Can DaVinci Resolve steal the edit market from Adobe and Apple.

I have been editing with Adobe Premiere since around 1994. I took a rather long break from Premiere between 2001 and 2011 and switched over to Apple and  Final Cut Pro which in many ways used to be very similar to Premiere (I think some of the same software writers were used for FCP as Premiere). My FCP edit stations were always muti-core Mac Towers. The old G5’s first then later on the Intel Towers. Then along came FCP-X. I just didn’t get along with FCP-X when it first came out. I’m still not a huge fan of it now, but will happily concede that FCP-X is a very capable, professional edit platform.

So in 2011 I switch back to Adobe Premiere as my edit platform of choice. Along the way I have also used various versions of Avid’s software, which is another capable platform.

But right now I’m really not happy with Premiere. Over the last couple of years it has become less stable than it used to be. I run it on a MacBook Pro which is a well defined hardware platform, yet I still get stability issues. I’m also experiencing problems with gamma and level shifts that just shouldn’t be there. In addition Premiere is not very good with many long GOP codecs. FCP-X seems to make light work of XAVC-L compared to Premiere. Furthermore Adobe’s Media encoder which once used to be one of the first encoders to get new codecs or features is now lagging behind, Apples Compressor now has the ability to do at he full range of HDR files. Media Compressor can only do HDR10. If you don’t know, it is possible to buy Compressor on it’s own.

Meanwhile DaVinci Resolve has been my grading platform of choice for a few years now. I have always found it much easier to get the results and looks that I want from Resolve than from any edit software – this isn’t really a surprise as after all that’s what Resolve was originally designed for.

editing-xl-1024x629 Can DaVinci Resolve steal the edit market from Adobe and Apple.
DaVinci Resolve a great grading software and it’s edit capabilities are getting better and better.

The last few versions of Resolve have become much faster thanks to some major processing changes under the hood and in addition there has been a huge amount of work on Resolves edit capabilities. It can now be used as a fully featured edit platform. I recently used Resolve to edit some simpler projects that were going to be graded as this way I could stay in the same software for both processes, and you know what it’s a pretty good editor. There are however a few things that I find a bit funky and frustrating in the edit section of Resolve at the moment. Some of that may simply be because I am less familiar with it for editing than I am Premiere.

Anyway, on to my point. Resolve is getting to be a pretty good edit platform and it’s only going to get better. We all know that it’s a really good and very powerful grading platform and with the recent inclusion of the Fairlight audio suite within Resolve it’s pretty good at handling audio too. Given that the free version of Resolve can do all of the edit, sound and grading functions that most people need, why continue to subscribe to Adobe or pay for FCP-X?

With the cost of the latest generations of Apple computers expanding the price gap between them and similar spec Windows machines – as well as the new Macbooks lacking built in ports like HDMI, USB3 that we all use every day (you now have to use adapters and dongles). The  Apple eco system is just not as attractive as it used to be. Resolve is cross platform, so an Mac user can stay with Apple if they wish, or move over to Windows or Linux whenever they want with Resolve. You can even switch platforms mid project if you want. I could start an edit on my MacBook and the do the grade on a PC workstation staying with Resolve through the complete process.

Even if you need the extra features of the full version like very good noise reduction, facial recognition, 4K DCI output or HDR scopes then it’s still good value as it currently only costs $299/£229 which is less than a years subscription to Premiere CC.

But what about the rest of the Adobe Creative suite? Well you don’t have to subscribe to the whole suite. You can just get Photoshop or After Effects. But there are also many alternatives. Again Blackmagic Design have Fusion 9 which is a very impressive VFX package used for many Hollywood movies and like Resolve there is also a free version with a very comprehensive tools set or again for just $299/£229 you get the full version with all it’s retiming tools etc.

motion-xl-1024x512 Can DaVinci Resolve steal the edit market from Adobe and Apple.
Blackmagic Designs Fusion is a very impressive video effects package for Mac and PC.

For a Photoshop replacement you have GIMP which can do almost everything that Photoshop can do. You can even use Photoshop filters within GIMP. The best part is that GIMP is free and works on both Mac’s and PC’s.

So there you have it – It looks like Blackmagic Design are really serious about taking a big chunk of Adobe Premiere’s users. Resolve and Fusion are cross platform so, like Adobe’s products it doesn’t matter whether you want to use a Mac or a PC. But for me the big thing is you own the software. You are not going to be paying out rather a lot of money month on month for something that right now is in my opinion somewhat flakey.

