: walter biscardi's Blog
: Davinci Resolve compared to Apple Color workflow Part 1
Today was Labor Day Holiday in the U.S. and instead of grilling outside, we took advantage of a nice quiet shop to really get into some Davinci Resolve testing. My buddy Ron Anderson volunteered to come over and show me the ropes. When a 30 year colorist offers to "show you the ropes" on a color enhancement software, you don't turn him down! He brought along a surprise too. David Catt was at the door and not only did he come over to do the training session, he's one of the guys who was with Davinci when Resolve was created. Ok, now I'm really excited. I've got a colorist AND a Resolve expert in my shop. This is going to great day! Too much to cover in one blog posting so I'll add more over the next few days.
First off, Resolve is broken up into multiple Panels and you switch between them with buttons along the bottom of the interface. So when you see me refer to a Resolve Panel in these blogs, that's what I'm referring to. In Apple Color, it's like the various Rooms in that application. Since Apple Color is the color enhancement tool I'm most familiar with, and there was so much interest in the Apple Color Forum here on the Cow about Resolve, I'll be comparing how that app works vs. how Resolve works. It's going to be quite the learning experience for sure.
The big thing I wanted to start with is the workflow between Final Cut Pro and Resolve since we're an FCP shop. I was having some trouble with it last night and figured it was operator error. At the moment, the folks at Blackmagic recommend a single track EDL as the way to get from FCP into Resolve. When I tried it last night I could not get the media to connect correctly in Resolve. As David showed me this morning, I was simply pointing Resolve to the wrong media folder. Simple fix and the timeline popped right open.
Now I gotta say I'm not a huge fan of EDLs. Not sure why, just have never been. And the whole "Send to Color" from Final Cut Pro is pretty darn simple. But the EDL works really well between FCP and Resolve and unlike Color, Resolve is user friendly for those times when edits are made to the project AFTER color correction. Just send the re-edited EDL into Resolve and all your original grades are applied with the new shots ready to be graded. How does this work?
Essentially Resolve has a Master timeline that holds all of the clips in your project. These clips are just sitting in Timecode order at the bottom of the Color Panel. Above this Master timeline you load your timelines from your EDL. These display the timeline as it would appear in your NLE. In the image below you can see the "Master Timeline" down at the bottom and my edited story from the EDL at the top. Both of these timelines are generated from the same EDL.
So you grade your show, send it back to the NLE, you're ready to master and of course the client calls to make a bunch of changes. With Resolve, no problem. Make the changes to your timeline, create a new EDL. Open your original project in Resolve. Import the new EDL. Resolve automatically applies your original color grades to all matching clips from your original timeline and leaves you with just your new shots to grade. When David showed me this, I started to become a fan of EDLs. And I know it sounds a little confusing, but once you start to learn Resolve, it all makes sense.
The one thing that strikes you right away when you start working with the Color Panel is the lack of the traditional color wheels. You usually see three wheels representing shadows, gamma and highlights, left to right. You move around in the wheels to affect the hue and then you have luma and saturation controls for each as well. Resolve does away with this completely. When I saw this out at NAB I wasn't sold on the idea, but as soon as I watched David work the controls, I realized you don't miss them. And once I got onto the controls, it confirmed that for me. The Curves at the bottom of the Color panel is what everybody notices in the literature, but actually, the Primary controls are where it's at for me. These essentially replace the color wheels with the information displayed more accurately. I really don't even have to describe what everything does because it's laid out in plain English as you can see in the image below.
This is a very efficient window that differs greatly from the 2 Primary Rooms and 8 Secondaries Room concept in Apple Color. Instead of creating 8 rooms of identical controls, Resolve just uses this one set of controls that automatically become active for each shot, each node, each operation. The controls were very responsive with the Tangent Wave Panel.
Tomorrow I'll talk a little bit about the Nodes and how their use compares to Apple Color's Secondary workflow, but here's a look at a simple shot that I graded tonight using some power masks. These are just screen grabs from the Resolve preview screen and not stills from the output.