DaVinci Isn't Just for Color Correction, It Can Also 'Resolve' Your Metadata Issues
Nowadays, we equate ‘DaVinci’ with the powerful color correction software Resolve. It can be easy to forget DaVinci’s hardware-based origins, just as it can be easy to forget Media Composer’s origins as the dedicated machine editors used to call “The Avid.” Even in their software forms, these systems retain media matching abilities that were vital in the stand-alone NLE days — control of metadata. Resolve is no exception, even though we think of it primarily, even exclusively, as a grading tool. Scott Freeman, online editor of the USA series Suits and Covert Affairs, has recently taken the time to illustrate Resolve’s muscular metadata abilities. His workflow reminds us that such abilities are still quite useful today – when teaming up with Avid and otherwise.
Scott Freeman has experience from the “old school” of post production. He is wise in the ways of hardcore media management, round-tripping and conforming, and devising workflows. As such, Freeman wants you to know that in terms of metadata manipulation, DaVinci Resolve is also hardcore — more so than you might expect, depending on your background. He recently shared on CreativeCOW the following — abridged with my emphases:
I’m the online editor for Suits since the pilot and Covert since Season 2. What makes it a fascinating position is that it’s 100 percent file-based, which provided me with a fun dilemma to solve. When Blackmagic Design released Resolve, I realized how I could use it to solve my dilemma. Some people might think it’s strange for an online editor to use Resolve, but it does much more than color correction so I decided to use it to pull my shots. What took me five days now takes me 11 minutes. I dove into using Resolve v.7 in March 2011 on Suits and Covert Affairs and haven’t looked back.
His original dilemma? Figuring out how to conform both ALEXA and RED footage for both shows (Suits and Covert Affairs respectively) in one fluid stroke of workflow. To start, Freeman looked to how he may have solved such a problem with tried-and-true, traditional, or older-school workflows — for media such as film, tape, and Panasonic P2:
I decided I wanted a way to use the existing Tape Name metadata populated in the offline clips to pull the camera sources without using the modify command on the camera sources to establish a link.
Classic metadata such as Tape Name could provide the solution, but in a way create its own dilemma to solve: you sometimes have to get a little — manual with such classic metadata. The trick was figuring out how to minimize manual input — individually resetting Tape Names can’t be fun, and more importantly costs time.
Freeman describes the process of modifying sources (for a 600 to 1000-edit episode) as “a laborious and risky task,” which amounts to a lot of clicking in Avid. His solution was Resolve:
Resolve solved the tape name issue with its rich configurations. The system is so flexible that with these configurations you can let your media matching dreams come true instantly. I set-up the DaVinci Resolve to view the camera sources with the exact Avid tape name, thus a media match. I then use the EDL Reel ID’s by right clicking on a folder on a drive and choosing from the contextual menu Add Folder and Subfolders Based on EDLs into Media Pool.
The specific benefits go on, but there’s really no way to fit it all here without detrimental over-simplification — Freeman’s writeup is extensive for sure (in a good way). I’m slowly learning Resolve myself and have recently become aware of some of its incredibly useful, single-click metadata assignment abilities. If you’re an Avid-user, avid workflower in general, or simply want to know more about the slightly unexpected ways you can use Resolve for media management, be sure to check out his full post.
Where does Resolve fit into your workflows? How does Scott’s process change the way you may use Resolve in the future?