Dolby Vision for content creators

Master once to create an unparalleled image experience

The Dolby Vision® post-production tools and workflows give you everything you need to efficiently create HDR and SDR content that looks amazing. It also ensures that what you create in the color suite is consistent when experienced across HDR TVs, PCs, tablets, and mobile devices, as well as legacy SDR devices. More and more studios are adopting Dolby Vision as the master deliverable and standard workflow for content creation.

As spectacular as HDR is, we’ve basically ignored it because it was cost prohibitive for us to color time it as well as doing a second version in SDR. With the Dolby Vision tools and workflow, however, we find that we can spend our energy and money on creating the best version possible, and only have to do the process once. We’ve found it even gives us a better SDR than we could create in the traditional way ... We’re hooked.”

Dean Devlin – Director/Producer – Electric Entertainment

Consistent across all devices

Viewers consume content across a multitude of devices — TVs, tablets, PC, and mobile — all with different brightness capabilities and color performance. To overcome the challenge of mastering for these variables, Dolby Vision accurately preserves and delivers the artist's intent, as set in the HDR reference master, through dynamic metadata and tone mapping. With Dolby Vision, the colorist is further empowered to create trims for each shot to control how the content maps to the consumer devices. This provides confidence to content creators that their images are represented on all devices with ultimate consistency.

Future-proof your content

When you master content in Dolby Vision, you maintain the full dynamic range of the images and map it to the capabilities of today's TVs. That way, when future generations of devices surpass the imaging capabilities of today, your Dolby Vision content will still map correctly, maintaining your look and never stretching your content. What’s more, the Dolby Vision tools and algorithm deliver a fantastic experience for legacy SDR TVs with more detail in the highlights and shadows when tone mapped to SDR BT. 709 from the HDR master.

Premium color-mastering 

Using the Dolby Vision workflow inside your preferred color correction or mastering system, you only need to master once to create streamlined deliverables in Dolby Vision, HDR10, and SDR deliverables. You simply start by creating the HDR master image, which has the most dynamic range and widest color gamut, and then run the Dolby Vision automatic shot-by-shot analysis. Then, the Dolby Vision workflow and tools allow you to view the automatic mapping down to SDR (maintaining the artistic intent from the HDR grade) and if desired, adjust the mapping for each shot. This process is far more efficient than creating 2 or 3 different grades or trim passes and far less confusing than creating LUTs.


Get hands-on with Dolby Vision

Use your tools to create your Dolby Vision master

Dolby Vision® is supported and integrated into the top color-grading and mastering tools.

Color-grading workflow for TVs and other devices

Creating the Dolby Vision master begins with creating your master HDR grade first, using a color-grading or mastering system with the PQ EOTF (SMPTE ST. 2084) and a working color space of P3 or Rec 2020.

In order to see the proper peak brightness levels, deep blacks, and wide color gamut to create an incredible-looking HDR image, Dolby has recommended guidelines which closely follow the EBU Tech 3320 specification for a grade 1 HDR mastering monitor. It should be:

  • At least 1,000 nits of peak brightness
  • At least a 200,000:1 contrast ratio
  • A minimum black level performance of 0.005 nits
  • At least 99% of the P3 Color Gamut

Note: Other aspects of the content creation pipeline like VFX creation, packaging, and QC may have less stringent guidelines. For more info about monitors, read this article on our content support web portal.

Once the master HDR grade is complete, you simply run the Dolby Vision analysis to automatically generate three metadata values for each shot that represent the minimum, average, and maximum luminance levels. This function is integrated into the most popular video color-grading and mastering tools. The Dolby Vision shot-by-shot metadata then allows you to see the content tone-mapped in real time, to SDR Rec. 709 100 nits, (as well as other HDR display targets like 600 nits), through a Content Mapping Unit (CMU for short). This can be either an internal integrated process or an external unit (iCMU or eCMU).

