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Activity Forums DaVinci Resolve London Roadshow

  • London Roadshow

    Posted by Jack Jones on June 19, 2010 at 10:46 am

    I managed to get to the London DaVinci roadtour for the last 10 minutes and ended up with what was essentially a personal session!

    I went along as a cynic, desperate for it to exceed my expectations but really wasn’t too hopeful. Good news was that it did.

    The best bits? It’s a fantastic system and is pretty darn impressive. I loved the conforming and finishing tools that I’m familiar with as well as a lot of the extra stuff. Realtime playback is obviously a standout feature… However, my personal favorite (asides from my much loved conform tool) had to be it’s incredible tracker! It’s phenomenal and anyone who has seen FilmMaster’s tracking will be familiar with this. It’s unrivaled at this price and would easily compete with many VFX packages. It allows around 150 points per shape and tacks at realtime. It’s as easy as dropping your ‘window’ (shape/vignette whatever) on to the area you want to track and hitting go.

    The downsides? Well I dislike the way it uses ‘windows’ (shapes/vignettes whatever) in that you have to add a node for an inside, a separate one for outside and a separate one for the key. Naturally the biggest limiter on the Mac version is bluring… I use it all the time with keying.

    All in all I was promised 32 nodes at realtime HD playback. Putting that in perspective Apple Color essentially offers ’24 nodes’ so you will have roughly ‘9 secondary tabs’ in Resolve OS X before you loose realtime playback. Also worth noting was that I was promised just 6 nodes for realtime playback at 2k. That is essentially ‘2 secondary tabs’ in Apple Color… A little disappointing.

    For £665… It’s a huge step up from Apple Color if only for it’s superior conforming.

    Am I buying it? Yes. I’m certainly considering the panel package an’ all. £20k for the lot isn’t bad, and you can upgrade to 3D for another £15k when you need to.

    HOWEVER… I am DEFINITELY going to wait and have a demo of Digital Vision’s Nucoda Fuse. At a similar price to the ‘Mac+Panel’ but with better GPU options and a custom panel. Not forgetting to mention products like Clarity and including 3D as standard. That is almost certainly my preferred option at the £20k bracket as it’s cheaper for the next steps up… And offers far more features for £20k.

    Apple Color versus Resolve OS X… Resolve every time! Just imagine dropping that shot in that the client wanted adding to the edit, cutting it, adding scaling and motion, adding a transition and grading in one go. Easy! That and features like scene detection make it an incredible bit of software!

    P.S. Sorry for the mish-mash review. I’m hungover from the disappointing England game and but need to give my feedback on a great system.

    Peter Chamberlain replied 13 years, 9 months ago 11 Members · 22 Replies
  • 22 Replies
  • Alexander Higgins

    June 19, 2010 at 6:44 pm

    Hey Jack, Thanks for the info.

    Do you feel like you want to opt for the Control Panel because it seems DaVinci is faster and more manageable with the complete $29,995 panel?

    It seems to me if the workflow for building nodes and secondaires is cumbersome to be mouse driven, the Resolve workflow would be much inproved with the full control panel.

    I have also looked heavenly into FUSE. Its about $70k for a complete system, but you get the control panel, etc.

    The only thing I dislike about Digital Vision, is that everytime I talk to a Sales Rep, I feel like they are old QUANTEL or AVID “closers.” They are very slick at telling you why this system is so amazing, but I feel like they really don’t understand the market that well, and very eager to make a sale.

    If the market is changing the way it has been, Digital Vision and others have to keep dropping their prices. So I am pretty excited to see where it keeps going.

  • Jack Jones

    June 19, 2010 at 7:31 pm

    I say that I’d want to opt for the panel as I felt there were so many different (and fairly unnecessary) steps involved, especially when it got to secondaries, that the full panel would be really quite important.

    Take for example adding a shape, just a circular one. You have to add a node layer, select the shape and then activate it. 3 buttons on the full panel to access a single feature. Didn’t really like that the panel required a mouse for a large amount of it but hey ho.

    I have a Tangent Wave for Apple Color, probably one of the earliest adopters in the UK, and it works beautifully for Color. With DaVinci OS X I can easily see it reaching incredible key combinations to do something relatively simple. Originally I read a quote somewhere (vague I know) that said a controller was compulsory. It doesn’t have to be by the looks of it, but there is no way in hell I’d like to run it with a mouse!

    I do hate the way it’s similar to Baselight. The whole add layer, add function (shape) and activate it. It’s hard to explain but it just seems like once you say you’re going to use a secondary it should just do it in one or two buttons. Example being the second you add a secondary you should be able to start on a function and therefore it activates it. As I said, hard to explain without showing you!

    No XML or ALE yet but the support for AAF kinda voids that to a large enough extent.

    As mentioned previously I really love it’s use as the finishing system. You could take the offline cut, vfx cut-ins and the final audio (personally I’d layoff the audio to tape from the audio suite) then online and grade it in one suite. Much more friendly than Color’s ‘back-to-Final-Cut-we-go!’ approach.

