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Blackmagic DaVinci Resolve 9 Beta Now Available to Download (For Free)

While the Blackmagic Cinema Camera is a great value for the hardware contained within, there is another huge benefit to buying the camera: it comes free with Blackmagic’s powerful color correction/grading program DaVinci Resolve. While the newest version, DaVinci Resolve 9, was set to be released in July, it has been slightly delayed (along with the camera). Blackmagic has, however, released a beta version of the program which is free to download from their site. Alexis Van Hurkman, a writer/director/colorist who we’ve covered here in the past with his post-NAB Resolve 9 demo, takes a look at some of his favorite features that are new to version 9.

If you haven’t seen his video, here it is again (he has also written books — as well as the manual to the new Version 9 — like Color Correction Handbook: Professional Techniques for Video and Cinema):

Here is his list of some major new features he is excited about:

  1. Mixed Frame Rate Support
  2. Lightbox View – view thumbnails of all of your clips and apply flags
  3. Clip Attributes – change multiple attributes all at once
  4. Metadata Editor – edit a seemingly infinite amount of metadata attributes
  5. Large Custom Curves
  6. Updated Video Scopes

I think two of the most interesting and powerful updates are the mixed frame rate support and the lightbox view. If Apple had continued development of its Color program, these are some of the improvements we would likely have seen (along with a new interface). This is what Alexis had to say about mixed frame rate support:

Prior versions of Resolve were constrained by only supporting a single frame rate in a particular project, but no more. Resolve 9 lets you mix and match whatever frame rates are necessary within a single project, so long as you turn on the “Handle mixed frame rate material” checkbox in the Master Project Settings panel of the new Project Settings window (available by clicking the gear icon in the lower left-hand corner). You have to turn this checkbox on before you import an AAF or XML mixed frame rate project (to learn why, check the manual). After you import your AAF or XML file with mixed frame rate media, you’ll want to make sure that your “Playback framerate” is identical to the “Calculate timecode at” setting for optimal performance.

When you are finished with your color correction or grading, you have the choice of rendering out as Source or Target mode. Source mode will leave each clip’s frame rate as it was, and Target mode will change the frame rate depending on the “calculate timecode at” setting. In addition to the unlimited frame rate support, the lightbox view is a welcome addition, and it will be extremely helpful for when you have tons of clips but you want to quickly find a specific one. You also have the ability to select multiple clips and create groups, as well as flag certain clips with information about what needs to be done to them.

Here is a photo of the new Lightbox tool (thanks to Alexis):

If I had a computer that could deal with Resolve 9 right now, I’d be downloading it immediately, but since I don’t, I’ll be looking for the reactions from you guys. What do you like about the new Resolve 9? Do you think it will improve your speed? If you haven’t used it before, do any of these options make you want to try it?

If you already have the full version of DaVinci Resolve 8, you’ll be able to get the full beta. If you just want to play around with the software, anyone is able to download the Resolve Lite 9 Beta, which will remain free but has a few limitations as compared to the full version. You can find the download links below. For the rest of the reactions from Alexis, head on over to his site.


[via Notes On Video & Alexis Van Hurkman – Thinking Aloud]


We’re all here for the same reason: to better ourselves as writers, directors, cinematographers, producers, photographers... whatever our creative pursuit. Criticism is valuable as long as it is constructive, but personal attacks are grounds for deletion; you don't have to agree with us to learn something. We’re all here to help each other, so thank you for adding to the conversation!

Description image 36 COMMENTS

  • The primary downside of Resolve is not the software itself, but the lack of appropriate hardware. You have to have a pretty powerful machine to run it, a 2007 Mac Pro won’t cut it. Graphic cards are pretty much everything, since it renders in real time. And to really utilize the power you need a Cuda enabled card, most of which aren’t cheap.

    If you have a powerful machine, than its fantastic! If not… well you always have Colorista right?

  • I would love to see an article here, or a discussion, or even some resources on the optimal machine to do certain tasks. I imagine most of us don’t have a $10,000 machine, but could at least get a bit of better performance by adding certain components and system tweaks. Something beyond put more ram and use SSDs.

    • I’ll be posting about a Mountain Lion hackintosh with the latest components soon.

