DaVinci Resolve Studio 18.5 reaffirms its place in the video editing sphere, presenting a mix of tools catering to seasoned pros and budding enthusiasts. While it holds onto its strengths, this edition also brings fresh features.
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What is the price for DaVinci Resolve?
DaVinci Resolve’s strategic offering includes a free variant and a Studio edition priced at $295. The free version is rich in features and ideal for those just dipping their toes into video editing. Meanwhile, with its one-time fee, the Studio version unlocks a vast array of functionalities, offering significant value, particularly compared to subscription-based competitors like Adobe Premiere.
DaVinci Resolve Interface & Usability
DaVinci Studio 18.5 builds on the foundations laid out by its predecessors. The interface is intuitive for those who have used DaVinci before and even for newcomers, spending a little time with it reveals a logical layout. Each tool and feature has its place, neatly categorised into seven main pages: Color, Cut, Deliver, Edit, Fairlight, Fusion, and Media.
Media management is streamlined. Users can organize their work with colour coding, bins, and metadata options. This ensures that everything you need is easy to locate and ready to use before you start your editing process.
DaVinci Resolve Editing Tools
DaVinci Resolve doesn’t shy away from offering a rich assortment of editing tools. The dual timelines in the Cut page let you get a bird’s eye view of your project while also allowing you to dive deep into the finer details. Advanced trimming tools are on hand for those precision cuts.
Users can work with features like Smart Insert, Append, Ripple Overwrite, and the three-point and four-point editing techniques. The essence here is choice; there’s always more than one way to achieve your desired result, making the editing process fluid and dynamic.
But it’s the AI advancements that truly elevate this version. The software now incorporates auto-generated subtitles, a Studio-exclusive feature. DaVinci Resolve processes your audio content and accurately places subtitles on your timeline by navigating through a few intuitive options. This saves hours of manual work and ensures accuracy, a crucial aspect when dealing with transcriptions.
Furthermore, the AI’s object recognition capability works surprisingly well most of the time, especially with automatic object selection, simplifying tasks like rotoscoping.
Another significant enhancement is in the stabilisation department. Editors can now stabilise multiple clips simultaneously, eliminating the tedious process of going through each clip individually. This feature alone can drastically reduce post-production time, especially for projects relying on stable footage.
The Retime Curve is a handy tool for speed ramping and for editors who often find themselves tweaking the speed of their clips. Instead of wrestling with Speed Points in the traditional Retime Controls, you can manually adjust keyframes for a more hands-on and efficient experience.
The Cut page hasn’t been left behind, either. Newly introduced menus on the timeline’s left provide direct access to several editing options, including turning off Ripple or adding auto subtitle tracks. An essential feature is the ability to separate video and audio effortlessly, a function that significantly simplifies the creation of L and J cuts. Additionally, volume adjustments have been made more accessible through the Inspector.
Beyond these, the software is brimming with other additions. There’s audio transcription, per-timeline backups, the ability to manage render caches across projects, an array of new effects and transitions, and even an option to upload directly to platforms like TikTok.
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Features & Performance
One of the standout attributes of DaVinci Resolve 18.5 is its integrated motion graphics suite. Gone are the days of relying on multiple third-party applications. Whether you’re aiming for subtle enhancements or dynamic visual effects, the software has the tools to get the job done. Stabilisation, trimming, and keying — each function has been refined to improve performance and output quality.
Fusion, the node-based editing feature of DaVinci, caters to those wanting to craft everything from simple effects to more complex graphics. There is a steep learning curve to Fusion if you’re coming from Adobe Premiere Pro, but the effort is well worth it. And for those looking for variety in transitions, aside from the usual cross-dissolves, there are unique ones like Camera Shake and Tunnel of Light.
Colour grading in DaVinci Resolve has always been top-notch, and this version keeps up the tradition. With AI-enhanced colour matching and comprehensive support for camera raw modes, you get a professional-grade colour correction tool. The software now also includes automatic object selection, which refines the colour grading process. It doesn’t work perfectly all the time. Depending on the scene it’s processing, it can be a hit or a miss. But it narrows your selection, and tweaking is always easier than masking from scratch.
Multicam editing is yet another strong point. Whether you’re syncing by timecode or sound, the software adapts, making the process of editing from multiple angles much more straightforward.
The software’s audio capabilities, powered by Fairlight, bring audio editing capabilities you’d usually expect from specialised audio software. It can handle up to 2,000 audio tracks, offers a range of effects like noise reduction and chorus, and connects seamlessly with Blackmagic’s royalty-free stock audio.
DaVinci Resolve Studio 18.5 shows notable improvements on the performance front, especially in render speeds. This boost can be attributed to its core processes’ extensive refinements and optimizations. It’s robust and can handle heavy tasks, but like any software with a breadth of capabilities, it’s beneficial for users to understand its settings to get the most optimised performance.
Summary: Should you get DaVinci Resolve?
DaVinci Resolve Studio 18.5 is an editing powerhouse, combining advanced features and a well-thought-out interface into a one-stop multimedia production suite. Its expansive capabilities ensure pros have all the tools they need at their fingertips. It appeals to both professional video editors and those who are still learning. While there’s no denying it has a learning curve, those who stick with it will find a versatile tool up to any editing challenge.
Ammara is a digital editor and gaming/tech writer based in Dubai with a keen eye for detail and a passion for all things Apple, indie games, and cyberpunk literature. When she’s not immersed in the digital realm, you’ll find her honing her gaming skills, exploring story-driven experiences, and delving into the world of game design and production.