July 27, 2015

Everything You Need to Know About DaVinci Resolve 12

DaVinci Resolve 12
The Blackmagic team must not sleep.

They just released the first Public Beta for Davinci Resolve 12, which you can download hereResolve 12 brings over eighty new features to the popular color grading tool, with a host of editing, audio, workflow, and of course, color grading improvements. 

First, here's a video from Blackmagic that gives us a great rundown:

Now let's get a little more in-depth with some of the more exciting improvements.

Editing

Resolve is one of the leading color grading platforms, especially among indie filmmakers who can’t afford a Baselight, Pablo, or Quantel system. Having primarily focused on color grading for over two decades, the DaVinci team is now switching gears to develop and push Resolve’s editing capabilities. Its aim is to position the software as a full-fledged editing platform that competes with Premiere, Avid, and Final Cut. Many of Resolve 12’s new features revolve around editing, perhaps because the color grading tools are already so sophisticated.

Several of the tools at the heart of all professional editing systems have been ported to or improved upon with this version, including the familiar overlay that displays options on whether a clip will be inserted, overwritten or fit-to-filled when placed into the timeline.

Edit Overlay in Resolve 12
Dragging a clip to the source monitor functions much the same way as popular NLEs.

Working in the timeline is much faster. Context-sensitive trim tools avoid the need to constantly change tools to make a precise edit. The trim tool transforms into a ripple, roll, slip or slide tool depending on where the cursor is positioned over the clip. Multiple clips can also be trimmed at the same time.

Asymmetric trimming allows changing multiple clips in opposite directions from each other simultaneously. This can be performed on multiple clips on the same track as well, which was previously not possible. A dynamic trimming option allows you to use the standard J, K, and L playback keys to scrub for an ideal edit point. Just like other NLEs, the audio can play back along with the video. Once you get how these controls function, editing clips in the timeline is a cinch.

Adjusting Multiple Clips in Resolve 12
Adjusting multiple clips is a snap in Resolve 12.

The brand new multicam feature in Resolve 12 features a straightforward implementation of working with multiple angles in a project. Grouped angles are clustered together on the source monitor, and editing together a video is as simple as selecting the appropriate angle when it's needed in the timeline. The timeline gets chopped up accordingly, leaving the editor to further refine edits from there. The multicam clips can also be expanded into their constituent video layers for working in a more traditional, layered approach. This mode also enables slipping of individual tracks in case they weren’t synced properly.

Multicam in Resolve 12
The brand new multicam feature allows you to select from a handful of angles when editing.

One of the biggest additions in Resolve 12 is the completely new media management system which collects all assets with handles for archiving or exporting to another system. The interface should come familiar to anyone used to Avid or Final Cut, and copying, moving, transcoding, consolidating, and deleting unused media are all available options.

Media Management
The new media management function allows for easy project consolidation or copying.

Color

Resolve's focus has been on being one of the leading color grading tools on the market, so its tools for controlling color are already pretty sophisticated — but there are still some significant improvements in the newest version.

A new color management system allows for quickly setting input and output color spaces at the timeline, project, and even at the clip level. This is great for editors who aren’t as adept at coloring and want to show clients a more pleasing image than a flat, log-encoded capture. The system is different than a LUT transformation that can clip values. Instead, Resolve uses a mathematical application that preserves dynamic range throughout. That means you can grade on top of the transform or underneath it, giving you more flexibility as you work.

Color Space Options
A wide variety of color space options are available to transform footage quickly.

Resolve 12 introduces a new 3D keyer which is especially helpful for chromakeying. Similar to the normal qualifier we know and love, the 3D keyer works by dragging across areas of interest to select a range of values. According to Blackmagic, the sampling performed in a 3D color space, essentially a color cube, is more accurate. These values are collected as "swatches," a bit different than the hue, saturation, and luminance interface Resolve colorists are used to. Each of the swatches can be affected independently, leading to the most refined qualifications.

3D Keyer
The new 3D keyer allows for even more precise qualifications than before.

The 3D keyer takes care of spill suppression with a Despill checkbox to clean any residual chromakey color on the talent. In addition to the usual tools that adjust the qualification, Clean White and Clean Black have been added for further matte finessing, giving even finer controls than what was possible in Resolve 11.

