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Ergo Josh

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Getting to Know DaVinci Part 1 By Ric Getter There was a time, not so long ago, when production houses and TV stations had a number of edit suites, often with entirely different systems. You could be in a Sony D1 digital room one day and cutting Beta to one-inch on a CMX the next. It demanded some versatility, but it was just part of the job of being an editor. Now we can sit at our desks call up a suite of software that does it all, whether the source material comes from an iPhone or Arri Alexa. Regular updates keep you on your toes, but there are few reasons to completely switch editing platforms. But one of those reasons arrived when the shop where I do most of my work moved to Blackmagic Design Ursa cameras and producing footage using the Blackmagic RAW codec. That codec, it turns out, is handled with mind-boggling efficiency by DaVinci Resolve 17, the latest release of an editing platform that I’ve never used. So, I embarked on a long test drive and will bring you along for what turned out to be a very interesting ride. In this issue, we’re going to look into Resolve’s video editing toolbox. In the next issue, we’ll take on Fusion effects, Fairlight audio, DaVinci color, and the features appear in the paid version. A Long and Winding Curve The cost of entry for folks who want to start out in DaVinci Resolve is quite reasonable: $0. For that, you get the entire suite, minus some of its more advanced and powerful features and effects. No time limits or watermarks, it will honestly work for a lot of people as their primary production tool. Should you decide to invest, installing the full version, DaVinci Resolve Studio ($295) will preserve all your previous work and settings. Basic training was not an issue. What impressed me right away was the abundance of quality training materials Blackmagic Designs provides. Before opening up the 430-page Beginner’s Guide PDF (also available in print from Amazon), I went to their site to watch their collection of tutorial videos. Both include downloadable training files so you can follow along on the sample projects that are presented, something I found more useful with the PDFs. I furiously took notes while watching the videos. Surprisingly, of all the training modules, the editor training was, at 45 minutes, the shortest, though it covers virtually all the basics. Both color grading and Fairlight audio run around two hours. The Fusion effects class is 90 minutes. What was a bit confusing when I moved on to the PDF Beginner’s Guide was that it starts off with Resolve’s quick-cut editor (a totally different mode), which takes a bit of a mind-flip for folks with traditional NLE experience. (More on that later.) How Suite It Is The first new concept to wrap my head around was a rather pleasant surprise, actually. The structure of DaVinci resolve reminded me of AppleWorks, an early Apple/Claris program that included a word processor, database, drawing program, and other modules you could call up while working on an open document. Resolve can be seen as a suite of applications that wrap themselves around the project you’re working on. DaVinci refers to the different modes as “pages” and making a change in one is instantly reflected in all the others. For example, my initial confusion about the Beginner’s Guide was that it was introducing Cut page, not the Edit page. These are two, distinct video editing system that are part of Resolve and are both available to your project. In much the same way switching pages can move into the Media Manger, Fusion VFX, Fairlight Audio, DaVinci color grading, and a Delivery page for export and encoding. Your project stays where it is, the program changes around it.

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