Generating Optimized Media That Won’t Clip

Here’s an important tip when using “Optimized Media” in DaVinci Resolve 12 (or higher) to spare yourself the processing overhead of debayering raw media. For those of you who don’t know, you can right-click a selection of clips in the Media Pool that are in one or more formats that are processor intensive to work with (camera raw clips, H.264, other intensive-to-decode media types), and choose “Generate Optimized Media” to have Resolve automatically create an alternate set of media files that let you work faster.

Generate Optimized Media

All Optimized Media you generate is compressed using whatever setting is currently selected in the General Options panel of the Project Settings. The default media format is ProRes 422 HQ.

Optimized Media Format

Once you’ve generated optimized media for a set of clips in a project, the Playback > Use Optimized Media if Available setting determines whether or not you’re using Optimized Media, or the original media files that you had imported into the Media Pool.

Use Optimized Media if Available

When using Optimized Media, you can also reveal an additional column in the Media Pool’s list view, which lets you see which clips have been optimized, and which clips haven’t.

Optimized Media Media Pool Column

However, there’s a potential problem with using Optimized Media, which can be seen in clips with high dynamic range; the highlights of any image data with levels above 1023 become clipped. In the following screenshots, you can see the winter exterior has plenty of levels above 1023, as evidenced by the waveform below.

Original Image

Original Waveform

However, after optimizing these CinemaDNG raw clips, any attempt to retrieve the highlights above 1023 by lowering the Gain or Offset controls results in flat, clipped highlights, which can also be seen as a flattening in the waveform.

Clipped Image

Clipped Waveform

This, of course, defeats the whole purpose of shooting camera raw media in the first place. However, there’s a way you can generate optimized media that actually preserves these highlights, and that’s by changing the format used for optimization in the General Options panel of the Project Settings to “Uncompressed 16-bit float.”

Changing Optimized Media Format

Uncompressed 16-bit float is a proprietary DaVinci image format designed to preserve out-of-gamut floating point image data. The only downside to this is that by using Uncompressed 16-bit float to generate optimized media, you create larger optimized media files. However, you still spare yourself the processor overhead of having to debayer your camera raw media, and you preserve high dynamic range image data for grading. So, you might need to make sure you have fast hard drive storage, but you’ll still work faster.

Preserved Highlights Image

Preserved Highlights Waveform

Incidentally, the exact same issue occurs when using the Smart Cache, which generates cache media for timeline and grading effects that are too processor intensive to play back in real time, except you’ll need to change the “Cache frames in” pop-up in the General Options panel of the Project Settings to Uncompressed 16-bit float, instead.

Cache Frames Format

Optimized Media and the Smart Cache are two of Resolve’s best features for letting you grade higher quality media on systems with lower processing power. If you’re careful about what media format you use, you can preserve the quality of high dynamic range media, and you can even use Optimized Media for finishing and final output.


Color Correction Handbook 2nd Edition: Grading theory and technique for any application.
Color Correction Look Book: Stylized and creative grading techniques for any application.
What's New in DaVinci Resolve 12.5: Covering every new feature in Resolve 12.5 from Ripple Training.
DaVinci Resolve 12 QuickStart: A 4 hr editing and grading overview from Ripple Training.
Editing & Finishing in Resolve 12: 9 hrs of tutorials from Ripple Training.
Grading in DaVinci Resolve 11: Comprehensive 13 hr grading tutorials from Ripple Training.
Grading A Scene: Watch a short horror scene graded, from start to creative finish, Ripple Training.

Brand New DaVinci Resolve 12 Editing Tutorials

Editing and Finishing in DaVinci Resolve 12

I’m very happy to announce that, after a huge amount of recording, and even more time spent editing and organizing, my new Editing & Finishing in DaVinci Resolve 12 video training is now available from Ripple Training, for $99 USD. I’m really happy with how these lessons turned out, so if you want to understand how editing in Resolve works, than this is the title for you.

It’s an exhaustive look at editing in DaVinci Resolve, detailing every nook and cranny of the Media and Edit pages. There are nine hours and thirty minutes of videos, spanning 90 meticulously organized lessons complete with chapter markers that let you jump to whatever topic you want to focus on next, making this useful as a reference as well as a class.

01-Metadata-Editor

And every relevant topic is covered, from choosing whether to use the free or studio version of Resolve and touring the application, to setting up and organizing projects, importing and organizing media, improving performance and managing media, drag & drop editing, precision editing, cutting dialog, multicam editing, trimming and rearranging clips, using effects and transitions, and working with audio. Absolutely every available editing technique in DaVinci Resolve is demonstrated in detail.

04-Track-Audio-Controls

However, the true power of Resolve is in its seamless marriage between editing and color, so there are also over an hour of tutorials dedicated to color correction and grading. Starting with how you can prep the color of your clips prior to editing, and continuing with learning the basics of the Color page, making automatic and manual color adjustments using Lift/Gamma/Gain and curve controls, copying and matching grades, and adding secondary adjustments.

07-Split-Screen

And since Resolve is such a capable finishing environment, additional lessons cover audio mixing and effects, creating still and animated video effects, compositing, titling,  stabilization, green-screen compositing, and the use of third party filters.

06-Transition-Curves-Editor

And, in a first for me, this tutorial is accompanied by a complete set of high-quality media and project files so you can follow along as I demonstrate each feature and technique, and then continue to experiment on your own.

At this point, I have several titles available covering DaVinci Resolve from Ripple Training, so here’s how they all fit together.

If you’re wanting a complete understanding of how to edit in Resolve, along some grading basics, then the nine hour Editing & Finishing in DaVinci Resolve 12 is for you.

On the other hand, if you want a faster overview of how both editing and grading works in Resolve, you might want to check out my DaVinci Resolve 12 Quick Start, which is a more approachable 4 hour overview of how to use Resolve, focusing only on the basics.

And of course if you’re interested in learning more about how to grade color, then you should check out my 13 hour Color Grading in DaVinci Resolve 11, along with the 5 hour companion What’s New in DaVinci Resolve 12 (together, these titles cover all of grading in DaVinci Resolve).

And finally, if you want to learn absolutely everything I have to teach about DaVinci Resolve, Ripple Training has put together a five title DaVinci Resolve Essentials Training Bundle (includes Editing & Finishing, Color Grading, What’s New in 12, Color Grading a Scene, and Creative Looks).

So, no matter what aspect of DaVinci Resolve interests you, I’ve got a set of lessons that covers it. I hope you find these useful!


Color Correction Handbook 2nd Edition: Grading theory and technique for any application.
Color Correction Look Book: Stylized and creative grading techniques for any application.
What's New in DaVinci Resolve 12.5: Covering every new feature in Resolve 12.5 from Ripple Training.
DaVinci Resolve 12 QuickStart: A 4 hr editing and grading overview from Ripple Training.
Editing & Finishing in Resolve 12: 9 hrs of tutorials from Ripple Training.
Grading in DaVinci Resolve 11: Comprehensive 13 hr grading tutorials from Ripple Training.
Grading A Scene: Watch a short horror scene graded, from start to creative finish, Ripple Training.

Having Fun With Post – Grading, Compositing, and Editing in Resolve

The shoot for my goofy little rant, “The Importance of Color Correction,” came on the heels of some promos that Steve Martin wanted me to record for my newest Ripple Training titles for DaVinci Resolve 12. I figured, since I’m there on a stage, why not have a bit of fun with it?

A confession – I suffer from incurable impatience between a shoot and the beginning of the cut, so once home I immediately fired up Resolve 12 and got to work. I was determined to do the entire thing inside of Resolve, to test the workflow of grading, compositing, cutting, and finishing a green-screen intensive project, all within Resolve 12. Since I knew I wanted to edit a series of dynamically changing backgrounds that reacted to what was being said, my first order of business was to grade the clip, and create transparency from the green background for compositing within the timeline.

