Here's a full-length, in-depth look at Resolve 10 and the background to its development. RedShark reporter John Burkhart has been talking to Blackmagic about this seminal post production application.
It’s only been three years since Blackmagic Design took NAB 2010 by storm, announcing that the once formidably priced Resolve, would now be a mere $995. They soon after released a lite version for free. Since then they’ve aggressively reinvigorated the software and it’s come to dominate the color correction market.
Resolve 10, which is to be ready in the third quarter of 2013, is set to be their most ambitious release yet. A wide variety of feature enhancements, additions, and refinements will be rolled out. And while Resolve is still primarily a color correction application, Resolve 10 adds a load of new features designed to bridge the gaps between different post production software, and to take its place as an online finishing tool.
I talked with both Richard Lim, Blackmagic’s Director for Asia, and Bob Caniglia, Blackmagic’s Senior Regional manager for Eastern North America (and former DaVinci employee), to see if they could give some insight into where Resolve came from, expand on some of Resolve 10’s new features, and also talk about what direction Blackmagic was taking the new software.
Blackmagic Reimagines DaVinci Resolve
Initially Blackmagic Design’s reimagining of DaVinci Resolve sent shockwaves through the post production industry. Color correction had always been the domain of high priced, big-iron systems. And though Apple had included Color in Final Cut Studio since 2007, they didn’t really do much with the software in terms of development and integration. I was curious about the challenges involved in taking software designed for high-end professionals, and successfully reworking it for a broader scope of users.
Having full control over the hardware and software that goes into a system makes it much easier to develop for, but the downside is that it can become obsolete rather quickly. By reworking Resolve to a standards based software instead, it broadened the reach of Resolve greatly, but added in the complexity of writing for a huge variety of different operating systems and hardware. It’s the difference between writing code to support one particular graphics card, and writing code to support the OpenCL or CUDA standards, which let you use a broad base of graphics cards of your choice. It’s not as bulletproof as having a dedicated known hardware and OS, but over time the user wins out in terms of performance increases and flexibility.
According to Richard Lim, “The hard part was reaching out to the new group of users, educating them on what color correction was and where they could learn color correction, and to assure them that because a $250,000 system was now $995 didn’t mean that any of the features were gone, that all the features were still there. But after four years Resolve has gained a very strong traction with video users, and has improved the quality of knowledge of color correction out there.”
Richard continued, “Now we see the ecosystem of Resolve expanding from the larger post production houses to the smaller studios that co-exist together, and that there’s more emphasis on talent rather than tools, which we’re quite happy to see because it’s all about talent in the first place. We are just making tools to empower talent.”
Bob Caniglia told me that this type of development wasn’t so strange at all. “Since Blackmagic’s purchase they’ve put in a tremendous number of resources growing the team significantly in R&D so that it’s becoming what Blackmagic wanted it to be under the former ownership, because they were originally customers as well. One of the things most people think is that it was a weird fit for Blackmagic, but in actuality they were as familiar with Resolve as anyone because they owned two systems.”
Blackmagic proceeded to rapidly develop Resolve, and the current version 9 is a far more refined product than the one they took over. Version 10 now seeks to dramatically expand the scope of what Resolve can do, and while previous releases certainly added new features, the real improvements were significant developments under the hood and to the UI to make this new version possible.
Bob Caniglia told me, “There’s been some database work that’s been completed over the last few years that will allow it to continue to grow, and a lot of the new features in 10 show the benefit of that, some of the features that were in 10 would have been impossible before.”
“Resolve’s really gone through quite a bit of evolution over time, and I think that sometimes people confuse the price with the actual value. I think that when people get a hold of 10, they will realize that Blackmagic’s done the opposite of standing still with the product. They’ve put more time effort and people on it than the software’s ever had".