Davinci Resolve 10 public beta is nifty

I graded1 a short documentary in Davinci Resolve 10 public beta yesterday, and figure I’d share a couple of observations in case they help others.

 A node tree in DaVinci Resolve
A node tree in DaVinci Resolve. In this example, node 1 is an overall adjustment to the shot, and then nodes 2 through 4 isolate and adjust different areas of the shot separately. In this case, since it’s a moving, handheld shot, the shapes in nodes 2-4 have been tracked to stick to parts of the shot. Resolve comes with an awesome and ridiculously-fast tracker.

  1. When I first launched Resolve 10, I noticed that it could see my Resolve 9 database, but said the database was not upgradeable and thus couldn’t be used. Oy, not good. I did want to carry my ongoing projects into Resolve 10. I did a bit of research, and decided maybe if I switched my Resolve 9 database from a PostgreSQL database to the other kind of database Resolve supports, a disk database, that maybe Resolve 10 would be able to use the data. So I reinstalled Resolve 9, created a disk database, selected it, and imported each of my Resolve 9 projects one by one (this took a while). I followed the procedure outlined in an unrelated post by Peter Chamberlain of Blackmagic on their forum:

    In the database manager you can make a new Disk Database. Then make that the active DB. In the Project Manager you can select the global list of databases and select your v9 projects to import to your new Disk DB.

    This worked. When I reinstalled and launched Resolve 10, it was able to use the disk database I’d created in Resolve 9. I don’t know if the steps I took will be necessary in future versions of Resolve 10 (and I’d hope they are not, and that either the app will be able to upgrade PostgreSQL databases to its format or convert them to disk db for you), but at least this is a method that works now.

  2. Resolve 10 brings with it some delightful new features — one can now apply unlimited numbers of shapes (or “power windows”, to use the world’s worst dumbest-sounding name for a shaped selection) to a node. Multiple circles and polygons affecting the effect of a single node, check! The new ‘gradient’ shape is great, though it does seem to render to screen more slowly than the other shapes. I was excited to try out the trial version of the NeatVideo OpenFX plugin for noise reduction, but though I could apply it to a node, I got a “no parameter is exposed to the user” when trying to use it. Hopefully NeatVideo or Blackmagic will get that working. Optical flow interpolation for speed changes sounded like a very cool thing, something I use all the time in After Effects, but I got some pretty weird results from it and it seemed to lack much in the way of tweakability.
  3. The program seemed to run with more speed and stability than Resolve 9. Just a subjective observation.
  4. It worked great with my Avid Artist Color / Euphonix MC Color control surface and Eucon 3.0, but would lose the connection to the control surface every time I switched applications or Resolve was pushed to the background by an alert from some other app. I posted to the Avid forum, and a rep got on the case very quickly. Hopefully this issue gets resolved2 soon.

If you’ve been thinking of trying out Resolve, you might as well give it a look. It’s a pretty amazing application, and it’s fantastic that BlackMagic lets us all go to town with the barely-crippled “Lite” version for free3

I’ll link to the documentary short when it’s online.

  1. Grading is the process of adjusting the images in a video or film. Bulk adjustments like brightness, contrast, gamma, saturation, and hue. Localized adjustments within shapes tracked to objects on screen, or limited by the color or brightness of objects in the shot. It’s basically like editing images in Photoshop, except these are moving images. Every feature film and TV program goes through the grading process these days, and by grading one can really spice up or bring out the beauty of the imagery, match shots to one another, give the whole piece a “look”, or just balance things out. It’s to filmmaking what darkroom artistry was for photographic pictures, back when people shot stills on film. []
  2. I did not intend this as a pun as a typed, but recognized it as I saw the word form. Groan if you must, I’m leaving it. []
  3. OK, maybe it’s not exactly free, since it’s an engine to drive sales of their video output hardware –the only way to display a true video output signal from the software. But their video output cards are solid. []
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