I shot with the BMD Production 4K camera, but I made the decision to record to ProRes HQ, instead of raw, as I wasn’t sure how many takes I’d burn through, or how much space I’d ultimately need. This meant that, although I recorded a log-encoded image, my camera settings were burned into the files. The result, owing to a combination of camera color temperature settings and shooting through the glass of the teleprompter I was using, was the following image (after normalizing to Rec. 709 using Resolve Color Management):

Before the Grade

After a relatively straightforward grade, this was easily turned into:

After the Grade

This took two nodes. It could’ve been one, but I like keeping my HSL curves separate for organization.

My Original Grade

This was the original grade, but since I rendered out self-contained graded clips to hand off to Ripple, I ended up re-importing the graded media and using it as the basis of my next few adjustments and the edit. This wasn’t necessary at all, it just seemed like the thing to do, since I had the media and all.

With the grade accomplished, it was time to create transparency, which I did using the blue-labeled Alpha Output in the Color page’s Node Editor, connecting a matte I created using a combination of techniques (nodes 3, 4, and the Key node), while the color adjustment nodes (1 and 2) connected to the RGB output.

The Grade and Composite

In particular, since some idiot I rolled out of bed and threw on a green jacket with a green pocket square without thinking before rushing over to the stage, I needed to be a bit clever with how I created the matte. Although, being faced with this kind of issue, I was kind of glad to have an interesting test of the new 3D Keyer’s capabilities for green-screen compositing in a slightly awkward situation.

Turns out, the 3D Keyer (in node 3) did a fantastic job of specifically keying the green screen background while omitting the slightly different green of my jacket, while retaining nice edges without too much crunchiness, so big props to the 3D Keyer; it only took one sample of the background green and a second subtractive sample of the foreground jacket to do it (along with very slight application of the Clean Black and Clean White controls).

3D Keyer

However, no combination of samples would also omit the green pocket square, which was just too similar to the background. This required me to divide and conquer, using the Key mixer to combine the 3D Keyer matte with a second matte generated by a tracked window to cover the pocket square.

Keyer Combination

The window itself was easy to make and track, except for the part where some idiot the “talent” decided to wave his arms around.

Bad Tracking Scenario

The hand completely screwed up the track, but my body motion was so irregular that just deleting the disrupted part of the track and letting Resolve automatically interpolate between the areas of the clip that had good tracking data wouldn’t cut it (although that was the first step). So, I ended up using yet another one of Resolve 12’s new features to solve the issue, the new Frame mode of the Tracker palette, that makes it easier to auto-keyframe manual alterations to a window’s shape and position (i.e. a bit of rotoscoping). Five manual adjustments (and keyframes) later, and the hole in the tracking data was nicely filled.

Fixing the Track With Rotoscoping

Inverting the 3D Keyer matte in Node 3 (using the Invert button within the Keyer Palette) and letting the Key Mixer node add the two mattes together from nodes 3 and 4 gave me the overall matte I needed, which, when connected to the Alpha Output, punched out the background nicely.

Now, however, I needed to deal with the green spill that was figuratively (possibly even literally) hitting me in the head. Sadly, while the Despill checkbox that’s built into the 3D Keyer works wonderfully in situations where the person being keyed isn’t wearing fucking green, in my case I couldn’t use it without leeching all the color out of my jacket. So, time to go back to the old ways, isolating my head using a tracked circular window in node 2, and using the Hue vs. Sat curve to selectively desaturate the greens that I didn’t want contaminating my face.

Manual Despill

With all that done, I could now go back to the edit page and cut together the varied mix of backgrounds behind the foreground clip. While I was at it, although the entire rant is a single long take (thank you teleprompter), I wanted to chop it up to punch up the rhythm by rippling out a few pauses, masking the jumps with push-ins made using the Zoom controls of the Edit page Inspector. Thus, at the end of the edit, I had a timeline that looked like this:

The Edited Timeline

For the backdrops and audio cues, I used clips from the THAT Studio Effects collection of HD resolution effect clips (licensed from Rampant Design, which offers 2K–5K resolution media). The cut went smoothly, pretty much in real time on my 2010 Mac Pro with Nvidia GTX 770 GPU. (I can’t believe how much life I’ve gotten out of that five-year-old machine.)

However, I had one last problem. Because I had decided to record to ProRes HQ at 1080 resolution, some of my more aggressive push-ins started to look soft, softer then I liked going out the door. Mulling over how to deal with the issue, I thought it would be funny to try and emulate the effect of zooming into a televised image, such that you’d see the pixels of the TV. Red Giant Universe to the rescue, I used their Holomatrix OpenFX filter to add vertical scan lines (hey, why not) to the zoom-ins, stylizing them to the point where the softness is irrelevant.

Adding OpenFX

And that, as they say, was that. A composite-heavy green-screen promotional piece graded, composited, edited, and finished entirely within DaVinci Resolve. I did the mix as well, but that was nothing to brag about as the first version I uploaded to Vimeo had all of my dialog mixed to the left channel (there’s a reason I send final mixes for my projects to dedicated audio professionals). Still, I fixed the problem, tuned the mix, and completed the program, which you can see in the previous blog post.

All in all, it was a great experience, and while I’m the first to say I’m biased since I work with the DaVinci design team, I’m also being completely honest when I say that I’ve been really enjoying editing in Resolve 12, and using the hell out of all the new grading features, to boot.


Color Correction Handbook 2nd Edition: Grading theory and technique for any application.
Color Correction Look Book: Stylized and creative grading techniques for any application.
What's New in DaVinci Resolve 12.5: Covering every new feature in Resolve 12.5 from Ripple Training.
DaVinci Resolve 12 QuickStart: A 4 hr editing and grading overview from Ripple Training.
Editing & Finishing in Resolve 12: 9 hrs of tutorials from Ripple Training.
Grading in DaVinci Resolve 11: Comprehensive 13 hr grading tutorials from Ripple Training.
Grading A Scene: Watch a short horror scene graded, from start to creative finish, Ripple Training.

More Resolve 12 Mini-Tutorials on YouTube

Ripple Training is hard at work editing my “New Features in Resolve 12” title, which should be coming out really, really soon. To tide folks over until then, they’ve started posting some free new features videos I’ve made on the “DaVinci Resolve in Under 5 Minutes” section of their YouTube channel. Two came out today, and there are more to come covering both editing and grading features in the public beta of DaVinci Resolve 12.

The first of this week’s pair of new videos cover the new Smooth Cut transition in the Edit page, for eliminating “ums,” stutters, and other speech disfluencies, and patching up the hole. This feature’s effectiveness depends heavily on how much motion there is in the frame, so it won’t work for every jump cut you throw at it, and it works best when there’s a minimum of subject and camera movement. This video shows what it does.

The second video summarizes how to use the new 3D Qualifier, which is a brand new keyer in Resolve 12 that is often faster, more accurate, and can in many cases be more pleasant to use then the older HSL qualifier. Bottom line, this keyer should let you work more efficiently for most chroma key isolations.


Color Correction Handbook 2nd Edition: Grading theory and technique for any application.
Color Correction Look Book: Stylized and creative grading techniques for any application.
What's New in DaVinci Resolve 12.5: Covering every new feature in Resolve 12.5 from Ripple Training.
DaVinci Resolve 12 QuickStart: A 4 hr editing and grading overview from Ripple Training.
Editing & Finishing in Resolve 12: 9 hrs of tutorials from Ripple Training.
Grading in DaVinci Resolve 11: Comprehensive 13 hr grading tutorials from Ripple Training.
Grading A Scene: Watch a short horror scene graded, from start to creative finish, Ripple Training.

