I've been getting quite a few emails from folks asking a lot of questions about Davinci Resolve and Apple Color. Specifically, "which one is better?"
That's a loaded question for a number of reasons, but not the least of which is, they're both just tools. Neither will make you a better colorist just because you have it. That takes the skill of the operator and taking the time to learn the craft.
has long been the standard in color enhancement for film and television upon which all other tools are measured. Name a feature film and it most likely was finished on a Davinci workstation. But for the longest time, it was really the only tool in town for film so naturally it became the defacto standard. Kind of like Avid when it first came on the scene as a Non Linear Editor. To this day, all NLE's are still compared to Avid because they are still considered the standard editing tool to judge against all other tools.
started out as Final Touch by a company called Silicon Color that was a lower cost competitor to Davinci. They really got noticed by the Final Cut Pro and NLE editors by offering support for grading with Quicktime files, something Davinci didn't support at the time. Suddenly people like me could spend $5,000 for Final Touch HD and have essentially the "power of Davinci color enhancement" on my Mac Desktop.
The big difference between the two products of course was realtime vs. rendering. Davinci did all color enhancement in realtime, no rendering, straight back out to tape. Final Touch required the user to render all files and then send back to the NLE for final output. Of course the other difference was the price. $5,000 for Final Touch HD vs. six figures for Davinci.
Then Apple purchased Silicon Color and Blackmagic Design purchased Davinci. Today we're sitting here with two absolutely incredible color enhancement tools available for use on our Mac Desktop and, yes, even the MacBook Pro. So now what do we do? Which tool is better. Short answer? Neither.
Which one is better depends on your particular application and how you like to work.
If you work with Avid or Adobe Premiere, well then right now Resolve is your best choice because it has an easier workflow to / from the application because it's a third party app, not a proprietary Apple app. If you work with Final Cut Pro, well then you can go either way.
Color works with traditional color wheels and rooms. Resolve works with curves and nodes. Color can operate very well with just a mouse and a keyboard. Resolve requires a control surface such as a Tangent Wave panel to work efficiently. Color has a ColorFX room that can utilize third party plug-ins. Resolve does not have an FX room. Color has a one point motion tracker. Resolve has a motion tracker I have termed "Ludicrous Tracker" (look up "Spaceballs The Movie") because it's just ridiculously good. Color uses an XML workflow that supports speed changes, graphics and multiple video tracks from FCP. Resolve currently uses EDL and AAF using a single video track only. Resolve has better controls over Luminance and the Node architecture can make it easier to alter a scene after it's been graded. And the comparison list goes on and on....
I can create the same look on both Apple Color and Davinci Resolve.
Well for that matter, I can create the same or similar looks using the Apple 3-Way Color Corrector or Magic Bullet Colorista II. Prior to getting Final Touch I graded many broadcast television shows using only the 3-Way CC and we continue to use both Colorista and Colorista II to grade projects as well. So you see, everything is just a tool.
In fact as I've been testing Resolve it has only shown me just how good Color really is. People amuse me by saying things like "Well now that Resolve it out, we don't have to use that wannabe Color." These folks need to feel superior so they put down a product that is a world class color correction tool just because "it's not Davinci." Well, go on and keep feeling superior and we'll just keep turning out happy clients and happy QC network engineers with our little ol' Apple Color.
Now at $999 why would you NOT put Resolve in your toolbox?
BMD is giving anyone with a Mac the opportunity to have the same toolset available that has been used on thousands of feature films and broadcast television shows. This is a no brainer for me and we are adding it to our facility. Adding Resolve to our toolset just gives us one more option in post production. If we used it for nothing but the motion tracker alone, it would be worth the $999. But of course, it's much more than just that. Kudos to BMD for opening up the tool to everyone.
So the long and short of it is, a tool is just a tool. How good it is depends on your ability to operate it and, more importantly, to understand the craft that is associated with that tool. But at $999 it's also a no brainer to add Resolve to your toolkit if you have the funds for it and a control surface.....