      • resolve on windows 7 as well? :D

      • Koo – looking forward to it. The big issue is that Mountain Lion supports 6xx series NVidia GPU’s out of the box. That may be cool for some, but here are the issues I’m seeing:
        1. Word is, an OC GTX 680 is almost as fast as a GTX 580 in Resolve (abet less power usage.) VERY disappointing thus far seeing how many CUDA cores it has. It is being compared to the quadro 4000 series vs GTX 285. Remember how the 285 beat the more expensive card for computational processing?

        2. GTX 580 cards have sky rocketed in price because of this fact and since NVIDIA is not making them any more, supply has dwindled.

        3. The GTX 480 is slightly faster than than GTX 570 and almost as fast as the GTX 580 in Resolve. Again, runs hotter, uses more power but is more than 1/2 the price! I just ordered one for $219! Since the 4xx series are FERMI, they will need Lion or some inserts on the hack. I’m still on SL – I’m not too thrilled about Lion and questioning ML.

        4. Mountain Lion seems to have LOST speed in Premiere rendering with the GTX 285. Very disheartening.

        5. I can share results once I figure things out with my hackintosh: I have the GTX 285 and will soon obtain the GTX 480.

        • Thanks Matt — my GTX 285, for whatever reason, is no longer accelerating Premiere. It shows up in the GPU sniffer and Premiere gives me the option to select GPU acceleration but it has no measurable impact from software-only performance (with R3Ds, at least). So I’m definitely looking to add a card for the next recommended build. In fact I have a 660 Ti sitting here (tried it, didn’t work, then I read it’s worse than the 5XX series) so now I was thinking of trying the 570. Native support in ML is definitely a plus, and the Premiere Pro benchmarks that are out there show the top results all coming from 580/570s. Let me know what you find!

          • Hey, sent you a message. Yes, R3D is not gonna be accelerated by CUDA. Test with h.264 footage and see how the GTX 285 is doing. Also, the GHTX 480 has 1.5 GB RAM and about the same CUDA performance as the 570, yet 570 has 1.2 GB RAM. We know Resolve wants video memory.

  • I’m not too keen on the new look, the charcoal clone look everyone seem to be using, and the use of icons. I believe icons make it more difficult for new users to learn the software and get support, click on the thing with a thing that’s got a thing in it. If you like icons, take a look at Truespace 3D and you’ll be cured ;)
    But apart from that, there are some improvements and nice new features here to explore, support of audio being one.

  • Michael Soomon on 08.2.12 @ 2:39AM

    I love the new version. It fixed a lot of import (timecode sync) issues that I’ve had in the past with xml files and footage that was originally sourced from .r3d. Saving me a lot of time with silly workarounds. I have a custom built PC that cost me $1400 and I run resolve just fine o.O – Not sure what people are complaining about thinking you need some sort of super computer to run it.

  • Andy Kaczé on 08.2.12 @ 4:43AM

    I tested it. And sadly, I was a little disappointed. Yes – it needs a really fast machine. Resolve 8 did too.
    I get real time playback with using my ATI 6870 1GB in my 2008 Mac Pro, filled with an SSD though. But overall the Performance just doesn´t feel as snappy as if I would be grading with Apple Color. Yes I still do 90% of my Jobs with Apple Color. The Interface is not as polished as the new DR 9, but I don´t care since it get´s the Job done.

    What I really like on Apple Color (and please, this is just a personal preference) is, that you can click an drag your HSL Selections with a mouse. In DR 9, if you go to the (they call it) “Qualifier” Tab, you have the ability to drag numbers below each qualifier for hue, saturation and luminance. As I was used to, I tried so click ON the colored fields to pick my ranges. In Color – no problem, and totally fast. In Resolve … well … it works but for all the Mouse driven guys out there, it feels a little clumsy and really not fast at all. Try it out, you will know what I mean. And even if I know, that Resolve is really meant to be driven by a control surface, Blackmagic actually planned (or is!?) supporting the mouse driven folks out there (they showed there commitement by adding the Color wheels in DR 8.2!) … So if that would be added – please?

    The “lack” of the Color Fx Room is also something I miss. Yes, I know, sadly you cannot have everything in a software … But I will miss it, soon when Apple´s Color will not be supported anymore … and I know this time will come.

    Since then, I am happy with Color, and will use Davinci for converting my FCPX XML into anything the client wants – without bying this “xto7 software”.

    Thanks Blackmagic for let me having the possibility for free! And I will be thrilled to learn the real power of DR 9 in the future … maybe 2013 when the MacPros are rolling out (I hope, we all do right?)

