It was inevitable once Blackmagic Design acquired Fairlight that integration of Fairlight audio into their already popular video editing suite was simply a matter of time.
However, the announcement of Resolve 14 With Fairlight Audio has sent many of the video editing blogs chattering with the usual claims of Final Cut killer or Premiere killer, but in our experience, there's rarely a product that kills another. In fact what we find in modern software development is iterations of features across the market. In other words, one product adds a feature and then the competitor copies it with improvements, a kind of software development game of poker... which should be good for all of us.
However, it is worth considering that with Blackmagic Design's DaVinci Resolve now offering not just a complete editing, mixing and grading solution, but also a host of workflow options to help those working in teams, such as AAF and XML import and export, are Blackmagic Design really gunning for the market traditionally owned by Avid? Whilst Blackmagic will be happy to take converts from Apple and Adobe users, on the whole, these users are self-contained users who are less likely to need the kind of team-based workflows found in larger post-production facilities.
What Does DaVinci Resolve 14 Offer?
Here is a summary of just some of the new features offered in DaVinci Resolve 14 in the words of Blackmagic; DaVinci Resolve 14 has hundreds of new features for editors, colorists and now, for the first time, audio professionals.
- The new playback engine dramatically increases responsiveness with up to 10x better performance for editors.
- You also get a whole new page with the full Fairlight audio post production tools that let you record, edit, mix, sweeten and master sound with full 3D audio space and up to 1000 channels.
- Colorists will find amazing new filters that include automatic facial recognition and tracking for quickly smoothing skin tones, brightening eyes, changing lip color and more!
- Plus, DaVinci Resolve 14 features revolutionary new multi-user collaboration tools such as bin locking, chat and timeline merging that allow editors, colorists, and sound editors to all work on the same project at the same time!
Add to this;
- Multi-platform support for Mac, Windows and Linux.
- Support for audio plug-ins.
- Comprehensive workflow sharing to allow users to open and share projects created in most popular NLEs such as Final Cut Pro, Avid and Premiere as well as audio applications like Pro Tools via AAF and other audio sharing options.
What's more is that Blackmagic Design are offering DaVinci Resolve 14 as an open public beta that anyone can download for free. It comes in two versions, the software only version and the one that requires hardware. If they follow on from their previous software model then there may also be a free version of DaVinci Resolve 14. Let's also be clear, the free version is no crippled product, for a lot of people, this could be their NLE of choice for Mac and Windows.
Fairlight Audio In DaVinci Resolve 14
This again from the DaVinci Resolve 14 info page.....
DaVinci Resolve 14 features a whole new Fairlight audio page with a massive set of recording, editing, mixing, sweetening, finishing and mastering tools. It’s all driven by a state of the art, sub-millisecond super low latency audio engine designed to handle up to 1,000 tracks of 192kHz 96-bit audio.
- Powerful Mixing - Each track corresponds to a channel strip on the mixer. You get real time 6 band parametric EQ, along with expander/gate, compressor and limiter dynamics on every single track. In addition, clip time warping lets you stretch or compress audio without shifting pitch. It works at the subframe level for absolutely perfect synchronisation! The powerful busing structure has several main, sub, and aux buses so you can prepare multiple deliverable formats all at the same time!
- Full Automation - Comprehensive clip-aware automation includes touch, trim, slow-mo, preview and fill modes. In addition to automating traditional parameters such as pan, level and EQ, Fairlight Audio lets you record changes in every single parameter during live playback! You can even automate changes in VST plug-in parameters over time!
- Sound Recording - DaVinci Resolve’s Fairlight audio lets you produce multi-layered recordings quickly and easily. Real time punch in lets you record at any moment during live playback and you get a complete set of sophisticated ADR tools for replacing dialog.
- Fairlight Audio Accelerator offering up to 1,000 nearly zero latency tracks! Add a Fairlight Audio Accelerator to your system! You’ll get blazing performance with amazing sub-millisecond latency on all 1,000 tracks along with full real-time processing of EQ, expander/gate, compressor and limiter dynamics, and up to 6 real-time VST plug-ins per channel!
- Advanced Monitoring - Incredibly flexible monitoring lets you choose between multiple speaker sets! The advanced Fairlight monitoring system handles buses up to 24 channels wide. Sources can be selected from internal buses or external inputs and sent out to 16 different sets of speakers! You also get customizable fold-up and fold-down when crossing between formats. For example, if you’re monitoring 5.1 on a pair of stereo speakers, it automatically folds down for output to 2 channels. For cinematic setups, you can add an optional B-Chain processor for installations with up to 64 speakers!
- 3D Audio Soundspace - Work with advanced spatial audio formats! Fairlight audio features built in 3D audio support for working with spatial formats such as 5.1, 7.1, DTS multi-dimensional array, Dolby and even 22.2. You get a 3D panner to position sound in space, 3D B-chain processing and 3D Spaceview™ visualization which provides a clear view of each object’s location in space. AirPan, which is exclusive to Fairlight consoles, allows you to reach out in space to place sounds where you want. Simply move your fingers in the air to pan, rotate, move and spread sound!
Should Avid Be Concerned?
In the last few years, there has been a real battle for the NLE space, mainly between Avid, Apple and Adobe. In some ways, Avid has been content to see Apple and Adobe aiming for the smaller 'DSLR' type video editor who does not feel restricted by the lack of team-based traditional workflows often required by large post-production facilities. Partly because the real bucks are in the larger facilities who invest in multi-seat complex workflows. Avid has continued to offer a complete solution from ingest, edit, grading, and sound with their suite of products including Avid Media Composer and Pro Tools as well as their storage products.
With the introduction of the new DaVinci Resolve 14 With Fairlight audio, Blackmagic Design is not only offering a complete in-the-box solution but also something that means larger and complex team workflows can be accommodated.
Looking at the audio options in DaVinci Resolve 14 With Fairlight audio, this is no after thought audio in an NLE, but a fully-featured DAW that has features that all top audio post-production professionals need.
DaVinci Resolve 14 With Fairlight audio is also well laid out, offering a tabbed arrangement meaning that a video editor could use it without ever having to see the audio page, as could an audio editor use it without ever having to see the video page.
So should Avid be concerned? We saw Avid's early response to the Final Cut X introduction with some aggressive marketing aimed at those moving away from Avid, or those Apple users considering a switch away because they no longer had the workflows offered in FCP7. It will be interesting to see how they respond to DaVinci Resolve 14 with Fairlight audio, which is aimed directly at the traditional Avid user base. Avid are working hard to maintain the post-production, film and TV markets, it is where the money is and in some ways a traditional Avid stronghold... in our opinion, Blackmagic Design announcing DaVinci Resolve 14 With Fairlight Audio just made Avid's job of holding that ground a lot harder.
Add to this a two-tiered product strategy of a free version that can be used by the one-person FCPX/Premiere user and a paid for version that will be popular in larger facilities. One can see that Blackmagic have the beginnings of the only workflow to span both parts of the video production industry, small and large.