A Resolve 12 User Manual Reader’s Guide

Resolve 12 User Manual

The beta edition of the Resolve 12 User Manual is included with the installation in the DaVinci Resolve application folder

The day has come. After months of development, the DaVinci Resolve 12 public beta is upon us, with dozens upon dozens of new features to use and explore, encompassing both the evolution of Resolve into a fully satisfying creative editing solution, as well as an extension of Resolve’s already powerful grading tools with fantastic new features and numerous workflow enhancements to make grading and finishing faster and smoother then ever.

(update) If you like video tutorials, Ripple Training has just released my “What’s New in DaVinci Resolve 12” title, in which over the course of five hours I provide an in-depth look at nearly every new feature found in DaVinci Resolve 12. If you hate reading, this is the next best thing to all the chapters I’m about to recommend in the updated user manual.

It’s no secret that I work with the Resolve design team at DaVinci, and also write the User Manual. Given the massive collection of features in this year’s release, the accompanying User Manual update was similarly enormous, and now that the manual has cracked the 1000 page mark (1095 pages in the beta version), with 704 new and updated screenshots at last count, it was clearly time to do a full reorganization of the chapters, in an effort to make it easier to find the information you’re looking for. Consequently, the Resolve 12 User Manual is divided into 44 chapters, with many valuable topics now appearing within their very own chapter for the first time. Check out the table of contents on pages 3-19 and you’ll see what I mean.

So, you ask, where do I start if I’m looking for what’s new?

Chapter 2, “Logging In and The Project Manager” will give you some new insights into how and why multi-user login screen is now optional for new installations, and how upgrading Resolve will work on current installations. There’s also updated information on new things you can do using Dynamic Project Switching (it’s now possible to copy/paste clips and timelines among different projects, and Dynamic Project Switching makes this faster), and it covers the new Archive feature, which is great for putting projects with media into long-term storage, or archiving projects to make it easier to hand them off to other facilities.

ArchiveProject

The Archive and Restore commands in the Project Manager

Chapter 5, “Improving Performance, Proxies, and the Render Cache,” is required reading. This chapter consolidates everything you can do to make Resolve run faster, which now includes the all-new ability to use “Optimized Media” (an updated spin on the old Pre-Rendered proxies mechanism Resolve had before) to work faster by turning processor-intensive media formats into faster-to-work-with clips using a format and proxy size of your choosing. Once you’ve optimized media, you can switch back and forth between the optimized and original media without needing to reconform or relink—it’s all managed by Resolve. Additionally, optimized media works with the real-time proxy command (which now lets you choose from Half and Quarter proxies), the Smart cache, and all of Resolve’s other features for improving performance, so this is a chapter worth understanding in its entirety if you want to get the most performance out of Resolve 12.

OptimizedMediaSettings

Customizable options for how Optimized Media is created, you can select the format and the size

Chapter 6, “Data Levels, Color Management, and ACES” covers the brand new DaVinci Resolve Color Management, so head next to page 154 to learn all about how you can use Resolve Color Management (RCM) to deal with the varied color spaces of multiple media formats and log-encoded media without needing to use LUTs. Whether you’re a colorist, a finishing editor, or a creative editor, this new way of managing color just might speed you up.

Color Management

Resolve Color Management lets you specify the Input Colorspace of your media, the Timeline Colorspace (or working color space), and the Output Colorspace

Chapter 8, “Adding and Organizing Media,” has the new section on page 179 covering “Creating and Using Smart Bins,” which is Resolve’s way of letting you use multi-criteria searches employing clip metadata to automatically pull together all clips sharing a particular set of metadata. It’s a really sophisticated implementation that allows you to search for all of some criteria but any of other criteria, enabling you to build really flexible searches.

Complex Smart Bin

You can create Smart Bins for automatically gathering media in your project using simple or complex metadata searches

Chapter 9, “Working With Media,” starts out with information on the new Display Name column of the Media Pool, that lets you create more human-readable clip names that will be displayed in the Timeline. Chapter 9 also includes information on Resolve’s new “Auto-Sync Audio Based On Waveform” commands, which do waveform matching to sync dual-source audio with video recordings that have matching camera audio recorded. Additionally, the section on Changing Clip Attributes has been updated with much more information on how you can use the Clip Attributes window to tailor the clips in your project to suit your needs.

ClipAttributesVideo

Clip Attributes lets you adjust the settings of one or more clips in the Media Pool

One of Resolve’s most powerful new tools is the ability to simply and easily relink media. This feature is explained succinctly on page 201, but it’s explained much more fully in Chapter 22, “Importing Projects and Relinking Media.” In particular, page 490, “How DaVinci Resolve Conforms Clips,” and page 529, “Manually Conforming and Relinking Media,” have been extensively rewritten to explain the difference between “Relinking” and “Conforming” (a new distinction I make to explain how Resolve works with media more clearly), and discusses the numerous methods Resolve 12 employs to manage the relationship between clips in the Media Pool and media files on disk (linking), versus the relationship between clips in a Timeline and clips in the Media Pool (conforming). If you want to understand what’s happening under the hood, this is an important chapter for you to read.

Of course, the vastly improved editing environment is one of the big new aspects of this release. Multicam editing, superior audio playback performance, better JKL responsiveness, expanded multi-selection trim capabilities, better dynamic trimming, media management tools, and hugely increased audio capabilities including audio filter support for both clips and tracks, track level and filter keyframing, mixer automation recording, and ProTools export make Resolve 12 into a great NLE with the tightest grading integration in the industry.

Audio Filters

Resolve 12 is now compatible with AudioUnit and VST audio plugins

The chapters that encompass Resolve’s editing capabilities range from Chapter 13, “Using the Edit Page, through Chapter 21, Media Management. That’s nine chapters of editing information, but here are the highlights.

Chapter 15, “Working in the Timeline,” covers Resolve’s new re-syncing contextual menu commands for automatically dealing with audio and video items that have gone out of sync.

Chapter 16, “Multicam Editing, Take Selectors, Compound Clips, and Nested Timelines” cover all of Resolve’s multi-clip editing capabilities, headlining with version 12’s new Multicam editing tools, which are comprehensive and incredible. This chapter also covers how you can nest one timeline inside of another, which is yet one more new feature available in version 12.

Multicam Switching

The new Multicam editor in Resolve 12

Chapter 17, “Trimming,” has expanded and rewritten this part of the manual to cover all of the newest trimming capabilities that Resolve offers, specifically the ability to make multiple selections on the same track to simultaneously ripple, roll, slip, and now even slide multiple clips or edits at once. This includes making selections to do asymmetric trims on the same track, which opens up some really useful new shortcuts when you’re hammering a sequence into shape. This chapter also covers the new Dynamic Trimming mode accessed using the “W” keyboard shortcut, which lets you use all of the JKL transport commands to trim whatever clips you have selected, in real time, with audio playback and the ability to choose which edit point you’re monitoring when you’ve selected multiple objects.

Ripple Credits, Before

A multi-edit selection, Before

Ripple Credits, After

Rippling a multi-edit selection in Resolve 12, After

Chapter 18, “Transitions,” covers the new transition curve you can use to customize transition timing, as well as the all new “Smooth Cut” transition that you can use to make small jump cuts, that result from removing unwanted verbalisms and pauses in interviews, disappear.

Chapter 19, “Edit Page Effects,” shows you how to use Resolve’s new motion path keyframing with easing controls right in the Edit Page, on page 432.

Motion Path

The new bezier-editable motion path with easing adjustment

Chapter 20, “Working With Audio,” has several new sections, including one at the beginning of the chapter covering Resolve’s new support for AAC, MP3, and AIF audio formats at sample rates up to 192 kHz. A revised section covers how assigning audio channels in the Media Pool affects your ability to edit multi-channel audio, and is required reading. Then, three new sections at the end cover how you can now record clip and track level automation in real time using the mixer, how to expose and keyframe using the new Track level overlay, how you can apply AudioUnit (on OS X) or VST (on OS X or Windows) audio filters to clips right in Resolve, and how you can export to ProTools when you decide it’s time to hand off your audio postproduction to a professional.