I’m not quite ready to cut my Creative Cloud subscription yet, maybe on the next version of Resolve. But it won’t be long before I do.

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15 thoughts on “Can DaVinci Resolve steal the edit market from Adobe and Apple.”

  1. True! I am switching from premiere to resolve as well. I am still looking for a function to edit markers on the fly. I am always transcribing interviews by adding markers and writing in the comments what’s being said. That would save me hours of work. But with every editing software playback stops when I am editing a marker. or I have to use the mouse to click in a field. it’s such an easy feature. I would immediately use the software that implements it… adobe prelude could do this but you could only view a single clip not the whole time line. .

  2. just want to add the Da Vinci capability to grade RAW video and – very interesting – do color space transforms – p.e. as brilliantly explained here by Juan Melara – how he handles LOG footage:
    http://juanmelara.com.au/blog/an-easier-way-to-grade-log-footage

    I once asked the BM guys on IBC when BM is going to purchase FCPX… they did not answer… so who knows…
    Difficult grades I do in DaVinci – editing in FCPX, sometimes with a round trip but usually exporting to a master and then final touches in FCPX. I aalway understood that grading in FCPX is 16 bit and DaVinci 32 bit (engine)…

    Amazing price points of both software packages, amazing value…

  3. I have been using Edius for several years but have recently moved to Resolve14 Studio version especially for UHD HDR work. The has been a lot to learn but I am very impressed with the features available. Also very good value compared to Edius upgrade prices plus I can use Resolve with a dongle without the need to connect my edit system to the internet.

  4. AGREE 100% I Just switch to davinci, Same story. I first started in media100, then premiere, then FCP, when FCPX appear switch back to premiere. but I’m very dissapointed with premiere now, lot of crash and I just don’t like where they are heading. I tried Davinci for almost a month and I just bought the studio version this week. I finished my last job from start to finish on Davinci this week. And I can’t be more happy, image quality is superior. Just having that kind of tools for grading instead of lumetri will make any project look much better. Didn’t crash the whole week on my Old Mac Pro 2010 playing 4K RAW footage realtime with no problem at all.

  5. Thanks Alister, for the very interesting perspective on alternatives to Adobe. But the comments about Premiere may need some qualification. First, his Premiere stability issues could come from any number of sources – it’s perhaps not fair to blame Premiere without a thorough investigation. Second, doesn’t Premiere have the same cross-platform virtues as Resolve? (I don’t know; I’m guessing it does.)

    But I’m in accord with Alister regarding the subscription model. I don’t need the whole suite, but there is no economical option for the user who needs only two or three programs. Occasionally, I rent the CC version of After Effects, but only on a monthly basis, when a client has a project that requires a post-CS6 version.

    I have been trying Resolve, but performance has been poor, probably because I don’t have the necessary hardware. It requires a beefy graphics card with lots of memory. Check their “Hardware selection and configuration guide.”

    1. I am having stability issues with Premiere on my MBP. Premiere incorrectly sets the video data levels in many types of log files. It is dreadfully slow at decoding most long GOP codecs. These are not problems with my or anyone else’s hardware. FCP-X will play back the very same long GOP files with ease. Yes, Premiere is cross platform, FCP-X is not.
      Yes, Resolve needs a good graphics card fr the best performance. But I can edit and grade 4K raw on my 2013 MBP, which is hardly a state of the art laptop.

  6. Since already a year we have the same feeling: Adobe is a money sucker, as Avid. We use both platforms, Adobe and FCPx, preparing to leave Adobe at the expire date, we are learning Motion.
    Concerning Davinci, we still prefer the FCPx very flexible interface, even when color grading was more performant in Davinci. This changed with the last version 10.4 of FCPx and we happily stay now with FCPx and Motion? It is a very powerful combination and fast. Indeed you are married with Apple computers.

  7. Excellent article!
    I feel exactly the same, Adobe Premiere has seemed to hit a wall. The new features are very minor and not very exciting. I have used Premiere since it was 4.1 (the horse days!) Premiere absolutely shreds REC.2020 colour and can’t really process any of the HDR formats correctly. You can no longer encode Dolby Digital, this is almost a deal breaker. No support for encoding PCM audio, no support for multiple audio channels (SAP).
    I am not sure if Premiere still uses the MainConcept encoder, but it certainly doesn’t encode correct metadata for HLG/HDR.
    Maybe Resolve is a better choice.

