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Thread: DaVinci Resolve 11 Lite (free version) and Aerial Videography. UPDATED WITH MY REVIEW

  1. #1
    Co-Pilot DiscoTuna's Avatar
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    DaVinci Resolve 11 Lite (free version) and Aerial Videography. UPDATED WITH MY REVIEW

    Anyone any experience with this version 11?

    Just started looking at it. It looks too good to be true! I know it is true of course. This is a $1000 piece of software that is essentially being given away for free with their Lite version that looks like it has every feature that we would need for our FPV videos. Key about this version is that it has a much more advanced editor than before. The reason I started looking for it was because I was looking for the best software for colour grading (FCPx is not stella at this). Resolve is clearly the industry standard, I knew it was very expensive, but appears to be free now for smaller projects. The new editing capabilities look like they are on par with FCPx (which i love).

    It is clearly more advanced than FCPx around colour grading and there will be a steeper learning curve, but it looks like it could well be worth it. Thoughts / experience would be most welcome.
    Last edited by DiscoTuna; 22nd July 2014 at 08:16 PM.

  2. #2
    Co-Pilot DiscoTuna's Avatar
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    My Review of DR11Lite for Aerial Videography production

    So been checking this out extensively - re hashing some of my old videos etc.

    Summary: If you don't have an NLE (non linear editor) such as FCPx or Adobe dont spend money on anything else, just get this - plus it is free, but nothing like any free editing software i have come across before. Parts of it (Colour grading, image stabilisation) are the best you can get on the market - exactly as used in many Hollywood studios (Davinci's marketing material reliably informs me), and the editor's capabilities are now vastly improved and all you need for editing aerial videography videos at the very least. It is very similar to FCPx in its layout. So similar I am amazed that they can get away with copying interfaces so directly. This is all good in my opinion as where FCPx really excels is in the ease of use of its basic editing functions. As said the lite version is free and is fully functional for what you need for single person projects of our size. Frankly they are doing it a dis-service calling it a Lite version. Some specifics:

    Colour Grading - adjusting the colour and lighting of a clip, part of a clip, an object within the clip etc. to make it look nicer, stylised etc:
    The colour grading side of Davinici Resolve 11 (DR11), is very easy to use once you spend about 30mins watching the odd video to get you up to speed. The process itself becomes quicker once you have done the first few grades as you can simply copy what you did and apply it to other parts of the frame. The steps you followed are carefully laid out (in what it calls nodes) to then allow easier refining for each clip). The most powerful part of the colour grading is its ability to select parts of the picture very quickly either by drawing around them (then it maps where they are through out the video incredibly accurately and automatically, or by selecting certain colours or shades etc masking out the rest of the image and indeed combining the two selection methods. You can then adjust the look for just the selected part -for instance say increase the lighting on one side of a mountain only or, on the colouring of the sky throughout the clip. You can then copy these sets of adjustment and apply them straight to other clips. This is really really useful for super polishing shots and i was amazed at the difference it could make. Should lead to a step change in the quality of videos if you can be bothered tinkering at this level (which i think i can for some footage!).

    Editing - allows you to do most of the basics you can do in FCPx - import media, slice it up, move it around, put in most of your typical transitions and also titles, powerful retiming of clips better than FCPx at least in how you tell it what to do.

    Export - appears to be more powerful than FCPx in the control you have over what it produces though no direct upload to youtube

    Working between FCPx and Resolve (round tripping) - I already have edited projects in FCPx. I export an XML file (essentially a laundry list of what is in your project, where files are saved etc) from FCPx. I then import that successfully into DRL11 and this loads in all my clips into a timeline including the transitions. It fails to load in the mp3 sound file as it doesnt accept them. It also incorrectly loads in my logos and titles. Minor issues as I can add them back in about 10s when i import the colour graded items back into FCPx. I then colour graded each clip. I then render out the new clips. I then tried rendering out the XML file ready for reintroducing to FCPx. All good (though when it renders them out it does not put on any of the transitions at the start/stop of clips. Issues started on trying to bring in the XML file back into FCPx - wouldnt do it. I can work with this issue quite easily as importantly I have the colour graded files successfully rendered and can easily add in the transitions etc in FCPx. From this experience I have two options for my revised workflow which I will lay out below.

