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Unfortunately from Friday 10th March 2017 DVC has ceased trading. We would like to thank our customers for their support over the years. For a short time we may be able to offer limited technical support. Please email sales@dvctraining.co.uk and we will try to help where possible.

Blackmagic DaVinci Resolve

ResolveWhat is Blackmagic Design DaVinci Resolve?

Resolve used to be a very expensive grading program. It gained a lot of popularity for grading feature films long before it was owned by Blackmagic Design in 2009. When Blackmagic took over they drastically changed the pricing and made a completely free version.  The free version, now simply know as DaVinci Resolve, is fully functional and does not "time out" or add any watermark.  You could produce a whole feature film using the free version of Resolve if you so wished. 

DaVinci Resolve Studio is the version of Resolve for which you pay.  If you buy Resolve Studio you will get more features, including very nice noise reduction, and support from greater than UHD size projects as well as Stereoscopic project support.  Resolve Studio requires a USB Dongle to work.  You can edit and grade in Resolve Studio and then open the project in the free version of Resolve (as long as the project is under UHD size, the maximum the free version of Resolve supports) and vice versa.

You can see a list of the differences between Resolve and Resolve Studio here: http://www.dvc.uk.com/acatalog/Resolve-free-vs-Resolve-Studio.html

You also get Resolve Studio, complete with Dongle, free with some of the Blackmagic cameras.

Free Updates

All updates to Resolve are free.  Obviously if you have the free version you just install a new free version. However, if you pay for Resolve Studio you get free updates for that as well.  Our first Resolve version, with a dongle, was version 9.  All updates from version 9 to version 12 were free, unlike all other editing programs.

What is grading?

Grading means enhancing your image in various ways - adjusting the colour or brightness of the whole image or just one area. We used to refer to this simply as colour correction but there is a lot more you can do than merely change the colour, hence the term grading was coined.

You can grade in an editing application, and effect applications (like After Effects) or a program specifically designed for the job - like DaVinci Resolve or Adobe Speedgrade.

Resolve for Editing

With the release of Resolve 12 you could simply use Resolve for editing and grading your productions.  There was a significant degree of editing in Resolve 11 but the sound part of the program always caused a problem - which is not a surprise because when grading you do not need to hear the sound.  However, Blackmagic wanted to offer a decent editing program and so re-vamped the sound side of Resolve so that now it works a lot better and can accept sound plug-ins from other programs.  Blackmagic also added a significant number of other features.  There are even some editing features in Resolve which are not found in other editing programs like Optical flow slow motion (not Vegas or EDIUS) and being able to sync multiple camera angles on sound (in Premiere Pro & Avid but not in EDIUS or Vegas).  However, there are some draw backs to editing in Resolve - which we have explained more in depth on the section comparing Resolve with other programs.

The main issues are importing your footage -Resolve does not take many domestic formats and most AVI files - and exporting footage - Resolve makes some MOV files and still image formats but is very limited on everything else.

DaVinci needs a good graphic card

DaVinci Resolve uses your graphic card for all its effects work.  Originally it only worked on nVidia graphic card, but recently this has been expanded to include ATI cards and even some of the Intel graphic cards found in current processors (the latter is only in the MAC version). 

We still prefer nVidia cards.  The amount of RAM on the card is also important.  If  you do not have enough RAM then Resolve may not even load the footage and will certainly be fairly horrible to work with.  2GB RAM is enough for HD. For 4K ideally you want 4GB RAM On the graphic card, or more. This is in addition to the RAM inside your computer.   Thankfully a good enough graphic card is not too expensive these days.

Resolve can also use two graphic cards or even 3.  The get the most out of multiple graphic cards you will need the full version - Resolve Studio - as the free version is limited to how many cards it will use.