When viewing the mapped version through the CMU process, many content creators then want to make adjustments to the metadata on a shot-by-shot basis using additional "artistic trim controls." This creates an additional level of metadata in a fast and easy way. The combined automatic and artistic trim metadata travels with the HDR image to Dolby Vision TV’s and devices to help best deliver the creative intent of the HDR master by mapping each shot to the capabilities of the consumer device. Analysis metadata creation is included in many professional video tools at no charge. Artistic trims are available in color-grading systems but require an annual license from Dolby.

For more information or to find out how to get the license contact us.

Dolby Vision workflow tutorials

Learn the essentials of Dolby Vision content creation and delivery in these twelve short videos from the Dolby Institute.

Dolby Vision Training and Tutorials for Creators - Dolby Professional

This 12-part series will guide you through the essentials of Dolby Vision® post-production and delivery workflows. Learn why Dolby Vision is the perfect match for any HDR project, and how productions of all types can leverage the power of Dolby®.
Learn More

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Mastering and QC workflow for TVs and other devices

Once color grading is complete, you can create all of your high-quality deliverables using the HDR master grade and Dolby Vision metadata. You can either export the final grade in the highest image quality, typically a 16-bit TIFF sequence or other uncompressed image container, and the accompanying Dolby Vision dynamic metadata as an XML file for the deep archive master and/or also directly as an IMF package or J2K Mezzanine with interleaved metadata (as a service master). 

These archive masters, or mezzanines, can then be imported into a Dolby Vision mastering tool to create the mezzanine file (or service master) and if needed, perform any additional editorial functions. This file can also be used to create and deliver all other rendered versions like generic HDR10 and SDR Rec 709.

These tools are also used for QC by decoding the image and metadata to a target display, like a 600-nit HDR monitor. You can QC just the Dolby Vision XML using the Dolby Metafier tool, included with the Dolby annual license.

The project is then ready for Dolby Vision encoding by a compatible encoder which generates a Dolby Vision HEVC bitstream. This process is usually completed by the studio, streaming service, or there are on-premise and or cloud encoding solutions that support Dolby Vision.

Bring Dolby Vision to your projects

Whether you choose the basic "automatic" free version or the enhanced "artistic trims" version and paid software tools  license, Dolby Vision can improve your workflow and help you create and deliver the best-looking content.

Dolby Vision integrated solution (No Dolby license required)

The top modern color correction and mastering systems listed below offer integrated Dolby Vision capabilities at no additional charge from Dolby. What can you do without a license?*

  • Add shot-by-shot Dolby Vision automatic metadata to your HDR projects. These three analysis values define how each shot should be tone-mapped based on the device capabilities or target output.
  • Internal Content Mapping (iCMU) support fwith the iCMU for real-time, tone-mapped playback of the automatic dynamic metadata to a specific target like SDR Rec. 709 100 nits or HDR PQ P3/Rec 2020 600 nits. This process emulates mapping on the consumer TV or device.
  • Export Dolby Vision XML
  • Export Dolby Vision mezzanine or IMF package
  • Import a Dolby Vision mezzanine or IMF package and map to a target and playback for QC
  • Render out specific deliverables from the Dolby Vision master – like an SDR Rec. 709 file derived from the process
  • Add per frame Dolby Vision metadata to easily convert HDR10 files into Dolby Vision.

*Support may vary per partner tool. Consult with each partner as to the specific features supported and any potential additional costs that may occur. "No license" indicates no additional charge from Dolby.


