The Best Things In Life Are Free
Blackmagic’s Davinci Resolve 12.5 is now quite simply the best free editing, finishing and delivery program ever made. Resolve, is a panacea for those still grieving over the loss of Final Cut 7 or those that balk at or lack the funds to subscribe to Avid or Adobe’s yearly plans. Remarkably it outdistances those video-editing programs in some respects. (This is not to say anybody who is proficient with Premiere or Avid is going to jump ship for this editor). Blackmagic has come a little late to the game, so the slew of improvements to the editor made Resolve more user friendly and not a game changer for editors on deadline like Apple’s disastrous remodel of Final Cut 7 to Final Cut X (Check out Conan’s Editors Response).
The design that Davinci Resolve uses is intuitive and, in most cases, the geniuses that created the workflow have given us what people were asking for and what was needed. In Davinci 12.5 Windows users no longer have to use Quicktime 7 (which Apple no longer supports) to export Pro Res Codecs as the program provides it.
And we haven’t even mentioned the strength of the program, which is the advanced color correction, the feature that has made it “the go to” program for most movie colorists.
Why does Blackmagic give their software away for free and how can the company thrive on that business model? Bob Caniglia, Senior Manager at Blackmagic in conversation with No Film School answers the question by saying,” "We offer Resolve for free just to get a filmmaker to start to use it," Caniglia said. “Even if people have the free version of the software, they generally buy some hardware to go along with it, whether it's a capture card or a Thunderbolt interface, so that's where we see the revenue.” "The playing field has been leveled as far as tools. "You're not going to be judged by what you've shot on. In the past, you might have dressed up the narrative because you thought you weren't using the right tools, but we're at a point where those (tools) are available to everyone. Focus on your story."
There’s got to be a catch right? Well sort of…Though you can run it with less ram than 8 gigs of ram, I wouldn't. Davinci operates smoothly with16gigs and you need a decent video card. For a complete rundown on what specs you need and why click here.
Ok you say, “I am not a professional and don’t need a high class program to edit my iPhone footage, I have iMovie.” One of the huge disadvantages with iMovie is its lack of control over the media import, storage, color correction and delivery options. When you edit in iMovie passing your project is truly painful even if you find someone to properly finish it. If you are at all serious about editing why not learn something that professionals already use.
Now that you can shoot 4k video with the iPhone, Nikon D500 ($1995), Sony A6300 ($995), The Lumix GH5 ($1,000 coming in early 2017) or lest we forget Blackmagic’s Cinema Camera; we all are going to be blessed with high res video and cursed with HUGE file sizes. This of course makes iMovie and Avid Media Composer (I use proxies with MC when I edit Red) less of an attractive choice. You can share iMovie projects with Airdrop but you will have to pay to upgrade your storage ($30 annually). Finally, as marvelous as the new iPhone or Android is in taking movies, parts of the color spectrum you get are downright ugly, something Resolve 12.5 was made to cure. There are a variety of tools, that not only let you correct the desired color imperfections but isolate the problems in a way as not to affect the surrounding colors or objects as I demonstrate below in these images.
Davinci Resolve even provides one of the best trackers so your corrections be they on someone's face or lips will follow the person in the video as they turn or walk toward you or away.
For a deeper look into the process feel free to watch this video.
Organizing your media, especially if you have a bunch of clips with different resolutions, is a pain. Now with Davinci 12.5 you can have the program automatically sort your files into a folder based on a common property (codec) or file name, i.e., Mp4, Pro Res and every time you add a file with that property it automatically sorts it into a folder. If you are quitting for the day and want to make sure your project will open correctly, Davinci can export all the media you choose into one folder or transcode your files from one file type to another, should your editor, producer or friend need the files in another form. Premiere Pro also has this ability but this article is about free stuff. I hold The Avid Certification and these new features made me SO jealous.
Though it has been free for a while, the 200 plus improvements Blackmagic Design has made in Davinci Resolve 12.5 have been transformative. A crash course in all the new features can be found here.
All images are screenshots of Davinci Resolve interface by Bob Hershon unless indicated otherwise