DaVinci features:

  • Primary and secondary colour correction in a variety of ways
  • Apply correction in regions based on masks you define.
  • Motion track masks to follow your subject through a scene
  • Image stabilisation included.
  • Colour correction based on nodes - you can add as many as you need. Nodes can be one after the other or run in parallel to other nodes. Far more powerful than grading in an editing program.
  •  Video noise reduction available in DaVinci full

Format support

DaVinci supports various formats although not any AVI formats. It can take various MXF files including XDCAM, and a variety of QuickTime files as well as files from the Avid Media directory. This may cause a problem if editing DV AVI files, for example, since you will need to convert them to something different to get them into DaVinci. QuickTime is supported instead of AVI since DaVinci used to be a MAC-only program and has only recently arrived on the PC but not all Quicktime formats are supported.  For example DV Quicktime files do load but do not work very well and many other types of QuickTime files will not be seen at all.

Some AVCHD files will work in Resolve although many do not work or do not load the audio part of a clip.

Format support is probably one of the biggest drawbacks for using Resolve as an editing application as many types will need to be converted before use..

Editing program to DaVinci

There are various ways to get your video into DaVinci and it is different for every different program. There is a well-established path if using Avid Media Composer but it is less obvious for others. Check our website for tutorials on different workflows.

Output via Blackmagic cards

You need to see your picture on a proper screen when grading - DaVinci works with Blackmagic hardware to do just this. This is one of the reasons for making a free version of Resolve : to get the best out of the program you will need to add Blackmagic hardware.  Resolve will only output through Blackmagic hardware.

DaVinci Free

The free version is very powerful and may be all you need. It can edit projects up to UHD and is fully functional. If you pay for the full version you also get decent noise reduction and the ability to grade bigger than HD footage and stereoscopic footage.

DaVinci control surfaces

ResolveA full DaVinci suit may include a control surface (as pictured), which gives much greater control and accuracy than using a mouse.

DVC DaVinci systems

Even though the software can be free you will still need a decent computer on which to run it. At DVC we specialise in building DaVinci systems to give decent realtime performance -click here for more information.

Editing in Blackmagic DaVinci Resolve

Resolve 12 enhances the editing side of Resolve making it a very capable editing program. Since there is a free version why not simply start using Resolve instead of the regular program for which you had to pay? Below we give our impressions of Resolve as an editing program.

Video Editing

Video editing was working pretty well in Resolve 11 and has improved in Resolve 12.  The sound does work better although not perfectly with some settings.  However, it is thoroughly usable and is packed with many editing features to rival Grass Valley EDIUS or Adobe Premiere Pro.  The obvious question is can you stop using either of those programs and use the free version of Resolve instead?  Is the editing good enough?

We believe the editing facilities are probably enough for most people but what will be a draw back, especially for those working on PCs, is the format support and the kind of system which is needed. 

Importing clips

On their website Blackmagic claim that they support nearly every format.  This is true of broadcast formats, but not of domestic formats.  Resolve will not load most AVI formats, in fact the only format it will load is an uncompressed AVI.  It also does not load a lot of different QuickTime formats, although it does support the most common ones - ProRes, DNxHD and Grass Valley HQX.  It will load MP4 files although performance with these is not as good as with EDIUS or Premiere Pro, and it has trouble with formats like AVCHD.  With our standard AVCHD clips it will load the video but not the audio, meaning that you will have to convert the footage first to use it in Resolve.

Although Resolve can capture video using a Blackmagic card, there is no support for DV or HDV capture and even the capturing abilites are very limited.  Of course, captuing is not the point of the program at all. It is first and foremost a grading program which is why the capturing is fairly poor.

Exporting clips

Resolve will export QuickTime files in a few formats, MP4 files and a variety of still images.  It does not do the range of formats that other programs can do.  The easiest way to cure this would be to buy a conversion program like Sorenson Squeeze of TMPEG to make the kinds of files you need to deliver, and just to export a simple format, like a Quicktime file, and then convert that again in the conversion program.  It will not make DVD or Blu-ray discs, of course.

