What Blackmagic Design has created under the hood of DaVinci Resolve is akin to Pandora’s box, and let me preference this bold statement with this; if one applies and setups the shared storage well. This is where I might have failed and eventually given up and I suspect my experience is pretty common. Think of this as the deep dive into a complicated game where you have alternative missions and paths to reveal; sometimes it is worth it.
This is all about multiple users who can use the program simultaneously. Usually, the picture is locked before color correction or grading is kicked off with gusto. What DaVinci Resolve has done is add collaboration tools so multiple team members can work simultaneously. Theoretically, this means a shorter post-production time frame as everyone works at the same time. Meaning the entire post-production workflow must remain under one roof and one shared storage solution.
The question begs to be asked; who can do what and when? When it comes to editing only one user can edit a timeline at a time. Color correction is more flexible. Multiple colorists can color different clips at the same time, but they cannot color the same clip because, well, that might be counterproductive. Fairlight Audio editing follows the same reasoning as video editing in that only one audio editor can work on a timeline at once. What I like is the thought of a head editor overseeing all the work from their dedicated DaVinci Resolve. There they can ask assistant editors to work on different timelines and oversee the color correction immediately after a clip is colored. The chat tool is a great feature that will increase collaboration between team members and I think without any chat tool most of these other smart collaboration tools might be used less.
Now, I don’t consider myself the aptest with computers and shared storage systems but I am also no slouch either. I can usually find my way around those dark corridors of the computer world, but… there needs to be a simpler option for setting up the shared storage solution for DaVinci Resolve. What Blackmagic has now will be, or continue to be, a little bit of a barrier for creatives like myself? The team I usually collaborate with had a little bit of trouble setting this up exactly right. If Blackmagic Design wants DaVinci Resolve and its collaboration tools to become the industry standard then they must make it super easy for everyone to implement. Otherwise, the great and wonderful tools they have created will not be used nearly as often as they should. Blackmagic needs to get a more detailed list of instructions or offer up an easier solution soon if not immediately. The lack of informational help from Blackmagic Design about this feature is acute.
I can say, after editing a bit in DaVinci Resolve I found I really like their toolset and features. I feel like Blackmagic has looked at other NLEs and found what they like and found their own way to add them. There are also features I can only find in DaVinci Resolve like their audio waveform overlay on the video preview monitor. Seeing video with an audio waveform can be an incredible way to find the right audio you want with the video. Once I turned this feature on I left it on.
For shooters and editors who work with a dual recording system, audio recorded separate from the video, you will find the audio syncing feature a time saver. Yes, there are plugins and other NLEs which offer this feature too, but I think it was an important one for DaVinci Resolve to included to be taken seriously. Anything to speed up the syncing process is much appreciated.
Right now DaVinci Resolve is the only editor with an After Effects style keyframe view. For effects editing, this is paramount to dialing in. Did I use it often, no, but I can see someone with the need to do so and do so quickly.
There is one feature I am missing and that’s the ability to have multiple sequences open at the same time. Adobe Premiere has this feature and I use it for every single edit. This is about editing speed and finding the best shots you shot in one place. After a shoot, I usually go through the broll and make a timeline of my favorites. In Premiere I put this timeline below my work sequence and drag and drop my favorite broll into the edit I am working on at the time. If Blackmagic Design can add this ability to their software I might be a very happy editor.
The legendary color that continues to prove itself. If you are not color grading with a Mini or Micro Panel yet you are missing the finer details these tools can offer up colorists. Yes, you can use a mouse or trackpad to move your color wheel but I have found one can only get so fine of an adjustment with these tools. When I use a Micro Panel I immediately see the difference and level of detail adjustments I can make faster. If you want to read an entire review dedicated to the Micro Panel then check out what I wrote here.
Talking about faster; the panels speed up the workflow. They. Just. Do. Once you have become accustomed to the layout the muscle memory kicks in and color correction feels like a more natural hand movement then it does when using a mouse.
Now, I am not an audio expert so I turned to Kent State’s current production audio specialist Scott Hallgren to share the details on the addition of Fairlight in Blackmagic’s DaVinci Resolve. Scott takes it from here. “The prospect of jumping from video platform to the audio platform and back in post-production can be daunting and requires organization and time. I have to say the idea of an integrated platform is certainly worthwhile, especially for those who are routinely a one-person shop or used to working with a very small team. The new Fairlight Audio section in DaVinci is a powerful player in its own right, and could easily match any of the Avid/Adobe/Apple options out there right now. One of the most striking things about the addition of Fairlight is the flexibility of creating macros for sound editing workflows – great if you do lots of commercial projects with similar lengths and content. Wisely, they’ve included a free version which will certainly bring students/curious pros aboard. Add in support for VST plug-ins and multi-channel audio support, and I think there’s an exciting new player in the DAW market.”
Blackmagic, in its wisdom, understands the biggest barrier for Resolve adopters is the program and its appearance as complicated software. It isn’t, but they can feel the stress of editors who don’t want to fumble through new software on a project. Training. Training… dedicated certificate program and books.