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Old December 26th, 2013, 02:00 PM   #1
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Any DaVinci Resolve Users?

I've worked through about 250 of the 741 page manual, certainly have lots to learn, many features I like, but basically it comes down to this, and I'd like to hear from users who edit in Vegas 12 and grade in Resolve.

My observations from using Resolve with the Sony PMW F55 and 4k S-Log2 29.97 fps are as follows:

I haven't found anything grading wise that the Vegas plug-in chain doesn't do as well or better than Resolve nodes for grading. ACES workflows, input Luts and transformations, 32 bit grading precision, YUV 10 bit, 12 bit, 16 bit output, some different tools and variations but it's all there to get the same look and the same quality from either.

I exported a Vegas 4k project XML and Resolve opens a new timeline with the Vegas edited clips and media pool. View the clips in Resolve using the appropriate viewing Luts or input transformations for ACES, color grade with the node tools. Deliver a rendered file or multiple files in YUV 10 bit AVI or other codec of choice. Of course, it came out beautiful! Interesting but I can do the exact same thing, and actually arrived at the same intended color grade and quality from within the Vegas 12 environment, only much faster. I prefer the toolset within the Vegas plugin chain to the node based tools within Resolve, primarily because of familiarity but the controls themselves are nearly instant responding, whereas the Resolve tools are slower and more computer resource intensive. In other words, lag time. To use it proper, Resolve specifies very precisely a high performance computer spec that they recommend for you to have in your editing system. I was able to run most things like timeline scrubbing/viewing in near real time, particularly with the proxy files, but the grading tools themselves are laggy, extending the time it takes. The grading tools for me seemed to speed up by switching OFF the proxy files in Resolve.

The big advantage Resolve has over Vegas is that you can choose from many high quality 4k rendering codecs. Vegas12 in comparison, can output very high quality renders in 10 bit YUV and uncompressed AVI, or DNxHD or XDCAM for HD but any of the other 4k output codecs in Vegas12 including XAVC, are poor. To me, please share your opinion about this, but that's the single most huge benefit for Resolve when almost all the other aspects of usability including speed and audio favor Vegas12.

If you make the round trip and import the Resolve graded clips back into Vegas for finishing, you've just thrown away the most important reason for using it, the rendered ProRes, jpeg2000, Open EXR, Cinema DNG 4k, R3D (etc.) output. Now your going to re-encode that to something lesser in Vegas12? Makes no sense! Yet on the other hand, Vegas can grade equally well with 32 bit precision using its plugin chain of tools as long as you render to uncompressed. The moral...don't let Vegas compress your renders.

That said, I have a lot of experience in Vegas12, not so much in Resolve. And of immediate note as I mentioned in the opening paragraph, the beautiful, extremely well written 741 page user manual for Resolve, yet I would trade that in two seconds to have Vegas12 context sensitive help, which is always there at a single click. The Vegas12 live help would probably amount to that many pages or more, but without having to refer to a large document or pdf. That's the single most compelling advantage for Vegas12 in my opinion.

Rendering takes the same time in either one, the previewing windows are about equal, the grading toolset have some variations between them but both can get you the same look, the same no-compressed quality. Resolve includes basic tools for editing, it is not necessary to use a NLE but for me it is helpful, since I struggled more with some simple things like a cross dissolve transition than I did with color grading and waveform monitors, which were quite intuitive. Unless I'm mistaken, titling is more powerful and libraries of effects are much more comprehensive in Vegas12.

Again, I'm interested in your experiences. For me, it will be necessary to use both products until someone points out for me how I am under-appreciating DaVinci Resolve, which is certainly possible. Just point out how. Thanks.

Edit: And Raw. Vegas12 doesn't do Raw, an essential benefit to Resolve if shooting raw.

Tom
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Old December 26th, 2013, 05:33 PM   #2
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Re: Any DaVinci Resolve Users?

I use them together daily and round trip back to Vegas. 99% of what I work with is DSLR footage. If I'm just doing minor correction I of course stay in Vegas but the majority of the time I'm dealing with some "Flat" or some pseudo LOG picture profile as people are trying to milk more out of a sensor. Dealing with so many different cameras, profiles and sources, I feel I get a much better finished product from grading in resolve and I've become a fan of the node based system.

Outside of scene matching I also feel I'm both faster and more accurate at secondary grading, HSL Qualifications and utilizing power windows and tracking. Layer and parallel nodes have a lot of capability that I don't know how to do in Vegas, so maybe I just have more to learn about grading in Vegas.

For basic to moderate color correction I'd agree with you on just staying in Vegas but personally I feel Resolve is a much better grading tool and better suits my workflow.

Edit: I should add that before Resolve I was doing a lot of grading with Color Finesse in After Effects for several years and a Premiere Pro user, so I was quite used to the dynamic link workflow and I don't really see the XML as much different. I would have to admit if you are not used to doing that it can complicate your workflow. I'll also say the Vegas to Resolve roundtripping is smoother that dynamic linking from PP to AE and over all render time is less.
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Old December 27th, 2013, 11:59 AM   #3
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Re: Any DaVinci Resolve Users?