    Other issues - I was using the 11 Lite Beta.
    1. Firstly you can't import mp3 sound tracks. It will only accept higher quality such as Wav files. This is annoying as it requires me to convert my sound clips before import. In some ways it is surprising seeing as it can deal with almost every other codec imaginable, though as its old has been full films I understand it ignoring the low quality mp3 files.
    2. It does not take in the titles or custom animations (made in apple motion) correctly from FCPx
    3. FCPx would not take in the exported FCPxml file
    4. Major issue was that it kept complaining it was running out of GPU memory and this lead to it either stopping a render before complete or running properly. I have to assume this is an issue with the Beta. I have a 2013 top spec imac with about 2G of GPU memory. I could get round this by restarting my computer. There are probably some less time consuming manual ways to clear GPU memory also.


    My likely work flow to include this in production of my videos
    I have two options
    (1) Ditch FCPx completely and work entirely in DR11. If i can find away to import successfully my custom titles I have produced in apple motion (and this is supposed to be possible), and I can get round the memory bug issue - this will be my preferred option. No round tripping needed with FCPx.
    (2)Use in conjunction with FCPx.
    1. Start in FCPx - import all the media, import the tune, mark up the tune to the beat changes, slice and sequence the media to the tune.
    2. No grading, stabilisation, title adding transitions etc in FCPX- do that when they return from DR11.
    3. Export the XML file - which takes about a 1s.
    4. Import the XML file into DR11
    5. Colour grade each clip
    6. Render out all the clips to a new folder
    7. Return to DR11 and import the new files as new media into a new project and bring over the marked up sound file into the new project.
    8. Add transitions and titles and export to youtube
    Last edited by DiscoTuna; 22nd July 2014 at 08:55 PM.

  3. #3
    Co-Pilot DiscoTuna's Avatar
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    To help with my growing knowledge of this I rehashed one of my vids and wanted to show a before and after so you can see some of what can be done (skill level factored in also! - i have a tendency to oversaturate). Neat thing is you can play both below simultaneously to get a direct comparison (turning the sound down on one so you don't go crazy):

    Here is the original vid with colour grading done from within FCPx which has rubbish grading capabilities


    Here is the same footage with most of regraded using resolve and then finished back off in FCPx


    The regrade was a slightly buggy process, but one I could now improve. Took about an hour to regrade and republish an activity I could get down to about 20mins I think say 4th time round.
    Last edited by DiscoTuna; 24th July 2014 at 09:34 PM.

  4. #4
    Advanced Beginner Oliver Miami's Avatar
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    Very cool thread DT.

    I used the previous version of of DaVinci with Premiere Pro CS6 and I found the round trip between the 2 softwares to be very annoying and time consuming (issues, need to transcode, etc) which is sad because as you mentioned DaVinci really has powerful feature (tracking,etc) and it's free !
    Maybe I should use the new version with Adobe CC

    I now use SpeedGrade with Adobe Premiere & AE CC. The workflow is very smooth and completely integrated.

    I would also recommend Magic Bullet look for super easy color grading. This one is very user friendly and compatible with Adobe, Apple and Vegas.

  5. #5
    Co-Pilot DiscoTuna's Avatar
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    Thanks Oli,

    It is definitely buggy and the round trip a PITA. For some reason one segment I had succeffuly imported, played and graded refused to export. Something went adrfit with the framerates as well where I tried to keep it all at 30fps but it would only export at 29.xxx fps which then through out my song synching. It also retimed some of my imports and not others - some came in with speed ramps others it normalised the timing. All resolvable, but a time consuming PITA. I expect most of these issues are settings things I could st right to overcome. The export bug though I am hoping i can write off to it being a beta version cos it prevents me from moving over completely into Resolve and negating need for round trip.

    Magic Bullet - will check it out also. Thanks!

    EDIT: just did - like the look of the presets - reminds me of the NIK colour correction suite for stills (totally awesome!), though magic bullet's price.....ouch and way more than DR11's free

    Quote Originally Posted by Oliver Miami View Post
    Very cool thread DT.

    I used the previous version of of DaVinci with Premiere Pro CS6 and I found the round trip between the 2 softwares to be very annoying and time consuming (issues, need to transcode, etc) which is sad because as you mentioned DaVinci really has powerful feature (tracking,etc) and it's free !
    Maybe I should use the new version with Adobe CC

    I now use SpeedGrade with Adobe Premiere & AE CC. The workflow is very smooth and completely integrated.

    I would also recommend Magic Bullet look for super easy color grading. This one is very user friendly and compatible with Adobe, Apple and Vegas.
    Last edited by DiscoTuna; 24th July 2014 at 11:19 PM.

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