HDR10 Workflow with Davinci Resolve

Color grading is an essential process in post-production that allows filmmakers and video editors to achieve the desired visual aesthetic for their footage. With the advent of High Dynamic Range (HDR) technologies such as HDR10+ and Dolby Vision, color grading has become even more crucial, as HDR displays can show a wider range of colors and contrast than traditional displays. In this article, we will discuss the color grading process for HDR10+ in Davinci Resolve, a professional color grading software.

To color grade in HDR10+, you will need to ensure that your footage is shot in HDR10+ format and that your display supports HDR10+. HDR10+ is an open HDR format that uses dynamic metadata to adjust the brightness and color levels for each scene in real-time, resulting in a more accurate and immersive viewing experience.

Here are the steps to color grade in HDR10+ in Davinci Resolve:

Step 1: Set the Color Space and Gamma In Davinci Resolve, select the project settings and set the color space to HDR10+ and gamma to Perceptual Quantizer (PQ). This will ensure that the colors and brightness levels are accurately displayed during the grading process. PQ is the standard gamma curve used in HDR, and it maps the brightness values of the footage to the display’s brightness range.

Step 2: Adjust the White Balance White balance is crucial in HDR grading, as it affects the overall color temperature of the footage. Use the white balance tools in Davinci Resolve to adjust the temperature and tint to achieve the desired look. It is important to note that in HDR, white balance is not just about neutralizing the color temperature but also ensuring that the brightest parts of the image retain their natural color.

Step 3: Adjust the Primary and Secondary Colors Use the primary color grading tools in Davinci Resolve to adjust the brightness, contrast, and saturation of the footage. You can also use the secondary color grading tools to isolate and adjust specific colors. In HDR grading, it is essential to avoid color clipping or losing details in the bright or dark areas of the image.

Step 4: Apply HDR10+ Metadata After completing the grading process, you can apply the HDR10+ metadata to your footage. This metadata contains information about the brightness and color levels for each scene, allowing HDR10+ displays to adjust the image in real-time for the best viewing experience. In Davinci Resolve, you can export the footage with the HDR10+ metadata included, or you can use a third-party tool to add the metadata to the video file.

HDR10 Workflow with Davinci Resolve

When rendering in HDR10+ in Davinci Resolve, it’s important to ensure that your output settings are compatible with the HDR10+ format. Here are the recommended specifications:

  1. Output Codec: HEVC (H.265)
  2. Resolution: 3840×2160 or 1920×1080
  3. Color Space: Rec. 2020
  4. Gamma: ST 2084
  5. MaxFALL (Maximum Frame Average Light Level): 1000 nits
  6. MaxCLL (Maximum Content Light Level): 4000 nits

To set these specifications in Davinci Resolve, follow these steps:

  1. Go to the Deliver tab in the bottom panel of Davinci Resolve.
  2. Select the format and codec as HEVC (H.265).
  3. In the Video tab, set the resolution to either 3840×2160 or 1920×1080.
  4. Set the Color Space to Rec. 2020 and Gamma to ST 2084 in the Color Management section.
  5. In the Advanced Settings section, set the MaxFALL to 1000 nits and MaxCLL to 4000 nits.

Once you have set these specifications, you can start the rendering process. It’s important to note that rendering in HDR10+ can be time-consuming due to the high-quality output, so make sure you have enough time and processing power to complete the task.

Codecs supporting HDR10:

  • H.265/HEVC Main 10
  • VP9 Profile 2
  • AV1


In conclusion, color grading in HDR10+ requires careful attention to detail and knowledge of the HDR format’s specific requirements. By following these steps in Davinci Resolve, you can achieve stunning HDR color grading results in HDR10+ and create content that delivers an immersive viewing experience.