Home DaVinci Resolve Six, (er) Seven New Features in Resolve 9

Six, (er) Seven New Features in Resolve 9

by alexis

So, Resolve 9 has finally been made public after much anticipation since its unveiling at NAB. Many of the new features have already been shown and discussed, but there are even more features being shipped then have been talked about previously, and I thought it’d be nice to highlight six seven of those in this post. (The lead engineer reminded me of, how could I have forgotten, the updated video scopes, which are so pretty I had to add a screenshot.)

Mixed Frame Rate Support

For me, this is the single biggest new feature in this release. Bigger even then the new UI. Mixed frame rate media has been a frequent hassle in projects I get from clients. Most NLEs let you edit any kind of footage you want together into a single timeline, regardless of frame rate. And as you may or may not know, mixing frame rates can be rather challenging when it comes to finishing, since you can ultimately only output one frame rate as your finished media file or tape output. Prior versions of Resolve were constrained by only supporting a single frame rate in a particular project, but no more.

Resolve 9 lets you mix and match whatever frame rates are necessary within a single project, so long as you turn on the “Handle mixed frame rate material” checkbox in the Master Project Settings panel of the new Project Settings window (available by clicking the gear icon in the lower left-hand corner).

Mixed Frame Rate Support

You have to turn this checkbox on before you import an AAF or XML mixed frame rate project (to learn why, check the manual). After you import your AAF or XML file with mixed frame rate media, you’ll want to make sure that your “Playback framerate” is identical to the “Calculate timecode at” setting for optimal performance. (Both settings are also in the Master Project Settings panel of the Project Settings window.)

When rendering a Mixed Frame Rate timeline, how the media is output depends on whether you render to Source or Target mode. In Source mode, each clip is rendered at its native frame rate, for handoff to another NLE or finishing application. In Target mode, all frames are converted to the frame rate specified by the “Calculate timecode at” setting of that project, letting you output the entire project as a single media file at the target frame rate.

I don’t know about you, but this alone is going to save me, and my clients, hours of project prep.

Light Box View

This is another new feature that was previously unannounced. While working in the Color page, you can click the Lightbox View button:

Lightbox Button

…to view every clip in your timeline using the Resolve Lightbox.

The Lightbox

The Lightbox view makes it easy to scan through your project looking for a particular scene, to make multiple selections in order to create groups, or to use the new Flag command to assign differently colored flags to various clips to note things you want to do. This is a terrifically timesaving feature for projects of any duration.

Clip Attributes

Another interesting new feature is the Clip Attributes window, found in the Media Pool. This window replaces many of the contextual menu commands available for altering various editable properties of clips, for example, to change data levels, pixel aspect ratio settings, or to reinterpret the alpha channel mode now that Resolve 9 supports alpha channels for imported media. It also handles timecode alteration and manual, per-clip reel name changes, as well as stereoscopic 3D media assignments.

The Clip Attributes Dialog

What’s notable is that you can select multiple clips, and use the Clip Attributes window to change them all at once.

Metadata Editor

I had shown the metadata editor in my video presentation (viewable here), but since I’ve shown it last, a shedload of editable metadata attributes has been added. Far too many to show on one page.

More Metadata

Fortunately, they’re organized into groups, which are available from a pop-up menu at the upper right-hand corner of the metadata editor.

Metadata Groups

If you’re working on digital dailies, or you’re an extremely organized colorist, this is going to be a benefit.

Big Ass Curves

One frequent complaint I’ve heard is that the relatively small size of the DaVinci Resolve custom curves made them difficult to use for precision adjustments. I myself had never quite noticed this to be a problem, but fortunately DaVinci heard your anguished cries, and provided a new Large Curve mode for the Custom Curves. Clicking a button at the bottom of the Custom Curves:

The Large Curves Button

…opens up a window presenting a huge version of the same curves, with all the same controls.

Big Ass Curves

Having used the large curves for a while, I can safely say that they’re a huge improvement (ha) and truly do give you more refined control of your curve-driven adjustments. I never knew what I was missing until I started using these, and now there’s no going back for those finicky log-to-linear custom adjustments I now find myself making with more frequency.

Updated Video Scopes

While they were updating the rest of the UI, DaVinci decided to update the video scopes, too.

New Video Scopes

The new one-window scopes look beautiful, and I find them easier to manage then the four individual windows that were available previously. Providing an analysis of every single line of image data, the Waveform, Parade, Vectorscope, and Histogram are all there. However, if you like, you can change the number of scopes displayed to 1-up, 2-up, or the default 4-up, which lets you enlarge individual scopes if you don’t need the whole shooting match. Performance is dependent on how much GPU processing power your workstation has, so single or dual GPU systems may have less then stellar performance. However, folks who routinely use the Resolve scopes have cause for rejoicing, as these are a distinct improvement over what was there before.