Automation Recording

Resolve 12 lets you record level automation in real time using the Mixer

Chapter 21, “Media Management,” covers the new Media Management commands in version 12, which let you move, copy, or transcode the media associated with clips in the Media Pool, or within specific timelines, with the ability to automatically relink your project’s timelines to the newly managed media you’ve put in another location.

Media Manage

All new media management in Resolve 12

If you’re a colorist, or an editor who does a lot of color, Resolve 12 has much more for you to love. Chapter 24, “Using the Color Page,” covers the new Smart Filter capabilities, that let you create your very own multi-criteria thumbnail timeline filters for filtering and sorting the clips you’re grading using any combination of metadata available from the Metadata Editor. Chapter 25, “Color Page Basics,” describes the new “Shot Match” command that lets you automatically grade multiple selected clips to match one another, as a prelude to grading a scene. Chapter 26, “Curves,” is a dedicated chapter that contains all new information on using Resolve’s new unified Custom Curve UI, that you’re going to love.

Custom Curves Palette

The new unified curve editor, with integrated Soft Clip controls

Moving on, Chapter 27, “Secondary Grading Controls,” has been expanded to include the new 3D Keyer mode of the Qualifier palette, which is a brand-new high-quality keyer focused on letting you work faster, and giving you more specific results right off the bat. In conjunction with the new Matte Finesse controls “Clean Black” and “Clean White,” (page 696) which let you remove speckles and holes from the background and foreground of a Key matte really easily, Resolve 12 makes it even easier to create great secondary corrections. Later in the chapter, page 722 covers the new Perspective 3D option of the tracker, which makes the tracking of windows to follow features in a scene even more powerful and accurate. Lastly, page 734 covers the new automatic keyframing for rotoscoping capabilities built into Resolve’s tracker palette. Once you try keyframing windows this new way, you’ll never want to use the Keyframe Editor to do this again.

3D QualiferKey

A Key qualified using the 3D Keyer

3D Qualifier

Controls of the 3D Keyer in the Qualifier Palette

Chapter 28, ” The Gallery and Grade Management,” has sections on version 12’s new ability to let you ripple adjustments made to one node to multiple selected clips (or to all clips in a group), as well as appending a new node to multiple selected clips. This is a great new capability for situations where you don’t want to have to make a group just to ripple a change to a selection of clips, and is the kind of feature that will enable you to grade faster then before.

Chapter 30, “Working in the Node Editor,” covers several new updates to node editing that you’ll want to read about. First, the Parallel, Layer, and Key Mixer nodes have been updated with a new look, making your node tree easier to read. Second, the Key Mixer node (page 886) has been made much easier to work with as all node input controls are now simultaneously exposed in the Key Palette. Third, you can now select multiple nodes and turn them into a single Compound node, which contains multiple nodes of adjustment while only exposing a single node in the Node Editor. You can open compound nodes to edit the contents, and even grade compound nodes to “trim” the contents, all of which is covered on page 865. Last, but not least, there’s a new Node Editor contextual command, “Cleanup Node Graph,” which lets you auto-organize messy node graphs with ease.

Key Mixer Setup

Mixer nodes have a new look, to make node trees easier to read

Furthermore, if you’re a pro colorist and you’ve always wished you knew what Resolve’s order of operations was under the hood, page 869 has a thorough explanation of which operations happen prior to the node editor, which operations happen within each node, and which operations take place after the node operator.

Resolve Order of Operations

Chapter 35, “Rendering Media,” has been updated to reflect the new ProTools Export easy setup, as well as the new reorganization of the Render Settings list to make it faster then ever for you to customize your renders to output what you need. Additionally, while not new, the section in Chapter 38, “Exporting Timelines to Other Applications,” has an expanded section on Exporting to ALE for anyone within a Media Composer workflow.

Obviously, there’s much, much more to this release, but these are the highlights that should get you started. (update) Even now, I’m recording (update) I’ve finished recording (update) As I’d mentioned at the top of this article, Ripple Training has released my “New Features in Resolve 12” video tutorials, which runs through all of these features and more with a fine-tooth comb, showing you how all the new toys work. I’m hoping it comes out within a couple of weeks. Also, check out Ripple Training’s YouTube channel for my ongoing “Resolve In A Rush” free Resolve tip series, which will soon include new tips for DaVinci Resolve 12.

(Updated Aug 20)


Color Correction Handbook 2nd Edition: Grading theory and technique for any application.
Color Correction Look Book: Stylized and creative grading techniques for any application.
What's New in DaVinci Resolve 12.5: Covering every new feature in Resolve 12.5 from Ripple Training.
DaVinci Resolve 12 QuickStart: A 4 hr editing and grading overview from Ripple Training.
Editing & Finishing in Resolve 12: 9 hrs of tutorials from Ripple Training.
Grading in DaVinci Resolve 11: Comprehensive 13 hr grading tutorials from Ripple Training.
Grading A Scene: Watch a short horror scene graded, from start to creative finish, Ripple Training.

Previewing DaVinci Resolve 12

I gave a DaVinci Resolve 12 demo in June to the Mopictive User Group in New York, and they posted a video of the event for all to see. I give a look at how well integrated the new features of Resolve 12 are, letting you move quickly and easily from creative editing to grading to fine trimming to more grading to audio mixing to even more grading, going back and forth with a single click of the mouse. There are some really fantastic new features to show, including multicam editing, advanced color management, automatic shot matching, expanded trimming and dynamic trimming, automation recording and audio filter support, improved tracking, a new keyer, and way, way more.

As of this year, DaVinci Resolve 12 is truly an integrated editing and grading application in which you can begin an edit, grade it, and finish your program all within a single application. And of course I’ll have new Ripple Training titles available later this summer to help you learn how to use it all.

I start at 43 minutes in.


Color Correction Handbook 2nd Edition: Grading theory and technique for any application.
Color Correction Look Book: Stylized and creative grading techniques for any application.
What's New in DaVinci Resolve 12.5: Covering every new feature in Resolve 12.5 from Ripple Training.
DaVinci Resolve 12 QuickStart: A 4 hr editing and grading overview from Ripple Training.
Editing & Finishing in Resolve 12: 9 hrs of tutorials from Ripple Training.
Grading in DaVinci Resolve 11: Comprehensive 13 hr grading tutorials from Ripple Training.
Grading A Scene: Watch a short horror scene graded, from start to creative finish, Ripple Training.

I Have More Resolve Tips and Techniques on YouTube

I’ve been continuing to post five minute tips videos about DaVinci Resolve via the Ripple Training YouTube channel; folks have really been liking them, so I’m inclined to continue doing them, and I thought it worth giving everyone a reminder that they’re there. Here are most two most recent videos that have gotten the most eyeballs. Enjoy!


Color Correction Handbook 2nd Edition: Grading theory and technique for any application.
Color Correction Look Book: Stylized and creative grading techniques for any application.
What's New in DaVinci Resolve 12.5: Covering every new feature in Resolve 12.5 from Ripple Training.
DaVinci Resolve 12 QuickStart: A 4 hr editing and grading overview from Ripple Training.
Editing & Finishing in Resolve 12: 9 hrs of tutorials from Ripple Training.
Grading in DaVinci Resolve 11: Comprehensive 13 hr grading tutorials from Ripple Training.
Grading A Scene: Watch a short horror scene graded, from start to creative finish, Ripple Training.

How’d You Like to Watch Me Grade?

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If that sounds like a good time to you, then you’re in luck. As a bit of an experiment, I’ve done a brand new title for Ripple Training called “DaVinci Resolve: Color Grading a Scene” (catchy title, I know). Since Ripple had the misfortune of releasing it just as llamas and dresses were taking over the internet for a day, I figured I’d take the opportunity to describe it in more detail.

