Learn the Basics of Fairlight for Picture Editors

Though Davinci Resolve’s Fairlight is a professional audio post workstation, it can also be a powerful tool for picture editors to utilize throughout their edit.

This short tutorial below covers the basics of Fairlight in Davinci Resolve 15, as well as the fundamental functionalities a picture editor should know:

  • Navigating the Fairlight interface and understanding how to use meters, mixers, index, inspector, and effects library

  • Utilizing markers in the index window to apply sound notes created in the edit page

  • Selecting and modify audio transitions that were added in the Edit page

  • Using keyframes to adjust peaks in audio and eliminate audio pops

  • Noise reduction and dampening unwanted background sound

In addition to the tools we covered in this tutorial, there are many other new refinements and FX plugins available in Fairlight with the latest Davinci Resolve 15 update that are useful for picture editors:

  • Two new tools for track automation, which allow editing automation curves in the timeline:

    • the Select Range tool mode – used to select, change, or delete automation data

    • the Pencil tool to draw a new automation curve

  • Automatic ducking adjusts music levels under dialogue without the need for balancing manually

  • Navigating the timeline by typing timecode

  • A new Stereo Fixer plugin with presets for common channel mapping operations

  • DaVinci Resolve 15.1 now supports roundtrip audio processing from external applications like Izotope RX

Another updated tool not covered in the tutorial but extremely useful for picture editors is Clip Normalization, or peak normalization. This can be applied to all clips in a track at once by selecting the track and right-clicking, and then setting the gain to the high end of the target level.

For example, if you set the peak to around -9dB, the averages should hit around -12dB to -15dB, which is right in the sweet spot for dialogue. When applying to multiple clips, it is important to select independent so each clip gets independent normalization, otherwise they will be normalized as a whole and the loudest peak in the set of clips will dictate the normalization level for all clips.

Blackmagic Design’s Mary Plummer, who was immensely helpful in constructing this tutorial, just completed the Introduction to Fairlight Audio Post with DaVinci Resolve 15 (The Blackmagic Design Learning Series), which goes for $2.99 for a Kindle edition or $54.99 for paperback. This book is great for furthering your understanding of Fairlight Audio.

UPDATE: Davinci Resolve 15.2.4 was just released with additional refinements, such as improved H.264 and H.265 encoding, enhanced performance loading a project with many audio tracks and buses, and improved playback performance in the Edit page. You can read more about what’s new in the Resolve 15.2.4 update in this 4kshooters.net article.     

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A note to instructors who make these types of videos...it is of great value if you provide a brief explanation of what you are going to "accomplish" and in what order prior to taking off into the race through your presentation. The viewer then has an idea of where you plan to go and how to get there.

February 15, 2019 at 10:45AM

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