Well, it's official. Blackmagic Design has purchased DaVinci Systems, makers of industry-leading colorgrading systems used in many of the top facilities around the world.
The story moved fast here in the Creative COW website, as leaders and members began posting leaks and rumors, with Grant Petty -- founder of Blackmagic Design -- calling from his Australian headquarters to talk with Creative COW's Bob Zelin in Florida on the phone in the middle of the night. During the course of the conversation, Grant forwarded throught the following letter that he sent to his employees, as they make their way into the IBC Convention and Expo in Amsterdam:
Last Friday, Blackmagic Design purchased DaVinci. Because DaVinci was losing money there is a lot of changes going on, but most of these changes will bring some big improvements as well.
Firstly, we have not "sacked everyone in florida and closed down the facility." The only people in Florida who have been let go were managers, office staff and engineers working on products that had no future. The engineering team for Resolve had already been cut back a few months ago, but now we have already rehired those engineers. We are hiring even more now.
The team for Resolve should be 3-4 times bigger in about 2 months time, and we have a lot of good ideas to work on. Resolve is just incredible and deserves more resources. Also some of the research engineers had been re-tasked into management roles which they hated, so we are keeping them and letting them get back to basic research which is what they truly love.
Revival had almost no engineers working on it, but it needs a new user interface and extra features. It will also have more engineering added to it. As for manufacturing in Florida, we have not made any decisions here, but manufacturing is really only 3 people, and a lot of manual systems. We need to drastically improve that.
We still have the same great support team in LA and Germany, however some of the other support engineers were in strange locations. There was no one in New York, and we need to fix that quickly. DaVinci support will stay exclusively for DaVinci products only.
We are going to stop marketing 2K based systems, as it's an old product now, and Resolve should be the focus now. But we do have a massive number of spare parts, boards, etc, and we will be moving a lot of those parts to the support offices around the world for faster turn around in case of faults.
On the support contracts. We are going to honor all current support contracts, but we are not going to sign any new ones.
I have never really heard of anyone who has used the cost of the support contract in failed boards, and I think it's a waste of money.
Products are just not that faulty to justify such a high support contract fee. I think it's much better to pay if a fault happens. This also makes it easy for people to buy a second hand DaVinci product from e-bay and only pay what's needed to get it working again. We want to encourage people to buy second hand DaVinci equipment and have confidence it will be supported cost effectively. There is lots of good second hand equipment on the market, and we can help keep its resale value.
We are going to improve the marketing for DaVinci products. DaVinci Resolve is an amazing system that's not being sold very well. Revival is jaw dropping, and is like some kind of magic watching it work.
These are incredible products that need to be marketed much better than they are now.
I guess one question people will ask is will we make lower cost version of the DaVinci products. I don't know about this, and this was not the reason we purchased the company, the performance was. We have two Resolve systems in our post production facility and we kept asking DaVinci for more features. It was through these conversations we learnt that DaVinci was for sale.
DaVinci Resolve is unique because it uses multiple linux computers linked together with InfiniBand connections and multiple GPU cards so you get get the real time performance advantage it has. I don't think that can be lowered in price much, however over the next few years as technology advances this might happen a little.
However, DaVinci is different to a DeckLink card because it's a high performance computing based tool. Our focus will really be on adding more features. Thats what we want, and I guess others would too.
Hopefully this covers everyones questions for now. We will be on the DaVinci booth and the Blackmagic Design booth at IBC this week, and there is a lot more to talk about. If you have any other questions and can make it to the show, please drop by, and we also want input from DaVinci customers too. We might not know answers to every single question yet, but we are working though it. Give us 6 months, and I think the improvements will become clearer.
In reality, I cannot believe we have purchased such as legendary brand, and one of the things that totally blew my mind when I first started in post production as an engineer way back in 1988 was the color grading room with a DaVinci. The image on the monitor was such incredible quality, I just stood there staring speechless. It was amazing. Now we have our opportunity to care for the DaVinci name, and it's exciting but a little terrifying too! We have some big standards to live up to, but we want to exceed what people expect.