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Day Two: Editing on DaVinci Resolve 12.5

Ok, if I'm being honest about this, Day Two was really a continuation of a very LONG day one. See I finished working last night about 6:30, then wrote the Day One blog, and then was preparing to go to bed around 11pm when I heard my phone chime that I had a text. A Producer on the west coast needed me to do a quick turnaround of a national broadcast spot today for Friday delivery. Well, I couldn't let that project interfere with the corporate project I'm cutting on Resolve, so instead of getting some sleep, I went back to the office and continued editing about 11:30pm - 4:30am. Didn't really sleep and went back to the office at 7:30am this morning, finishing up the master candidate of the commercial spot at 6:30pm tonight. Ok, so there's the backstory and I'm surprised I'm even still awake enough to type this, but here goes.....

Some updates on the issues from Day One.

The need to Transcode to ProRes. Paul Saccone from Blackmagic Design reached out to me and told me I didn't need to transcode the 4k H264 to ProRes to get better performance. I can use "Generate Optimized Media" instead.

This basically makes a proxy file that's easy on the playback and editing but then I can simply switch back to the original H264 files for color grading at the end of the process. Yes, I still have to generate another set of files, but these go pretty darn quickly and are much much smaller than the ProRes files I generated yesterday. I thought the Generate Optimized Media was really for use with large files like RAW, but it looks like it's just as useful with the DSLR stuff too.

Not Automatically Scaling my 4k to 1080 HD

I knew this was a setting that I wasn't finding and thanks to Dmitry Kitsov's response on Twitter, I now know where the "magic button" is. It's in Project Settings > Image Scaling Preset.

The default was Scale Entire Image to Fit but what I really wanted was Center Crop with No Resizing. Seems like a long mouthful but as you can see there are four different options for mismatched resolution files so I guess that's the easiest way to describe it.

So on to Day Two.

Everything so far has been very intuitive, even in my sleep deprived state last night, I was finding new functions simply by doing what I always do with certain keystrokes.

Duplicate a clip is simply Option+drag which I used a LOT last night because I was duplicating the heck out of comedic sound effects. You can see 09829_SFX down below duplicated 5 times to coincide with the action.

Speaking of those clips, see how CLEARLY labeled the audio clips are? There's a delineation between the clip name and user controls that's fabulous. With Premiere Pro, the audio labeling frequently disappears with the audio clips so I have to double click them back up into the Source Monitor to confirm the clip name. The labelling is also plenty large and easy to read. Really nicely done.

I mentioned last night how the volume / level control in the timeline is super useful because you have full control of the amount of level rather than being limited to just 6db +/- like in Premiere Pro. Below you see an audio clip that clearly has low audio, it's a manufacturing floor with audio from the camera mic. What Resolve does is shrink and enlarge the audio waveforms giving you a really good representation of the amount of volume in a clip at a quick glance.

And here's that same clip with the clip volume raised.

You can see visually how much louder the clip is now vs. the original picture above. At first I thought this was gimmicky when I saw it in the online demos, but actually it's really handy to be able to just look at the timeline and without even seeing the volume control settings, I can tell what's full volume and what's not.

I finally played with the Text Tool and it's quite good and useful. Is it as feature rich as Adobe's? Not by a long shot, but can you create titles with it? Absolutely. You actually find the titles in the same place as the effects. They have them laid out to be pre-positioned for ease of use, but I generally just start with Text.

You drag a title out onto the timeline and then the Title Panel becomes active.

As you can see, all the basic controls you'd expect and all the fonts on my Mac loaded up. I've only used it for placeholders so far, but will create some titles for the final.

I mentioned yesterday the ease of video and audio track assignments. Here's a look at that.

Just a single control to turn the track on and off. Renaming the tracks is as simple as double-clicking the name and naming it as you can see I did with the audio tracks. It's intuitive and easy.

The Wacom Tablet Works!!!

I had to bold that one because if you're a user of Adobe Premiere Pro and you use a Wacom tablet, then you know the joy of the "jittery pen." Basically any adjustment you make with a Wacom tablet in Premiere Pro results in the keyframe / parameter changing when you release the pen. Completely maddening to say the least, so many of us resort to using a mouse when doing fine tuning such as audio mixing. But in Resolve, I've found the pen to be very accurate and stable. It's little things like this that really make a long long day in the edit suite pleasant.

