any changes you make to those nodes later affect the entire group. The Pre-Clip and Post-Clip options let you place adjustment to the whole group before or after the individual corrections on each shot in the Clip section.

Here are the corrections on an individual clip.

Grouping and Timeline Filtering in Resolve: Node - Clip

Below is the same clip, but with a different set of adjustments in the Group Post-Clip section.

Grouping and Timeline Filtering in Resolve: Node - Post-Clip

An example of using the Pre-Clip option is to remove a consistent color cast that shows up in every shot of the group. In this example, several shots of a particular scene all had a bit of a greenish tint to them compared to the others in the scene, so by putting them in their own group, I was able to remove the green tint all at once with one node in Pre-Clip.

The Post-Clip option is a perfect place to put your overall “look” for a scene. You can easily go back and make adjustments to your look for a whole scene at once, but you’re not locked into affecting every clip in the video like you are with the Timeline option on the Node window.

Grouping and filtering is a super-powerful way of managing complex edits when color grading. Along with grouping by scene, here are a few other grouping suggestions that might help you out:

Group by…

  • Camera (RED, ALEXA, DSLR, GoPro, etc.)
  • Character (to quickly manage and see if a character’s skin-tones are consistent across a whole film)
  • Scene Location
  • Interior vs. Exterior
  • Time of Day
  • Shot Type (Close-up, Medium, Wide)
  • Mood (Happy, Sad, Warm, Cold, etc.)

Did this handy article give you a few ways to get grouping into your grading workflow? Share your thoughts in the comments below!