We recently spoke with Director, Editor and Creative Tony Gallardo about using DaVinci Resolve 15 Public Beta on several upcoming social media spots for Copper Gel pain reliever. For the project, Tony used DaVinci Resolve 15 extensively for editing, sound design, Fusion (to add titles) and color grading/finishing.
PH: Thanks for taking the time to do this interview. Can you tell me a little bit about yourself and your background in editorial?
Tony Gallardo: Thanks, I’m grateful and happy to chat anytime. I started in editorial, around the age of 13, cutting videos with two SVHS machines. Family events, church videos, neighborhood businesses, didn’t matter. If it involved video I was on it.
Once in community college, I soon got connected with a production company as a special recommendation from my professor in my freshman year. Excited, I eagerly applied — and didn't get in. That was my first big rejection. I didn’t take no for an answer and went back a couple times; they broke (or felt really sorry for me). That was my first internship and it was in editorial.
I cut my teeth there doing TV commercials, corporate training, infomercials, event videos, mini-docs and even a few weddings. I was also lucky enough to get a mentor, he trained me as his assistant. From printing scripts to logging and syncing dailies, I watched, learned and grew into creative editing, motion graphics and sound design.
From there I partnered with a director and we started our own production facility. I built our systems from the ground up with this new software that everyone was talking about: Final Cut Pro. My partner gave me the opportunity to grow as well and I soon expanded my creative pursuits to directing, producing and client relations. All of these experiences have helped shape and build my process and workflows I use today as an editor.
PH: What is your definition of "craft editorial"?
Tony Gallardo: Craft editorial for me means more than just putting assigned scenes together based on a recipe (script). It means finding the heart of the script and discovering the heart of the footage and intertwining them as one. Giving yourself time to feel and explore every frame and evolving the story one curious journey at a time. I hope this makes sense, but it’s really taking that extra time to dig a little deeper, go a little further and being open to what is unveiled and where the footage/story will take you.
PH: You mentioned that you enjoyed being able to go between programs. For previous edits did you hand off certain parts to other creatives? How did you handle that?
Tony Gallardo: Each and every job is different, this changes depending on the type of jobs we are doing. Is it a quick turn around? Maybe a pitch video that needs sizzle and delivered in a couple days, or a brand campaign that has a few weeks to develop and craft the creative.
For smaller jobs, I will usually handle creative exchange and development. Exporting from an NLE and importing into MoGraph, sound prep and station deliveries, etc. As budget/creative scope expands and gets larger, so does the process. I will bring in vendors as needed and will handle the workflow for that exchange. Workflow is working the flow of data from one point to another. That can sometimes be slow and painful and sometimes easy and efficient, but regardless, good planning and testing ahead of time will help ease the potential hiccups.
When we do need to go outside the scope of the NLE, it tends to slow things down, so we try and do as much in the NLE as possible, based on the level of quality needed. That’s one of the nice features of DaVinci Resolve. We can stay inside the app, make our creative cuts, add nice and intricate motion graphics, and we have NO conform for color. This is such a huge time-saver.
PH: The DaVinci Resolve platform has a lot of moving parts. How did you get up to speed and did you ever stop and wonder where exactly you were in the creative process?
Tony Gallardo: It is very robust, even just on the color side, there are so many tools that go undiscovered. Now in the past few years with the addition of Fairlight and Fusion, it’s very deep. I really delve as deep as I need to when I need to. In my downtime, I’ll explore and learn the new features. I also found it very useful to use it on small projects and my YouTube videos. I record Fusion tutorials and cut them in DaVinci Resolve, so that small process really helped me to get familiar, test and explore the software. From there I started to use them on the smallest of paying jobs until recently I felt ready to give it a go from A to Z. I wasn't disappointed.
Doesn’t matter what NLE I’m in. It depends on the type of content and how I’m liking or not liking what is unfolding. I am very organized, but once I’m done with the prepping, done with the logging, setting up all the needed assets, I will go with what my mind is inspired for. So that could be I want to test some color grades, maybe it’s sound that is driving my rhythm or music, etc. I will start in one of these, then layer together the others as I need them. Sometimes I just cut a stringout of talking heads first. Each project type is different and my approach is too.
PH: Did you have one part of the platform you feel most comfortable with?
Tony Gallardo: I feel most comfortable in Fusion and Color. Edit is close behind those. I started using DaVinci Resolve for Color, so that is where I have the most experience. I’m equally comfortable with Fusion as I started working with it about the same time as Color. The interesting thing Blackmagic Design has done is unify these different parts of the post pipeline into one app and one UI, but still, each page has their own concentration of workflow and structure.