  8. I am looking to change to a new system which can handle HDR and HLG end to end. Can Resolve 14 export a completed HDR/HLG project in an HDR TV friendly HEVC format ?

    1. Yes and No. Resolve is one of the few applications at the moment that does add the metadata required to switch a TV into HDR within the files it renders (provided you use a color managed workflow). However Resolve cannot currently produce HEVC/H265 files, so you are limited to H264. Resolves handling of HDR material is very good otherwise.

    2. Resolve 14 outputs via BM card basic colour Metadata to trigger an HDR TV/Monitor. But to make HDR 10 PQ HEVC 10bit files for playback via say usb stick/drive then I export from Resolve and then use either FFMpeg, Hybrid or MKVMerge to make HDR compliant files with all the required metadata added.

  9. Is this some marketing article written for Black Magic?

    Anyone in Hollywood doing serious compositing isn’t using Fusion. They’re using Nuke. Fusion has been around longer than Nuke but never won market share beyond it’s niche following.

    Why the hell would I care about the slow I/O of USB 3 when USB-C supports Thunderbolt 3 which is 8 times faster than USB 3. It also supports USB 3.1 and in the future USB 3.2.

    If anything Intel created USB-C to actually make a true Universal Serial Bus.

    The writer just proves that editors are mostly creatures of habit who will become extinct.

    1. Hollywood is small fry. How many editors and compositors are there working in Hollywood compared to editors working in every other sector. TV, corporate, shorts, docs etc etc. This is a massive, global market, of which Hollywood is just a teeny tiny part. Adobe, Apple and Avid are the kings of these markets. Nuke is a niche tool in a niche market and someone using Nuke may use any of the many edit packages available.

      I care about USB3 because that’s what I currently have and use and that’s what my clients want. I am making a living with these tools TODAY. Not some time in the future where I pick up a spare thunderbolt 3 drive as cheaply as I can a USB3 one on any high street anywhere in the world. For most edit applications USB3 is plenty fast enough anyway, I don’t need TB3, I need HDMI, I need USB3 – I use them every single day. That may well change in the future and when that time comes I will switch to whatever it is that becomes the common industry standard.
      Your comment suggests you don’t actually work or make a living as an editor and the other replies to my post suggest that I am not alone in thinking that Adobe in particular have lost their way.

      1. You can’t complain about people making assumptions while making your own.

        1: I can’t take serious unsupported comments like “Adobe have lost their way” or “I don’t like where Adobe is going.” These are completely worthless statements and have nothing to qualify what the poster even means by this (an explanation that would actually be welcome, and informative – even if I don’t agree). Adobe went the subscription route with their software. Boo Hoo. It’s been half a decade, already.

        As far as where Adobe is going… They’re going to the same place Blackmagic is trying to go with Resolve 15. They’re trying to improve their software in the areas they feel matter most to their customers. They’re trying to add and improve collaboration in their software. They’re trying to round out their ecosystem in other areas of the market, where there are gains to be made (i.e. Project Rush).

        2. USB-C/Thunderbolt is not an issue, unless you work on a Laptop and carry tons of Accessories around with you. In any case, you’re more than free to just… get a PC laptop, which is better than any MacBook at similar price point for editing video on (unless you use FCPX), and get a better port selection. This is completely non-factor. The market provides you with totally viable workarounds as well as totally viable alternatives.

        3. The people in the smaller areas of the market aren’t using Fusion for Compositing and VFX. They’re predominantly using After Effects, so even if the person you replied to mentioned Hollywood specifically… their point still stands. I *personally* don’t [have never] know[n] anyone who uses Fusion.

        Lastly, I think Blackmagic needs to work on scaling the software down to run better on somewhat lower end hardware. Grassroots matter, and this is where Adobe and Apple are strong. They are pushing hard into Education. They have Student Discounts. There is a ton of educational Material on Adobe Software, and it’s used heavily in Social Media (along with Final Cut).

        The people who can only afford a $1,500 PC today, may be the same people making the decision on what to use on their $5,000 workstations in 6 years. Getting them early is key. This is something Avid failed at, and now they are a slave to “Legacy” and “Hollywood/Broadcast” industry.

        Resolve is the only NLE I’ve used that performs as bad as it does on more average hardware. There literally isn’t a MacBook on the market Spec’d to run Resolve at a decent performance level – especially if you factor in the Fusion Tab in Resolve 15 – for example.

