For the last few years, I have been using either Adobe Premier Pro or iMovie on my Mac for video editing, and I choose one or the other depending on what I need to do. I decided to look around for a new video editor to see if I could replace my dated version of Adobe Premiere Pro (I am still using Adobe CS 6), and, during that adventure, I ran into DaVinci Resolve 17.
DaVinci Resolve 17 is a free video editor by Blackmagic Design, and it packs a lot of very interesting features, including high end coloring and other things. The interface looks very similar to any other video editor you may have used in the past. You have your pane for imported content, viewport (which also acts as media viewport when you want to trim media and put it on your timeline) and your timeline at the bottom.
Part of editing includes having to select portions of a video (basically setting the start and finish of your clip in your imported media) so you can put on your timeline. While you can do this very easily in DaVinci Resolve, I really missed the “set start” and “set end” buttons I have in Adobe Premiere Pro, because I had to manually drag the start and finish indicators to define a clip.
As you place more clips on your timeline, you are presented with a big “global” timeline on top, and the clips timeline at the bottom. You can use either one to scroll through your timeline, but the navigation takes a little bit to get used to, since the bottom timeline has a fixed “current time” indicator (the long red vertical line) that cannot be moved.
Arranging clips on the DaVinci Resolve timeline is pretty easy, and all you have to do is drag and drop, so one clip is moved before or after another clip. One thing to keep in mind is how you drop the clip, as you can drop it in the middle of two clips (and there’s a visual cue to let you know that’s what you are doing) or you can drop it on top of another clip, which will trim that clip.
One thing I use a lot are titles. DaVinci Resolve includes a wide variety of title templates you can use for your videos. All the titles are customizable, so you can change the font and the colors to suit your needs.
The software also includes a lot of different transitions. It obviously includes the regular ones, like slide, wipe, fade, but it has a few others that are very interesting. The app also offers all the features you expect from a video editor, like multiple video and audio tracks, retiming, audio and video effects, etc. As for the color corrector, since I was trying it out to make a game trailer, I didn’t really use color correction. That is something I may try in the future, although I rarely work with real-life footage.
One thing that made the software feel a little limited is rendering. There’s an option for quick rendering, where you can choose to render a file, or to render video for YT, Vimeo or Twitter. While I was looking for more information about rendering, I saw the software supposedly has an actual render options window, where you can select settings like video frame size and format. However, I was not able to find it.
Another thing I didn’t quite like is the performance. Keep in mind I was using this program on my 2013 MacBook Pro, so I don’t expect top of the line performance, but I don’t know how much of this lack of performance should be blamed on my Mac and how much should e blamed on the software itself. Playback speed was not really great, and I didn’t find a way to bake the timeline to memory to make playback speed faster (like what Premiere Pro can do). I’d need to try it on my Windows laptop to see how it performs.
If you are looking for a video editor, you should give DaVinci Resolve a try. It has a lot of nice features and, on top of that, it’s free.
Get DaVinci Resolve: https://www.blackmagicdesign.com/products/davinciresolve/