As long as I’ve been doing videos for Ripple Training, folks have been asking me for years to show more hands-on techniques and real-world workflows. So, when Steve sent me a short scene he’d shot that was just begging for aggressive stylization, it seemed like a perfect excuse to do something different. In this three-hour tutorial, I grade a short scene from beginning to end, using whatever techniques came to mind to turn this small 5D project into a stylized horror scene. In the process, I go beyond explaining the tools, showing them used as you would within the context of an entire project, illustrating concretely how Resolve works when grading real-world material.

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This project did a great job of showing Resolve’s various tools working together. Also, because it was shot using the 5D, it was a nice challenge to show how far you can push highly-compressed source material, if you’re careful. The nature of the scene was such that I used a wide variety of techniques, from primary Lift/Gamma/Gain corrections, to extensive curve adjustments, different methods for shot comparison, windows, tracking, HSL Qualifiers, keyframing, sharpening and midtone detail adjustments, blanking, pan & scan reframing using input sizing controls, and many more small tools and adjustments, all working together to create the final finished product.

So, if you’d like to kick back, watch me work and hear me talk my way through the grading of an actual project, and maybe pick up some new tricks, then this title is for you. Go check it out, it’s discounted for a limited time only.


Color Correction Handbook 2nd Edition: Grading theory and technique for any application.
Color Correction Look Book: Stylized and creative grading techniques for any application.
What's New in DaVinci Resolve 12.5: Covering every new feature in Resolve 12.5 from Ripple Training.
DaVinci Resolve 12 QuickStart: A 4 hr editing and grading overview from Ripple Training.
Editing & Finishing in Resolve 12: 9 hrs of tutorials from Ripple Training.
Grading in DaVinci Resolve 11: Comprehensive 13 hr grading tutorials from Ripple Training.
Grading A Scene: Watch a short horror scene graded, from start to creative finish, Ripple Training.

Grading CinemaDNG Raw? Resolve 11.2.1 Makes Your Life Better

If you’re a DaVinci Resolve user who’s about to grade a project shot with any of the Blackmagic Design cameras and recorded using CinemaDNG raw, you should seriously consider upgrading to Resolve 11.2.1 if you haven’t already started your project (if you’ve already started, then don’t upgrade yet, as a matter of principle).

One of the more significant updates is an improvement to CinemaDNG debayering inside of Resolve, which will improve any CinemaDNG raw clip being debayered to Rec. 709 regardless of when it was shot or what Blackmagic Camera it’s from.

If you open the CinemaDNG option of the Camera Raw panel of the Project Settings, you’ll see the following Camera Raw controls. The new features are the “Apply Pre Tone Curve” and “Apply Soft Clip” checkboxes.

Camera raw settings for CinemaDNG

New debayer options for CinemaDNG raw media

The “Apply Pre Tone Curve” checkbox, which is on by default for previously created projects, exists to preserve backward compatibility with the previous method of debayering for projects you’ve already graded (in which your adjustments depend on the original debayered output). However, I’m also told that the Pre Tone Curve setting may look better with CinemaDNG raw files coming from other sources, so if you’re importing .dng media from cameras other then those from Blackmagic Design, you can always try toggling this on to see which type of debayering you prefer.

If you turn this checkbox off, or if you create a brand new project in Resolve 11.2.1 or higher in which this checkbox is off by default, then you’re using a newer, nicer-looking method of debayering for all CinemaDNG media in your project. Here’s a comparison of the old vs. new debayering:

Additionally, there’s also a new “Apply Soft Clip” checkbox (it’s off by default). With this checkbox turned on, you cannot reenable “Apply Pre Tone Curve,” as this is an optional function of the new debayering, that serves to bring high dynamic range parts of the signal (super bright highlights) back into the picture as image detail you can see and adjust, similarly to if you’d used the Highlights control to retrieve this part of the signal. Here’s a comparison of a snowy wide shot using the old debayering, versus the new debayering with Soft Clip turned on.

With the current project I’m working on, shot using the Blackmagic URSA camera, I’ve found the new debayering settings immediately provides an image with denser shadows, more neutral color balance, and richer color; an image that’s easier to grade right off the bat when debayering straight to Rec. 709. Obviously this is just a starting point, but a better starting point reduces the number of steps it takes you to get to the final image you want. This is a welcome improvement that, frankly, makes the raw output of all Blackmagic cameras look even better right from the get go, no matter when the material was shot.


Color Correction Handbook 2nd Edition: Grading theory and technique for any application.
Color Correction Look Book: Stylized and creative grading techniques for any application.
What's New in DaVinci Resolve 12.5: Covering every new feature in Resolve 12.5 from Ripple Training.
DaVinci Resolve 12 QuickStart: A 4 hr editing and grading overview from Ripple Training.
Editing & Finishing in Resolve 12: 9 hrs of tutorials from Ripple Training.
Grading in DaVinci Resolve 11: Comprehensive 13 hr grading tutorials from Ripple Training.
Grading A Scene: Watch a short horror scene graded, from start to creative finish, Ripple Training.

A Bit of Training With My Postproduction

Editing in DaVinci Resolve

Yes, I edited log-encoded material, but I’m a Colorist, so that’s allowed…

The scene I shot in December, “An Unwanted Job,” is coming along nicely. In an effort to eat my own dog food, I’m doing as much of the postproduction as I can inside of Resolve, from syncing the timecoded dual-source audio and making offline dailies from the original 4K CinemaDNG media, to editing both picture and sound, editing music and doing simple sound design, through adding visual finishing effects and doing the grade. Eventually, I’ll be sending the audio I edit to someone else for sweetening and mixing, probably in ProTools, probably via exporting xml to Final Cut Pro 7, and out to OMF from there, unless I find a more contemporary workflow.

I used the Metadata Editor in the Media page to annotate the Description, Shot, and Scene for each clip, and then I sorted the Media Pool in list view and organized the clips into logical bins for my use. Overall, the new Media Pool columns and bin organization features have made wading through material much, much nicer then in previous versions. For the smoothest overall experience I created a set of transcoded 1080p ProRes LT media with cloned file names and timecode to work with, making it easy for me to reconform to the original 4K once I start with the grading; I have separate bin hierarchies for the camera original and proxy media, and I can switch back and forth using the “Reconform from bin” command (after turning off “Force Conform Enabled” for each clip in the Timeline).

Assembling my timeline went swiftly. As I edited, I definitely found things that could be improved, particularly in the realm of audio, but I was easily able to accomplish what I wanted, and as I got into the details of the edit I’m happy to say that I like the trimming tools in Resolve as much as an end user as I did when demoing them in front of audiences. There are idiosyncrasies in Resolve 11.1.3 such as audio not playing in reverse (you can hear audio playback scrubbing or moving a frame at a time in reverse, just not at speed), or double-clicking to open a clip into the Source Viewer for trimming not working when the Trim tool is selected (you have to choose the selection tool first), but nothing stopped me, and I’ve passed these tidbits along to the Resolve team. One thing I’ll add is that easy access to Roll edits in selection mode make split edits in dialog ridiculously easy to perform.

After cutting a few different versions of the scene, I “soft-locked” my primary edit a few weeks ago. At the moment, I’m going back and forth on the music cues with composer John Rake. I’ve been deliberately having him compose longer pieces of music that I can cut into the timeline in different ways, which has been forcing me to do a bit of music editing in Resolve. Given that audio cutting isn’t necessarily what Resolve is designed to do at the moment, it’s actually been going nearly as well as it ever did back in FCP 7. I often try to avoid locking the edit until the music is finished, as great cues always make me want to push and pull things around. In this case, it’s a great excuse to push Resolve a little out of its comfort zone.