        Premiere Pro, Avid Media Composer, Final Cut Pro X, and a host of other NLEs will run amazingly well on that hardware… for a Student, Enthusiast, Small Business Owner, Upstart Freelancer, etc.

        I think people are too focused on the pricing, when there are a lot of other factors at play. Using Resolve necessitates expensive hardware upgrades for machines that run flawlessly on Premiere Pro CC or Final Cut Pro X. For many people, it isn’t as cheap as it sounds… And if we’re going to start expanding outside of “de facto” niches, this becomes ever more important.

        Adobe didn’t get to where it is simply with cheap prices. They had a strategy beyond “throw everything and the kitchen sink into the application and ask them to switch because it’s ‘convenient’.”

        1. To answer just a few of these comments.

          Adobe Premiere CC has more bugs in it today than it did 2 years ago. Speak to most users and they will tell you how it crashes more now than it used to. I can’t remember the last time Resolve crashed out on me. Adobe still haven’t addressed their incorrect handling of full range files and their scopes – well, goodness knows what they are measuring and what the scales are supposed to mean. If they can’t even get the basic correct import, transform and measurement of material right what hope is there for a truly professional workflow.

          Yes, Thunderbolt C is an issue. That is why there are hundreds of people writing about it, because many, many people need to use both laptops and workstations. For example using a laptop in the field for backup or checking clips, doing news edits, showing clients content or simply using the computer to show a power point presentation. All of these functions will likely necessitate adapters and dongles. More things to loose, more junk filling up your laptop bag and they are not something you can pickup anywhere. I can buy an HDMI cable in my corner shop, I cannot buy a USB-C to HDMI adapter in the same store.

          People in the smaller end of the market are using Fusion and considering how recently the Fusion price drop and integration with Resolve took place the numbers using it are actually surprisingly large. I am currently shooting for a small independent production company that is a Fusion user. Sure After Effects is still probably the defacto budget tool for compositing, but that doesn’t mean it is the only option. Many of the older Final Cut Studio users are now using Fusion as they don’t want to buy into the Adobe subscription model and Apple don’t have a similar app of their own anymore.

          Have you had your head in the sand? Did you not see the staggering change in the computing requirements that happened between Resolve 12 and Resolve 14? Resolve now runs on far lower spec machines than ever. The performance gains on my 5 year old MacBook Pro were amazing and it runs Resolve very well, even though it doesn’t tick all of the recommendations. So you cannot say that BM are not addressing this. There is now very little difference between the processing power needed to edit in Resolve compared to any other platform plus you have some very smart proxy generation and linking features for those on very low power systems. Of course if you want to start to add multiple layers of effects, noise reduction, power windows etc, then the compute needs go up, but that is the same for any app. Premiere chokes on long Gop material before you have even started to add multiple layers or effects, it’s appallingly bad. Resolve does much better.

          Adobe need to sort out the bugs in the latest versions of Premiere. They need to sort out how it handles data range files. They need to fix the scopes, Long GoP performance, the LUT handling is appalling and Lumetri, well if you want to add banding into footage give lumetri a go. Premiere/compressor can’t even export an HLG file, their HDR implementation is shockingly bad. Apply a LUT to almost any log material and the output is different to every other app. Project Rush – wow – has it really taken Adobe this long to figure out that some people might want a cut down editor for their phone or tablet? iMovie has been working well on iPads for years, Kinemaster is great on an Android device. But what about the storage limitations, interfacing to external storage limits their use for anything not shot on the internal camera. OK – so you use the cloud – really? Frankly I’m not interested. I’d rather use a screen big enough to see what I’m doing and with enough keys and buttons to allow me to work quickly. I’m sure some people will find it useful, but given that there have been some pretty good edit apps for mobile devices for a few years, it’s hardly innovative or ground breaking.

          FCP-X has a distinct advantage as the platform it runs on is well defined so it’s easier to develop. But Apple need to stop forcing everyone into an automated workflow that is full of strange behaviours that make no sense. Why does the library have to be in Wide Gamut mode for some types of files and not others and look at the mess this creates when you have a mix of source files, some need to be wide, others don’t and if you get it wrong, no matter what you do the material will look rubbish. Why is FCP-X so dependant on optimised media that bloats your storage requirements?

          Look at the number of comments from others that are leaving Adobe to go to Resolve. Some because they don’t like the subscription model, but most because they are finding Premiere unreliable.

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