A little thing that's functional but could be more efficient. Right now the only way to send out a burned in timecode copy to a client is via the Color Panel. I couldn't even find this last night (this morning) so I went out of Resolve and into Adobe Media Encoder. But if you open the timeline in the Color panel, you'll find options for timecode and other things to burn into the media. I made a request to the Resolve team to consider either making a filter for TC Window or simply adding the option to the Delivery panel. When editing, I definitely don't think much about Color and I never even thought to look at the Color panel just to find TC burn-in. So it's there, but I'm hopeful it might be a bit more intuitive for editors who have no interest in using the Color panel.

One other thing that's not working quite as it should is the ability to double click a parameter in the Inspector Panel and change it. If you go back up at look at that Title Panel and I want to double click the Size to change it from 74 to 50. If I try to double click it, the numbers simply change say up to 80 or down to 63 and they keep changing every time I double click. Or the last number will be selected but not all of them. So I have to manually backspace, backspace then type. Most likely a Beta issue and remember this IS beta software right now. Remarkably STABLE beta software too I might add. Had to restart the machine twice last night because the system got a little wonky but the software is not crashing, it's not disappearing, just gets a little "tired" from time to time so I just reboot and keep going.

Here's a look at my timeline so far. Nothing remarkable as you can see, just your good old fashioned basic timeline but sitting inside one of the most powerful color grading tools on the planet. It's been super easy and quite pleasant cutting.

What's continued to impress me is how efficiently the workspace is laid out and how intuitive all of the necessary panels are. I'm editing on a SINGLE monitor. I HATE editing on a single monitor, I love having all that extra real estate for all those windows I need open. But here I am, editing away in Resolve and when I need to access a panel, it's there. Panels move and replace themselves as you set about doing different functions while editing. It's so well thought out and I'm not searching for windows, or dragging more windows out, or losing windows under windows. Granted I have a 5k Retina iMac, but the interface is so efficient I have no need for the second window. It's absolutely remarkable so far. Keep in mind I am doing a pretty simple project right now, but this does give me an insight as to how the app will work for larger projects. The interface seems to have really been thought out from the editor's perspective first and not from an engineering / coding standpoint. It's a very light and nimble application.

Somebody asked me today "why does editing in Resolve interest you?" Well it is my color grading tool of choice. It's completely free, and by the way, I'm cutting this project using the free version of Resolve. My Studio version sits on another machine.

So if I find the Resolve can handle the bulk of our editorial load and especially if I get my new Contemporary Living Network funded, we can have every editor, no matter where they are, no matter which NLE they currently cut with editing on Resolve. Why? We can completely eliminate XMLs and any issues that arise with moving projects between NLEs and Resolve. Now we're simply passing project files back and forth and staying inside the same application.

The workflow to / from Photoshop and After Effects will be different and not as elegant as the Adobe Suite for sure, but then we had a really good workflow between the old FCP and After Effects in the past and I can draw upon that knowledge to create a simple workflow as needed. BUT completely eliminating XMLs from our editorial to editorial workflow and from our editorial to color workflow makes the idea of cutting inside Resolve very appealing. Now when I want to work with my colleague who is an AMAZING 30 years (and counting) colorist it's as simple as hand him the project file.

Does Resolve have the rich feature set of Adobe Premiere Pro or Avid? No, not even close. Does Resolve have a very good, useful feature set that any editor can cut a narrative story and is easy to adapt you muscle memory to? So far, from what I see, the answer is yes. Especially with the latest additions with Resolve 12.5.

I really like that Blackmagic Design has spent a lot of time under the hood ensuring that the basic operation of editing is smooth and easy. That's the most any editor can ask for. As for what comes next, well that all depends on what the editors ask for. From what I've been told, Blackmagic Design is listening quite well to their editing base just like Adobe.

Two days in, call me impressed.

This article first appeared on

Posted by: walter biscardi on Apr 28, 2016 at 7:02:52 pmComments (1) Video Editing, NLE, DaVinci Resolve

Day One: Editing on DaVinci Resolve 12.5

At the recently completed NAB Show in Las Vegas, Blackmagic Design took the wraps off DaVinci Resolve 12.5. It really could be a Resolve 13 but they probably wanted to avoid that unlucky number. I’ve been predicting for over a year now that NAB 2016 would be the year this tool became a full fledged non-linear editing system and sure enough, it’s a solid editing platform.

For those who don’t know the history, DaVinci Systems’ Resolve has been around a very long time in the film industry and was the de-facto standard for color grading and color enhancement in the industry. At one time it costs millions to set up a single Resolve color grading suite. When Blackmagic Design purchased the company, it was on its last legs and after first shoring up the product and bringing it into the modern era, Grant Petty and his team began evolving the product into a full fledged video editing system.

