Monday, April 12, 2010

From NAB 2010: Davinci for $995 - WTF?

Quite the buzz about this!  It took Blackmagic less than a year to bring Davinci to the desktop market, and at $995 - I think we have to take a serious look.  First of all, lets get this right out in the open.  This is NOT the system for you to plan on running 2k or 4k files, raw RED files, or stereoscopic HD work.  For that you will need to get the Linux based, $50K license - yes, $50k.  It's $20k for the licenses, and $30k for the REQUIRED control surface panel.  The Tangent Wave device won't work.

The reason the higher res files won't work well is simple - the Linux version can use a cluster of GPUs (not too mention you can add CPUs) to do the grunt work, the Mac can use one.  Oh well, there are worse things in life,  it's simply a limitation of the workstation, nothing you can do about it.   Still, at $995, from what I can see, you can't go wrong if you are doing standard SD or HD work (goodbye Color). The other thing I would say, is that there is a reason Autodesk and Quantel continue to sell advanced systems - in a fast-paced environment, where turnaround AND quality are very, very important - the render times, previewing feedback,  even for standard HD formats, might make it prohibitive for that type of environment. 

But then there's the rest of us!  From what I've seen, I have to give it a thumbs up.  $995 is just too good to pass up.  It might not be the software/hardware setup for many post houses, and I am concerned that it might hurt the market and development in the long run,  but what can you do?  BM isn't the first, nor the last.  We could say the same thing about Final Cut,  (and guess what - a lot of companies and software did go down, and Motion Media was selling a lot of these higher-end systems, so I felt the pain too!), but a few years later and  here we are and I think that most people are just fine with the turnout.

From the Davinci site:

DaVinci Resolve for the Mac is the world’s most advanced color correction as a software only solution compatible with high performance GPU cards and off the shelf control panels such as the Tangent Wave™.

  • Includes 32 bit float YRGB processing for all effects, power windows, tracking, primaries and secondaries and 3D object tracker.

  • You get the a full copy of DaVinci Resolve with no features disabled, so you get a full system, with single GPU performance.

  • Because DaVinci Resolve Software is a full DaVinci, as GPUs on Mac get faster, your DaVinci Resolve will get faster.

  • Add supported third party control surfaces and video I/O, devices to let your system grow!

The tangent Wave unit is around $1500-$1600 street pricing, so you're looking at a very cost effective solution oveall