I’m posting this series of article and tutorials about DaVinci Resolve because my up-coming Editing and Postproduction Workshops in Berlin:
All my workshops are 20 hours, in English, and cost just 195 Euros!
If you are interested, check the links above!
Now, today’s article.
This one today is about workflow: how you can use Resolve as an all-in-one platform, and how you can combine it with your preferred editing software.
All-in-one Vs. Workflow with other softwares.
DaVinci Resolve 15 is designed as an all-in-one editing and post-production software. We can use it in our projects from start to finish: camera cards back-up, media management, video/audio sync, logging and organising, editing, effects, color grading, sound, mastering, etc..
That said, DaVinci Resolve is not an island.
Far from it.
It communicates very well with the other usual video and audio editors: Avid Media Composer, Premiere Pro, FCP X, ProTools…
It’s actually very usual to find DaVinci Resolve somewhere there, in our professional workflows, where different people use it, and combine it with their preferred programs.
So, we can use Resolve to do everything (edit and grade), and we can also keep using our preferred editor (Avid, Premiere, FCP X), and easily send our sequences to Resolve for finishing.
If you want to use Resolve to edit, my DaVinci Resolve Introduction Workshop is the right one for you. If you wish to keep editing with Avid, Premire, FCP X, then you should do DaVinci Resolve Advanced.
I use and teach all major editing and post-production softwares. They all have their pros and cons. That’s why it makes a lot of sense to combine them.
Let’s have a look to the most common workflows where DaVinci Resolve is part of the equation.
Please, understand this is not a step by step tutorial, but a worflow description, so you understand it. Every situation is different, and every project requires a specific workflow. There are many variations.
From DaVinci Resolve to your editing software.
This is: starting in DaVinci Resolve.
If you shoot sophisticated formats, like RAW or very high resolutions (4K, 6K…) is important, and sometimes unavoidable, to create what we call proxies, versions of lower quality of your footage, lighter and easier to work with them in your editing software: Avid Media Composer, Premiere Pro, FCP X…
There are many reasons to create proxies and edit with lower quality files, and I will write about this in another post, but for the moment, believe me: no one edits a whole movie using native .R3D 6K files. It doesn’t make sense.
In a very small project, maybe. In a huge project, it’s crazy.
Even if nowadays all major editing programs can ingest those complex files natively, and generate proxies inside the editor itself, it’s always a very good idea to do this in DaVinci Resolve, specially if we plan to do the finishing, once the edit is done, in DaVinci.
This how we do it (mind you, this is a simplification of the process):
- We ingest the media in DaVinci resolve (RAW, 4K, 6K, etc.).
- If necessary, we sync video and external audio.
- We take the footage to a Timeline.
- If necessary, we apply LUT’s.
- We export the footage using one of the templates found in the Delivery Tab, based on the software we’re going to use to edit.
We find templates to send footage to the most common editing softwares.
If we go to Avid Media Composer, media will have the MXF Op-Atom format.
If we go to Premiere/FCP X, media will be QuickTime, MXF Op-Atom, or MP4.
Here, we can choose codec and resolution of the resulting files.
- We choose codec and resolution.
Typically, if we edit in Avid Media Composer, we choose DNxHR LB. It takes little space, and has decent quality. Resolution can be 1080, thought this depends on other factors.
If we edit in Premiere Pro or FCP X, we can also select MXF DNxHR LB (it’s compatible with those programs), or, as an alternative, QuikTime and Apple ProRes Proxie.
- We render out.
After this process, we obtain media, a lot smaller than our original native files, and in a codec that works like a dream in our editor.
Now we can import this proxies into Avid, Premiere, or FCP X, and we can start editing!
From your editing software to DaVinci Resolve 15.
Two possible situations.
Starting in your editor (Avid, Premiere, FCP X).
If you didn’t start in DaVinci Resolve to generate proxies, and you were from the beginning in Avid, Premiere, or FCP X, you can, of course, take your edit to Resolve, to color grade and finish.
The process is actually simple.
- Once the edit is done, we export our final sequence/timeline as an XML (if we are in Premiere or FCP X), or as an AAF (if we are on the Avid).
XML’s and AAF’s are exchange files. They contain the information about how our edit is, but they don’t contain media. Well, AAF’s can have media as an option, but don’t be confused with that now… You can even open an XML file with any text editor. If you do, you will see it’s just text.
- In DaVinci Resolve, we create a new project, and we import the XML/AAF file, coming from our editor.
This will bring our sequence/timeline into Resolve, with every edit decision, and just the way it was in our editor.
Keep in mind some things you do in your editor “travel” with the XML/AAF (basic clip properties, scale, position, rotation, keyframes, dissolves…), but some other things don’t (specific effects and transitions).
DaVinci Resolve is using the exact same media you were using in your editor.
- Once the sequence/timeline is in Resolve, we can color grade, finish, and export for distribution.
Here are two images of the process. The first is a sequence/timeline in Premiere Pro. The second is the same sequence, brought into DaVinci Resolve:
NOTE: instead of exporting your final masters in DaVinci Resolve, there is a way to render out the color graded media, and send our sequence/timeline back into our editor (Avid, Premiere, FCP X), using again XML’s and AAF’s. This way, we can have back in our editor the sequence, linked now to the new graded media. Some people need this, but, if you don’t need to go back to your editor, I recommend to finish in Resolve, and export your final masters from it.
Let’s have a look now to how things are if we started in DaVinci Resolve.
Starting in DaVinci Resolve.
If we started our workflow in DaVinci Resolve, the way I described at the beginning of this post, importing high quality media to export proxies for Avid/Premiere/FCP X, and our edit is done, the process to “go back” to Resolve for finishing is very similar.
We also export an XML or AAF from our final sequence/timeline, in our editor.
InDaVinci, we open the same project we used to generate the proxies, and we import the XML/AAF, but this time, we deselect one of the import options: Automatically Import Source Clips into Media Pool.
This will import the sequence/timeline into Resolve, but this time, the timeline inside Resolve won’t be linked to the proxies we used in our editor, but to the original high quality media (RAW, 4K, 6K, etc.).
In this workflow, we start in DaVinci Resolve, import high quality media, export proxies to edit in other program (Avid/Premiere/FCP X), edit in that other program, and then, once the edit is done, send the sequence/timeline to Resolve, linked to the original high quality media.
It’s easier than it seems, and works very well if we do things right!
As I always say, it’s very important to plan and test your workflow before production.
- DaVinci Resolve gives us all we need to edit and color grade any kind of project. We can use it from start to finish, as an all-in-one solution.
- If we prefer to keep editing with Avid Media Composer, Premiere Pro, or FCP X, we can also incorporate DaVinci Resolve in our workflow, before and after the edit. We can use DaVinci Resolve to import high quality media and generate proxies for editorial. After editing with those proxies in our preferred software, we can send our final sequence to Resolve, for grading and finishing.
- We can also start from scratch in our editing software (Avid, Premiere, FCP X), and send our final sequence to Resolve for finishing.
If you have questions, write a comment below!
UPCOMING DAVINCI RESOLVE WORKSHOPS IN BERLIN.
If you wish to join any of my DaVinci Resolve Workshops in Berlin, follow the link to know about dates and details.
All my workshops are 20 hours, in English, and cost just 195 Euros.
Classes happen at my co-working space, in central Kreuzberg.