Clean Black and Clean White
Further refinement of qualifications is possible through the Clean Black and Clean White parameters.

There are also improvements to the already awesome tracker in Resolve 12. The new 3D Perspective tracker fixates on objects whose perspective changes over time throughout a clip’s duration. It's a great tool for tough shots with extreme camera moves.

There’s a new shot matching tool which I’m honestly skeptical of, since an algorithm is attempting to replace a largely subjective practice. In Blackmagic’s demo, only slight moves are made on shots using this feature. Still, the feature is there, ready for battle testing. In practice, it may be useful to get shots in the general ballpark of each other before tweaking further.

New Shot Matching Feature
The new shot matching feature can bring disparate shots closer together.

Audio

Resolve 12 comes with a new audio engine that supports higher bit depths and sample rates, allowing for more accurate audio editing. Audio filters which come as standard VST plugins are included. It’s my hope that audio playback won’t stutter anymore.

VST Plugins
Standard VST plugins are now available in Resolve 12, allowing more complex audio processing.

Timelines can now be exported as AAFs for mixing in Pro Tools. Resolve packages the AAF with a flattened video track and all discrete audio elements needed for the mixing process. Without this feature, Resolve could never compete with existing non-linear editing systems, where audio mixing is a necessary step in the post process.

Resolve 12 adds a curve editor in the timeline so dissolves can be finely tuned, similar to the way many professional audio tools handle fades and transitions.

Custom Dissolve
Dissolves can now be customized and tweaked with much more flexibility..

In Resolve 12, you can automate audio mixing by moving mixer sliders. Moving in Track mode will create keyframes, allowing you to dial in a rough mix as you play through the timeline.

Audio Automation
Audio can now be automated just like in most professional audio software.

Aesthetic

Several aesthetic considerations have been taken into account for the new release. The color wheels and qualifier ranges are more minimal, and small adjustments like spacing between buttons have been optimized to ease eye strain during lengthy grading sessions, subtleties I’ve always appreciated.

Resolve's interface can now be resized by the user, ending the frozen interface which wasn’t optimal for all screen resolutions. We take these kinds of things for granted in other applications, but it's good to see they're finally here in Resolve. These small changes make the application friendlier, sure to entice a whole new user base.

Other Features

Controls to move objects around the timeline come complete with Bezier curves. You can also create Bezier points from the basic power window shapes to add variation to the standard circle or square shapes.

Bezier Curves
Standard Bezier curves allow for creating complex and fluid moves for elements in the frame.

Smart Bins will allow you to tag footage to make it searchable later.

Smart Bins
The creation of smart bins allows footage to be organized as well as searchable.

Clips will also be draggable into Resolve directly from the operating system, another feature that’s long overdue. Nesting sequences makes it easy to collapse chunks of clips, great for working with longer material. Similarly, large node trees can be compressed so the workspace isn't so cluttered. Of course, these nests can be decomposed as needed. Lastly, support for the ACES 1.0 color space has been added.

Resolve 12 is a free upgrades to existing users and will run you a grand for the full Studio version. The barely-limited free version will be an option for those still learning the craft of grading (or for those who really don't need some of the advanced features that the Studio version offers). You can download the Public Beta for Resolve over on the Blackmagic website. You can find links to the hardware configuration guide and the manual below.

What are your favorite Resolve 12 features? What other features do you want to see?     

DaVinci Resolve 12 Manual

DaVinci Resolve 12 Configuration Guide

All images courtesy of Blackmagic Design.

Your Comment

23 Comments

I went to the Blackmagic Day rent in NYC last week and saw 2 demos of the new editing features and the new coloring features in Resolve 12. There are so many great improvements in this new version I may be able to use just one application now for everything! The shot matching feature when demoed on a couple of different types of clips actually worked surprisingly well. It was presented as an option to help less experienced colorists get their footage looking and feeling similar. They used it on some clips that were shot outside of skydiving and also snowmobiling and I was impressed with the results. I can't wait to try it myself!

July 27, 2015 at 8:10AM, Edited July 27, 8:10AM

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Brendan Plake
Freelancer
105

Great post! This app is going to be awesome!