I’ll post a work in progress probably later in February, but for now I’ve started using examples off of my timeline in a couple of free tutorials that are now available on the web.

I’ve done the first in what is to be a series of “Resolve in Under 5 Minutes” videos for Ripple Training (you can subscribe to their YouTube channel), in which I’ll be showing a different technique or tip in every video. This first one covers image stabilization, which is a useful tool whether you’re an editor, colorist, or finishing specialist. For this, I used one of the first shots in the scene, a 20 foot remote-operated jib shot that was being buffeted by wind on a wintery day. Exactly the kind of shot this tool shines at improving.

I also did a webinar for Imagineer Systems and Boris Effects about how to use Mocha and Boris OFX plugins with DaVinci Resolve to do corner pinned match moving, motion-tracked lens flare addition, lens correction and dead pixel/wire removal, and other techniques that you either can’t do or that are otherwise difficult in Resolve by itself.


Color Correction Handbook 2nd Edition: Grading theory and technique for any application.
Color Correction Look Book: Stylized and creative grading techniques for any application.
What's New in DaVinci Resolve 12.5: Covering every new feature in Resolve 12.5 from Ripple Training.
DaVinci Resolve 12 QuickStart: A 4 hr editing and grading overview from Ripple Training.
Editing & Finishing in Resolve 12: 9 hrs of tutorials from Ripple Training.
Grading in DaVinci Resolve 11: Comprehensive 13 hr grading tutorials from Ripple Training.
Grading A Scene: Watch a short horror scene graded, from start to creative finish, Ripple Training.

New Ripple Training Grading in Resolve 11

ResolveBeta11Icon

It’s taken Ripple Training a bit over a month to edit and polish the recordings I delivered just prior to getting out of town for my recent epic multi-country journey, but after much (amazingly well done) work, my brand new “Color Grading in DaVinci Resolve 11” title is finally available.

At 13 hours, this is my most comprehensive look at color grading in Resolve yet, and covers all features old and new found in Resolve 11 (this title supersedes my Resolve 9 and 10 titles). As with my previous titles, I methodically work my way through the workflows, tools, and features that are available, showing you how to grade using Resolve’s complete tool kit. Along the way, I do my best to liberally sprinkle tips and techniques that I find helpful throughout each topic, so you can get the most out of this powerful software.

If you’re a beginner, I do my best to concisely explain the background of each tool, so you’ll get a simple primer on color grading in addition to learning the tools. If you’re an advanced user, Ripple Training’s exhaustive bookmarks make it easy for you to jump right to the information you need.

For those of you’ve watched previous versions of my training for earlier iterations of Resolve, I’d estimate that this new title is approximately 30% new material, and 70% overlap. However, the comprehensive index makes it easy to jump straight to the information you’re looking for, so whether you’re only interested in new features, or looking to refresh your knowledge of seldom-used features, you can easily focus on the tools you need to learn.

And don’t forget that Resolve’s impressive new editing features are covered in my six-hour “Editing in Resolve 11” title. Between the Editing and Grading titles, you now have access to 19 hours of training covering nearly every aspect of DaVinci Resolve 11.

For more information, and sample movies from both titles, visit the Ripple Training web site.


Color Correction Handbook 2nd Edition: Grading theory and technique for any application.
Color Correction Look Book: Stylized and creative grading techniques for any application.
What's New in DaVinci Resolve 12.5: Covering every new feature in Resolve 12.5 from Ripple Training.
DaVinci Resolve 12 QuickStart: A 4 hr editing and grading overview from Ripple Training.
Editing & Finishing in Resolve 12: 9 hrs of tutorials from Ripple Training.
Grading in DaVinci Resolve 11: Comprehensive 13 hr grading tutorials from Ripple Training.
Grading A Scene: Watch a short horror scene graded, from start to creative finish, Ripple Training.

Editing in Resolve

Great site – which I have just discovered. I am a technician at a UK university and we have recently made the move to shooting on Blackmagic cameras and using Resolve. You seem to be one of the few people going into depth about editing in resolve 11 – and I wondered if I could ask some advice. Is it now feasible to work completely in resolve 11? I am writing a new workflow and even though we also teach Avid and Final Cut – I thought maybe now is the time to actually teach editing and grading in the one package. Is this covered in your tutorials? creating and editing with proxies all with da vinci? 

To answer your last question first, my brand new “Editing in Resolve 11” title from Ripple Training is completely focused on how to edit in DaVinci Resolve, walking you through how to bring media into Resolve, organize it for editing, and cut and trim it into an edited program complete with transitions, composites, and other effects. There are a few lessons included that cover grading for editors, which are designed to give an introduction to those tools for folks that don’t know grading, but the overwhelming majority of the videos are all about the various editing, effects, and audio tools available in Resolve’s Edit page, and how they’re designed to be used together.

Now to answer your previous question. Yes, I consider it completely feasible to edit a project from scratch inside of Resolve 11. Obviously I’m biased since I helped design the feature set, but I’ve been using the editing tools as long as they’ve existed, and have cut a few very short projects with them, and I’m very happy cutting in Resolve.

Editing Tools in Resolve 11

Editing Tools in Resolve 11

Of course, the cool thing about Resolve is that it also has extensive support for importing and exporting XML, AAF, and EDL project exchange files between just about every NLE currently in use, so you can mix and match NLEs with your Resolve workflow in any way you want. But, if you want to take advantage of Resolve’s ability to let you cut away in the Edit page and then, with the single click of a button, start grading in the Color page, going back and forth as you please cutting and grading the same timeline within the same application, you’ve got a nice editing environment with which to do so.

Furthermore, Resolve 11 editing is based on an editor-friendly source-record style paradigm, with strong track management in the timeline that makes it easy to segue from craft editing into finishing. You’ve even got the ability to customize the name of each track. Bottom line, editors from other environments won’t have to relearn everything to start cutting in Resolve, and beginners will find a nice, clean UI that I consider to be very approachable.

The Editing Timeline in Resolve 11

The Editing Timeline in Resolve 11

However, in the spirit of complete honesty, there are a few caveats you should be aware of.

  1. There’s no multicam editing. If you require multicam, I recommend using FCP X’s wonderful multicam tools, and importing the result into Resolve via XML for finishing (works like a charm).
  2. Resolve 11’s current audio tools are a bit sparse. On the plus side, Resolve does have keyframable clip level overlays, multi-channel 16-channel adaptive timeline tracks, individual channel muting in source clips (via the Clip Attributes command), multi-channel waveform views in the Viewer and timeline, and a track/clip level mixer with assignable channel routing for both digital delivery and tape output, and crossfades. On the minus side, there are no audio filters, audio mixing cannot currently be automated at the track level, and there’s currently no way to export AAF to ProTools directly. However, you can export XML to FCP 7 and then export an OMF from there to ProTools (I’ve done it and it works).
  3. Media management in Resolve doesn’t work the way it does in other NLEs. That’s not to say Resolve doesn’t do media management, in fact it has a wealth of media management features, but they’re accessible in different ways, and they require some reading of the manual to get a handle on if you’re used to other applications.
  4. Given Resolve’s continued emphasis on top-quality, 32-bit floating point precision in all of its processing, even the editing tools benefit from the highest performance GPU you can give them. In particular, if you’re planning a classroom full of iMacs, getting the top-of-the-line GPU option is the best way to go (there’s an updated configuration guide if you want more information available at the Blackmagic Design support site).

Keep in mind that this is only DaVinci’s second year of adding serious editing tools, so there are bound to be small features here and there that you may find missing if you’re used to other NLEs. However, the team worked hard to put together as complete a set of editing tools as 24 months of arduous work has allowed, and there has been a lot of thought put into the current set of features to make sure the tools are robust and work together elegantly.

