When Blackmagic Design acquired the assets of the legendary but financially troubled post-production company da Vinci Systems in 2009, it took over stewardship of Resolve, a color-editing tool with roots going back to the videotape-grading tools the original company developed in the 1980s. The company stepped up the R&D budget for the program, and a succession of upgrades has turned Resolve into one of the most powerful yet least-known video editing tools.
The company never diverged from the color-editing legacy of the original Resolve, and while revisions, including the new DaVinci Resolve 14, have been packed full of high-power editing and audio tools, it still boasts one of the best color-grading tools in the industry. [For the complete list of DaVinci Resolve 14’s new features, see the full press release below.]
As a director of photography who mostly shoots news promotions, an occasional music video, small documentaries and sometimes short films, I have relied on DaVinci Resolve for quick, powerful editing. I was an early adopter of the Blackmagic Cinema Camera, and I wanted to shoot raw video immediately after the camera arrived in my office. I got my wish, and it opened a world of cinematography I had yet to really experience.
Just as the real daVinci was known for capturing vibrant colors, nice contrast and subtle tonal ranges to his images, so, too, does Resolve allow for the ultimate fine-tuning of color in video. Even back in the Renaissance Age, fine artists took the time to paint the world around them a little bit more beautifully than their world appeared in reality. In many ways, this type of artistic license is very much still present in video and cinema work today.
Tools to color, or sweeten, still photography have been around for years. Photographers have Adobe Lightroom, Photoshop and a number other different programs to edit, crop and color their work. Yet with video color-correction, software no longer deals with a single still photograph but at least 24 frames per second, and this is where Blackmagic Design’s DaVinci Resolve comes into play.
Resolve is based around a 32-bit floating dedicated YRGB color-correction program, and the new version adds acceleration to color grading, editing and audio work. The program just has more color-correction features than many NLEs. For the reasonable price of $299 for the studio option, you won’t find a better program to finesse your moving images. There’s also a free version of Resolve 14, albeit with a more limited tool set; the studio version adds multi-user collaboration features and more effects.
Who uses DaVinci Resolve? In the past, DaVinci Resolve was priced so high only well-funded post-production houses with specialized colorists were afforded the opportunity to work with the software. Thankfully, those days when professional tools were only affordable to the few are over. Now, DaVinci Resolve is being used by wedding videographers, indie filmmakers and Hollywood alike. Here’s how I use it.
Let’s start with something that may be little mystifying to still photographers. Some video cameras can shoot a picture profile meant to help the camera extend the dynamic range of the video. This is called log, and it typically means your log video will have a flat, de-saturated look to the image. Cameras that shoot raw video will shoot with a similar picture profile meant to extend the dynamic range. This is all to keep your bright whites in the scene from blowing out and losing detail, and also to retain information in the deep shadows. In other words, without color correction, this video straight from the camera may look flat and blah. Those who are wiser in the ways of Log video, please forgive me for my very simplistic explanation. (Right-clicking on a node reveals LUT options)
This is where a LUT, or Look Up Table, comes into play. This is all complex math, and be grateful your computer and DaVinci Resolve, like many programs, can help you here. In DaVinci Resolve, I’ll select a LUT to match the footage I shot with the color space in which it will eventually be displayed.
If you have any number of cameras capable of shooting raw video, like Blackmagic’s URSA Mini Pro or Pocket Cinema Camera, then you’ll need DaVinci Resolve to process that raw data you captured into a video codec capable of editing. You can, of course, edit in DaVinci Resolve, too. It’s a pretty robust editor, especially so the introduction of the new DaVinci Resolve 14 Beta software.
Once you shoot raw video, you’ll need to set up your DaVinci Resolve correctly. If you have a less-than-ideal computer, like me, then you can change your setting to help you along. First, let’s go to the setting in DaVinci Resolve. It’s the little gear logo on the bottom right of the program. Once in your settings, go to the “Camera Raw” page. There, you’ll find a choice between ARRIRAW and a few other flavors. If you’re shooting with a Blackmagic camera, then you’ll choose CinemaDNG. If you have a fast computer, then go ahead and select a higher decode quality. I usually select a quarter of the original resolution so my video playback is much smoother.
Like with many editing programs, you’ll need to place your media in a bin. This is just as simple as in any other NLE program. Drag the footage you want to edit and color-grade down into the master bin. Then select the Edit page by choosing Edit on the bottom of the DaVinci Resolve user interface. This is where you can edit the footage you want to color correct.
