Insider Tips: See the Invisible with DaVinci Resolve’s A/B Mode

Insider Tips: See the Invisible with DaVinci Resolve’s A/B Mode

Every week, Insider asks one of our expert contributors to share a tip, tool, or technique that they use all the time and couldn’t live without. This week, Charles Haine demonstrates DaVinci Resolve’s A/B mode.

Highlight subtle changes with DaVinci Resolve’s A/B Mode

With a lot of tools in Resolve it’s relatively easy to see what effect you are having on an image. Push that Gain wheel wildly in one direction and you’ll see a big effect. But with more subtle tools like noise correction, blur and sharpen, and midtone detail it can sometimes be hard to identify precisely what you’re doing to a shot.

To really dial in your work with these tools there is another great tool in DaVinci Resolve: A/B mode. This function of the highlight toolset lets you compare in a simple way the before & after of your node so you can see your changes quickly and let’s you make subtle and precise tweaks to the image.

Resolve's A/B mode button
Hit Shift+H to activate the highlighter and look for Resolve’s A/B mode toggle at the top-right of your preview.

Look for the “A/B” toggle that appears when you select your highlighter (Shift+H). Your preview will go gray—which is normal. As you make changes to a shot, the gray screen will shift to showing you what has changed from before (the “A”) to after (the “B) of your correction.

Let’s make some noise

To demonstrate, let’s look use it with noise correction. As you turn the noise correction up, you should see some noise in the A/B image.

DaVinci Resolve Noise Correction
Resolve’s A/B mode lets you see where noise removal is taking place.

What you’re seeing here is the noise that’s being removed. When it starts to look like a picture in your A/B view, you know you’ve gone too far. Your noise correction is now eating away at your picture detail

DaVinci Resolve too much noise removal.
Using Resolve’s A/B mode reveals that too much of your picture detail is being removed.

And it’s not just noise correction where Resolve’s A/B mode is useful. It gives you far more control over your effects, helping you to reach the limit without over-correcting.

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Thank you to Charles Haine for contributing this article.

Charles Haine is the Interim Program Director for the Feirstein Graduate School of Cinema at Brooklyn College. He has been a filmmaker and entrepreneur working in the motion picture industry since 1999, and received his MFA from USC in 2006. Haine founded the Academy Award and Emmy nominated production company Dirty Robber in 2008, directed the feature film Angels Perch, the websites Salty Pirate, and countless shortform projects including a music video for Fitz & The Tantrums.

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