Blackmagic Design Packs a Punch with DaVinci Resolve v. 8.1
COW Library : DaVinci Resolve : Debra Kaufman : Blackmagic Design Packs a Punch with DaVinci Resolve v. 8.1
A "dot" release isn't usually reason for celebration, but Blackmagic Design has unveiled a surprisingly large number of great new features in its DaVinci Resolve 8.1 software update, including FCPX round-tripping, ACES/IIF support, AAF support for Media Composer, new conform features and additional hardware support - including new 15" MacBook Pros. Version 8.1 is available to all DaVinci Resolve customers free of charge and can be downloaded from the Blackmagic Design website.
What this means is that DaVinci Resolve can now import/export FCPX timelines using the new Final Cut Pro rich XML file format. "FCPX users will be able to get full timeline round trip, moving projects between Final Cut Pro X and DaVinci Resolve while retaining the multi-track timeline with frame accurate cuts, dissolves and even speed changes," says Caniglia. DaVinci Resolve 8.1 will also enable customers to use rich XML from Final Cut Pro X to link to original camera footage. DaVinci Resolve supports full media management for Final Cut Pro X projects including additional source clip folders and alternate image source when conforming edits in Resolve.
As a result, and because DaVinci Resolve supports grading of high resolution and bit depth files, editors can now export material out of FCP for high quality finishing. An alternative workflow is to use DaVinci Resolve 8.1 to manage high-resolution raw image formats such as RED, ARRI, CinemaDNG and DNxHD and then to grade and render to ProRes or uncompressed media for Final Cut Pro X.
DaVinci Resolve 8.1 has also improved support for Avid AAF import/export for roundtrip editing to Resolve and back to Avid Media Composer. Also included are effects such as dip to color, edge and center wipe with border, clock and Venetian blind wipe, cross, oval and diamond iris wipe, overlay composite and more, as well as support for Avid sizing with (PTZR) pan, tilt, zoom and rotate.
Other new and noteworthy features of Resolve 8.1 include new layer node composite effects, ACES colorspace support, compatibility with Avid AAF for round trip with Avid Media Composer, new copy commands for grades, upgraded EDL features, support for UltraStudio 3D for Thunderbolt and compatibility with the 2011 MacBook Pro 15" computer.
DaVinci Resolve 8.1 support for ACES color space is significant. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences technology committee has created ACES/IIF as a universal and open image interchange and processing format for color space and file format. DaVinci Resolve 8.1 fully supports the ACES/IIF file format, and includes a variety of IDTs and ODTs as well as support for 3D shaper LUTs.
Blackmagic Design tells us, "The free DaVinci Resolve Lite includes the same high quality processing as the full DaVinci Resolve, however it limits projects to SD and HD resolutions, two color correction nodes, a single processing GPU and a single RED rocket card." Please click on image above for larger view.
"We were approached by the Academy less than 18 months ago," says Caniglia. "It seemed like a large project to undertake, but it is the Holy Grail to have the same information about the image, for interoperability between products. The cinematographers on the production side are going to be the ones who talk to the post production community and say, we're going to use the ACES color management. That way, it'll go through end to end. I've been pleasantly surprised to see how quickly it's come about and so was the Academy. To be able to implement this was a testament to the team."
In fact the feature-rich release is due to a larger engineering team at DaVinci. "We've added so many engineers to the team that it's given us a lot of flexibility in being able to move in different directions," he says. "Because it's a larger team now, we're able to do special projects freeing up some of our very talented guys who've been with the team for so long. It's a collaborative effort and that's really helped to speed up things."
The other new features also answer colorists' needs. New layer node composite effects offer greater creative grading with add, subtract, difference, multiply, screen, overlay, darker and lighten effects, all of which can be used to complex and intricate grades.
DaVinci Resolve 8.1 also adds new cut, copy and paste operations for editing and node metadata including dynamics, which allows for easier and faster editing of clips in the timeline and copying grades between nodes. New conform features include the ability to export missing clips EDL and import new EDL to a track, which simplifies finding and replacing missing clips in long form projects. This can also be used for changing VFX shots. A new 'hover over node' grading status display shows lists of changed grades within the node.
With the new update, DaVinci Resolve can now import and export Final Cut Pro X timelines using the new Final Cut Pro rich XML file format. Please click on image above for larger view.
Increased support for hardware includes compatibility with the MacBook Pro 15" with 1680x1050 display, as well as the new UltraStudio 3D for Thunderbolt technology-based computers. Support for UltraStudio 3D allows video monitoring and deck I/O from the latest iMac and MacBook Pro computers that support Thunderbolt technology.
Other new features are support for clip-by-clip scaled or unscaled data range color space conversions and support for clip-by-clip color space selection in case a source clip has been incorrectly encoded, renders now support video or data levels and support for HDR source icons in the timeline thumbnail for RED HDRx clips.
DaVinci Resolve 8.1 is gaining new fans. "I get a lot of inquiries daily from people who were using Color in the past who are now looking to make the switch," says Caniglia. "By having the Lite version, they're able to get a feel for it without spending money. Even cinematographers and on-set guys can play with it and use it on a laptop and then email the file to whoever will do the real grading."
With such a powerful dot release, what can Blackmagic Design have planned for NAB 2012? "One thing we've already announced is that we're going to also put it on the Windows platform," says Caniglia, who notes that this will be out in Q1 2012. "At that point, we'll be platform agnostic, between Linux, Windows and Mac. Once you do that, you've opened it up to anybody."
For old timers (like me), who remember the old DaVinci days, it's quite safe to say that the product is in very good hands at Blackmagic Design. For those new to the field, the richness of the feature set, the speed of new releases and the affordable cost keep DaVinci Resolve at the forefront of tools for this age of democratized media.