Technically Speaking

Technology

November 8, 2019

Technically speaking, our editing crew has come to a bit of a divide within the office. We have invested in the Adobe Suite software for about a year and a half now, a decision that was made based on the staff’s preference and knowledge at that time. This software allows us to edit and cut video and audio, animate graphics, manipulate photos and text, build websites, design layouts for print and so much more related to media, using several applications within one “suite” or subscription. We all use the program called Premiere Pro, within the suite, for video editing purposes. However, since technology is constantly changing and upgrading, we became alerted to another editing possibility: DaVinci Resolve.

DaVinci Resolve is an editing software owned by Blackmagic, and has two versions: one application that is free, and one with extra features that can be purchased on its own, or actually come free with a purchase of a Blackmagic camera. Over the last couple years, DaVinci Resolve has become more appealing to video editors, not only because of its free version, but because it has improved its workflow, design and accessibility. We have recently invested into two Blackmagic cameras so having an additional option for editing software has us all intrigued.

Jessica Jones, our Production Manager says, “I’m not opposed to learning DaVinci Resolve, I’m all about expanding my education, but I have been perfecting my Premiere Pro skills for almost ten years, so the confidence and pride I have now may not be there when transitioning to DaVinci Resolve. I’m afraid it will take me longer to do my job and I might fall behind, unless it really is as easy a transition from what I’ve heard. The fact that DaVinci Resolve has a free version is definitely appealing to me.

“However, that fact doesn’t seem to matter much since our crew does use various other Adobe programs that involve photos and web/graphic designs. DaVinci doesn’t have that extensive capability and can’t integrate with the Adobe Creative Suite programs, so my skepticism lies within the limitations, and then are we really saving money if we have to continue the Adobe subscription for other capabilities anyway? Not to mention, I’m suspicious that learning DaVinci will get me hooked and then start charging at some point and we’ll be in the same position we were at the beginning of this debate!

Our two Blackmagic Ursa Minis

Brian Goding, our in-house Cinematographer, states, “I really enjoy how DaVinci integrates all facets of post production in one easy to use, intuitive and very powerful FREE software. It’s also nice to have a software that integrates with the cameras we use so well. I’ll be looking forward to getting to know the software better in the future.”

Rebekah Nappa, Production Support, remembers her experience with video editing software. “My earliest memory of digital editing was with the Intel Play Digital Movie Creator. It was an all-in-one package that had an oblong blue camcorder and a CD with a video editing program on it. The device could only record 4 minutes of video before having to upload it to a PC. A few years later, I switched over to Mac computers and learned iMovie. In my senior year of high school I used Final Cut Pro 7. I didn’t learn about the Adobe Suite until I went to college. There I worked with Premiere Pro and After Effects on a regular basis, totally forgetting the existence of Final Cut Pro. I feel very comfortable and confident with my skills in the Adobe programs, as I have made several projects over the years with them. I still see room to grow and always enjoy spending time outside of work trying to learn new tactics and new tricks with these tools. However, I have taken a few classes that have introduced DaVinci Resolve and I am intrigued. I have watched a few tutorials and I am surprised at the new way it is displaying digital video editing. Although it’s downloaded on my computer, I find I am still using Premiere Pro on a daily basis. Should I get out of my comfort zone? Or should I continue to master what I already know?”

Avid Logo

Johnny Nappa, our intern, explains, “For a long time Avid Media Composer was THE editing software that the industry professionals used. For a time there was Final Cut, but they quickly removed themselves from the professional level to appeal to the everyday consumer level. At that point, the Adobe Creative Suite had taken the idea of Avid, and made a slightly different, debatably easier style of editing with Premiere Pro, whilst not dumbing it down. Premiere Pro was the next step in the evolution of digital editing; but now, the latest step in that evolution has already reached our doorstep. DaVinci Resolve allows me the editing styles of both Premiere and Avid, as well as incorporating many new styles and features. What’s even better, it allows me most of the tools I already use from the video editing programs within the Adobe Creative Suite, all within one application. The basic timeline editor, the effects editor, the sound editor, and the industry-standard color correction are all one click away from each other, so I don’t have to keep opening massive applications every time I want to make a slight edit. DaVinci Resolve provides me everything I use with Premiere Pro, and gives me options to do more, all within a cleaner, nicer looking, user friendly, less expensive application. As someone who must sometimes sit at a computer for hours at a time, I’d much rather have Resolve’s nicer-to-look-at, simpler, and friendlier interface. In my eyes, it beats the Adobe Creative Suite’s video software in every category when it comes to the features I need in the editing process.”

Neil Shelley, our Technical Production Consultant states, “Adobe’s Premiere Pro is currently an industry standard and is a trusted software for the completion of nearly any digital video project. However, it has its limitations, one in that it is permanently attached to the suite of programs that Adobe wants to charge a hefty monthly fee for. While the Adobe Creative Suite tries their best to satisfy all forms of creative digital media content creation, Blackmagic’s DaVinci Resolve is entirely and only based on digital video. DaVinci Resolve has a much more friendly and simply looking interface than Premiere, however the program has exponentially expanded over the past few years by adding other entire pieces of dedicated software, essentially making DaVinci Resolve a suite of programs, that live inside one application. As such, the ceiling to learn DaVinci is much higher, the dedicated media management, editing, VFX, audio, and color correction tabs are essentially separate programs, all each very powerful. You don’t need to learn all of them, but the ceiling, and possibilities with DaVinci is nearly endless. With that being said, one of the most surprising and appealing things about DaVinci is the non-existent price tag. Simply put, no other creative software has as much functionality and power while being so inexpensive and accessible as Davinci Resolve. Do you need to learn it now? No. But you may very well have no choice in the future.”

While we as a team, plan and hope to be well versed in both programs to provide the best quality for the organizations we work with, we can’t yet collectively say which software is better. We all have our different preferences for different reasons, and really, isn’t that the great thing about creativity? Having options? We’d love to hear your thoughts. Do you use either software? What are your pros and cons? Feel free to send us your thoughts to info@stormwarriors.org

Answer the Call

Want to stay informed? Sign up below to receive newsletters, updates, announcements, and more from the Storm Warriors community.

Get Involved

Storytelling School

SWMF trains storytellers through Storytelling School, a free online self-guided course on how to become a storyteller for social good. We also conduct workshops in classrooms to explore issues through the making of student documentary films.

Get Started

Donate

We are funded by donors who see the value of providing free communication tools to non-profits who otherwise could not afford to tell their story or make others aware of the critical issues they address. We couldn’t do it without you.

Donate Now

Explore

What are the metaphorical “storms” that surround us today? Our media foundation fights against hunger, addiction, domestic violence, sex trafficking, climate change, forced migration and other local and global issues.

Explore