As Blackmagic Design continues to update DaVinci Resolve, it’s the editing features it’s typically trying to improve. Choose what you want to color correct and drag it down to the timeline. Now you can move onto color correcting your footage. This is the fun part.
On the color page, you’ll notice a couple of sections. The primary color wheels are on the bottom left, the main tool you’ll use to style your footage, and it goes from shadows to mid-tones to highlights. In the top center of the user interface, you’ll see your viewer, and just to the right of the viewer you’ll see the node graph. DaVinci Resolve is a node-based program, not a layer-based program like traditional nonlinear editors. The best way to think about node-based editing is to do one effect per node. Then you can reorganize, if you please.
Also known as exporting, Deliver is just what it sounds like it should be. You’re going to export your footage to whatever flavor video codec you want it to be. Blackmagic has a few presets for Adobe Premiere, Avid and Final Cut.
Using Duet App
Since I’m on a MacBook Pro, I don’t have a ton of screen options when I’m on the road. What I do to spread out my DaVinci Resolve user interface is to use an app called Duet on my iPhone or iPad. This app turns your smart device into a second screen. I then go into my system preferences and adjust my screen arrangements to my liking. This allows me to place the necessary color-correction scopes like waveform, vectorscope and an RGB parade onto one of these devices. The screen is large enough to see the necessary detail when I’m doing a quick color grade on the footage, though I prefer to use a bigger screen for fine finessing.
Brian Hallett is the promotions manager at the NBC affiliate in Nashville, Tennessee, and an award-winning cameraman, editor, and producer. He has shot everything from broadcast television news, promotional image campaigns, music videos, short films and documentaries. First and foremost, Brian is a cameraman, and since 1999 his skills have allowed him to work for Spike TV, NBC, Fox and CBS.
>> DaVinci Resolve 14 Features <<
At NAB 2017, Blackmagic announced the latest edition of Resolve, packed full of improvements. Blackmagic is calling this the biggest release in the history of the product, designed not just to be an incremental update but a post-production revolution. If you already have Blackmagic’s DaVinci Resolve, then the update is free.
The company has added hundreds of new editing, coloring and audio features—although the company cautioned at its press launch at NAB that audio tools are still under development. Public feedback on their functionality is welcomed, but audio is a major focus of this update. Audio mixing will support up to 1,000 channels and allow editors to master sound in the 3D audio space with the Fairlight audio tools now built in.
The company claims performance updates up to 10x from the previous versions. Version 14 has CPU and GPU performance overhauled, faster UI times, support for Apple’s Metal GPU acceleration tools to improve the back end, and 4K editing and instant scrubbing is now possible on a laptop.
Colorists will find more than 20 new Resolve FX filters to easily remove dust, dead pixels and more. Face tracking allows for automated skin tone adjustments, and new image stabilization tools speed the colorist workflow.
Here’s a short and incomplete list of what’s new, with a full list of features available on the company’s website at blackmagicdesign.com/products/davinciresolve
- Fairlight audio
- Better performance
- Automatic facial recognition
- New playback engine 10x faster
- Resolve FX
- Multi-user collaboration
- Open storage
- Bin locking
- Built-in chat
- Timeline comparison
- Wide-format support
- Clone tool
- Audio overlays
- Multi-camera editing
For Immediate Release
Blackmagic Design Announces DaVinci Resolve 14
NAB 2017, Las Vegas, USA – April 24, 2017 – Blackmagic Design today announced DaVinci Resolve 14, the biggest release in the history of the product, and an update that has been designed to be more than an incremental software update, but a complete revolution in post production. Blackmagic Design believes the new DaVinci Resolve will break through the stagnant toolsets used in post production, and offer a new path forward for the smallest as well as the largest facilities in the world.
New features include up to 10 times performance improvement, a whole new audio post production suite with Fairlight audio built into DaVinci Resolve, and multi user collaboration tools that let multiple people edit, color and mix audio from multiple systems, all in the same project at the same time.
What this means is that DaVinci Resolve 14 is like 3 high end applications in one. Customers get professional editing, color correction and the new Fairlight audio tools. All it takes is a single click to switch between editing, color and audio. Then the new multi user collaboration tools let everyone work on the same project at the same time, so customers no longer have to import, export, translate or conform projects.
DaVinci Resolve 14 dramatically changes post production from a linear to a parallel workflow, so everyone can work at the same time, giving editors, colorists and audio engineers more time to be creative.