July 27, 2015 at 9:43AM

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Kyle Lamar
Director Producer DP
1048

I have been playing with Resolve as my primary editing app for a while now, using it for smaller projects with flexible timetables (just in case I needed to drop it and pop back over to Premiere in order to meet a deadline). For me, the only thing holding me back was the speed. I've been waiting for the release of 12 with interest in the hopes that they were able to make thinks less sluggish (I'm on a high end machine but shuttling is still laggy as are many processes). I think the interface is excellent and having everything under one roof is highly desirable for me. I'm anxious to download the beta and see if they've managed speed improvements. If so, I'm in.

July 27, 2015 at 9:45AM

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i had no idea resolve was such a serious competitor outside the grading world. is the free version good enough for actual client work? when do i really need the studio version?

July 27, 2015 at 10:19AM

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Paul-Louis Pietz Pröve
director / dop / editor
562

I'm considering making the jump from Premiere Pro to Resolve. CC 2015 has been embarrassing and Adobe aren't addressing the many issues their new updated software is plagued with.

For people using Resolve, how simple is it to move a project from Resolve to After Effects and back or to Nuke and back?

July 27, 2015 at 10:34AM

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Daniel Falcon
Director, VFX artist
300

With this and and Hit Film 3, there are finally some really viable options besides the annoying subscription model of Adobe CC and the FCPX price tag. I'm SUPER excited for this! The smart bins, multi-cam editing, and improved audio features alone make me want to take a serious look at it. It's just a matter of no bugs, processing speed, etc. Well done Black Magic!

July 27, 2015 at 10:43AM

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Jerald Roberts II
Filmmaker
356

Another quick update this morning from the Black Magic folks. Resolve 12 also has:

- Support for Intel Iris and Iris Pro GPUs, opening up more systems and laptops.
- DaVinci Resolve 12 can now create optimized media proxies with custom settings for both the codec and resolution for even faster editorial performance.
- New Smooth Cut transition uses proprietary DaVinci optical flow algorithms to create a seamless transition between different parts of an interview so you don’t have to cover jump cuts with b-roll
- "Resolve Studio" is what the $995 version is called now.

July 27, 2015 at 11:11AM

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Tristan Kneschke
Writer
Colorist, Writer

Uh, wow. Proxy management? In the Lite version? That's huge.

July 27, 2015 at 5:04PM

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David S.
2914

Well that's good I guess. But I still can't run it on my late 2012 quad i7 mac mini, which runs PPCC2015 just fine. So no switching for me. Hopefully resolve 13 solves this, because I just got this machine a year and a half ago.

July 30, 2015 at 12:53PM, Edited July 30, 12:55PM

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Mike Tesh
Pro Video / Indie Filmmaker
728

"- DaVinci Resolve 12 can now create optimized media proxies with custom settings for both the codec and resolution for even faster editorial performance."
I didn't find it. I'd like to make proxies from my A7s shots. But it seems to remain not possible! How do you make it?
Thanks!

July 31, 2015 at 2:45AM

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Cyril Sauvenay
Movie maker
81

Any insights yet into computer system requirements for Resolve 12?

July 27, 2015 at 11:25AM

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Biggest thing I'm seeing is that it requires OS X 10.9.5.

July 27, 2015 at 2:48PM

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Tristan Kneschke
Writer
Colorist, Writer

My guess is that the blackmagic team probably works 9-6 mon-fri and gets things done that way. But that would be a boring way to start a post.

July 27, 2015 at 3:22PM, Edited July 27, 3:22PM

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cee dee
273

There are an insane amount of features in this (and past) versions. They roll improvements out FAST and often.

July 27, 2015 at 3:57PM, Edited July 27, 3:57PM

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Tristan Kneschke
Writer
Colorist, Writer

Does it work with 16 bit Open EXR?

July 27, 2015 at 7:54PM

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Man, that multi-cam bit sure smells a lot like FCPX....apparently works like it too.

July 27, 2015 at 11:15PM

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Scot Yount
Director/Editor/Photographer/Motion Graphic Artist
399

I do love the new features but I'm mostly amazed with the performance improvement! I wasn't able to edit in Resolve (even though I have a maxed out 2013 Macbook Pro) because it was so slow! My laptop couldn't handle it! now It's amazing! It just soars through everything Even in the color tab it's much faster! I'm still discovering new things!!