PH: Is there was one part you wished you could spend more time with?
Tony Gallardo: I would like to spend more time with Fairlight and DaVinci Resolve’s Studio-only features, like the collaboration tools. That will be my next development, to use DaVinci Resolve in a multi-seat studio. This job proved to me the powerful potential DaVinci Resolve brings to the table. I never really used the Fairlight page at all, so it was basically new to me, but it really shined and allowed me to bring the spots to a higher level with sound design and mixing. I wasn't sure how it would perform, but the effect, custom sound libraries, intuitive audio plugins and a workspace that melts the video features away and just allows you to focus on audio really help make a difference.
PH: As a creative did you ever felt like you had too many choices?
Tony Gallardo: Not for this job, but that does happen from time to time.
PH: How would you decide to move on? Time? Money? Client sitting over your shoulder?
Tony Gallardo: For this job, Copper Gel gave me complete freedom. Usually, I get a script, concept or something that has a story or idea. For this project, they just wanted to completely change their direction while using the existing slogan. I dug a little deeper with them and got enough information to start on a sample piece. Their messaging was simple, Knock Out the Pain and they wanted a bold, in your face look and feel, with each series being slightly different stylistically. That was it. I designed a look and feel, did a test for the motion graphics and found some cool audio jams for them to review and sign off on.
After they did, it was up to me to create and craft the spots. Based on the samples I created, I would build until I felt it was enough to move on to the next one. How did I know what was enough? It comes down to the creative and my personal taste and quality expectations. I will not stop until I feel that it is worthy to send out. I didn't feel lost or unsure working with DaVinci Resolve, but I have had a lot of time being comfortable with it. Not all at once like this job, but for the many times I used it (separately) for color, conform, transcoding and some editorial, I knew I could navigate it for this job.
PH: If another professional was to ask you why DaVinci Resolve, what would you say to them?
Tony Gallardo: I would tell any professional post personnel why not? It’s free! Why shouldn't they at least have it in their arsenal? I use DaVinci Resolve like a digital media hub for almost all my projects. From syncing dailies, transcoding, color correction, digital makeup, NLE conversions and now with Fusion built right in, motion graphics and VFX. In this particular case, the previous post house used Adobe Premiere so I exported XMLs of the select reels from Premiere and imported them into DaVinci Resolve. I built my timelines from scratch and used the imported Premiere TimeLines as select reels for reference.
When I demo DaVinci Resolve for Adobe CC users, their eyes usually start growing bigger and keep getting bigger once they see it in action and how it all works together. It’s very seamless to move between each page and be setup for that creative task at hand. Performance is great, even on my 2015 Macbook Pro, DaVinci Resolve kicks butt. You don't have to use every feature DaVinci Resolve has, just use what you need and as you gain more experience with it, you’ll find yourself not leaving the application as much as you were before, getting things done a little faster too.
PH: What about a newbie?
Tony Gallardo: For a newbie, I would tell them it’s free as well. Download it and start experimenting. It doesn't matter if they are on a PC or Mac. Crack open DaVinci Resolve, get some training at YTU (YouTube University = video tutorials) and just start making stuff. Most young kids are pretty tech savvy and if they are interested in learning editing/motion graphics they will pick this up in no time.
Once they get the basics down, they can upgrade their skills and do the paid tutorials for deeper learning. DaVinci Resolve is both mouse and user-friendly and can get deep if you want to go and customize your keyboard shortcuts from page to page.
PH: Is there anything you might have wanted Blackmagic Design to do differently with DaVinci Resolve?
Tony Gallardo: There will always be something to add or adjust with DaVinci Resolve. I think they are doing a great job listening to their customers and streamlining the software. I would like to see the ability to change resolutions for timelines in the same project. I deal with so many different deliverables, it would be nice to have one project and multiple timelines at different resolutions and frame rates.
PH: Any closing thoughts?
Tony Gallardo: Here are my closing remarks. You have to try this out. It has great performance. Well thought out working environments and a potential to completely streamline your workflow. Yes, you will have to learn a new VFX/motion graphics system, but the rewards are exponential.
Some aspects are very familiar coming from other NLEs; some, like Fusion will need more time to learn, but once you do, there's no looking back. They somehow figured out how to properly integrate these different post workflows into a clean and powerful system.
It's hard to describe the “aha” moment you get when you can immediately click over to motion graphics or sound design and just as quickly click back to editorial. However long it takes you to mouse click or keyboard shortcut to the desired page will save you hours instead of closing your NLE, opening your MoGraph software, rendering, closing and re-opening and importing your media in your timeline. Whew! That all goes away with DaVinci Resolve 15; just think, click and create.