I’ve been grading Persona Films’ debut feature, Cargo, and I originally thought I’d see how well it would work to load the entire 86 minute timeline into DaVinci Resolve at one go.
A classic case of user error.
Having been shot on RED, I conformed the project to the original R3D media, and I took the shortcut of adding all the media from the shoot to the media pool, thinking it’d make conforming a snap. That was a bad idea. The resulting colossal project database ended up taking forever to save (and I do like to save frequently), and was a bear to manage.
At the advice of those who are wiser then myself, I went back to my previously standard operating procedure of working in reels (something I always do when working in Apple Color). Furthermore, I was more judicious about what media I added to the media pool.
I had the original Final Cut Pro sequence for the feature broken into four sequence “reels” approximately 20 minutes in length (with each reel starting and ending on whole scenes). EDLs were then exported from each.
After creating separate DaVinci Resolve projects for each reel, I did the smart thing and used the “Add Folder and SubFolders Based on EDLs” command in the Browse page to add only the R3D media referenced by each EDL to the media pool of its corresponding project. That saved me a boatload of hassle right there.
Once that was done, it was a simple thing to open each project and import its corresponding EDL in the Conform page. With less media in the media pool, and a shorter list of events in the timeline, saving is once again snappy, and everything is generally faster and easier to manage. Once the grade is finished, I’ll be exporting a set of four .mov files that will be stitched together back in Final Cut Pro, with final mastering to tape from there.
Moral to the story? If you’re grading a feature in DaVinci Resolve, divide the program into separate project reels, and only add the media you need to each one. Guess it just goes to show that reels never go out of style…