Good graphic card needed

You will need a graphic card with at least 1GB RAM, preferably more.  Resolve works with either nVidia cards or ATI cards although all our best results have been with nVidia. 

For 4K work we would want a graphic card that has 4GB or more RAM

The graphic card is important because Resolve does all of its effects work and some of the playback using the graphic card.  If you graphic card is not powerful enough then some parts of the program will not work at all.  For example, we have found that the slow motion does not work if you do not have enough graphic card RAM for the project on which you are working. 

If you need a system which has been custom built for using Resolve we supply them of course : http://www.dvc.uk.com/acatalog/Black_Magic_Systems.html

What does Resolve 12 do?

Having listed the possible problems now we can talk about the good stuff.  Resolve 12 is packed with features.  The grading is, of course, excellent as this is the same program that is used by major studios for grading productions.  The features are frankly amazing for the fact that most people will be using it for free.  A quick summary of a few of the editing options:

  • Support for AAF, XML and EDLS which means you should be able to get an edit from your existing program into Resolve reasonably well. 
  • The usual array of editing features such as insert and overwrite edits,decent trimming, multiple tracks, slipping, sliding etc in fact pretty much everything you would expect in any editing program.  They all work in a pretty standard way, although, like changing from any editing program, you have to learn the Resolve way and the Resolve keyboard shortcuts.
  • Customisable keyboard shortcuts.
  • Multiple timelines and you can nest timelines within timelines (the latter is a new feature of Resolve 12)
  • Good slow motion including "optical flow".  The latter is meant to give superior quality to the standard "frame blending" found in most programs.  It works well in Resolve although we have found the quality of the slow motion with optical flow is better in programs like Avid or After Effects.  This actually means that Resolve 12's slow motion quality can be better than that found in Grass Valley EDIUS or Adobe Premiere Pro since neither have "optical flow" - Premiere's frame blended slow motion is actually quite poor as well.  With Premiere, as long as you have After Effects, you can get better quality slow motion quite easily.  EDIUS' frame blended slow motion is very good and Grass Valley will be adding "optical flow" to EDIUS 8, although we are not sure quite when.
  • Built-in simple titling.
  • 2D and 3D motion paths with keyframing and bezier keyframes.  The ability to title the image in 3D was adding in version 12.
  • Support for OFX plug-ins like Boris Continuum and HitFilm.   As Resolve 12 is a beta version the plug-in manufacturers are not officially supporting it as yet although these plug-ins also worked in Resolve 11 and seem to be ok in 12.

Can I use Resolve 12 along side my existing editing program?

As long as you have a system which can run Resolve, the answer is yes.  We have Resolve on all our system which also have Premiere, EDIUS and Avid and they do not cause any conflicts.   We would also recommend getting a Blackmagic i/o card so you can see the edits properly on a monitor, rather than in the small Resolve playback window.

Minimum system requirements for Mac

  • Mac OS X 10.10.3 Yosemite
  • 16 GB of system memory is recommended and 8 GB is the minimum supported
  • Blackmagic Design Desktop Video version 10.4.1 or later
  • CUDA Driver version 7.0.36
  • NVIDIA Driver versionm - As required by your GPU
  • RED Rocket-X Driver and Firmware or later
  • RED Rocket Driver and Firmware or later


Minimum system requirements for Windows

  • Windows 8.1 or Windows 10
  • 16 GB of system memory is recommended and 8 GB is the minimum supported
  • Blackmagic Design Desktop Video version 10.4.1 or later
  • NVIDIA/AMD/Intel GPU Driver version - As required by your GPU
  • RED Rocket-X Driver and Firmware or later
  • RED Rocket Driver and Firmware or later

DaVinci Resolve (Free)


Download this software for free from the Blackmagic Website

DaVinci Resolve Studio

Price:699.00  +VAT  (838.80 Inc. VAT at 20%)


The full version of the Resolve software.

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