Shanghai MZ Studio Delivers vivo X9 TVC with DaVinci Resolve Studio

Blackmagic Design recently announced that Shanghai based MZ Studio graded Chinese smartphone maker vivo’s X9 commercial, starring Taiwanese icon Eddie Peng Yu-yen, with DaVinci Resolve Studio and DaVinci Resolve Advanced Panel.

In the vivo commercial, Peng takes selfies in different scenes, including running in the morning, filming on location and a party at night, to highlight the smartphone’s powerful photography features.

“The director had different requirements for these scenes. He asked the running in the morning scene have a cool tone that a typical morning in Shanghai would have, the filming location be warm and loving and the night party be colourful,” said Chen Zheng, the colourist for this commercial. “For all the scenes, it must look pristine and the skin tone must be natural.”

Taking the morning scene for example, Chen explained how he used DaVinci Resolve Studio to turn the desaturated original camera RAW footage to the image the director asked for. “For primary grading, I tried to get the colours back to the footage and from there turned the overall tone towards blue a little bit to create the feeling of a cool morning. With the Offset feature in Resolve’s Color Wheels, I was able to make a blue biased look while making sure the image was very clean.”

He continued: “For a natural skin tone, I needed to get up the brightness of the skin. The YRGB Lift/Gamma/Gain in Color Wheels allowed me to adjust the luminance channel independently, so all I had to do was make a key on the skin and increase the Y value of Gain or Gamma, and then I got a very natural skin tone.”

There are a lot of people in the night party scene. To make Peng stand out, Chen isolated people that needed to be less focus-stealing with Power Windows and desaturated or darkened these isolated regions. Since there are camera movements, the Power Windows had to be tracked to the isolated objects. “Resolve’s Power Windows and tracking are powerful tools. It can quickly and accurately track these windows, especially the 3D tracking added since Resolve 12, which dramatically improves the efficiency”, he said.

The night party is at the Bund, with neon lights shining with the beautiful colours across the Huangpu River. Chen adjusted the saturation of the colour with the sat vs sat curve in Resolve. He explained: “Red and blue are two colours that could easily get clipped when you try to increase the saturation while colours like yellow might still not get to the point you want if you use some regular grading tools. Fortunately, the sat vs sat curve in Resolve allowed me to make all colours look vibrant without blowing up red and blue.”

The selfie footage in the screen of the smartphone was actually shot separately in front of a green screen and then composited into the smartphone screen. “Before passing the shots to the compositor, I had to make sure the colour of these green screen shots matched that of the shots outside the phone screen. Resolve’s built in compositing features enabled me to put the shots inside and outside the phone screen together with ease, so I would know if the colours matched or not.”

Chen also noted that Resolve’s Gallery and Versioning are great when he tried to help the director confirm a look for a shot. “For example, the director wanted a warm and loving look for the filming location scene and I had to try different warm tones until he was satisfied”, he said. “When setting the tone, I could save many grades with different tones in Gallery, and quickly switched between them for the director to review, simply by clicking a button on the DaVinci Resolve Advanced Panel. Also, Versioning allowed me to create and manage many versions on the timeline for shots that needed different looks without the need to apply the grade saved in Gallery every time a version was exported.”

“Resolve is easy to use and enables me to get results I want just with a few quick steps, so I can focus myself on creativity,” he concluded.

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