What is halation? Why is it freaking important?

One of the most crucial aspects of a true film look is halation. Halation is an analog imperfection. A result of trying to shoot with film as a medium.


One of the most crucial aspects of a true film look is halation. Halation is an analog imperfection. A result of trying to shoot with film as a medium. While it is tough to represent true mathematical halation, we can always pull a trick to represent the logical form of halation. To understand halation better, let’s take a look at the image below.

Halation visible on the back of the shirt

The Trick Underneath

Our version of halation is made up of four nodes in total, a layer node, a normal node, the node tree looks as follows. The first node is “color space transform” select input gamma according to the camera footage that you are working with and output as “Linear”, because halation works best in “Linear” space. We’re gonna do the opposite in the last node. Input as Linear and output as your default camera gamma. In a way, the first and last nodes are canceling each other out.

The layer mixer is set to the blend mode “Add”. The first node in the layer mixer is the curve node, it’s to adjusts halation brightness. And the next node we separate the channel blur in the sequence – Red: highest blur, Green: second highest, and Blue: least blur.

When exiting the compound node, you can see we’ve followed our node structure where we are compositing grain before everything else. You can find the grain textures in our Ultimate Colorist Toolkit 2021. Towards the end of our node tree, we’ve also applied our LUT, Which comes as a part of Time based LUTs (Under Ultimate Colorist Toolkit 2.0). You can check out these two assets on our UCT 2.0 Page.

Let’s check out a couple of before and after examples:

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Video Training 

That’s how you achieve stylistic Halation in Davinci Resolve. In case you want to check out our video tutorial on the same, here it is:

Play Video

Video Tutorial – Halation in Davinci Resolve



Likewise, if you’re looking for some serious color grading inspiration, check out our Instagram. It’s a treasure trove of cinematic images. A diverse selection of visually appealing photos is made available to you courtesy of our team. Think of this as an increase in the number of mood boards to use as inspiration for your own work. Follow us on Instagram at “colorist.factory.”


3 Responses

  1. The only way this could be more annoying to watch would be adding superfluous mouse clicks to drag attention away from the silly music bed. Oh. You already done that. Now I hope it’s out of your system now so you’ll never do it again.

  2. Looks like you could get the same (or better*) result just by setting the black and white points correctly for each channel and adjusting the contrast curves and saturation.

    *you have lost shadow detail in some examples

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