    You can even take a chump’s offline RED cut with renamed folders the lot and run a metadata search – Very impressive as it finds the clips that could fit that edit on the sequence and lets you select them if more than one fit is found. Especially useful if you have an offline reference to help you choose between. Scene detect was fairly useful as well. Very similar to the way Assimilate Scratch manages it’s metadata. Fits in nicely with Kevin Shaw’s ‘Integrated DI Workflow’
    which seems like a sensible progression in the industry.

    It’s slick, functional and a dramatic improvement over Apple Color. I would straight away say it’s a more useful system to a Baselight as you can finish in it. FilmMaster is my personal preference but this isn’t far short of that. I also would say I prefer DaVinci OS X to Scratch, but haven’t used Scratch enough to rule it a home run. Mistika is still something I’m yet to use and I imagine it would be a superior product based on what I’ve seen of it. Not vastly superior by any measure though.

    Like mentioned in my first post. Value for money tells me that the base-end Fuse (roughly £20k) is better value than DaVinci Mac OS X plus a Panel. The high-end Fuse (at around £40k) would be pretty 50/50 when compared to the base Linux system. Fuse would probably be faster based on the fact that all Nucoda systems run on a single machine so they probably have more experience with getting the most out of a single system (top DaVinci Linux can have 16 systems I believe). Still that’s me guessing at that point.

    It’s nice to see colourists picking suites based on features as much as price. Hopefully it’ll bring back the value of the colourist, stopping all of this ‘I need a x colourist’. You wouldn’t tell a DOP what camera you want to use!

    If there are any specific questions do ask away and I’ll do the best to answer from my experiences.


  • Alexander Higgins

    June 19, 2010 at 8:33 pm

    Thanks Jack, I have looked at Baselight, Scratch, Nucoda. I have also looked into MISTIKA, but only as much as the website can tell someone. I know SGO Mistika has some ex-Quantel people running the UK division. I would assume Mistika is a pretty nice system. In the USA, Mistika is really really hard to get access to and so its hard to justify looking into it further.

    I have used the Tangent with apple color as well, and if DaVinci can get that level of functionality, then I will be happy. The DaVinci control panel would be great, but then Nucoda fuse for $70k, and Baselight $80k seem like good options as well once you add 30k to a more limited DaVinci OS X.

    Again, like you said, Nucoda has more finishing capabilities and Baselight is strictly just a color grader.

    Right now in the US, it has to be about talent and not tools, so having a system I can put together for 20k(DaVinci) that is 80% as capable as a 70k(Nucoda Fuse), its hard to make the math work for Nucoda. Since at the end of the day, the same artist would make it look exactly the same on either system.

    Aside from that.

    Did you think the system was snappy and responsive?
    Was it previewing on a broadcast signal out?
    Will the DaVinci OS X be able to do 4:4:4 dual link?
    Do you know if the GPU card was the GeForce GTX 285 or the Quadro FX 4800?
    Do you have the audibility to render(cache) the 2k images, then add more secondaries to the GPU, so you can get beyond the 2k realtime secondary limit?

    Thanks Again Jack!

  • Jack Jones

    June 19, 2010 at 9:12 pm

    In the UK it is the skill of the colourist, however you will never get the same rate for a £15k Apple Color suite as you would for a Baselight suite. We’re talking around a 50% rate drop based on the name!

    When you say 80% as capable as a Fuse, I think it’s probably more like 95% as full of features. They each have their own feature sets, I just think I would prefer Fuse based on my enjoyment of FilmMaster. My understanding of Fuse is that the base model is £20k and the top model around £40k. Translate into American money and it’s competitive with the first Linux model and Scratch.

    I spent most of my time looking at the Linux machine so I will try to answer your questions the best I can.

    The Mac system was snappy, and to be honest, no different in terms of working speed to the dual machine Linux setup. Both were doing monitor out and using the BMD Ultrascopes (which were also snappier than I’d been told they were!). The Mac version was using the Tangent Wave, the Linux used the BMD Panel. As I said, too many button pushes to do a single thing. Hopefully mouse support for ‘renegade graders’ but realistically you NEED a controller for this.

    I only overheard a conversation about the GPU and believe they were using the GTX285, although it would be nice if someone else who was there could back that up as I’m only about 70% sure that was what the outcome of the conversation was!

    Saw nothing regarding a background render cache. I’d say it’s unlikely. That said you can always hope! I think that if you’re planning on doing 2k out or grading at 2k then you’ll probably want to move on to a dual Linux machine or something like Fuse (pretty much the same value in $ – decision down to feature set). That would also give you 3D on both setups.

    As for Dual Link 4:4:4 I see no reason why not? You have to use the Decklink Extreme 3/3D which is capable of 3Gb/s SDI as well as Dual Link. It’s the same full system as the Linux version, no features are disabled, they just don’t work if you try to use them. Fingers crossed a new Mac Pro with more slots and better GPUs could allow for more secondaries and even 3D… More chance of a video iPad though.

  • Christopher Tay

    June 20, 2010 at 2:43 am

    You can flag a clip for background caching while you work on another clip or you can enable Proxy-On-The-Fly mode which drops to a slightly lower resolution which you can set in the Config page and that gives you more realtime playback.

