All things change. While I’ve never been one to dwell on my age, as I turn 50 this weekend, I find myself reflecting on the last milestone of my 40th birthday, and on the significance of what I began that year. Funny story, I missed my 40th birthday because I was flying to Singapore on March 6th for my first in-person meeting with the fine folks in the DaVinci Resolve engineering team, and crossing the international date line I arrived on March 8th, so no March 7th for me.
Little did I know at the time, but that trip kicked off a ten year adventure working with Blackmagic Design, helping to evolve DaVinci Resolve from version 9 through version 17, which just now shipped with the best suite of editing and grading tools it’s ever had. For nine releases (ten if you include the new features I wrote up for version 8), I’ve worked with the DaVinci Resolve product team helping define new features and functionality, and written the DaVinci Resolve documentation. From the days when you couldn’t even drag a clip into the timeline, I’ve contributed to what the Edit page was to become, pitched in with improvements to the Color page, and helped document the introduction of the Fairlight and Fusion pages as DaVinci Resolve went from being a premier color grading tool, to becoming a post production workflow powerhouse. It’s been an incredible journey with wonderful people, and I’m proud of what the entire team has accomplished over these last ten years.
However, new challenges beckon. As readers of this blog know, the years prior to the pandemic saw me working more extensively as a director on projects of increasing ambition, and while the events of 2020 hit the pause button on much of what I had planned, my mind has continued to be squarely focused on the overall workflow challenges faced by creatives in every part of media creation, and how to better improve the process for everyone.
The story of how I came to interview with Frame.io is, like many in our industry, a long and tangled road, but it was this desire to investigate and initiate improvements to overall media creation workflow that compelled me to accept a Senior Workflow Architect position at Frame.io. I’ve been a Frame.io user from the beginning, having traded color correction services doing some of their early customer story videos for an account, switching to a paid account soon thereafter to use Frame.io for client review and approval for my own projects and to solve sharing workflows in my directed projects, and I was even involved in the integration of Frame.io into DaVinci Resolve, which is one of the deepest and most compelling integrations between Frame.io and a post production application there are. I’ve long been aware of their dedication to excellence both in product workflow and product design, and I’ve been firmly of the belief that they’re at the forefront of new and exciting thinking in our industry. While moving on was a difficult decision, I’m excited at the possibilities this new role opens up, and I look forward to this new chapter in the more technical side of my career.
This does not mean I’m turning away from the creative side of my career. While I keep telling myself I have to find cheaper ways of telling a story, to prove that I never learn my lesson I’m even now working on a new feature length script. The creative and technical halves of my career have always gone together like chocolate and peanut butter, and one has always reinforced the other, so I figure why stop now? Particularly since the public reception to “Carry My Heart to the Yellow River” on the festival circuit in 2019-2020 was so overwhelmingly strong. There are more stories to tell, and I’ve a mind to tell them.
This does mean that my contributions as a lead writer on product documentation have finally come to a close. I will continue to write third party books from time to time as the spirit takes me, but my days of writing thousands of pages of product manuals are over. For those who might be worrying about the DaVinci User Manual, do not fear. For the last two years I’ve been creating a team to help shoulder the substantial load of the manual as it is now, and that could carry on in my absence, and those writers have been deeply involved with me in the version 17 release. The Resolve documentation is in excellent hands, and will continue to develop and thrive in the spirit in which I’ve created it.
So that’s my announcement. I have nothing but love for DaVinci Resolve, for Peter Chamberlain, Rohit Gupta, and Anish Prithviraj and the rest of the Resolve team, and for Grant Petty and Blackmagic Design who have made everything possible. And I’ll certainly be using DaVinci Resolve as the heart of my post production workflow for projects going forward. I look forward to the fascinating challenges posed by my new role, and to the opportunity to widen my focus to include the broader workflow issues faced by every media worker in movies, streaming, television, and web content in this time of rapid evolution.