The Dolby Vision mastering and playback annual license

This Dolby Vision license unlocks the full artistic trim controls to create an additional layer of metadata unleashing the most powerful, comprehensive HDR mastering tools in your professional color-grading system. The $2,500 annual license works on multiple machines in your facility and it includes all the features listed above and adds these capabilities:

  • Activates the full shot-by-shot artistic  trims to adjust the mapping. This is most commonly used by colorists to create shows for top studios.
  • Adds support for the optional external Content Mapping Unit (eCMU). The eCMU supports additional workflows like HDMI Tunneling for real-time review on a Dolby Vision consumer TV.
  • Adds the Dolby Vision Professional Suite of command line tools:

Metafier: a software tool for managing, editing and verifying XML metadata

CM Offline: a software tool for rendering Rec. 709 and other deliverables

Mezzinator: a software tool for creating Dolby Vision mezzanines

CM Analyze: a software tool that can create Dolby Vision shot or frame-based (aka "long play") analysis metadata from an HDR10 deliverable

Contact us here to find out more about obtaining a license.


Other tools (not from Dolby)

Dolby Vision compatible color-grading systems:

  • Autodesk Lustre
  • Autodesk Flame 2021
  • Blackmagic Design
    Davinci Resolve
  • Digital Vision Nucoda
  • Filmlight Baselight
  • Grass Valley RIO
  • SGO Mistika

To learn more about what these tools support, read this article on our content support web portal.


Content Mapping Unit (eCMU) hardware (optional)

  • The CMU process is either internally integrated into Dolby Vision compatible third-party tools or is software that runs on specified external hardware. The hardware is not included and can be purchased separately from an authorized system integrator. Currently it only supports CM version 2.9. For more information on CM version 2.9, read this article on our content support hub.


Authorized CMU system integrators:

Dolby License for professional manufacturers and OEMs

If you are a manufacturer of a grading, mastering, editorial, or other professional application or device, you can apply for a Dolby Vision license here.

Dolby Vision training and certification

With the growing demand for Dolby Vision content worldwide, gaining a deep understanding of the Dolby Vision tools and workflow has never been more important. There are several options and resources for you to learn how to create your content in Dolby Vision.

Dolby Institute self-guided online training (free)

With our self-guided educational resource from the Dolby Institute, you can work at your own pace by focusing on and revisiting the modules that are most relevant to you. The content is the same as the full live instructor-based curriculum, but using videos, graphics, and text pages with built-in logical breaks as well as testing, to make sure that you’ve understood the key concepts.

Start your free training now!


Live online training with a Dolby Instructor

Previously only available to top post facilities as part of the Dolby Vision facility certification program, you can now, as an individual, get the nearly eight-hour, in-depth, and interactive Dolby Vision training with a Dolby instructor. The online training sessions are carried out in a small group (in English or Spanish) for only $400 per person. Group discounts may be available. The program includes:

            Module 1: Dolby Vision and HDR Theory/Overview/Workflow – 3 Hours

            Module 2: Color Grading (with DaVinci Resolve) – 2.5 Hours

            Module 3: Mastering, Deliverables, and QC – 2 Hours

Note: This course is targeted at professional colorists, engineers, etc creating content for streaming services, networks, and movie studios. It assumes a basic level of color correction and color science knowledge.

Click here for more details


Dolby Vision individual certification

Whether you are a colorist or engineer, finish off your Dolby Vision training experience by becoming a Dolby Vision certified individual for $250. This involves passing both an online multiple-choice test and a practical test where you download a color-graded HDR file/EDL, add titles, dissolves/fades and create the Dolby Vision metadata, as well as create a Dolby Vision IMF package to submit to a Dolby instructor (much like the QC process for a streaming show). Once passing both portions, certified individuals will be allowed to use a Dolby Vision Certified logo on their website or email signature and be listed below on

Note: Certification is designed for professional colorists, engineers, etc creating content for streaming services, networks, and movie studios. It requires a standard level of color correction and color science experience to deliver those shows in SDR. The test requires a clear understanding of the detailed process, and it is therefore strongly recommended to take the training first with only two attempts to pass before a repurchase is required.

Click here for more details


Dolby Vision Certified Professionals

The Dolby Vision Facility Certification program has closed for new applications in most countries as we have transitioned to the new individual training and certification.

See all Dolby Vision Certified Professionals here.