In ‘The Beginner’s Guide to DaVinci Resolve 18.5’, Blackmagic Certified Trainer, Ollie Kenchington, teaches editors, artists, and students how to edit, composite, color correct, and mix audio in DaVinci Resolve. All you need is a Mac or Windows computer, the free download version of DaVinci Resolve 18.5, and a passion to learn.
This official step-by-step training guide covers the basics of editing, visual effects, motion graphics, color correction, and audio so you can quickly get to grips with this ubiquitous software. You will learn all you need to take the optional Blackmagic Certified Professional exam, plus Ollie has added in additional content that shines a light on the most exciting new additions in 18.5.
Making film and video content is a very creative, exciting, and rewarding process. But it is also an endeavor that requires precision and accuracy. The edit page features a set of powerful yet easy-to-use nonlinear editing tools that have been developed over decades of moviemaking and is a great next step in your exploration of DaVinci Resolve 18.5.
Now that you have the basic structure of the edit in place, you will learn how to take it to the next level by editing in voiceover and sound effects, and then mixing the audio together using the edit page’s audio tools. Then you’ll look at refining the timeline further by exploring some tricks that many editors often employ to quickly replace shots, adjust clip playback speed, and change shot size.
There’s a wealth of effects to explore further too, including working with video transitions and filters and the library of Fusion title templates.
With so much to explore, it’s little wonder that films are never really finished; it’s just that the filmmakers run out of time or money or both.
Like editing, audio mixing and visual effects, color correction is an art form that takes time to learn and master. Color is an incredibly powerful creative tool that can define the style and convey the mood of your film. If you give yourself the time to practice and learn, you’ll be able to master this exciting skill and create images that look amazing!
These next three lessons provide a valuable overview of the most important color-correction tools to get you comfortable with how they work. You’ll learn about the primary corrector, secondary adjustments, nodes, and even applying DaVinci Resolve FX for special effects. You’ll use the same tools that Hollywood’s top colorists use to correct and finish the biggest blockbuster films, episodic television shows, and commercials. Experience is key, and with so many controls at your fingertips, these lessons will give you the start you need toward learning this creative skill.
Primary color adjustments let you work on the entire image, whereas secondary adjustments let you isolate and work on specific parts of an image.
For example, you might want to change the color of a car from blue to red without affecting the rest of the shot, add warmth and saturation to an actor’s skin, or lower the shine on someone’s forehead. DaVinci Resolve features many powerful tools to make these adjustments.
In this lesson, you will use Power Windows, HSL curves, the Color Warper, and the Qualifier to isolate elements based on their color and shape. You will then use the tracker to follow a moving face and eyes, so your color correction follows them through the shot.
When color grading, you are often working on one clip at a time. Timelines, however, can contain hundreds of clips, each containing their own grade. So, organising and managing the grades is an important process because it ensures that no grade is missed and can save you time. For example, if you have several shots from the same scene, after performing a grade on one shot it could be copied and pasted onto multiple clips in the timeline. You also spend time grading to a specific look that you want. This look may be used repeatedly because grades can be saved, exported, and imported into different projects.
In this lesson, you will learn how to easily identify ungraded clips, copy and paste grades, save grades using stills, match clips to stills, use and save LUTs, and preview them to help make creative decisions.
At this point, you should have a good understanding of how the toolset and features in DaVinci Resolve 18.5 can be used to edit and color grade your projects. In the preceding lessons, the projects you worked on required little to no knowledge beyond the means to import the footage or were set up and organised for you to explore how certain features were used—whether it was how useful keyword smart bins are or how enabling DaVinci Resolve Color Management can fast forward the grading process. Now that you have a good grasp of these tools, it’s time to learn how to correctly set up a project of your own.
By now, you’ve probably heard that sound is half of the video experience. In the words of George Lucas, “Filmmakers should focus on making sure the soundtracks are really the best they can possibly be. Because in terms of an investment, sound is where you get the most bang for your buck.”
The Fairlight page in DaVinci Resolve is designed specifically for audio to accompany pictures, realising cinematic-quality sound for your productions. Most importantly, since it is built right into your editing, grading, and visual effects application, you can freely refine the edit, visual effects, color, and sound mix, right up until the time of your final delivery. That integration is what makes DaVinci Resolve a game changer for filmmakers.
The Fusion page brings professional- level visual effects and motion graphics tools into the timeline of your edit. Whether you are a video editor, colorist, or finishing artist, Fusion offers node-based compositing to any project. And, since the Fusion page is integrated within DaVinci Resolve, there is no need to render out shots and manage projects in multiple applications. As you will soon discover, nodes are a faster way to work than traditional layer-based software when producing intricate shots.
The Fusion interface is unique to other pages within DaVinci Resolve and while it may take some time to master, once you do you will be treated to an expansive toolkit and able to tackle any problem.
After completing a project, from editing and grading through to building motion graphics and mastering the audio, there are two final elements to consider: the delivery and the archive.
The delivery will allow you to render out your timeline, complete with grades, effects, and audio wrapped in a single file of your choosing. Archiving will allow you to save your media and projects so that opening an older project in the future will be easier and not take up too much drive space.
Ollie's company, Korro Films, produces commercials, short films, documentaries and branded content for major international clients, with Ollie carrying out senior editor and colourist duties on every project. Ollie is an assured practitioner across all areas of filmmaking, giving him a deep understanding of the creative process which allows his agency to flourish in this competitive industry. Additionally he is an accomplished educator, and founder of Korro Academy.
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