One of the things I was able to do this year was explore a new video editing software. Back in March when the Great Lockdown began, I started experimenting with DaVinci Resolve. I was amazed at first at how smooth and robust the software is. After learning and editing in it for a few months, I started to take notes of the advantages and disadvantages of the software.
Now before I go any further, I will say that I’ve always been a Premiere Pro editor. That is where I first learned how to edit professionally. So these remarks are based on my transition from Premiere Pro to DaVinci Resolve within the last few months.
DaVinci Resolve – Advantages
One of the most innovative features of the software is that it is an all in one software compared to Adobe Creative Cloud. In DaVinci Resolve, you get a video editing, visual effects, color correction, and audio mixing software all wrapped up in one.
This is a huge advantage, because this saves time from switching from one software to another. As in Adobe Creative Cloud, you’d have to go into After Effects or Audition in order to accomplish some of the tasks that Premiere Pro can’t.
In DaVinci Resolve, each type of software are in tabs at the bottom of the interface. They are the Edit, Fusion, Color, and Fairlight tabs.
Another big advantage is that there is a free version of DaVinci Resolve. This is a game changer, because all other professional video editing software needs to be purchased or subscribed. There may be free trials for Adobe Creative Cloud and others, but DaVinci Resolve offers a fully functioning version that is completely free to use. And yes, you can export videos that won’t have the company’s watermark embedded in it.
I remember as a kid learning how to edit on Windows Movie Maker and wondering if there was anything more advanced that was free. That wasn’t the case back then, but today; today is a different world. To download the free version of Davinci Resolve, go to their website, scroll down to the software section and click the download button.
Now it’s important to note that there is a full studio version of the software you can purchase, and even it in itself isn’t that expensive. It costs $295 for a single license. You pay once and have it for life. Not bad compared to subscription based software where you have to pay monthly to use it.
If you plan on using the free version of the software, you’ll notice that there are a few disadvantages. Some effects won’t be available, and some timeline settings won’t be available.
One last advantage I’ll point out is it’s overall speed and performance. Davinci Resolve is super smooth and reliable. If you are a Premiere Pro user, you are well aware of all the challenges that may occur with playback issues and software crashes. Davinci Resolve hasn’t crashed once since I started using it, knock on wood so far. The playback is very smooth compared to Premiere Pro which is essential when it comes to video editing.
The other great part of Davinci Resolve is that it is a lot faster that Premiere Pro when it comes to exporting. Especially exporting timelines that have a lot of video effects applied to the clips. This is because Davinci Resolve relies more heavily on the GPU rather than the CPU to export timelines. So if your computer has a strong graphics card, you will reap the rewards Davinci Resolve has to offer.
DaVinci Resolve – Disadvantages
I’ve read a lot of articles and watched a ton of videos and most of them say that DaVinci Resolve is better than Premiere Pro. But this where this post is about to take a turn, and this will probably sting a lot of people out there that are on the DaVinci Resolve bandwagon. But these disadvantages below are the main reasons why I continue to use Adobe Creative Cloud over DaVinci Resolve to this day.
People that know me know that I am a super fast video editor. They also know that I edit a lot of videos. Like, tons. So keeping that in mind, this is why DaVinci Resolve doesn’t work FOR ME. This doesn’t mean it won’t work for you because each video editor is different and do different types of video editing.
Alrighty, so one of the biggest drawbacks for me is that DaVinci Resolve is databased driven. The way DaVinci Resolve saves project files is in databases that you have to setup before you start the project. The theory is great, but where the downside is is when you are editing on multiple computers. And not only multiple computers, but when you are managing teams of video editors that are on multiple computers, and in remote locations. This can become too much to handle as a senior video editor to manage and assure quality control.
Experts recommend saving databases on external hard drives, so essentially each video editor has their own external hard drive that they edit on and in theory they can be on any computer with their external hard drive. This is great, but you have to really pay attention because you can mistakenly save a new project on a local computer database by accident especially when you are working fast.
A bigger headache arises when you have to archive the project. So once a project is complete, we usually store it to a cloud service such as Dropbox. Then delete it from the external hard drive to make room for new projects that come in. So DaVinci Resolve stores all projects to that one database that is on your external hard drive.
So we have to make sure we are moving the correct database as well as the source files for the project to the cloud so that they can be archived correctly. Then if you need to work on that project again, you’ll have to relink the database to the project.
Not to mention that the name of databases can be completely different from computer to computer. There are just way too many variables, and what it comes down to is this…
In Premiere Pro, it’s easy. You create a new project. You save the new project among your source files. Where ever the project and source files are, whether they are on an external hard drive, computer, Dropbox, they open and no linking or 2nd guessing has to take place. There are no databases to mess with. There is actually a tangible project file that you can actually see in the Finder/Window Explorer, and you know where it is at all times. It’s just better and makes more sense.
That was the big one, the next disadvantage compromises speed. There is no external rendering engine inside DaVinci Resolve where you can render a timeline and continue working on the same project or a new/different one at the same time on the same computer. Whereas in Premiere Pro, you can queue it in Adobe Media Encoder, and still have the ability to edit in Premiere Pro while videos are rendering out.
So while DaVinci Resolve is faster at rendering, you loose the time and gain it back in Premiere Pro when you can queue it in Media Encoder. This is important to me because I need to keep moving forward, working on other projects.
The last disadvantage I’ll go over is file re-linking. DaVinci Resolve isn’t as smart as Premiere Pro when it comes to matching where files are when they get moved and need to be re-linked in the project. I often find myself re-linking everything manually in DaVinci Resolve where in Premiere Pro, if you find one, it can usually find the rest.
It also has a hard time updating files, which is something I do often. So say if I import a lower third or a title slide that has text on it into DaVinci Resolve. Then add it to the timeline and say if I need to make a change to the file. I’ll change the file in the Finder/Window Explorer, and it won’t update in DaVinci Resolve automatically. I have to actually rename and re-import the file back into DaVinci Resolve in order to update the file in the timeline.
At the end of the day both software have pros and cons and it is really up to you and your preferences that determine which ones you use. As I like to say the software doesn’t make the designer, the designer makes the software. But I’ll leave you with these final conclusions.
DaVinci Resolve is definitely made for filmmakers. It is a robust tool that offers an economical option for movie makers and video editing freelancers. It is also great for hobbiests as well. I personally use DaVinci Resolve for home projects, when I’m only on my personal computer and I don’t have to worry about archiving projects. Professionally, I’ll use DaVinci Resolve to convert clips or if I need to render something out really quickly. If a project needs more attention to color grading, I’ll turn to DaVinci Resolve as well as it goes without saying that DaVinci Resolve is the industry standard for color grading.
I think Premiere Pro and Adobe Creative Cloud are better for teams. It is better for small-medium production houses as well as small businesses that have a marketing or design department. They are better for schools and for beginners just starting out because the software isn’t as intimidating. Students and early growing professionals can pick and choose the different software they want/need to learn in order to do their job. Premiere Pro has become more of the industry standard in video editing because it’s easy to use and makes sense. I use Premiere Pro and most of the Adobe Creative Cloud applications in my profession as a multimedia designer, but do not use it personally because of cost.
I hope this post was helpful for you if you are deciding which software to use or if to switch over or not. If you like this post, please comment and follow my blog below.
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