All of the basics are there including full JKL transport controls, absolute and relative timecode navigation and trimming, source-timeline viewer ganging, three-point editing, insert/overwrite/replace/place-on-top/fit-to-fill edits, a fantastic and complete set of trim tools, timeline and clip markers with multiple colors and notes with optional marker rippling, multi-clip selection with select all clips forward and backward commands, compound clip creation and editing, multi-take clip management in the timeline, per-clip transform and compositing controls, linear and variable speed effects with optical flow processing, keyframable effects with an in-timeline curve editor, paste attributes, some really nice media organization tools in the Media Pool, a filterable Edit Index that you can use to list all your markers, offline clips, through-edits, etc., and a great “Smart Cache” system for automatic render caching of processor-intensive effects. Obviously there’s much, much more to the Edit page then I can describe here, but these highlights should give you a good idea of how much there is to be found.

Markers in Resolve 11

Markers in Resolve 11

Furthermore, every function has been designed to work well using either the mouse, or via extensive keyboard shortcuts. An excellent example of this is the simple ability to add transitions. Using the mouse you can right-click on an edit and choose one of four different timings of the current standard transition. Or, if you select an edit by pressing the V key, you can use the U key to choose which side of the edit is selected (incoming, outgoing, or center), and then press Command-T to add the standard transition at the incoming, outgoing, or center of the edit, whichever is selected.

Adding Transitions

Adding Transitions

And of course Resolve’s extensive format support, support of mixed frame-rates/frame sizes/codecs within a single timeline, and extensive project import/export support for multiple XML, AAF, and EDL workflows makes it easy to use Resolve in an incredibly wide variety of workflows, including converting project exchange formats and exporting to just about any media format you’d want to.

Resolve 11 Export Formats

Resolve 11 Export Formats

Oh, and of course you can switch from editing to using Resolve’s incredibly deep grading environment with the single click of a button. No reconform needed, as you’re working on the exact same timeline in both pages.

Resolve 11 Grading at the Press of a Button

Resolve 11 Grading at the Press of a Button

While my current title for Ripple Training focuses on Editing, they’re working on my already-recorded “Grading in Resolve 11” title which is a completely updated grading title. It’ll probably be available in a month or so there’s a separate title on Grading that’s now available.

With all this said, I’d absolutely recommend downloading the Lite version (for free) and checking it out for yourself. The best way to get a feel for Resolve’s editing is to get your hands on it. I think you’ll like what you find. And don’t forget the newly updated Resolve 11 User Manual, written by yours truly, that comes along with the app (it’s installed in the same folder as the Resolve 11 application). The Edit chapters are totally revised, and worth a look if you want to understand how everything works.


Color Correction Handbook 2nd Edition: Grading theory and technique for any application.
Color Correction Look Book: Stylized and creative grading techniques for any application.
What's New in DaVinci Resolve 12.5: Covering every new feature in Resolve 12.5 from Ripple Training.
DaVinci Resolve 12 QuickStart: A 4 hr editing and grading overview from Ripple Training.
Editing & Finishing in Resolve 12: 9 hrs of tutorials from Ripple Training.
Grading in DaVinci Resolve 11: Comprehensive 13 hr grading tutorials from Ripple Training.
Grading A Scene: Watch a short horror scene graded, from start to creative finish, Ripple Training.

The Public Beta of DaVinci Resolve 11

ResolveBeta11Icon

I’ve had a lot of fun working with DaVinci this year, and version 11 a big new release that expands editing, improves grading, and makes nearly every workflow better. While I’ve been nose-to-the-grindstone finishing my film, “The Place Where You Live” for the last two weeks (I finished the last of the VFX yesterday), I’ve continued to keep pace with the DaVinci development team as they’ve been putting the final touches on today’s giant new release of the DaVinci Resolve 11 public beta.

If you’re a current Resolve user, or curious about what Resolve can do for you, there are public betas for both the full dongle-protected version, and the free Lite version. And I need to point out that nearly every feature I talk about in this article is available for free in the lite version. Both can be obtained at a brand new support page: http://www.blackmagicdesign.com/support/family/10.

This page also includes some videos showing what’s new, with specific looks at editing and grading in Resolve. However, if you were to ask me about my favorite new features, I would tell you to check out the following…

Editing, Editing, and Editing

One of the main themes of Resolve 11 is vastly expanded editing tools; you now have a video editor living directly alongside your grading environment, in which you can cut from scratch and immediately switch to grading with a single mouse-click. Or, if you’re like me, you can go back and forth between cutting and grading continuously, making grading tweaks to scenes right in the middle of your edit, creating quick matches when insert shots don’t look right, or creating that day-for-night look you need to make a particular scene work. I’ve actually cut a couple of short projects with these tools, and I think you’ll find the Resolve editing experience surprisingly robust given this is only the second year the team’s been working on it.

You need to check out the powerful trimming tools, including a fantastic implementation of dynamic JKL trimming (make a selection and hold the Command key down while using JKL), and the ability to disable tracks from rippling using the Auto Select controls. If you tried editing with version 10, rest assured that version 11 adds most of what you may have found lacking, including timecode entry for navigation and trimming, more JKL transport functionality, better keyframing and a new curve editor, improved copy/paste and option-drag to duplicate clips, Description/Comments/Keywords columns in the Media Pool, bin organization for timelines, trim start/end features and numerous trim functions, four-up trim viewer displays for slip and slide, key shortcuts for just about everything (including moving clips up and down among tracks) and editable key shortcuts, many improvements to the process of adding and modifying transitions, a new film style transition, an adjustable audio crossfade, new 16-channel capable adaptive audio tracks, a clip mixing mode in the Audio Mixer, title formatting improvements, compatibility with OFX transitions such as those in GenArts Sapphire, a find next/previous gap function, flag/marker/through-edit/offline filtering in the Edit Index, editable notes and colors for markers, a Paste Attributes function, new Compound Clip editing, and much, much more. Coupled with the multiple edit types, compositing and transform features, three-point-editing, speed effects, and draggable trimming that Resolve already had, these additions add up to a very nice experience. In fact, Editing is so big it’s now covered in chapters 6, 7, and 8 of the User Manual. And before you ask, no, there’s no multi-cam editing (I would point out that Final Cut Pro X has great multi-cam along with great import into Resolve).

And to reiterate, every single editing feature is available in Resolve Lite, for free, on both Windows and the Mac (there is no Resolve Lite for Linux).

Great New Grading Tools

There are many new grading tools, including the new Color Match palette for automatically grading a clip based on a color chart included in the shot, a new Sat vs. Sat curve that lets you precisely adjust the saturation of pixels in the image based on their level saturation in the picture, new LAB colorspace conversion within a node, vastly improved matte adjustment parameters in the HSL Qualifier palette, terrific new Highlights and Shadows parameters in both RAW and Color Match palettes for easily retrieving highlight and shadow detail in high dynamic range media, Color Boost and Midtone Detail parameters for creating adjustments similar to vibrance and definition, an Opacity setting for windows, improved automatic Color Matching tools for Stereo 3D media, updated LUTs, the ability to create multiple PowerGrade albums, Wipe, Split-Screen, and Highlight buttons at the top of the Viewer, new automatic Broadcast Safe settings, and UI improvements too numerous to get into here. Color grading has now been split into two chapters, 11 and 12, of the User Manual.

A New Take On an Old Tool, Groups

Also for colorists, the all new Group Grading features makes grading with groups easier and more intuitive than before. If you’ve avoided using groups in the past because they were too complicated to manage, give them another try in version 11. Creating a group enables two new modes in the Node Editor, Pre-Clip Group and Post-Clip Group, which can be used for creating node trees prior to and after the Clip node tree, both of which are automatically synced among each clip in the group. The Clip node remains separate from the group, allowing you to make individual per-clip adjustments. This way, you’ve got an easy way of creating one set of node trees that will ripple among the clips in the group, and a separate node tree that doesn’t. This feature let me remove a whole page of explanation from the manual because it’s so straightforward to use. Group grading is covered at the end of Chapter 13.

