This morning Blackmagic Design released the new version of Da Vinci Resolve.
Resolve 12 has a bucketload of new features, from simple adjustments and
updates, to game changing overhauls, but the name of the game with this release
is it's editing tools. For years now the non-linear editor market has been
dominated by Avid, Premier, and (less so lately) Final Cut, with a few smaller
names out in the wings, and now Blackmagic is throwing its hat into the ring in
earnest with this new release of Resolve.
At this year's NAB conference, I was able to elbow my way through the crowd
and get a brief hands on demo of the new Resolve 12, but now that it is fully
released, anyone with an internet connection can now download the basic package
of Resolve, with the pro version still available for $995 from your favorite
So what's new exactly?
For starters, the naming convention has changed. In the past, the free version
of Resolve has been designated "Lite", while the paid version just carried
the release number. With Resolve 12, Blackmagic has somewhat reversed that
convention, and dropped the "Lite" from the free version, and added
"Studio" to the paid version. This may be a little confusing for those
upgrading from a previous version, but I don't feel like it will cause much
headache, and is really secondary to the other changes made to this platform.
As mentioned above, the real meat of this update is in the editing tools, and as
an editor and Premiere fan, these are the changes that I am most interested in.
Resolve 12 comes with a decent selection of editing tools that will be very
familiar to anyone with NLE experience. The most often used editorial
functions are bundled into one tool called the "Trim Edit Mode". The Trim
Edit Mode contextually switches between different functions depending on where
your mouse cursor is, and what you have selected. If you select the middle of a
clip you can slip it, or select multiple clips, and slip them all together. To
slide a clip up and down the timeline, select the cursor, or the "Normal Edit
Mode". To ripple and roll, switch back to the Trim Edit Mode and select the
ends of the clip you want to edit. By selecting just the edge of one clip, you
can ripple it back and forth, and by selecting the edit itself, or the space in
between both clips, you can roll it back and forth. Personally, I find myself
doing one when I intended to do the other, but that may just be a matter of
getting used to this system. There is also a "Razor Edit Mode", which
functions just how you would expect. There is also an "Insert Clip",
"Replace Clip", and "Overwrite Clip", that function as expected for the
most part, although the Replace Clip tool seems to be a little finicky, causing
me to sometimes drop the wrong clip into the timeline, or do nothing.
Resolve 12's basic editing tools.
There is also a fourth editing mode, known as the "Dynamic Trim Mode",
which essentially gives you the ripple and roll tools at all times, which you
can access with the hotkey "W", but cannot be found on the main bar of
editing tools for some reason. This editing tool more or less makes the Normal
Editing Mode and the Trim Edit Mode all but obsolete, so why include all three,
and why hide the Dynamic Trim Mode? I have yet to come up with an explanation
Resolve 12 comes with a pretty good selection of transitions and effects, and
they work fairly intuitively. You're able to drag and drop effects from a bin
on the right side to where you want them, all very familiar stuff, but where
Resolve 12 shakes things up is the in timeline curve editor. It gives you a
little drop down button that opens a curve inside the timeline where you can
custom edit effects. It took me a little while to warm up to this way of doing
effects, but it's actually pretty cool.
Example of Resolve 12's effects curves
My biggest issue with this release of Da Vinci Resolve trying to be a fully
fledged editor is the lack of workspace customization. Sometimes I want my
timeline viewer to be larger than my media pool viewer, and this is
unfortunately impossible. Nor can you pop panels out of the background like you
can in other programs, so it's impossible to have your timeline viewer on one
monitor, while having your timeline on another. Of course you can output the
timeline direct to a video monitor via Blackmagic hardware such as a Decklinik
Extreme card. However, if you want to have your media bins on a different
monitor, away from the rest of your workspace, you're completely out of luck.
This lack of customization is a bummer, but I like the direction this program is
going very much. Fingers crossed for the future.
As this is just a brief first impression review. There were a number of features
I have not yet had the chance to review, such as the new audio tools which
appear extremely promising, as well as the multi-cam editing mode. I could see
this feature being quite popular. There is also a new system of sorting footage
via metadata tags, which is not editing specific, but could be a lifesaver on
larger projects, cutting down drastically on time spent searching for specific
Overall, I was surprised at how much I liked the new editing features in this
release of Resolve, and although it may not have nailed it perfectly as an
editor, there is the benefit of having Davinci Rosolve's world famous color
correction capabilities, which is nothing to take lightly!
Motion Media Product Specialist
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