    So what do you guys think?

    Take care!

    • Andy, you do not have a supported GPU card. Just buy a GTX 480 flashed for Mac and use your Radeon as the GUI and you will be rocked by how fast things are.

      • Andy Kaczé on 10.20.12 @ 7:04PM

        Thanks Matt, I will dive into this as soon as I can. Im a little behind this, because I´m waiting for the “Great thing in 2013″ … as the Apple Cook said. So that´s why I actually will wait to bump more things into my (already) pretty aged machine. Thanks anyway, I really appreciate it! :)

  • Please stop whining about resolve because you have an outdated, overpriced Mac that you haven’t updated in the last 6 years because the mighty apple said you cant. Resolve ROCKS on a completely affordable entry level PC with an ordinary off the shelf $200 Nvidia card.

    I recently just upgraded my computer with a new motherboard, CPU and 32gb ram for under $800 and put it all together myself without any computer training and its FLYING!!!

    PC + Windows = complete freedom

    Mac + OSX = shackled imprisonment where you march to the increasingly erratic beat of apples whimsical drum

  • Darn
    Just a quick warning,. it seems that davinci 8 and 9 don´t coexist on the same mac, theres only one icon for it


  • when you install R9, it will replace R8. there are probably some reasons for this but I wish it didn’t do this. you can try copying the R8 app to another location to save it… and see if it still works afterwards.

    as for performance, an nV graphics card for mac is pretty simple and cheap depending on what you want. $200-$500 will get you a modern card. you can in fact use a PC card, but you won’t get a display while the machine boots up. for a bit extra you can pick up a PC card flashed with mac firmware which will give you full display while booting.

    however, what R really wants is a dual GPU setup where one card sits headless and does nothing but processing. thats the ideal setup. I’ve found the R will in fact use both cards even if, wtih a dual GPU setup it reports only 1 GPU… which it means is only one GPU thats not driving a display. either way a really solid R system can be done on mac pretty cheaply.

  • I haven’t tried it, but the ‘buzz’ online is that R9 will run at respectable speeds on the new Macbook Pro with Retina, even with 8GB of RAM though 16GB is obviously recommended. Will be curious to hear peoples experiences with this once R9 has been out for awhile.

    • I’m running it on my iMac with 4gb of ram :) It’s a tad on the sluggish side though.

      • neale anderson on 01.15.13 @ 4:27AM

        Can you tell me what year Imac you have,Im trying to see if I can upgrade my Ati Radeon Hd 4850 to get resolve working
        regards Neale

  • I just tried R9 lite on a macbook retina 2.6ghz 16gb, latest Cuda drivers.
    All it says is something like “No Cuda acceleration detected… please quit.”
    So it won’t run at the moment.

    • Hmm, interesting. Hopefully they get that issue sorted sooner rather than later as it has the potential to seriously hamper BMD’s efforts to enter the ‘for the masses’ color grading market. I mean how many images have we seen floating around the internet with the Cinema Camera Thunderbolted to a Macbook Pro?

      • Just found this online, maybe it will help?

        “I think you’ll pretty amazed with Resolve 9 running on the Retina Display MBP …. screen is gorgeous and the performance of the RetDisp MBP is awesome … just remember to turn OFF the energy savings switches in System Preferences … especially the graphic option … the RD MBP defaults to the onboard Intel GPU and of course with Resolve you need to utilize the CUDA cores in the nvidia 650M GPU.”

  • I’ve been using Resolve 9 for the last 3 weeks. I’d never used Resolve before. I did a 3 day course with Warren Eagles at the – Firstly you need to spend some time getting some training. The software is very powerful and so takes some getting used to.

    Firstly hardware – I am running the beta on my imac 3.4GHZ i7 with 12 GB of ram. This imac has a 2GB ATI radeon graphics card. I can grade 720P footage in real time and I have also successfully round tripped a 1080P project although it would not play in real time without being stuttery.

    My initial impressions of resolve 9 are fantastic – I am a fcpX convert and so the interface feels very familiar. I have become very comfortable making primar and secondary corrections in 9 and using power windows. The tracking function is superb and given I’ve only been using this for 3 weeks I am staggered at the results I’m getting. I’m hoping to post some videos in the next couple of days that will walk through bringing a project in and grading. This is extremely user friendly software and a very powerful creative tool.


  • Resolve 8.2 is quite fast on my 2011 iMac. No complaints.

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