A public beta of DaVinci Resolve 14 will be available today and for immediate download from the Blackmagic Design website. DaVinci Resolve 14 will also be demonstrated on the Blackmagic Design NAB 2017 booth at #SL216.
DaVinci Resolve 14 Detailed Overview
DaVinci Resolve 14 features a new high performance playback engine that’s up to 10 times faster than before.
In addition to extensive CPU and GPU optimizations, customers also get better threading and GPU pipelining, lower latency, much faster UI refresh rates, support for Apple Metal and much more. This makes DaVinci Resolve 14 faster and more responsive than ever so customers get incredibly fluid performance and more precise editing, even on long timelines with thousands of clips. Scrubbing and playback are instantaneous and there is powerful new acceleration for processor intensive formats like H.264, making it possible to edit 4K images on a laptop.
Legendary Fairlight audio is now fully built into the DaVinci Resolve 14 application itself. Fairlight is famous for being used at the world’s highest end studios for audio post on film and television. Fairlight is known for both its superior sound quality and its speed. Customers get a massive set of professional audio tools for recording, editing and sweetening, professional bussing, mixing and routing, and multi format mastering to 3D audio formats such as 5.1, 7.1, Dolby and even 22.2. The state of the art, super low latency audio engine is designed to work with 48KHz 24-bit audio and delivers up to 1,000 tracks with real time EQ, dynamics processing and plug-ins on every track when used with the Fairlight Audio Accelerator. Plus the new Fairlight audio can record up to 96 channels while simultaneously playing back up to 150 audio channels, while mixing it all in real time! There simply is no other software available with this level of dedicated audio power.
The new Fairlight audio in DaVinci Resolve 14 features a full multi track timeline for subframe editing of audio, down to the sample level. The mixer is designed to let customers create sophisticated sequences and has several main, sub and aux buses for mastering and delivering to multiple formats at the same time. Every channel on the mixer features real time 6 band parametric EQ, along with expander/gate, compressor and limiter dynamics. Clip time warping lets customers stretch or compress audio without shifting pitch. In addition, every single parameter can be automated, even VST plug ins, using a variety of automation modes.
In addition to audio editing, sweetening, and mixing, Fairlight audio in DaVinci Resolve 14 also includes multi channel recording tools that are far superior to those found in most editing systems. Customers can record voice overs or even an entire symphony orchestra while also monitoring video and multiple channels of dialog and sound effects. The advanced monitoring can handle buses up to 24 channels wide with customizable fold-up and fold-down for crossing between formats. Monitoring can be done on up to 16 different sets of speakers, including massive cinematic installations.
DaVinci Resolve 14 works with the Fairlight Audio Accelerator card, which gives customers up to 1,000 zero latency tracks and real time effects processing for EQ, dynamics, and up to 6 VST plug ins per channel. Even without the accelerator, most modern computers can still process more than 60 tracks in real time. In addition, DaVinci Resolve 14 can also be used to drive the entire line of Fairlight hardware mixing consoles, which makes working on complex multi track projects faster than any other system available.
The advanced busing and mixing architecture also allows multi language and multi format delivery to be handled simultaneously from the same project, dramatically reducing the time required to deliver final masters.
All this editing, color correction and audio post production power also means multiple people need to work on the same job, at the same time. This is where the revolutionary new collaboration tools are vital to the dream of revolutionizing post production. The new collaboration tools completely redefines post production workflows by supporting simultaneous editing, color correction and audio post. Assistant editors can prepare footage while editors cut the picture, colorists grade the shots, and sound editors mix and finish audio, all in the same project at the same time.
New bin, clip and timeline locking lets users safely work on a specific part of the project without overwriting each other. There’s also a built in secure chat client that lets team members talk to each other from within DaVinci Resolve without the need for an external internet connection. This secure chat is vital because most high end facilities are unable to use services such as Slack or Skype for messaging because they need to remain completely disconnected from the internet to ensure security against hacking.
The new timeline comparison tool makes it fast and easy to see differences and merge changes between two timelines by viewing a side by side comparison of every single change made between users. Best of all, DaVinci Resolve 14 works with the storage you already have. There’s no need to buy expensive or proprietary storage and servers to work collaboratively.
The new multi user features of DaVinci Resolve 14 eliminate the need for importing, exporting, translating and conforming projects. Customers no longer have to wait for a locked edit before starting color and audio work. Switching between editing, color and audio is just a single click away. That means picture editors, colorists, and sound editors can all work in parallel, making DaVinci Resolve 14 the fastest way to edit, grade, mix and deliver projects.
