First Impressions: Blackmagic’s DaVinci Resolve 12

By Brady Betzel

While I wasn’t able to get to Las Vegas for NAB this year, I was definitely there in spirit thanks to constant Twitter updates and blog posts around the web. The company that stood out to me the most was Blackmagic Design. They introduced tons of awesome equipment and products, including the latest update to DaVinci Resolve. I was really interested in what I was seeing: multicam workflow, AAF exporting, 3D tracking… it was overwhelming.

You might have noticed that in addition to my day job as an editor at Margarita Mix, I do a lot of product reviews. I love the process. Why wouldn’t I? I get to play with the latest and greatest offerings in production and post.

While I don’t have the DaVinci Resolve 12 update yet, the senior director of marketing and all around guru for Blackmagic, Paul Saccone, gave me an in-depth tour of what is going to be released in the latest version. Before I review the software I wanted to share a couple of key updates that are seemingly turning DaVinci Resolve into what many had hoped Avid Symphony would maybe turn into.

Multicamera Workflow
Working with multiple cameras can often be tricky. Syncing and grouping them together isn’t always as straightforward as one would hope. When I was an assistant editor I remember spending hours and days grouping footage. Sometimes I would be able to sync by timecode and sometimes not. I would be lucky to get a clap or some sort of sync reference from the people recording in the field. When none of that was available and my clips seemingly had very little in common I would resort to using PluralEyes by Red Giant, which is still a great and useful tool. The only problem is that it’s an external app and if I can avoid it I would much rather work inside my NLE or online suite.

Blackmagic has added what seems to be an awesome integration of multicam workflow into Resolve 12. You can even sync by audio, just like PluralEyes does! That should be a great feature.

The best part about Resolve 12’s multicam workflow is the ability to modify and add to existing groups by simply editing the group like a sequence. If your group is out of sync, open up the group sequence, put it in sync and your group will be immediately updated. For us Avid users out there this means no more re-grouping yuck. You can even add cameras or audio tracks to your group later!

Nested Timelines
You can now nest a sequence inside of your current sequence. If you are assembling a final edit you may want to lay out your acts in linear order for timing reasons and then once all the acts are “final” (we know nothing is ever final), you can now “decompose in place,” meaning break out all of your clip-based edits in the same timeline you are working in without having to overcut. Really a great feature.

3D Keyer and Tracker
If you’ve seen how Imagineer System’s/BorisFx Mocha Pro planar tracker works or Adobe After Effects’ 3D tracker works, you know there are some amazing options to track. Unfortunately these are usually not the tools you work in to conform and online your work. In Resolve 12, there is a new 3D tracker and 3D keyer that from first glance will be all you need for basic to semi-advanced work. It doesn’t seem like these will be full replacements of Keylight in After Effects or planar tracking in Mocha Pro, but if Blackmagic can keep me in one NLE/coloring platform/compositor without having to farm out tasks to After Effects or another program, I am definitely listening.

The features I listed here are only a couple that I think are amazing. In addition, there are features like shot color matching, AAF to Pro Tools export, improved media management features, improved trimming functions, overall layout improvement, smart bins and many more.

I hope to review DaVinci Resolve 12 in a few months, and am really excited to run it through its paces. I’ve been venturing deeper into different compositing apps, coloring correcting packages and NLEs and am really impressed by the way Blackmagic is digging in and starting to outpace other software and hardware makers. Maybe they really can make the ultimate NLE/compositor/color corrector — we’ll have to wait and see.

If you want to get a quick video run through of the new features being released, check out Blackmagic Design’s website and click on “What’s New.” You can also follow them on Twitter @Blackmagic_News.

Brady Betzel is an online editor at Margarita Mix in Hollywood. Previously, he was editing The Real World at Bunim Murray Productions. You can email Brady at bradybetzel@gmail.com, and follow him on Twitter, @allbetzroff.


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