Media Panel in DaVinci Resolve 12.5

Today I spent my first full day editing a real project on the 12.5 Beta. The first thing I did was to purchase Alexis Van Hurkmann’s tutorial “DaVinci Resolve 12.5 New Features” from Ripple Training. He’s such a great trainer and I kept that open on the second screen as a reference while working. It’s the best $49 dollars you’ll spend if you want to get up to speed on the new features in a hurry. Use the code resolve40 when you check out.

The editing system is a new 27″ iMac 5k Retina 4.0 Ghz with 32GB RAM and all the top of the line graphics card. Media is stored on our 48TB Studio Network Solutions EVO media share connected via 10GigE converted to thunderbolt. The original materials were shot on a Panasonic GH4 at 4k UHD resolution in the H264 format.

Ingesting and organizing the bins was very straightforward if you’ve used any non-linear editing system before. Can either select and drag individual items over or drag in folders from the Media panel. The new layouts and options in the Media Panel are very intuitive as is the metadata editor. After watching Alexis go over this panel in his tutorial, I jumped right in and started adding the Scene and Take numbers along with Comments on the good takes. Really made it super simple to organize. I really like the dual Metadata / Inspector Window. Nice use of space to make them both share the same window.

Alexis Van Hurkmann Training on the right and Media Panel entering Metadata on the left.

All audio was recorded separately on a Zoom H6 recorder and as always, we made sure to audibly slate each scene and take along with a proper slate or hand clap. After placing all the video and audio clips into a single bin, I used the “Auto-Sync using Audio Waveform” command. There were about 50 clips to sync and it was done in about a minute or so. I LOVED that no new clips were created. No multi-cam clips or extra clips to be sorted through. The audio from the Zoom recorder was simply placed on a new audio track on the video clips. Double click the video into the Source and I heard the clean zoom audio.

For the most part it worked perfectly. There were 7 B-Roll shots that had no Zoom audio recorded for them, which I should have left out of the Sync bin, but forgot. Resolve sync’d some random Zoom audio to those B-Roll shots. I tried using the Clip Attributes function to select the original camera audio for those B-Roll clips but it didn’t work. Most likely a bug and this is beta software after all, so that’s to be expected. I reported this issue via the Blackmagic Design forum for the Beta software.

At first I set up using the FCPX keyboard shortcuts but almost immediately switched over to DaVinci Resolve shortcuts. They’re definitely modeled on the FCP 7 shortcuts and I picked them up very quickly.

At first the system seemed very snappy but after I made just two edits it became sluggish. I had a feeling it was the 4k H264 files. Even Premiere Pro gets sluggish with 4k H264s. The file sizes are very small, but there is a lot of processing involved to let them play smoothly. Each time I loaded a clip into the Source window, it took a few seconds to draw out the frames and then when I hit play, there was a delay. So I used the Media Management tool in Resolve to Transcode everything to ProRes. Time well spent because the system was EXTREMELY responsive as soon as I started editing with the ProRes files. Instant loads, instant JKL response on the keyboard.

Everything about editing in Resolve 12.5 so far is intuitive. The Trim commands are fabulous and I especially love that some features are active by simply hovering over a different area. Hit Trim and hover over the thumbnails in the video track and you’re automatically Slipping the video. I use slip a LOT and loved this. It was very intuitive and easy for me to poke around and discover stuff.

The ease of video and audio track assignments was refreshing. I’m used to double setting the audio and video in Premiere Pro and then having a second set of commands for Pasting or snapping the playhead along the timeline.

The audio level control within the timeline is fantastic. Full range of volume and loudness just by raising and lowering the volume without the need for any sort of gain control. So simple.

The biggest thing I’m trying to figure out now is how to force Resolve to leave my 4k material at full 100% scale instead of scaling it down to fit my 1080 HD editing timeline. I’m sure the moment I ask on a forum I’ll have the answer, but that’s about the only thing I couldn’t figure out on my own today.

There were some hiccups to be sure and I’m still trying to find some of the controls but as far as editing, it felt like trying on a new pair of shoes. I was walking for a bit and then in an hour I started jogging. Not up to full speed yet, but for a first day editing on the system, it was easy and intuitive.

Grant, Paul Saccone and the entire Blackmagic Design team have done an incredible job building up this app to be really useful, intuitive and simple to move into one of the most powerful color grading tools on the planet. That’s Day One, I’ll update as we move along in the project.

Grant Petty and I at NAB Show 2016. At one point the two of us had such a rivalry against each other we had to be separated on these very Creative Cow forums. True Story!

