Initial thoughts on DaVinci Resolve
COVID-19 hasn't been kind to any of us. Aside from either being terrified to leave our homes, bored of lockdown, and worried about our loved ones, the threat of Coronavirus has also meant a lot of individuals have found themselves furloughed, low on work, or worse, unemployed.
Here at Tower View Media, we are feeling the effects like everyone else. Our workload has definitely decreased, as we take on more remote projects; mostly animation and editing. However, we won't let this virus take us down. We're using this quieter period to learn new skills and softwares, brush up our knowledge, and get creative!
It was always our intention to get to grips with DaVinci Resolve. Originally created as a colour correcting programme in 2009 by Blackmagic, it has since evolved into a fully-fledged editing software. And the best bit? It's completely free.
Compared to it's biggest competitor, the industry-standard Adobe Premiere Pro, Resolve automatically wins points on its price. As my fellow media industry workers will know, Premiere retails at £20 a month to rent, and even worse, you never own it. Resolve does also host a pro version of its software, DaVinci Resolve Studio, at a one-off payment of £269. But the free version has 95% of what the paid version includes, and is perfect if you want to try your hand at video editing without the upfront cost.
But putting aside the price points, what did I really think of Resolve?
As Resolve is not the current industry go-to, I immediately stumbled into some hurdles. Finding training information was no easy task! When opening a new software for the first time, even as an experienced editor, learning to navigate all the different windows, tabs and sections without guidance is a challenge in itself.
I quickly jumped on Lynda.com, which offers a free month trial for LinkedIn Members. Here I found a few courses on the basics of DaVinci.
Breaking it down
Let's start with DaVinci's layout. It's separated into 7 pages: Media, Cut, Edit, Fusion, Colour, Fairlight, and Deliver. After being so used to using Premiere, I have to say the Cut Page seems unnecessary to me.
Blackmagic's website describes the Cut Page for:
"...editors working on high end fast turn around...[it's] all about speed. It’s an alternate edit page with a streamlined interface and revolutionary new tools that will help you work faster than ever."
I have to say, I definitely did not find the Cut Page to be quicker or easier than its counterpart, the Edit Page. It's almost trying to be too helpful, like that overly keen kid in class who ends up getting everyone an extra homework assignment. They think they're being helpful, but it's just resulted in more work than if you'd just stuck to the norm.
Supposedly the Cut Page is for editors on the move with a speedy turnaround, such as Vloggers and YouTubers. But I have to say, I still don't understand it. That's a very small and specific audience to create a full section of a programme for. If you're looking for basic editing software where you can just quickly drop footage in a timeline, cut it down, render and export it, the Cut Page is for you. But I have to be honest and say I don't know many editors who would want or use this feature.
Most editors will work long and hard on an edit to ensure it is of the highest quality and to the exact specifications of their client. In regards to this, the Cut Page seems to me, more like a kiddy toy than high-grade editing software.
My biggest gripes with DaVinci Resolve, aside from the aforementioned Cut Page, is its lack of a user-friendly interface. Perhaps I've just used Premiere Pro too long, but I did find a lot of, what I would consider, simple tasks on an edit, took a lot longer on DaVinci than on Premiere. For example, adding transitions between shots. Premiere Pro has a simple drag and drop system, whereas DaVinci has very few built-in transitions, and very few available to download as add-ons, requiring you to create your own through keyframes.
When I'm editing a video for a client with a 24-hour turnaround, the last thing I want to be doing is spending an hour of that time keyframing a single transition.
So, what is it good for?
Now I've discussed some of the downfalls of Resolve, it's time to cover areas where it exceeds Premiere. The colour correction of Resolve is, as expected, brilliant. As it was originally designed as a colour correction programme, this comes as no surprise.
I was also a massive fan of having an entire page specifically for audio editing. With Premiere, one can modify the basics but often relies on editing the audio more profoundly in Adobe Audition, which is then another programme which requires you to pay monthly. In Resolve, I can edit my audio without ever leaving my primary editing software.
So, is DaVinci Resolve for you?
If you're new to the world of editing and want to try your hand at it, I definitely think Resolve is a good programme to start with. DaVinci Resolve's website and Lynda both offer walkthrough videos covering the basics of video editing, before moving on to the more advanced areas like audio, VFX and colour correction. If you're a Vlogger or YouTuber looking to save money on hiring an editor, the Cut Page will allow you to quickly edit your videos to the most basic level. If you're looking to cut costs on your editing programmes, DaVinci Resolve is definitely one to consider, if you can spare the time to wrap your head around its interface.
I for one will continue attempting to learn the ins and outs of Resolve. Unfortunately, the frustration of its less-than-user-friendly interface certainly makes it no easy task.
If you're interested in learning the basics of video editing with DaVinci Resolve, I recommend this course on Lynda by Patrick Inhofer.