The best thing about Resolve is the tracker… the tracker and the nodes. The two best things about Resolve are the tracker, the nodes and its EDL support. The three best things about Resolve are…
OK – apologies to Monty Python, and apologies, too, for not blogging for a while. My attentions have been drawn back to my real job as our picture lock, of course, unlocked – so I’ve been editing, constructing and sending plates for VFX, incorporating pick-up shots and doing a host of other, small changes from the ‘notes’ fed back from our L.A. execs.
We are now on Picture Lock #2, so I’m back Resolving.
Just for fun (?) last week I tried out some of the more conventional workflows for getting footage from FCP to Resolve. Rendering out a single QuickTime (per reel) and breaking it apart again using DaVinci’s Preconform (from a CMX 3600 EDL) worked pretty flawlessly. If you change your edit, you can use ColorTrace to copy your grading decisions to the new cut, though (for some reason) ColorTrace only copies between projects, not between grade versions within a project, so you need to consider that when you set up the Config page.
If there are the same number of edits in the old and new cuts, then ColorTrace will automatically copy the grades from one to the other – there is a manual option if your edit has changed more than that. It all works well, and I would definitely use this simple workflow if I was confident that there would be no (or few) changes after picture lock.
I also tried to make individual QuickTimes from the FCP timeline – each with the FCP filters burnt in. This involves making the sequence clips independent, then dragging them to a new bin in the Browser and then Batch Exporting them. It should work, but often doesn’t. The problem is that making the clips independent is a bit flakey. Let’s say you place a clip (A) into the timeline, then into the middle of this clip you overwrite another clip (B). Making the clips independent should generate three clips – the original head of clip A, clip B and the tail of clip A (which we’ll now call clip C). This is what you would get if you had assembled the clips in this order in the first place, rather than doing your overwrite edit. Sadly, FCP doesn’t generate clip C – it has two clips from clip A (i.e. not independent) so your Batch Export has duplicate clips and fails. Grr! At least it’s FCP’s fault and not Resolve’s. My chosen workflow (detailed previously in this blog) has some problems of its own – also FCP related. Basically, Final Cut does odd things with merged clips, which can break re-linking the project with the graded files.
I suppose some of these workflow issues might tempt you to stick with Color, which has an easier, if not foolproof, interface with Final Cut. Personally, I would put up with a little hassle for the power, flexibility and ease-of-use of Resolve. I find the node paradigm very intuitive and it’s incredibly flexible. One of the first scenes in Dimensions is a garden party, shot in the British summer. We struggled a bit in the edit as the pressures of low-budget filming, coupled with the British climate, left us with less coverage than we would like. Inevitably, I’m grading footage that has sunlight coming and going, actor’s faces falling into shadow and so on. I’ll give an example of grading a particular clip in the next blog, but grading this scene in Color would have driven me nuts. There is something about grading with Resolve, coupled with Tangent’s excellent Wave control surface, that makes colour correction almost telepathic. Everything is so easy – you keep your concentration on the reference monitor, each node controlling one aspect of your grade, hardly ever needing to look at the computer monitor. If it sounds like I’ve become a fan, I have. Nothing could make me go back to using Color – not even the Spanish Inquisition.