This article first appeared on

Posted by: walter biscardi on Apr 27, 2016 at 5:15:41 pm 4k, UHD, Video Editing

Where to find Walter Biscardi at NAB Show 2016

NAB Show 2016 is upon us and my schedule is coming together. I’ll be primarily appearing in the Studio Network Solutions booth SL11113 giving the presentation Adobe Premiere Pro Project Management and Project Sharing Best Practices. (full details below) I’ll also be at some of the evening events and just hanging out. So if you have the chance, come say hello and let’s chat! Heck, if you want to meet up for a coffee and talk shop, ping me on Twitter, @walterbiscardi or drop me an email walter (at) Look forward to seeing you all!

LOVE Stef and Sean from Rampant Design Tools

Saturday: Arriving in the afternoon and honestly, this is my quietest day. If you’re in town and want to meet up to chat, ping me! I’m staying over in the MGM Grand / NY NY area of the Strip.

Sunday: If anyone wants to meet up for breakfast, ping me. I’m also around in the early afternoon. 9pm I’ll be at the #PostChat meet-up outside the O’Shea’s Bar in The Linq restaurant district. Outside between The Linq hotel and Flamingo. I might also try out the High Roller observation wheel Sunday night.

Meeting Vashi! at the #PostChat meet-up

Monday: I’ll be in the SNS Booth SL11113 all day and presenting Adobe Premiere Pro Project Management and Project Sharing Best Practices at 10:30am, 2:00pm and 4:00pm.

In the presentation I will take you though best practices for Adobe Premiere Pro Project Management and Project Sharing. These management tips can apply to other NLEs as well. I’ll demonstrate the techniques I developed for managing the wealth of digital data created in today’s video production world, whether you’re in the corporate, broadcast or digital marketplace. I’ll cover the basics of standardizing your project management including: Media Management & Organization, File / Folder Renaming, Transcoding, Media Cache, Shared Projects (2 or more editors sharing the same project), Cross Platform (Mac & Windows), Archiving. This is a must presentation for anyone looking to bring order to an expanding digital media workload and library.

I’ll also be available all day in the booth to answer any questions you have about Adobe Premiere Pro, Adobe After Effects, Shared Storage Workflow, 4k, UHD, Post Production and of course, anything to do with cooking. Pizza On the Grill is my favorite! So stop on by and say hello!

Monday Evening: You’ll find me at the Media Motion Ball located in the Monte Carlo.

Tuesday: I’ll be in the SNS Booth SL11113 all day and presenting Adobe Premiere Pro Project Management and Project Sharing Best Practices at 10:30am, 2:00pm and 4:00pm. (see full description above) Again, I’ll be available to answer any questions you have on all matters Post and of course cooking. So stop by and say hello!

Tuesday Evening: You’ll find me for a little while at the Supermeet located in the Rio. I don’t stay for the entire event and I generally just hang out in the vendor area to chat with folks. Generally I end up going out for dinner after a few hours here.

Wednesday: I’ll be in the SNS Booth SL11113 all day and presenting Adobe Premiere Pro Project Management and Project Sharing Best Practices at 10:30am, 2:00pm and 4:00pm. (see full description above) Again, I’ll be available to answer any questions you have on all matters Post and of course cooking. So stop by and say hello!

Wednesday Evening: I’m attending a private event and then will be on my way back to Atlanta bright and early Thursday morning.

I really hope I get to meet up with you this year. Have fun!

About the Author:

Walter Biscardi, Jr. is a 25 year veteran in media production and the Founder of BISCARDI CREATIVE MEDIA, a full service digital media production company near Atlanta, Georgia with services that include Video Production, Sound Production, Sound Mixing, Graphic Design, Animation, Post Production, Video Editing, Color Grading, Finishing, Digital Asset Transfer, Digitizing and Archiving. He’s also the Founder of CONTEMPORARY LIVING NETWORK, a digital lifestyle network coming soon featuring Life Worth Living. He and his team have been a part of many national awards including the Emmy and Peabody. Walter is also a frequent speaker at national industry events and offered training and consulting in the media industry.

Professional Video Editor, Producer, Creative Director, Director since 1990.

Credits include multiple Emmys, Tellys, Aurora and CableAce Awards.

Creative Director for Georgia-Pacific and GP Studios, Atlanta. Former Owner / Operator of Biscardi Creative Media. The show you knew us best for was "Good Eats" on the Food Network. I developed the HD Post workflow and we also created all the animations for the series.

Favorite pastime is cooking with pizza on the grill one of my specialties. Each Christmas Eve we serve the Feast of the Seven Fishes, a traditional Italian seafood meal with approx. 30 items on the menu.

If I wasn't in video production I would either own a restaurant or a movie theater.



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