We extensively covered Blackmagic's purchase of Da- Vinci's products six months ago because we knew it would mean big things, and it did. Among those big things: small prices. The $995 software release for Mac has unquestionably sparked the most post-show fever among Creative COW members. At the time of the original purchase, we asked Grant when we could expect the $995 software, Resolve. "First things first," he told us then. He started with cleaning up what Grant calls "the business-y things," then, more than tripling the size of the engineering team. "I'm still trying to hire as many engineers as I can!
"But the big thing I've always asked is, what can we do to make things more affordable?" During those discussions, he says, "the topic came up, could we do this on a Mac? I think people use Apple Color because they have no other choice, but at the same time how are we going to get the power on the Mac? Are we going to basically find ourselves in the same situation that Color is in, which is limited by power?
"When we actually ran Resolve on Mac, we were shocked. I mean, we were really surprised. We're all standing around smiling. Oh, my god, we're doing, like, nine corrections simultaneously, with blurs and tracking and all that stuff, and it's all happening in real time, with a single $500 GPU card!" Grant pointed out that this is similar performance to single GPU Linux systems that cost $200,000 only six months ago.
Blackmagic Design's DaVinci Resolve
We here at the COW suspect that, ultimately, the dramatically lower price for a fully tricked-out Linux system will have the greater impact for high-end grading. "Linux eliminates performance barriers, based on clusters of computers with high-performance GPU," says Grant, "so all processing is always in real time -- complex color grades when using dozens of primaries, secondaries, Power Windows(TM), multi point tracking, blurs, and more, in 4K and stereoscopic, and direct from RED RAW files."
By using off-the-shelf computers and cards, less than $150,000 will build a fully loaded system that would have cost over $800,000 before Blackmagic took over, and a small price to pay for dozens of real-time corrections, even in stereoscopic and 4K. Want a lower price? For a small fraction of that, you can start with just software and a Linux computer, and add GPUs as you need them.
There are, of course, many details that an individual customer will need to work out for both Mac and Linux, including slot placement, control surfaces, and supported GPUs -- all of which are being actively discussed with members of the DaVinci team in the Creative COW DaVinci forum.
In the meantime, the overwhelming consensus among our members is that affordable access to the most venerated name in color grading, without the need to compromise performance, is truly a game changer.
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