DaVinci Resolve 12 Beta New Features and First Impressions

DaVinci Resolve 12 Beta New Features and First Impressions

Davinci Resolve 12 beta

The DaVinci Resolve 12 first public beta is out now (today in fact) and so if you’re eager to get your hands on the sparkly new features then you might want to rush over and download it. I’ll be updating this post (or writing a new one) with more insights, tutorials and tips on DaVinci Resolve 12 as they emerge.

If you’re grading a project in Resolve 11 you might want to heed colorist and trainer Patrick Inhofer’s excellent advice on how best to make the leap up if you’re so inclined:

Here are three quick tips I’ve been following that have kept me from getting backed into a corner:

  • Be prepared to downgrade to Resolve 11
  • Create backups of databases before opening them in Resolve 12—or better yet…
  • Create brand new, fresh databases and import your Resolve 11 projects into those newly minted databases
That last tip has been super-useful to me and I suggest you follow it.

Whats new in Resolve 12?

Automatic color match grade from one to many clips.
Automatic 3D perspective object multi point tracker.
Offline clip icon displayed if media is missing from media pool or storage.
Custom Curves™ with bezier handle control.
Image contrast adjustable with flexable curve end points.
HDR curve control for extended dynamic range images
Additional advanced 3D keyer with multiple additive isolation qualifiers.
Keyer Finesse controls also include Clean Black and Clean White.
Conversion of circle, linear and pologon windows to PowerCurve window.
3D Perspective object tracking….

For an extensive look at the demos and feature set that have been previously announced check out these two previous posts here and here. For a one click list of all the new features check out this post from Cinescopophilia.com or head over to the compare page on the official site and scan the list for those little blue ‘new’ boxes.

new features in Resolve 12

One thing that does need clarifying is the new name change, seemingly mostly to match Fusion’s naming convention, which is that the free version, previously suffixed ‘Lite’ is, now just ‘DaVinci Resolve 12’ and the fully featured version, is now ‘DaVinci Resolve 12 Studio’.

The DaVinci Resolve 12 Manual

Davinci Resolve 12 user manual

I’ve always been a huge fan of the DaVinci Resolve User manual – you can’t beat it for a (now) 1000+ page guide to colour correction and (obviously) how to master the software. You can download the manual only and directly as a pdf here. You can also download a 68 page configuration guide here too. (Thanks Alex4D for the links!)

Alexis Van Hurkman, colorist, trainer and author of the manual, has posted a fantastic guide on where to look in the new manual if you want to get a heads up on some of the new features and functionality.

…The Resolve 12 User Manual is divided into 44 chapters, with many valuable topics now appearing within their very own chapter for the first time. Check out the table of contents on pages 3-19 and you’ll see what I mean. So, you ask, where do I start if I’m looking for what’s new?

Chapter 5, “Improving Performance, Proxies, and the Render Cache,” is required reading. This chapter consolidates everything you can do to make Resolve run faster, which now includes the all-new ability to use “Optimized Media” (an updated spin on the old Pre-Rendered proxies mechanism Resolve had before) to work faster by turning processor-intensive media formats into faster-to-work-with clips using a format and proxy size of your choosing.

Once you’ve optimized media, you can switch back and forth between the optimized and original media without needing to reconform or relink—it’s all managed by Resolve. Additionally, optimized media works with the real-time proxy command (which now lets you choose from Half and Quarter proxies), the Smart cache, and all of Resolve’s other features for improving performance, so this is a chapter worth understanding in its entirety if you want to get the most performance out of Resolve 12.

Filmmaker DL Watson shares his first impressions of editing in Resolve 12 and his appreciation of details like the ability to ‘unnest a sequence’ right in the timeline.

Colorist Jason Bowdach shares his top 5 favourite features for previous Resolve users on the Cinetic Studios blog.

5. UI Update

  • While the new user interface takes a little getting used to, it’s a sleek and modern revamp which gives you more space and control, especially with dual monitors. It scales extremely well between a 15″ MacBook Pro Retina, HD and 4K+ displays. I’ve yet to test up to 4K on my GUI monitors, but I’ve been told the trend of using the new space well continues even at those resolutions. Its the “small” updates like having the lightbox on your second display, docked scopes & clip/info pages, and the ability to customize a lot more of the layout which really show attention to detail.

DaVinci Resolve 12 – The FCPX Evolution

This last tweet from Alex Golner provides an interesting glimpse at the evolution of the DaVinci Resolve interface. Thankfully we live in an era of decent user interface design! Alex has a few thoughts on the similarities and differences between Resolve and FCPX in this quick post and also handily points out the differences between Resolve and Resolve Studio, quoted from the extensive beta Read Me file.

The free DaVinci Resolve 12 includes all of the same high quality processing as DaVinci Resolve 12 Studio and can handle unlimited resolution media files. However it does limit project mastering and output to Ultra HD resolutions or lower. DaVinci Resolve 12 only supports a single processing GPU on Windows and 2 GPUs on the latest Mac Pro.

If you need features such as support for multiple GPUs, 4K output, motion blur effects, temporal and spatial noise reduction, 3D stereoscopic tools, remote rendering, an external database server and collaboration tools that let multiple users work on the same project at the same time, please upgrade to DaVinci Resolve 12 Studio.

Professional Colorists on DaVinci Resolve 12 beta

A quick scan of Twitter reveals what a few early private beta testers of DaVinci Resolve 12 Studio think of the latest release. It is great to hear from professional colorists sharing their experienced thoughts with the rest of us, who might not be used to using it day-in-day-out as they are. Update – I’ve separated these tweets into Tips and Opinions for easier browsing!

Colorists on Mixing Light

UPDATE  – The three professional colorists behind Mixing Light.com – Patrick Inhofer, Robbie Carman and Dan Moran – have put together a free 3-part special report in which they discuss the public beta, their favourite new features in Resolve and the areas where the application could still improve. Having all had access to the private beta, they know of what they speak. They cover topics like interoperability between 11 and 12, best practices for working with beta software, and much, much more. Well worth the time to listen in!

Part 1 – Public Beta | Part 2 – Favourite Features | Part 3 – Further Improvements

Tips for working in DaVinci Resolve 12

First Impressions of DaVinci Resolve 12


  • Thank you for the review. I too was scratching my head in disbelief that there was no way to copy and paste effects from one clip to another (video or audio). That makes it a basic editing tool at best. In a way I feel like I am seeing another disappointment a-la FCPX (with the exception of the fully baked color grading in DaVinci). We would like to settle on DaVinci for all our editing but it seems not nearly ready.

    Would you mind volunteering to tell my employees we’re hanging on to FCP7 for a while longer, because I DON’T want to be in the room when that happens.

    • Ha! Everyone loves FCP7. I’m not sure why you say you can’t copy and paste effects from one clip to another as you can via paste attributes? You can even do it with the audio and ofx plugins… As its free always worth a test drive!

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