Ditching Adobe Premier for DaVinci Resolve

posted by Jeff | Monday, February 6, 2023, 10:38 AM | comments: 0

My first real non-linear digital editing experience was with Media100 back in the late 90's. It was a solid alternative to Avid, which was charging crazy money at the time. A few years later, I bought a $1,500 license for Avid for personal use, which was nuts. It even required a USB key to work. When the world of HD came around, I was using the old Final Cut Pro for a little bit, then they had that big change that made it lame and I switched to Adobe Premier Pro. I've been using that ever since. I held out for years with the last non-subscription version of it, then a few years ago had to cave because it just didn't work anymore on modern hardware.

But for the last year or two, I've noticed that a lot of the YouTubers and enthusiasts were taking DaVinci Resolve more seriously, ever since it was acquired by Blackmagic Design. The software has been the go-to system for colorists for a long time, with some pretty great control surfaces to pair with it. I'm not sure when the editing became stronger. I was skeptical mostly because it was free, missing only some of the best features like object tracking, noise reduction and not reading most of the more exotic or camera-specific file formats. I messed with it using some plain old edited files, and I was hooked. I could already see it was better, and the UI made it more obvious to discover how it worked. It's still feature dense, but well understood by the user community.

Then what really sold me is that they have this little controller called the Speed Editor. This has been the thing I've wanted since the days when I edited tape. Having a nice, weighted jog wheel and robust buttons that you can bang on is something that I always wanted translated to the digital world. I have a search dial that was never quite the same thing. But this little machine allows you to spend less time touching the mouse and keyboard, and it makes everything so fast. Trimming stuff is intuitive and fast, you can adjust audio levels with the wheel, you can do multi-cam editing... it's so good.

I'm thinking about dropping my Adobe subscription down to the $10 Photoshop level. I'm currently on the whole suite, but only at $30 because I don't use it enough to justify $55, and apparently they agreed enough to let me keep that price. The studio version license of Resolve came with the controller. I only have to pay for it once.

Editing is fun again, and I look forward to using it more.


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