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.

Creating a halation effect on digitally shot footage can significantly enhance the thematic expression of your videos, giving them the characteristic warmth of processed film. This technique is particularly useful for matching digital shots with archival footage or adding a retro feel to fashion films, music videos, or commercials.

Understanding Halation

Halation occurs in celluloid film when bright light creates a reddish/orange glow due to its reflection and absorption in the film’s layers, primarily affecting the red layer and, to a lesser extent, the green layer. This phenomenon, resembling a bloom effect, can be creatively mimicked in digital footage to achieve a similar aesthetic without the need for one-to-one mathematical replication.

Applying the Halation Effect

To begin, select a color-corrected shot from your DaVinci Resolve timeline. Here’s how to apply the halation effect:

Step 1: Add a Node for Halation

After the last node in your node tree, add a new node dedicated to the halation effect. Placing the node at the end of your node tree has been found to produce the best results.

Step 2: Apply the Halation Effect

Navigate to the effects tab, search for the halation effect, and drag it onto the newly created node. Isolate the region by clicking on “View Isolated Region,” then adjust the threshold until minimal details are visible on the subject’s face. Disable “View Isolated Region” and increase the strength under the “Dye Layer Reflection” tab to about 0.660, which balances visibility and subtlety.

Step 3: Adjust Spread

Increase the spread value to 0.450 to determine how the highlights will disperse, creating the glow effect.

Step 4: View Glow Alone

Click on “View Glow Alone” to observe the light dispersion, ensuring an appropriate amount of glow is present.

Step 5: Fine-Tune Relative Spread

Adjust the spread across various color channels by reducing the blue spread significantly and increasing the reds to 1.8. Decrease the greens to achieve the desired balance between reds and greens in the halation effect.

Step 6: Global Adjustment

To maintain the sharpness of the footage, enable “View Glow Alone” in the global adjustment section and increase the threshold in the black correction mode until halation is minimized around undesirable areas.

Step 7: Finalize the Effect

After fine-tuning, disable “View Glow Alone” and observe the final halation effect. Rename the node to “Halation” and apply it to new shots as needed.

Download Custom Preset

For convenience, a custom halation preset is available for free download. This preset can be applied to your footage to quickly achieve the desired halation effect without manually adjusting the settings each time.


Mastering the halation effect in DaVinci Resolve requires practice and a nuanced understanding of light and color. By following these steps and experimenting with the settings, you can add a unique, film-like quality to your digital footage. For more creative inspiration and tutorials, subscribe to our YouTube and Instagram pages.

This guide aims to simplify the process of creating a halation effect, making it accessible for video editors and colorists seeking to enhance their projects with the warmth and character of film.

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