July 28, 2015 at 12:26PM

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Jose Santos
Student/Director
223

I have to say that I'm really astounded with what Blackmagic Designs Team has accomplished with this new version of Resolve. It's a huge improvement in every sense and every time I open it I wonder where I would be without it. I'm able to grade my projects and videos whether they're personal or work. And it's huge! I can truly say the resolve makes me a better colourist. It's intuitive and it looks simple but at the same time it has all the features and capabilities you expect, and more, from the high end product that it is. Unlike many vfx softwares that look like you could set off a nuclear strike if you press the wrong button, Blackmagic Design put a great deal of work into the UI and for that I'm immensely grateful.

Just take a look at Autodesk's smoke for example, I tried to move form my premiere resolve workflow to Smoke so that I didn't have to move xml's around, roundtrip files, etc... When I first got it (the free student version) I was immediately overwhelmed by the complexity of creating the most simple of things; a user. But still I punches on watched tutorial, read most of the user manual but I at some point I just gave up. The UI is awful, dated, confusing and overly complex. What Resolve has that interests me is that I can keep my focus on the grade/Edit without having to worry about all the technical nonsense. I'd like to point that I do know the technical part of it, I just don't have to be thinking about it all the time.

I have always edited in Premiere, since it's CS3 Release. I love it it has everything I need and it's a good compromise between intuitive UI, speed, customisation and functionality. Personally FCPX lacks on Customisation, speed and functionality, though it has superb UI (intuitively).

What I'm considering now it whether or not to move to a resolve only workflow. Media management, transcoding, editing, grading and delivery. With the right plugins I can even do simple VFX on it like green screen Key/ screen replacement! The only thing that is lacking is the customisation that I love from Premiere.
How do you guys feel about this? Is anyone considering moving to Resolve entirely?

Sorry for the long post! Thanks!

July 30, 2015 at 8:02AM

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Jose Santos
Student/Director
223

Exciting. But a little buggy at the moment. I managed to 'break' playback by experimenting with audio fades (which didn't seem to work consistently on my machine). Also, a simple channel EQ seemed to cause laggy playback for that clip.

'Smooth Cut' seems to work well in some cases and it's amazing to use it as a simple drag/drop transition.

Everything looks very clean and it feels much smoother and more snappy than FCPX, which would be my reason for moving.

Some stuff to straighten out, but very promising.

July 31, 2015 at 6:04PM, Edited July 31, 6:05PM

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I have been using Premiere Pro for a couple of years and Speedgrade for about a year. I downloaded v12 of Davinci Resolve and the 1,000+ page online manual. I spent about two hours with the program and manual and still couldn't figure out how to load a clip. This is the most convoluted and difficult software I have ever encountered, and I used to be a sys admin on HP unix enterprise servers for major corporations. With a 1,000+ page manual, couldn't they have included a simple two page getting started section that tells the new user how to load a clip, bring up some color wheels, and render the clip? I tried youtube videos but they all assumed you knew how to use this software. If you can't explain how to load a clip, bring up some color controls, and render the clip in a couple of pages, then your software is written for Klingons, not humans. Software is uninstalled and i'm back to Premiere Pro.

August 9, 2015 at 7:13PM

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bobspez
Retired unix sys admin
189

media tab at the bottom, or just drag it in?

November 14, 2015 at 8:09AM, Edited November 14, 8:09AM

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Gerbert Floor
DP / Director / Camera / Editor
325

That's so easy. Media Room. Find Media, Add to Media pool. Just as easy as any other application.. Like Microsoft Word. All very clearly described in the manual as well.

November 27, 2015 at 10:25AM, Edited November 27, 10:25AM

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Good morning.

The purpose of this particular post is to (first) attain the exact system requirements for operating the Davinci Resolve 12 software on a PC and (second) to attain the certified list of approved computers to operate the Davinci Resolve 12 software.

I seeking to upgrade to the Davinci Resolve 12 software immediately.

August 22, 2016 at 7:57AM

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Lorenzo Morgan Jr.
Chief Creator
156