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DaVinci Resolve


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Video editing is something many of us tried to do in the past for one reason or another . I still remember the first video I edited in the days of Myspace and early days of youtube . It was an AMV video , I feel embarrassed just talking about it but at least it started my interest in video editing and movie making . Now don't get me wrong , I am not at all a professional video editor but rather an amateur with interest . Like everything else , to me video editing skill is a tool I use to make a product or produce content , it is not really something I have done exclusively .

This will bring me nicely to the problems I started having when video editing . In the past , the longest video I had to work with was say 10 min of footage and very miner editing were needed . This changed recently when I started streaming online and started a youtube gaming channel . Now I started working with much larger and longer video files . The quality of the video output also needed to match the source files .

Like many of us I started editing using windows Movie Maker soon to relies it couldn't handle the workload and started to crash constantly making it impossible to do what I wanted to do . This left me very frustrated and a little sad . So the hunt for a new solution started . I had many options really but almost all of them will require me to spend money that I can not afford to spend , Otherwise the other option would be piracy but that is a ship I refuse to hop on board. Another option would be getting a Mac Pro , but Mac is an expensive platform and as a person that built 10s of computers in his life time I would feel pretty bad buying an off the shelf devise . In another word ,options were very little . Luckily I found DaVinci Resolve by Blackmagic . This software helped me resolve the problem . Surprisingly the software offered most of its key features in the free version.

What i liked the most about DaVinci Resolve 12.5 is the fact that it used my PC system to the max , in fact it was a little demanding . I was surprised that my i7-4770k running at 4.3Ghz OC was getting a run for its money . No wonder video editors opt to get Xeon CPUs with 12 and more cores . But this was no problem for me because I wasn't doing anything too fancy with it anyways . I really needed to optimize my work flow on my PC to cut done the video editing time and minimize any loose in video quality. I will cover this below in this article .

Where to download and recommended specs

you can download the application for free from Blackmagic main website :
www.blackmagicdesign.com/products/davinciresolve/

There isn't really a minimum Specs list but from my experience you would need at least the following to edit HD content :

- Windows 7 or newer , if you are still on windows XP then I got nothing to say to you .
- Dedicated GPU with 2GB of dedicated memory (minimum GTX920M or faster) , Intel Iris GPU might work for you but make sure you have more than 6GB of RAM .
- 6GB of RAM minimum (16GB much more comfortable ) ,if you can have 32GB of RAM you would have very good experience .
- A minimum of an i3 class CPU or a 4 cores AMD APU (ex: minimum i3 - 4005u ) .
- A separate drive for video editing or an SSD (Scratch Disk)

My setup and work flow

I use OBS Studio to record gameplay footage .In the past I used Fraps but the problem with fraps is its large files output and the fact they were in AVI format which meant I needed to convert the videos first to MP4 before using Resolve. The other reason is the large files would crash Movie Maker instantly . With OBS I can record in MP4 format without the need for any conversion and loose in footage quality .

The setup:

- i7 4770K at 4.3GHZ scoring 876 points on CINEBENCH R15 benchmark .
- 240GB intel 530 SSD (OS Drive).
- 500GB Samsung 850Evo (Recording ).
- 2TB WD black (Storage).
- Samsung SM951 128GB M.2 SSD( Scratch disk).
- Windows 10
- GTX 1070


The work flow is like this :

- Start OBS and start the Game which is running on the intel 530
- Record the footage on the 850Evo
- Copy the files I want to the SM951
- Start Resolve 12.5 and edit on the SM951
- Export final project to the SM951
- Take a copy of the final project and archive it on the 2TB drive


The logic behind this work flow is to divide the work load on multiple storage solutions to eliminate any bottlenecks . The SM951 is the fastest drive (up to 2GB/s read) so it makes sense to use it for editing and encoding the final project . The SM951 is considered an expensive SSD and like any other SSD it has a limited write life cycle , so ideally I would conserve its life by using it only when speed is important .On the other hand the 850 Evo is more than good enough for recording Full HD or 4K clips and it is a cheap SSD . So it is OK if it degrades faster because I can replace it at any time . Another Solution could of been a raid 10 drive array but I had some horror stories with raid errors and the only raid array I would recommend for a consumer is raid 1 for redundancy .

Over all this setup proved to be a success rendering times are miles better than before and there is no need for a lengthy conversion of files . This saved me a lot of time . Basically I would record a video for 45 min then edit it in 15 min and export it in 20 min .The process would take me less than an hour and a half . On the other hand It used to take me 45 min to edit (because of the constant crashes ) , 40 min to convert the files from AVI to MP4 and 50 min to export with crashes some times . In fact I can work now with 3 and 4 hours files with no issues at all . On Movie Maker , the max would be 40 min and if it is longer you would start getting into stability issues . This work flow saved me over an hour and a half of wasted time . The lesson is you should always optimize your work flow by eliminating steps and bottlenecks.

If I will be doing more of this in the future and there is a good return for my investment I would upgrade to a duel Xeon system setup cutting down my editing time and my rendering time hopefully by half so there is more content in a shorter time maximizing my productivity .

Editing a simple project in DaVinci Resolve

Start by Running Resolve 12.5 .

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Load a new project :

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When you load the project you will start at the media pool stage . You can use this stage to locate and add all the files you want to work with to the media pool . Simply drag and drop the files you want to the media pool to start editing .

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When you are done choosing your files move to the stage Edit . In the stage Edit you will find all the files you added to the pool in the Media stage . Simply drag and drop the files into the time line .

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Now we can start examining the basic video editing controls :

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in the video editing tools the key controls are the first 3 . The selection mode, the trim edit mode and the razor edit mode . The selection mode allows you to select a clip in the time line . The trim edit mode is used to trim and shorten a clip and the razor edit mode is used to split a clip where you click on it .

Now the other important control is the slider "Time line view " , this will allow you to zoom in and out on the time line to edit shorter clips for example .

Finally the effects library and clip info . The clip info is pretty self explanatory on the other hand the effects section is more fun . You can add effects here to your clips .

We are going to skip stage Color , simply because it is a little bit more advanced and usually is not part of most non professional video editing applications .

We now then move to the final stage Delivery . In this stage we need to select the file type and location we want our file to be exported to and then select add to render queue .

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Finally you would click on the start rendering option .

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Apart from that it is only a matter of time and your project would export .

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