A New Render Cache

Whether you’re a colorist or an editor, all new Render Cache functionality lets you either manually or automatically (if you choose the Smart setting) cache source clip formats that won’t play in real time, cache Edit page timeline effects that are render intensive, and cache Color page nodes that are render intensive. Caching is done automatically and quickly, sneaking in cache processing whenever you pause working. Colorists can also turn on caching for a specific node in the Node Editor, which forces all image processing up to that node to cache, while leaving all downstream nodes live for editing. The format you cache to is user selectable (in the General Options of the Project Settings) and you can choose from among a wide range of video formats. Also, while exporting from the Delivery page, you have the option of choosing to either output the cached media, or force a re-render. Caching in Resolve is now a big topic, and full information can be found starting on page 97 of the User Manual. Not mentioned (yet) is the ability to delete your render cache, found at the bottom of the Playback menu.

Collaborative Workflow

Collaborative workflow (only available with the full version of Resolve) is a huge new feature that allows multi-workstation shops, both large and small, to have multiple Resolve users working on the same timeline at the same time. Setting up a shared Resolve project database to do this is relatively simple (there are complete instructions in Chapter 17 of the User Manual), and once you do so, an editor, a colorist, and some assistants can work together on the same timeline, at the same time, giving you yet another tool to manage those ridiculous client deadlines. Even if you’re a tiny boutique post house with two people, an editor and a colorist, you can set this up to use among your two workstations for the cost of only two licenses of Resolve.

Clone Tool

A new clone tool in the Media page makes it easy to duplicate camera card media, volumes, or even individual folders, to one or more destinations, complete with checksum reports written to the destination.

Delivery

There are even new features for delivery, including a new UI separating the output options into Basic, Intermediate, and Advanced sets of controls depending on how much customization you require, new H.264 one-pass encoding with user-adjustable data rate throttling and AAC audio encoding that produces fast and quality H.264 files, MXF OP1A encoding, IMF encoding for owners of easyDCP, and the ability to output clips of mixed resolutions at their original frame sizes when outputting individual source clips. All this and more is covered in Chapter 14.

Get It Now

These are just the highlights, there’s much, much more to this release than I can easily summarize here. It’s all covered in the beta version of the newly updated User Manual that accompanies the disk installation (the User Manual is now automatically copied to the application folder that’s now installed). The User Manual has been significantly reorganized, and as you can imagine there’s a lot more information in the editing chapters than there used to be. So, download the software, skim the User Manual, and give it a whirl. Integration between editing and grading has never been tighter, and while I’m obviously biased since I work with the DaVinci design team, I think you’re going to really like what you see.

And yes, as you can imagine, I’m hard at work on the updated version of my training videos for version 11, through Ripple Training. This year will be a total overhaul, which is a colossal undertaking, but well worth it. Stay tuned on my twitter feed (@hurkman) if you want to be the first to hear about it.


Color Correction Handbook 2nd Edition: Grading theory and technique for any application.
Color Correction Look Book: Stylized and creative grading techniques for any application.
What's New in DaVinci Resolve 12.5: Covering every new feature in Resolve 12.5 from Ripple Training.
DaVinci Resolve 12 QuickStart: A 4 hr editing and grading overview from Ripple Training.
Editing & Finishing in Resolve 12: 9 hrs of tutorials from Ripple Training.
Grading in DaVinci Resolve 11: Comprehensive 13 hr grading tutorials from Ripple Training.
Grading A Scene: Watch a short horror scene graded, from start to creative finish, Ripple Training.

Old Tricks in a New Way—Color Wash

Offset Color Balance

As I was puttering around the other week, I happened upon a small DaVinci Resolve grading trick that seemed worth sharing. Nothing earth-shattering, just a handy tip that might help out when you’re trying to add a color wash or tint to a clip, but you want to make sure that some of the underlying color still shows through.

For reference, here’s the original:

Pre-Tint Original

The simplest way of introducing a tint is simply to push one of the color balance controls aggressively towards a particular color. Depending on which control you use, such a tint will be emphasized in the highlights (Gain), the midtones (Gamma), or the shadows (Lift). The most aggressive tints, affecting the entire image, can be accomplished using the Offset control, which rebalances the entire range of the signal indiscriminately.

Here’s the trick for retaining a bit of naturalism. Before you touch the color balance controls, right-click the node you’re using to apply the tint, and turn off “Enable channel 2” so there’s no check mark next to it.

Disabling Channels

This prevents anything you do in this node from affecting channel 2, which is the green channel. Now, when you push any of the color balance controls around, you’ll be rebalancing the red and blue channels, but not green. Even when using Offset to create a massive tint.

Offset Color Balance

The result is that you actually retain a good whiff of the original color balance in the midtones, as you can see in the following comparison of differently tinted versions, all using the Offset control.

Comparison of Grades

Why lock off the green channel to do this? Well, when you’re rebalancing color, the green channel sits right in the middle, betwixt and between red and blue. Locking green off means that red and blue then see-saw up and down on either side of green. The result is that, while the midtones do become tinted along with the rest of the image, they’re prevented from becoming tinted so much that the original balance of colors is obscured.

You can see this when comparing the original and tinted images in an RGB Parade scope. Here’s the original:

Untinted Image

Now here’s the tinted image:

Tinted Image

Since we’re pushing this image towards green using the offset control, you can see that the bottoms of the red and blue channels are being clipped, but the green channel remains stolidly where it was. A tint is being created, but leaving the green channel out of the operation prevents you from going overboard too easily.

So there you go. It’s a small thing, and while you probably already had about eight different ways of tinting an image if you’ve read my Color Correction Handbook and/or Look Book, this gives you one more for those special cases.


Color Correction Handbook 2nd Edition: Grading theory and technique for any application.
Color Correction Look Book: Stylized and creative grading techniques for any application.
What's New in DaVinci Resolve 12.5: Covering every new feature in Resolve 12.5 from Ripple Training.
DaVinci Resolve 12 QuickStart: A 4 hr editing and grading overview from Ripple Training.
Editing & Finishing in Resolve 12: 9 hrs of tutorials from Ripple Training.
Grading in DaVinci Resolve 11: Comprehensive 13 hr grading tutorials from Ripple Training.
Grading A Scene: Watch a short horror scene graded, from start to creative finish, Ripple Training.

All About Resolve 10.1

This is just a quick post as I’m out of the country and about to take my first meaningful vacation in two years. DaVinci recently released version 10.1 of Resolve, with a bunch of great new features; not wanting to rerecord my just-finished “Resolve 10 In-Depth” title for Ripple that runs four hours and covers everything that’s new as of 10.0.2, I thought I’d make things easy for everybody and record a set of free tutorials that only cover the very newest features in 10.1, so that everyone can keep current.

There are seven movies totaling less then an hour, covering new editing features, improvements to Color Trace, an explanation of the new way the Resolve handles stereo, an update on different ways of copying grades in the color page, and much more. You can either access them on YouTube at the Ripple Training channel, or you can view them on a dedicated page at the Ripple Training site. For now, here’s a taste (for some reason I can only link to the very last movie), hope you find them useful!


Color Correction Handbook 2nd Edition: Grading theory and technique for any application.
Color Correction Look Book: Stylized and creative grading techniques for any application.
What's New in DaVinci Resolve 12.5: Covering every new feature in Resolve 12.5 from Ripple Training.
DaVinci Resolve 12 QuickStart: A 4 hr editing and grading overview from Ripple Training.
Editing & Finishing in Resolve 12: 9 hrs of tutorials from Ripple Training.
Grading in DaVinci Resolve 11: Comprehensive 13 hr grading tutorials from Ripple Training.
Grading A Scene: Watch a short horror scene graded, from start to creative finish, Ripple Training.