In addition to the incredible performance improvements, editors also get new slip and slide trim commands that make it easier to dynamically trim live on the fly during playback. They can now save interface layout presets, view multiple bins at once and open multiple bin windows. New marker overlays, audio only and video only edit tools, track colors, and subframe audio editing make it the world’s most powerful creative editor.
For colorists, there are over 20 new Resolve FX filters that make it easy to remove dust, fix dead pixels, warp images and more. The amazing new face enhancement tool automatically recognizes and tracks facial features so colorists can quickly smooth skin, adjust skin tone, brighten eyes, and even change lip color, all without having to manually select or rotoscope any part of the image. The face enhancement tool is an indispensable feature that colorists will use every single day. In addition, there are new stabilization, match move, and other image processing tools that give colorists more creative options than ever before.
Customers can add a DaVinci Resolve Micro Panel, DaVinci Resolve Mini Panel or a DaVinci Resolve Advanced Control panel for the ultimate high speed workflow. All controls are logically placed near natural hand positions and are made out of the highest quality materials. Smooth, high resolution weighted trackballs and precision engineered knobs and dials feature the perfect amount of resistance for accurately adjusting any setting. The DaVinci Resolve control panels give colorists and editors fluid, hands on control over multiple parameters at the same time, allowing them to create looks that are simply impossible with a standard mouse.
“The overwhelming success of DaVinci Resolve has been incredibly exciting. It has become the world’s fastest growing editing system and now we’re taking it to the next level with DaVinci Resolve 14,” said Grant Petty, CEO, Blackmagic Design. “With this new version, we didn’t want to do an incremental update. We wanted to make a large leap forward and break new ground. It’s also much more exciting for the whole engineering team here at Blackmagic Design! We are really excited about how quickly editors are switching and we hope that a new generation of audio engineers will enter the industry. Together, we can all work to continue making it the best editing, color correction and now audio software in the world!”
Blackmagic Design also announced a price reduction for DaVinci Resolve Studio from $995 to only $299. It costs less than most annual cloud based subscription plans, making DaVinci Resolve more affordable to more customers.
The free version of DaVinci Resolve is also available with the same powerful new editing and audio post production features. The $299 DaVinci Resolve 14 Studio version adds the new collaborative multi user tools, over 20 new Resolve FX including the advanced face enhancement tools, 4K and 120fps project support, stereoscopic 3D, optical quality blur and mist effects, film grain, de-noise tools and much more. Best of all, DaVinci Resolve 14 Studio does not require a connection to the internet or a cloud subscription to work.
In addition, Blackmagic Design has also announced a new worldwide training and certification program, along with certified curriculum for DaVinci Resolve. Customers can learn at their own pace by purchasing the Blackmagic Design series of books, or they can take training courses online or in person at certified training centers. More details are available on the DaVinci Resolve website.
DaVinci Resolve 14 runs on all major platforms, including Mac, Windows and Linux, making it easy to integrate with existing systems and workflows. Customers running Red Hat or CentOS Linux can even build their own workstations using low cost motherboards, extremely fast processors, massive amounts of RAM and up to 8 GPUs for incredible real time performance.
Availability and Price
The public beta of DaVinci Resolve 14 is available today as a free download from the Blackmagic Design website for all current DaVinci Resolve and DaVinci Resolve Studio customers. DaVinci Resolve Studio is available for $299 from Blackmagic Design resellers worldwide.
Product photos of DaVinci Resolve 14, and all other Blackmagic Design products, are available at www.blackmagicdesign.com/press/images
About Blackmagic Design
Blackmagic Design creates the world’s highest quality video editing products, digital film cameras, color correctors, video converters, video monitoring, routers, live production switchers, disk recorders, waveform monitors and real time film scanners for the feature film, post production and television broadcast industries. Blackmagic Design’s DeckLink capture cards launched a revolution in quality and affordability in post production, while the company’s Emmy™ award winning DaVinci color correction products have dominated the television and film industry since 1984. Blackmagic Design continues ground breaking innovations including 6G-SDI and 12G-SDI products and stereoscopic 3D and Ultra HD workflows. Founded by world leading post production editors and engineers, Blackmagic Design has offices in the USA, UK, Japan, Singapore and Australia. For more information, please go to www.blackmagicdesign.com