Thanks for the *very* insightful comments. I've wondered, expected really that the more time spent with Resolve, the more I would grow to love it. Working in Resolve ACES seems to present more demands on my system resources, but many other things I like.

When you roundtrip the color corrected, graded project from Resolve by sending it back to Vegas, can you export it as an xml or does that lose the grading? If so, what intermediate format do you bring it back in as?
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Old December 27th, 2013, 01:41 PM   #4
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Re: Any DaVinci Resolve Users?

Hi Tom,

When roundtripping back you are rendering out another generation and not exporting the grade via XML but in the case of having to adjust something, you can go back and adjust the clip in the resolve project and render out a replacement clip that would still be just a second generation.

What I render out to depends on the delivery. Most of what I do is intended for the internet or DVD so I just use Cineform avi to keep files small. I usually only do a couple projects a month that go to broadcast and for those I use DNxHD so I can pass off the project if required, which has been requested quite a bit lately and as a PP project, which fortunately Vegas does export nicely.

I don't work with 4k much, just played with it a couple times and I'm not in ACES color space, so the tools don't feel clunky or laggy to me. They are quite responsive, even on my laptop. I don't even own a DSLR but that's what I work with most. I have a lot of guys around me that got on the DSLR bandwagon but never had the time to learn color grading or the want to, mostly wedding guys. I took an interest in it, so that's what I cut my teeth on and now I can pimp out a wedding DVD rather quickly that's a lot better than those guys got by slapping magic bullet looks on it.

The node based system is a bit different but it's powerful. I treat a lot of footage differently from different sources, so I kind of have my little systems for that and some other little tricks I've picked up to speed things up. I think once you start developing those workflows is when you start to like the node based system.
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Old December 28th, 2013, 03:29 PM   #5
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Re: Any DaVinci Resolve Users?

Hi Woody,

The laggy response and non-functional shadow, lift and midpoint wheels was solved once the color space was switched from Resolve ACES log to Resolve ACES. With that change alone, the responsiveness and sensitivity of the tools got under control, and is working satisfactory on my laptop as well. Able to work quickly, the enthusiasm returned.

As a comparison to the nodes, the clips on the Vegas timeline can be mixed formats and frame rates, have different properties, be serially cc'd and graded with all the 32 bit plugins, and other Vegas projects nested by simply dropping a project file onto the timeline.

I recently nested 4k xavc and HD xdcam projects, was very worried about what could go wrong but everything went right, was on time.

ACES is not essential, but it has some advantages in the 4k world. Both programs support it.

But onto the finer points of compositing, color correcting and grading, I took my ugliest, worst lighted or most challenged and hated S-Log2 4k test clips and tried to turn these pumpkins into cherries, make them look good in both programs, make them match, frog into prince. And there were two clips, I just could not get quite as good as in the other program, Vegas or Resolve. But in the end, I got closer to the ideal, in Resolve. What else can you say when both programs are doing the job, and we have so many good tools?

I stayed in uncompressed 10 bit space as long as I could, up until a final render to a clean and compact QHD h.264 level 5.1 8-bit 4:2:0 render in rec. 709. After viewing 10 bit uncompressed all night, the h.264 render seemed slightly muted, but was devoid of noise and blocking artifacts, very clean. I was tired of staring, obsessing over tiny adjustments I had been making all across the picture. Went to bed tired of looking, but next day reviewed the h.264 clips again, and my gosh...they really popped, numbingly good! So I'm pretty excited now about using Resolve.
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Old December 28th, 2013, 04:53 PM   #6
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Re: Any DaVinci Resolve Users?

Good to hear Tom,

Actually what I was getting at in regards to footage from different sources was more pertaining to picture styles and things like camera created contrast and sharpening, not necessarily the formats. Trying to get all that to match up from a bunch of DSLR guys can be a challenge. I've seen plenty of 10bit footage I can't push as far as the 8bit from my FS-100.

Alexis Van Hurkman has a new book out the "Color Correction Look Book" a sequel to his color correction handbook, both are great reads and I believe he is the one that wrote up the Resolve manual. The look book is a good resource for building looks with the node based system. It's a book worth having on your desk if you are going to be using resolve.
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Old January 2nd, 2014, 10:58 AM   #7
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Re: Any DaVinci Resolve Users?

Within a Resolve project, I can copy and paste from one clip to another, all my color corrections settings stored in a node. Is there a way I can store the settings globally, so I can paste them again onto new clips in a separate new project?
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Old January 2nd, 2014, 11:23 PM   #8
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Re: Any DaVinci Resolve Users?

If you have a group of nodes making up a grade you can save it as a "Power Grade". Just click on the power grade option in your gallery, then right click on the video preview window and select "Grab Still" it will save a copy of the node tree in your power grades. You can create luts, save stills all kinds of stuff and export them as well.
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Old January 3rd, 2014, 01:08 PM   #9
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Re: Any DaVinci Resolve Users?

Thanks Woody! I have a few more questions, I'm going to take them to the DaVinci topic rather than post them here in Vegas.
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