A New Manual

You knew I was going to mention this. I’ve been hard at work (which explains the paucity of blogging around here) for the last three months writing what has ended up being a 600 page, near total rewrite of the DaVinci Resolve 9 User Manual. (To give you some perspective, the previous version of the manual was 435 pages)

New Version, New Manual

It’s been quite a challenge keeping up with the DaVinci Resolve team as they’ve piled on the improvements and evolved the UI over the months, but it’s been a truly rewarding experience, and I’m rather proud of the result.

Now, bear in mind that, as the product is still in beta, the user manual is also a work in progress, with edits and screenshot changes yet to be put in. However, I’m glad that the team has seen fit to make it available to the public, so that everyone can get a jump on what’s new. There are a lot of subtle refinements, and I’ve tried hard to capture all the little things and interoperabilities.

There are a few things of which, however, I’m particularly proud. “Before You Conform,” on page 111, contains detailed information about project preparation, effects support from NLEs, an explanation of the rules for media conforms, details about image processing and clip data levels, a summary of ACES support in Resolve, and an overview of digital dailies workflow. I tried to answer a lot of the questions that folks have had about Resolve’s inner workings in this section, and I think you’ll find it illuminating.

Also, “AAF Workflow Overview” on page 137 provides a detailed overview, from soup to nuts, of how you get projects from Media Composer or Symphony to Resolve and back again. The DaVinci Resolve team has worked extremely hard to make this workflow smoother and easier in version 9, and I executed each workflow personally while writing this section (kudos to Avid for answering my questions and giving me additional support while I developed the content). If you’re dealing with AAF, read this section. It may explain some of the issues you’ve been having, and will guide you through ways of getting the job done.

If you’re completely new to DaVinci Resolve, there’s a new, almost 30 page tutorial on page 71. It’s basic, so if you already know Resolve, you can probably skip it. But if you’ve never used Resolve at all, it’ll give you a quick and thorough tour of bringing a project in, doing some grading using a core selection of the Resolve toolset, and then rendering your project out. And, you can follow along using the sample media that comes on the DaVinci installer disk (and is also available by downloading from Blackmagic Design support).

So, I hope you find the new version of Resolve as big an improvement as I do, and I hope the new manual helps you to get the most out of it.

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robbie carman July 31, 2012 - 5:38 pm

As I mentioned on twitter the revised manual is really awesome! Things that I had questions about previously and couldn’t decipher in the text of the previous manual are now crystal clear. Good job

DaVinci Resolve 9 Public Beta Now Available | Erik Naso July 31, 2012 - 10:19 pm

[…] Seven New Features In Resolve 9 […]

DaVinci Resolve 9 video demo | Jonny Elwyn - Film Editor August 1, 2012 - 3:25 am

[…] Van Hurkman (who just rewrote the Resolve manual to a beefy 600 pages) has posted on 7 new features in Resolve. Denver Riddle of Color Grading Central has also released a short demo of the new […]

Vincent Taylor August 1, 2012 - 8:22 am

Mr Van Hurkman I hope you have at least a small idea of the incredible amount of support you offer to folks on the other side of the world! I am vey excited that you were responsible for the Resolve 9 manual and if it is written with the same clarity as your colour correction handbook then I’ll still be thanking you for many years to come!

Blackmagic Has Released DaVinci Resolve 9 Beta, What Makes This Version Better? - NoFilmSchool August 1, 2012 - 6:56 pm

[…] Here is his list of some major new features he is excited about: […]

Andy Kaczé August 2, 2012 - 4:59 am

Dear Alexis,

A great blog & experience you offer and share, thanks a lot for that!
Since you know Davinci so much and me (coming from my beloved Apple Color) do you have an idea if I can click on the HSL Qualifier in the way I can in Apple Color? I really miss this point in DR 9 … it “just” let me drag the values under each single Qualifier Hue, Sat and Lum … I know Resolve is meant to be driven by a control surface (I´m still saving!) … but jeah … is there any other way to quickly drag my ranges in each qualifier like I could in Color?

All the Best for you!

Alexis August 3, 2012 - 1:00 pm

When you open the Qualifier palette, the eyedropper is on by default, and you can simply click and drag over a portion of the image to sample, similarly to Apple Color. In addition, there are other eyedropper tools that let you add to and remove from the inner range and outer softness of the sampled region. This is described on page 377 of the new manual.

jimbee August 2, 2012 - 3:49 pm

Quick question, Alexis, I downloaded version 9 beta, and when trying to start it, got a message that I needed a DaVinci dongle. I take it that means only current owners of Resolve can try out the beta version?

Alexis August 3, 2012 - 1:02 pm

You need to download DaVinci Resolve Lite. That’s the free version, and it has a separate support page.

Alex August 2, 2012 - 6:08 pm

This is great ! Thanks for the update.
Just one quick question: Is there now an easy workaround to quickly manage and grade seperate cameras from a multi-cam program ?
I guess the famous new metadata editor might help but does it natively rekowns the tape/reel names or do they have to be flaged somehow before ?

