Ultimate Secret to better Halation in Davinci Resolve

This week we will guide you on how to create a halation effect on your digitally shot footage to give it a characteristic of a processed film, that will help you to achieve thematic expression for your videos.


Hello Friends! Hope you all are overflowing with ideas and beaming with imagination. This week we will guide you on how to create a halation effect on your digitally shot footage to give it a characteristic of a processed film, that will help you to achieve thematic expression for your videos.  

So, first of all, what is Halation? As you can see in the diagram below, Halation is a property of celluloid film that happens when a bright light bounces back and forth a few times, exposing the film photoreceptor and affecting the red layer (and a little bit of the green layer), that gives the film a reddish/orange glow. This secondary glow section is all about bloom. So, when light hits film stock, you generally get a little blooming. So, Halation is kind of a glow visual effect on your digital shots that mimics a processed film anomaly and gives it a characteristic of a film.  

If you want to match your digital shots with archival footage shot on film, or if you want to make it look retro, especially for fashion films, music videos, or commercials, Halation can be a really cool effect to mimic.

In today’s blog, we’ll learn how to appropriately apply the halation effect utilising an integrated plug in in DaVinci Resolve to mimic a unique characteristic of a celluloid film.

Please note that we are not going to replicate halation on a one-to-one mathematical basis, but we are only going to mimic it creatively. This resemblance is the result of intensive study and an in-depth familiarity with film footage.

So, let’s begin then! 

Take a shot on the Resolve timeline that has already been colour corrected.

Then, after the last node in our node tree, add another node to simulate the halation effect. This is because we have understood that placing the node as the final node in our node tree produces a great result for achieving a halation effect.

Moving on, we will navigate to the effects tab, type halation and drag the effect on the halation node. Then click on view isolated region and then click on threshold. Increase the threshold values to a point where we can see very less details on our subject’s face.

Then again go and disable View Isolated Region and increase the strength values under the dye layer reflection tab.

Note that ‘STRENGTH’ slider calculates the overall glow effect that is applied to your footage.  So, let’s stop the strength slider at 0. 660 which seems like a sweet spot for our strength. More than this would seem a little bit heavy and lesser than this becomes invisible of an effect, so .660 is the sweet spot here.  

Then go to the spread slider and increase the values to spread the halation effect. Note that ‘SPREAD’ gives the glow effect on your footage by calculating how the highlights will spread. 

So, let’s lock the spread values at 0.450 for a balanced effect. 

Then go ahead and click on the ‘View Glow Alone’ button. You will notice that there is an appropriate amount of light dispersion on your shot. 

But to give our shot the perfect halation effect we will have to put a secret ingredient.  

So, go ahead and click on ‘FINE TUNE RELATIVE SPREAD,’ which will give you spread on the various colour channels. For example, Red will have a different spread, Green will have a different spread, and Yellow will have a different spread.

The first thing we’re going to do is drastically reduce the blue spread. As soon as you do that, the whole halation becomes greenish-yellowish-red. But what we want for our halation effect, is to have more reds and less yellow. So, we’ll bump the Reds up to our sweet spot of 1.8, which we think looks good for the relative spread of red.

Then we will try decreasing our greens because we want to achieve fewer greens and more reds in our footage.  So, keep adjusting the color channels till we achieve the entire width of the halation glow to 1/3rd greenish yellow and 2/3rds of it is red.

Once you have attained this composition, then it is a pretty good creative match with film Halation. 

But you will notice the halation setting we have used, has softened the other sections of the images. We only intended to add halation to the bright spots or extreme highlights, but it has also affected other sections of the picture, making it appear unsharp. This is not what we want when we are applying a halation effect, as we need to retain the visual sharpness of our footage.

So, to address these issues, ‘IN GLOBAL ADJUSTMENT SECTION’ enable view glow alone. As soon as you do this, you will notice that it has removed everything from the picture and rendered it black, but it has only kept our halation effect.

You’ll see the red areas on the shots; these are the areas we don’t want halation to affect our shot, because it’s softening the image more than necessary.  

So, to fix this, in the effect tab, select black correction mode and increase the threshold, until we see very less halation around the corners of the window and the edges of the camera, and no halation on the areas which don’t have light and tonal contrast.

So, lock the threshold value at our sweet spot .360 and untick the ‘View Glow Alone’.

And you will see that this is the perfect halation setting.

Keep in mind that halation is a very delicate instrument, and the skill of getting halation to appear beautiful is quite nuanced. As a result, while modelling the halation, we want to base it on a specific selection with enough contrast to simulate the desired qualities.

So, we’ll reselect the selection; since our halation is strong and has a distinct glow, we’ll dial it down a notch so that it’s only apparent in very light and very bright portions of our Image.

Go ahead and rename the node – Halation, then copy and paste it to the new shot on its node timeline.

Wallah, that is how you achieve perfect halation composition using the Halation OFX plugin da Vinci resolve.

If you want to use these customized halation settings, we have created a pre-set and added a link in the blog for free download.

We hope our blog helps you to discover your creative inspiration. So, until the next blog, find inspiration, make something great, contribute to the world’s beauty, and don’t forget to subscribe to and follow the colorist factory’s YouTube and Instagram pages.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Ultimate Day to Night color grade trick for the Modern Filmmaker (& free Download)

When it comes to creating captivating visuals in film and video production, color grading plays a vital role in setting the mood and atmosphere of a scene. One technique that has gained significant popularity among filmmakers is “Day-for-Night” color grading. In this blog, we’ll explore the art of Day-for-Night color grading and how it can transform your footage into a cinematic masterpiece.

We've got a new name

It’s 2024, and we have evolved into Colorist Foundry :)  If you came here looking for free stuff you will find it on the new website’s blog page. Feel free to download our new film emulation plugin for free.

Check out our new plugins and free stuff on our new website: coloristfoundry.com