The biggest news in colour grading systems to come out of NAB is Blackmagic’s complete re-engineering of its DaVinci Resolve colour correction suite, culminating in the release of a software only version of the professional-level system for a mere $995.
It is aiming the software-only version, suitable for grading HD and SD content, at Final Cut Pro workstations using control panels such as the Tangent, providing the means to offer high-end colour correction at a very affordable price.
The new Resolve software is also available with the DaVinci Resolve Control Surface, which has been designed by colourists to “work together in total harmony”, with controls placed near natural hand positions and lift, gamma and gain adjustable at the same time.
The software and control panel version costs $29,995.
Finally, there’s a top-end version for grading at higher resolutions of up to 4k as well as working on stereo 3d content and Red files. The DaVinci Resolve Linux License configuration comes with the Resolve Control Surface and allows the grading system to be powered by a cluster of computers with GPU cards, enabling real-time processing.
The Linux-based multi-GPU license Resolve costs $49,990, including the Control Surface.
As well as providing a cost-effective grading platform for the professional finishing of all genres, including modestly budgeted corporate work and pop promos, “The software-only version makes it possible for any director to do preparatory work and try out some grades on a $995 system, then move up to the next Resolve for the final grade,” says Blackmagic’s Simon Hollingworth.
He adds that, compared to Apple’s Color software, which is packaged with Final Cut Studio, “The systems are like chalk and cheese. Colourists can take their existing experience with Color and apply it to the DaVinci way of grading. They already have most of the core skills and can now benefit from the same grading solution as used on Hollywood films.”
Reacting to the news of DaVinci’s new products and consumer-level pricing, Digital Vision’s vp worldwide marketing Martin Bennett questions where the support and servicing will come from. By buying an off-the-shelf $995 product, Bennett argues the level of servicing customers expect from a professional-level application will be lacking.
“We provide 24 hour a day support and proactively help customers, continually doing minor releases, bug fixing and so on. It’s more and more about the level of service you can provide. Customers know they can knock on our door and get immediate service.”
However, Bennett admits that Digital Vision would “at some point like to go to all price points, primarily to offer something for the education community, to bring on the next generation of colourists.”
As well as its announcements around the DaVinci Resolve, Blackmagic also used NAB to showcase the stylishly designed UltraStudio Pro, “the next generation of input/output device for uncompressed SD and HD using USB 3.0”.
By utilising the new USB 3.0 interface rather than firewire, the UltraStudio Pro capture and playback device runs at 4.8 Gb/s, which is enough speed for uncompressed 10-bit HD video.
The desktop device, which costs $895, includes a seven foot breakout cable with an impressive number of video and audio connections including 3 Gb/s SDI, HDMI, s-video and 4-channel analogue audio.
It also has a built-in up, down and cross converter enabling editing in one format and output to any HD or SD formats.
Blackmagic also launched a USB 3.0 version of its UltraScope waveform monitoring product, which enables on-set monitoring of video and audio on a laptop. It is powered by the USB port, eliminating the need for a power source on location.