Already a firm favourite amongst video editing professionals, the latest release from DaVinci Resolve promised several enhancements and new features, and it does not disappoint.
The software has previously been praised for its simplicity and intuitive controls, and this version is no exception.
However, there is much more to it than that.
Keep reading for our detailed breakdown of Blackmagic’s best features and what DaVinci Resolve 17 has brought to this latest suite of video editing tools.
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Pricing and what is included
There are two options available when you choose to download DaVinci Resolve 17; a limited free edition and the professional, studio edition.
Is DaVinci Resolve free?
Is “DaVinci Resolve free?” Is a question we are asked frequently. The answer is yes, and no. Yes they provide you with a free version, which infact does an incredibly decent job. Then they have the studio version, which is paid for.
Scroll below to see the differences, but the free option is the perfect solution for indie filmmakers.
Firstly, considering the free option, a number of features are included in this, which means it holds its own, even against paid-for competitors. Although it is unlikely to meet the needs of advanced professionals, it is surprisingly versatile for a free download.
There are no watermarks, and the package contains all of the tools you would need to complete colour work, audio editing – and even some of the basics of 3D work.
It is well worth considering and reviewing what it is capable of, even if you currently use software from a different developer. You may be surprised to learn that it out-performs many of its competitors.
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Within the paid version, many new tools and enhancements have been included. One of the most favourable aspects of DaVinci Resolve 17 is the pricing model. A one-off fee of $299 (£235) will grant you a perpetual licence for the Resolve Studio package.
This means that it is not only the current version, but all future versions and major revisions will automatically be given to all licence holders.
Not only does this represent an extremely competitive price for the whole package, but it also compares extremely favourably to those video editing software providers who still rely on subscription models.
This one-off payment will provide you with access to the current suite of tools and access to all future upgrades and new editions that are released.
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New tools for colour grading
The very expertise of the Resolve software comes from its origins as a colour grading tool. Although it now offers a suite of functionalities, the software’s color grading aspects are still some of its finest.
Indeed, this latest iteration has made many advances and overall improvements in this section. Some users have remarked that the settings menu can be confused, despite the efforts made to simplify the overall look and feel.
If you are already a user of Blackmagic’s software, you are likely to notice that a multitude of new tools has been included in the color palette.
A particular highlight is the introduction of the magic mask function. This is a very simple to use tool which allows you to isolate a featured individual from the rest of the clip. The colour warper is also a handy tool to alter both the colour and the luminance of a clip at the same time.
A revamped and renewed inspection panel
Blackmagic has also successfully made a number of improvements to the inspector panel. You will find the various parameters of tools organised into a series of set groups; video, effects, transition, image, and audio – as well as a file menu with default options to change the clip’s metadata – its name, colour or take, etc.
The simplification makes it a great deal easier to identify the value that you want to review or alter – granting the user a great deal of freedom to explore the various options available with ease.
Despite this, some performance issues have not yet been fully addressed – with users commenting that they experience frequent crashes and issues with import speed, both across the free and studio versions.
In spite of this, the updates have made it a great deal easier to make bulk changes to imported files, as you can now do this whilst they are in the media panel. The ability to change a particular clip’s parameters whilst it is still in the media panel is still something lacking from many of the closest competitors.
The speed editor provides an array of interesting options to append slip, fake closeups, overlay source clips,, and ripple overwrite. You’ll find an equally wide range of options that allow you to add effects whilst working on your project’s visual and audio elements.
Working with audio
The audio section of the Resolve studio, “Fairlight,” allows you to design and work on extremely complex projects.
Despite this, many of the improvements brought about in this most recent version have specifically targeted at simplifying the processes and making Fairlight easier to use. One particular way in which this has been achieved is through the programs keyboard editing interface.
A further improvement comes in the form of the software’s transient detection tool. This has the ability to automatically detect words or beats – and create markers throughout the clip. This speeds up the process of identifying different sections within the clip and to remove them as necessary.
Another small but useful addition is the audio trim tool, which offers an improved, larger visualisation of clips whilst you are cutting it down. Once you have finished cutting it, the waveform shrinks back down to its original dimension, allowing you to continue quickly and easily.
New options for collaboration and sharing
One of the most innovative features that Blackmagic introduced to a previous version of DaVinci Resolve was the collaboration options. This provided a way for video editors to work together on the same project at the same time.
They have taken this democratisation even further in this version, having extended the multi-user collaboration to the free version of the software, meaning that any users can enjoy the benefits of this exceptionally useful tool.
If you are a fan of sharing your work on social media – or if you are producing content for brands with a strong online footprint, there is another helpful addition to the studio version of the program.
The smart reframe tool provides options to crop your clip to a particular format – for example the “Instagram square”, but it also analyses the content of the clip.
This means that it is capable of tracking the action within the clip and panning the short around to follow it as much as possible, to keep it centred in the frame. It’s also possible to manually tweak the outcome if you need to – leaving you with high quality, social media-ready clips optimised for use on a number of different online platforms.
DaVinci Resolve 17 – An Overview
DaVinci Resolve 17 is a huge step up from previous versions of the software – it is rare to see so many impressive improvements in a single update. Not only this, but the price is heavily competitive, even when compared to some of its biggest rivals.
This exceptional piece of software can provide a huge range of tools that will add to your video editing armoury for only a few hundred pounds. There are some performance issues that linger, with some users reporting that the software is not stable or resilient enough and warn that frequent crashes should be expected.
Despite this, there are still more positives than negatives, and the consensus is that the software holds its own in a competitive market.
Beyond the paid version, you will also find that the free version has lots to offer, even for professional users. While it may sound counter-intuitive to recommend a free piece of software to professional users, the surprising number of features available through the free version might surprise even experienced video editors.
Indeed unless you have particularly high-end needs, you may well find that you are entirely able to meet your needs for intermediate or straightforward projects using this alone.
The full range of features offered means that you can catalogue and organise all of your video editing projects in one place, quickly and easily. The editing capabilities are almost beyond compare, and you can alter and composite any video project you choose to undertake.
The ability to work with audio has been vastly simplified, even compared to the previous high standard set by earlier iterations of DaVinci Resolve Studio. The price is unbeatable and means that DaVinci Resolve emerges as an outstanding competitor to any other of the biggest names in the industry.
Additional DaVinci Resolve Resources
If you are looking for more tutorials, walkthroughs and troubleshooting on DaVinci Resolve, here are some additional posts about DaVinci:
We hope this review was helpful on DaVinci Resolve 17.