Blackmagic has been working long and hard to make their flagship color grading software (Resolve) a full fledged NLE and finishing system. While previous iterations of the software offered solid editorial functionality, it wasn’t until version 12 that everything changed. Personally speaking, I’ve had such an amazing experience editing projects on Resolve 12 that it’s quickly becoming my go-to editing platform.
As I’ve mentioned on this site many times before, I’m pretty much software agnostic. I’ll use whatever tool suits the task best, regardless of brand. I run FCP X, Premiere Pro, and Avid (in addition to Resolve of course), and understand that they each have their place.
Up until recently, I would run the majority of my projects through FCP X as it was by far and away the fastest system for me to work on – especially given the type of projects that I’m often tackling. That said, I would still often choose Premiere Pro for certain jobs or even Avid (very rarely) for others. But now, more and more of my projects have been running through Resolve, and I don’t doubt that trend will continue.
Resolve no longer feels like a dedicated color grading app. It now feels like a full blown finishing system that has the best color tools available, built right in… With that in mind, I’ve listed 5 of the main reasons why I believe DaVinci Resolve is the becoming the best editing platform out there.
It’s worth noting that this post isn’t intended to outline a comprehensive list of Resolve’s features. The point is really to focus on the experiential elements of using Resolve as your editing system, so you can understand the true benefit of running your projects through it:
For me, speed is king when it comes to editing software, and there’s no question that Resolve’s unique toolset and structure allows you to work extremely quickly.
A huge amount of the new tools that Resolve offers (such as Optimizing Media for instance), are designed to enhance your editing sessions, simplify your workflow, and most importantly – speed up your process, and they definitely deliver on all accounts. Above and beyond the tools themselves, the fundamental structure of Resolve is designed in a way that will get you to the finish line more efficiently than ever. From ingest, to editing, to color, to delivery, your entire pipeline can be contained within the Resolve eco-system.
The render speeds on Resolve in particular are hard to beat.
For the purpose of this article, I ran a quick test in which I converted an MXF file using Apple Compressor, and then outputted the same file via Resolve. Needless to say, Resolve was able to convert it to ProRes 422 file in under 10 seconds while Compressor took 55:
This definitely wasn’t a scientific test, but it was an accurate representation of speed under pretty normal working circumstances.
Best Of Both Worlds
Blackmagic seems to offer many of the best elements from several different NLE’s, all housed in one package. For instance, FCP X-style features like Compound Clips, Optimized Media, .fcpxml support, Optical Flow and many more are all present. Yet at the same time, more traditional Premiere/Avid trim tools, timeline functions, and UI elements help to round out the overall experience.
In many ways, I feel like Resolve 12 is the NLE that FCP 7 users had been waiting for all of these years. It offers the same track based system that many editors are most comfortable with, but also provides truly innovative tools that feel very forward thinking. The bottom is line is this is a very easy software to transition to. It may look daunting at first – especially once you hit the color page, but I assure you that the editorial tools are highly intuitive and within a few minutes of using the app you’ll feel right at home.
One my favorite aspects of DaVinci Resolve has always been it’s versatility… And this is something I appreciated just as much even when strictly using Resolve as a color grading app. Now that my editorial workflow is largely moving into Resolve as well, the versatility of the software is even more obvious.
When I say “versatility”, really what I’m saying is that Resolve plays well with others. It can accept just about any file format or translation file you want to throw at it, and can output those same formats just as easily. When in a pinch, I’ll often use Resolve as an intermediate step in my editorial workflow for that reason. For instance, I’ve had situations where I needed to bring a Premiere project into FCP X (or vice-versa) and used Resolve to import and export the XML files, allowing me to port the project back and forth.
I know without a doubt that I’ll make very good use of this ability now that I’m editing so much directly in Resolve. When I need to collaborate with other team members that are working with other NLEs, send out translation files for VFX work, or tackle any other cross-platform task, I’ll be confident in Resolve’s ability to step up to the plate.
Some people in the past have had the misconception that certain sacrifices would need to be made in order to use Resolve as an NLE. They thought familiar tools would be missing, the editing capabilities wouldn’t be as robust, and the learning curve would be really steep. In reality though, none of this is true. In fact, the tools couldn’t be better and it’s a very straightforward platform to learn.
It’s not a question of whether or not Resolve can do what other NLE’s can do, it’s what it can do that the others can’t. Features like multi-cam editing, motion paths, trim tools, audio mixing and many more, not only get the job done well, but excel at it.
I’m using the full “Studio” edition of Resolve on my main system since I already own it, but I could easily get all of my work done with the free version if I had to. Blackmagic generously offers both options to it’s customers and they are very wise for doing so.
One of the biggest issues I have with the Adobe subscription model isn’t just the price, but the inability to install the software on more than a couple machines. I understand that a software company can’t give out unlimited licenses just because you purchased one copy, but there needs to be an effective solution for working on multiple machines as a single user. DaVinci Resolve solves this problem entirely by offering their free version.
At my post facility, I have Resolve Studio installed in my main color suite, and the free version installed on my other machines. That way I can easily send projects through to my “B” and “C” systems on the network and work on them seamlessly, before eventually outputting on my main machine if I need the added tools offered in the Studio version.
I never would have thought that so many years after FCP X hit the market, the post-production world would still be so fragmented. Premiere Pro may have stole a lot of ex-FCP 7 users, but Premiere certainly doesn’t dominate the market like FCP 7 once did.
That said, if things in the post-world are ever going to settle into place, I believe Resolve is the one application that could make that happen. The price alone is going to entice a huge slew of editors on a budget, and the unbelievably powerful feature set and color capabilities will make it a no-brainer for professionals that haven’t yet given it a chance.
If you’d like to learn more about Resolve’s tools, tech specs, and other relevant info – please visit www.blackmagicdesign.com
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