In Review: Blackmagic Design DaVinci Resolve 15 Studio

Post Production Powerhouse Turns Up the Heat

Published on in Equipment / Tech Reviews

Blackmagic Design DaVinci Resolve 15 Studio is a very interesting post-production offering. Resolve 15 Studio has so many options and directions you could lose yourself and endlessly work on improving just that one clip if you don’t keep track of your sessions. Let's take a look at the many facets of Blackmagic Design Resolve 15 Studio.

Improvements to Resolve

Let’s get going with the basics. I don’t think I could state it in any other way that Resolve is at the very foundation. I particularly liked how Blackmagic Design made solid improvements but didn’t make such drastic changes to throw off the well-established base of Resolve editors.

In this version, upload times are improved, we now have close captioning, (a really great feature) better trimming, built-in effects, and my own personal favorite, multicam editing. Multicam editing allows me to come back from the road, load the footage into Resolve and away I go. If you've ever punched a live show, you know things happen and you might miss an important shot. Now I can sit down and pretty much mimic what would almost be switching a live shoot. Multicam let’s you get that (almost) perfect reaction shot. That's why I like it. 

Fairlight

Audio is so much of any project, but you already know that. You want clean and crisp dialogue, great sound effects and lush music beds. The bottom line that I learned the hard way is that if the viewer has to struggle to hear with the audio in your program, you and the project are done.

I do spend a ridiculous amount of my time on audio. But I am glad that Fairlight is right there, even if I have had to bring in a separate audio guru for some of my sessions. The improvements to Fairlight in my opinion made it even better.

For starters, there is the option to drop in a sound library, an improved ADR toolset, de-humming cleanup and my favorite out of the bunch? A clip time warping feature that allows the editor to compress or stretch audio in the clip without changing the pitch. This is a feature that I know I am already going to need on a current project to make everything work.

 

Color

Color is such a great toolset. As I delve into more complex shooting and post requirements, I'm getting a better understanding of the applications and the advantages of “color correction” in post. I use this term “correction” very carefully, since you may not be correcting anything or everything. Maybe the client just wants to change things up.

The HDR processing toolset is another feature that I am sure will continue to be in demand for some time as that space continues to grow. Also because I sometimes have to shoot in less than ideal situations, I do like the fact that noise reduction has been improved along with a LUT browser that is user and client friendly.

Of course, I am not sure I could sit still long enough and manage this all day, but since Color it is part of this wonderful collection, you would be foolish not to jump in with both feet. In previous encounters with Color, I have had much success and actually enjoyed this part of the postproduction process. I should also mention that ability to scale from anywhere from HD to 8K means that you are essentially future proofing and preparing for today challenging multiple delivery points.

Fusion

Fusion just by itself would be worth the $300 price tag. I can honestly say that, as with any program, it's going to take some time to unwrap and use the incredible amount of power one can bring into post. Even though I'm not a professional Editor, having Fusion will be worth the investment in the long run. Fusion used to be available as a stand-alone, but you can get it as part of the Blackmagic Design Resolve 15 Studio. But what is Fusion? Fusion is 2D and 3D compositing software. Check out some of these features:

  • Vector PaintResolution-independent paint tools with flexible brush styles, blend modes, and strokes for removing items or painting new elements.

  • RotoscopingIsolate objects from other elements in a scene using bezier and B-spline tools to quickly draw and animate custom shapes.

  • 3D Particle SystemsCreate swirling, sparkling fantastic effects in full 3D, complete with physics and behavioral forces like gravity, avoidance and bounce.

  • Powerful KeyingKey any element using the new Delta keyer, Ultra, Chroma, Luma, and differential keyers to create the best composite.

  • True 3D CompositingCombine live-action with 3D models, cameras, lights and more in a true 3D workspace to create amazing photorealistic effects.

  • Tracking and StabilizationUse 3D and planar trackers to track, match move, and stabilize anything. Match camera movement with the camera tracker.

Adding Fusion to this set of tools keeps everything in place, which is one of my favorite things about Resolve 15 Studio. Blackmagic Design has made it an easier road to navigate by setting up customizable “pages ” so that Editors can go between programs without getting lost, which is a huge time-saver. 

Closing Thoughts 

There is so much good stuff in Blackmagic Design Resolve 15 Studio. The fact that you can have multiple artists collaborating on projects is fantastic. Having Fusion as part of this amazing toolset will allow for the creative development of more complex projects to happen at an ever-increasing clip. Of course, things are not perfect. If you want an advanced understanding, as with any software, edit and explore and make demos or whatever you need to do to gather a deep understanding. You owe it to yourself and your bottom line to learn the hard stuff too!

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About the Author

Mark Foley
Mark Foley
Mark J. Foley, MBA BA is an award-winning producer and director and the Technology Editor for ProductionHUB.com. He is on a mission to provide the best in new equipment reviews, along with exclusive analysis and interviews with the best, the brightest and most creative minds in the entertainment and production business. Have a suggestion for a review? Email Mark at mfoley@productionhub.com.

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