Alexis August 3, 2012 - 1:03 pm

There’s no automated way that I know of. Using flags of a particular color to denote all the clips from one camera or another, and then using the new Timeline Filter pop-up commands would be one way of doing this, as would the use of groups, but in both cases you’re manually setting up these relationships.

Andre August 3, 2012 - 10:18 am


I’m running Resolve 9 on a Mac Pro 1,1 with processor upgrades (dual quad 3.0) and only one AMD 5770. I know its far from good. Updated projects from 8 very smoothly, great!!! But it was playing at 15 fps and after upgrade to 9 Beta it is 5 fps, kind off impossible.

I decided to try something weird, put another 5770 from other machine, and now its much better, playing at 18 fps… even not cuda, another video board helps!

Besides this performance slow down, it’s a beutifull UI and great new features so far.

Jean Coudsi August 5, 2012 - 1:59 am

Hi Alexi

The new doc is incomparable : excellent work. Thanks !

Question : In page 209, concerning Proxies I read … “However, if you first create pre-generated proxies, DaVinci Resolve will use them instead. Proxies may be generated at any time from any kind of source media.”

It’s mean that if I grade codec or raws files I just need hit Command-P even if only DPX can generate proxies in the proxies manager ?

Alexis August 5, 2012 - 11:46 am

Thanks for the kudos. You happened to have found an error that has not been revised. There was a bit of back and forth about what media types could be turned into pre-generated proxies, and the final correction didn’t get into the beta draft that got distributed. Bottom line, only DPX media can be used in a pre-generated proxy workflows. You can’t pre-generate proxies from any other formats.

The good news is that, in my experience, I rarely find the need to use proxies, so this isn’t much of a limitation in my view.

Steve MacMillan August 5, 2012 - 3:57 am

I question the ACES flow chart on p112 of the manual. The RRT and ODT are usually combined into one mathematical function and the grading is done in the ACES color space in the LMT prior to the RRT.

Alexis August 5, 2012 - 11:52 am

You’re absolutely correct. The original illustration was in error, and unfortunately an amended version of this illustration didn’t make it into the beta draft in time. This has since been corrected with the following revision: Amended ACES in Resolve Schematic

Lonnie August 5, 2012 - 4:15 am

Hello Alexis – when may we anticipate New Resolve 9 Training?
I purchased the version you made for Resolve 8 (Ripple Training), but was too busy to finish it – and then when 9 was announced, I never re-opened it for not wanting to learn “wrong/different” methods than the newer incarnation would support…

By the way the Resolve 8 tutorial was nicely done and you have a great voice to listen to for hours at a time… Good stuff!

Thanks in advance,

Alexis August 5, 2012 - 11:54 am

I’ll actually be beginning the process of creating new Resolve 9 training on monday (August 6th). I’ve been tied up with the Resolve 9 manual, as you can imagine, but I’m looking forward to creating my new title for Ripple. I’ll be sure to announce here when it’s available.

Philipp August 6, 2012 - 6:44 pm

Hey Alexis,

First of all your manual is outstanding! I’ve been gobbling it up over the past couple of days and it’s a perfect mix of color grading basics and resolve specific information. Amazing read. Thank you!

Secondly I was wondering if you are aware of any upcoming improvements to the Tangent Element control surface mapping. It’s rather clumsy right now. The new s-log mode, for example, isn’t supported at all (okay you can manually mouse click resolve into s-log mode and at least use the three color wheels, but all the advanced controls are missing) even though there are plenty of free buttons available.

I’m hesitant to invest into the panel because I’m scared the reason for the clumsy button configuration may be political (to steer people toward blackmagic’s control panel) and hence will not be improved.

Any thoughts?

Alexis August 7, 2012 - 1:02 am

Thanks for the positive review, I’m glad you’re finding the manual useful.

I haven’t checked the latest iteration of the Element mappings yet, so I can’t say for sure what is new. Personally, what I like most about the Element panels is the build quality and the overall feel. Having used both it and the Wave, I find I like the Element mappings better. However, like you, I’d appreciate more evolution in the mappings, but I really have no idea what’s planned in the future.

Steve Oakley August 7, 2012 - 11:06 am

in taking a first look at R9, I ran to the manual to be very pleasantly surprised at how good it was. I suspected your hand in it… and then there was the user login screen shot to confirm it 🙂

Roland Walter August 21, 2012 - 5:57 am

I’m going through the tutorial in the manual. Thanks for clear and simple explanations.

Regarding the tutorial files: There is a discrepancy between the a file name in the xml file and the media file which causes the project not import one media file.
Tutorial – Tracking.mov vs Tutorial -Tracking.mov (space after the dash vs no space after the dash. I changed the xml file and it loaded properly.

Alexis August 22, 2012 - 11:01 pm

Thanks for the feedback. I’ll pass the info along.

.:: Visual Imaging News ::. August 28, 2012 - 5:03 pm

[…] Lastly, Alexis Van Hurkman has some info on his blog about the new features in DaVinci Resolve 9 (http://vanhurkman.com/wordpress/?p=2028). […]


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