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Blackmagic Design releases DaVinci Resolve 8

DaVinci Resolve 8 is "a major new update to the world’s most advanced colour correction tool." Features include: stabilization, multi-layer timelines, XML round trip with FCP + Premiere, OpenCL support, noise reduction, and auto 3D alignment.

DaVinci Resolve 8, billed as “a major new update to the world’s most advanced colour correction tool”, is now shipping. New features include: stabilization, multi-layer timelines, XML round trip with Final Cut Pro and Premiere Pro, OpenCL support, digital noise reduction, and auto 3D alignment, writes David Fox.

Blackmagic Design claims it is the most widely used colour grading system for Hollywood feature films, commercials and TV shows.

It now works better with editing systems and gives graders more editing tools. Its new XML import/export combined with the multi layer timeline lets complex sequences from Final Cut Pro 7 and Premiere Pro be imported, graded and exported directly back into the NLE, with all the graded shots and the layer structure intact. If the edit is changed, Resolve 8 will automatically relink all the clips so the grades are preserved.

It has also added a variety of editorial tools, such as the ability to deal with placeholder effects (and can force a conform even if it doesn’t fit with the timecode). Clips can be adjusted and relocated, and it supports a lot of new transition types, so they can be changed during grading.

Its new noise reduction is GPU accelerated.

“It basically uses just one slider,” explained Alexis Van Hurkman, author of the Color Correction Handbook, who demonstrated a pre-release version at last week’s FCPUG London SuperMeet (pictured).

“There is a second slider for quality, and the higher the number the less processor power is needed, but a value of three is suitable for just about any situation,” he found. It is also possible to blend between the noise reduced and the original version.

“You can also control where the operations happen, so you can do a noise correction before or after your main grade.” He’s found that whether one or the other works better depends on the media. Users can also limit the noise reduction to a shape, or matte or colour.

Also new are hue curves. Users sample an area of an image, and apply the curve. “It gives fast results and the edges roll off really nicely,” he said. It is part of a simplified interface, to help editors adapt to Resolve. Its Curve Grading works the same way as editing software grading, but with the ability to customize the curves and give greater control with a variety of hue, saturation and luminance controls.

There is also a “very flexible” RGB mixer, which he demonstrated creating various greyscale (monochrome) effects with just three sliders.

DaVinci’s tracking technology has been extended to also do multi point image stabilization. “It has a very high quality scaler, so it can handle the necessary zoom too,” said Van Hurkman.

For stereoscopic 3D work, Resolve 8 has a powerful new automatic image alignment tool that aligns images between cameras.

It analyses hundreds of individual image points, so that the image is perfectly aligned between eyes, to produce sharper, more vibrant 3D images. Alignment takes seconds per shot and is completely automatic, so the colourist doesn’t need to select any settings.

Resolve now has OpenCL image processing, for GPU acceleration, allowing real time processing in HD. While OpenCL is not as powerful as the CUDA processing it also offers, it allows a wider variety of computers to be used for grading, such as Apple’s iMac and MacBook Pro.

Resolve 8 also supports the Avid Artist Color, Tangent Wave and JL Copper control panels and offers ALE export to relink graded DNxHD files back into Avid editors.

For productions shot on the Red Epic, Resolve 8 can also support Epic’s HDRx high dynamic range mode.

The $995 software is a free upgrade for existing DaVinci Resolve users.