    The GTX285 graphics card is already end-of-life so the NVIDIA FX4800 would be the choice for the Resolve on Mac and the Resolve software will take advantage of any new GPU technology as it becomes available. Dual-link output is certainly possible through the Decklink HD Extreme 3D card that it uses.

    And as Jack mentioned, if you are going to be doing alot of 2K work, then you would want to look at the Linux model instead. The 4GPU model will be a good start as it will give you alot of realtime performance at 2K resolution. You can upgrade later to 8GPU or 16GPU, with 3D stereoscopic option, if you want to and the cost difference is just the additional hardware.

    And remember that the Resolve Control Surface comes bundled with a Resolve on Mac license so for those who are looking at investing on the Linux model, you will have a Mac license which you can set it up as an assistant station handling conform, video injest/layoff, base grade, or less complex jobs and that can run with the Tangent Wave panel. You can also run it on the 17″ MacBook Pro for onset grading to set up beauty shots.


  • Joseph Owens

    June 20, 2010 at 4:29 pm

    [Jack Jones] “Take for example adding a shape, just a circular one. You have to add a node layer, select the shape and then activate it. 3 buttons on the full panel to access a single feature. Didn’t really like that the panel required a mouse for a large amount of it but hey ho.

    Which raises the question for me… every single release of the daVinci interface up to this point has offered a “macro” instruction recording mode, which was really good for the old mantra “[static]-[-1]-[preview]-[dissolve] to patch up an auto-dynamic that didn’t copy, among other repetitive tasks. So is there no “macro” instruction cache in Resolve? Even if it created or recalled the steps to add nodes and layers, it would be a good starting point.

    Also with regards to the end-of-life estimation of the 285 versus the Quadro4800, there would also appear to be a fairly huge price difference between the two, which might become a factor and cause an operator to want to precisely define their requirement to justify the investment. I know my purchase of a 4500 a couple of years ago was a total waste of money, and I couldn’t get an ATI1900XT fast enough to cover the mistake. Luckily the ATI card was cheap enough to minimize the damage.

    At any rate, I’m starting to acquire a few bits of this and that — I have no experience with BM products other than what I’ve encountered on other peoples’ systems. So, for starters, an HDLink Pro3D Display port.
    If it does everything on the brochure, it will become my fake “Northlight Truelight” LUT box and combination SDI–> surround sound monitor. In some categories, there are some areas where Blackmagic is way ahead of AJA. It might just be a detail, but… this is a game of micro-meters sometimes.

    And so the adventure begins.


    You mean “Old Ben”? Ben Kenobi?

  • Vladimir Kucherov

    June 20, 2010 at 4:48 pm

    This is also news to me, in regards to GTX285 vs the Quadro. From the tests and benchmarks and specs I’ve seen, as far as CUDA performance, the GTX is actually a stronger card. I have a hard time justifying the expense of a Quadro based on that.

    As far as being end of life, that phrase can be applied to any computer component the moment it hits retail. I think the best possible thing that Apple can do for us with the next Mac Pro release is to add sufficient PCIe and power to enable us to stack 2+ GTX285s or what have you.

    On the other hand, I’ve always found the apple tax on mac GPUs a bit of a travesty. The cards are overpriced compared to their PC counterparts and underperform compared to running the same card in windows bootcamp.

  • Mike Most

    June 20, 2010 at 5:15 pm

    >> I would straight away say it’s a more useful system to a Baselight as you can finish in it.

    Define “finish.” I can’t think of anything you can do on Resolve that you can’t do in Baselight (other than object tracking), but I’d like to know what you see that I don’t.

  • Michael Stirling

    June 21, 2010 at 10:40 am

    I spent my time at the roadshow checking out the OSX version and I was blown away. The realtime and the tracking clearly being the standout features. The speed on what was a similar(ish) spec’d system to mine was unbelievable. Especially when I returned to my suite to watch the spinning colour icon for most the day in apple color. The RED integration was great allowing the user to switch between the different qualities and sized proxies and changing these settings at a per clip level.

    However, as a tangent wave/ color user I was pretty horrified at the number of clicks and scrolling through submenus the it required to do basic things BUT as assured by Warren Eagles who was demoing that the interface was not finished, and tangent are working on the waves integration to be ready for release.

    Also, am I right in thinking that the scopes on show were NOT part of the programme and require another card to run them? I didn’t really pay them much mind as I’m used to the software scopes being right there in Color.

    The final head scratch for me now is checking that my FCS set will still work correctly with a GTX285 in there as I need it all to run on 1 system


  • Jamie Allan

    June 21, 2010 at 1:27 pm

    Hi Michael,

    Glad you (and the other users here) had a good experience on Friday, in answer to your questions:

    Yes, the ultrascopes are a seperate system that runs on a number of qualified systems. It comes with the software and SDI card, then you add a qualified machine and 1920×1200 DVI monitor.

    The GTX285 will work fine with your FCP system.

    If you’d like prices or any more information for any of the above feel free to contact me directly on either jamie at or davinci at

    Jamie Allan
    Post Production Consultant
    DaVinci Specialist (Linux/Mac)

    Jigsaw Systems Ltd. – IT & Broadcast specialists for the UK

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