Thursday, April 15, 2010

Blackmagic Design brings DaVinci color correction to the masses

Talk to any professional colorist, and nine times out of ten they'll tell you that they love DaVinci's color correction systems. Yes, they can use the color correction systems that Avid, Adobe or Apple build into their software, but they don't have the power and flexibility of DaVinci.

About a year ago, Blackmagic Design acquired DaVinci. A lot of eyebrows were raised, since DaVinci systems were very expensive ($150,000 to $200,000 USD to start) and the most expensive Blackmagic Design product to that point was a fraction of the cost of even the cheapest DaVinci system.

At NAB this week, Blackmagic Design announced a $995 software version of DaVinci Resolve for the Mac. Mac buyers need a compatible control surface, such as the Tangent Wave, which costs approximately $1,600 (USD), a supported nVidia graphics card, and a Decklink HD Extreme 3D card for video input. Or, they can opt for DaVinci's own control surface, which adds $29,000 to the price. But for most videographers, they can get into Resolve for under $10,000, even if they don't already own a Mac Pro.

If buyers want to fully replicate the functionality of previous versions of Resolve, they can purchase the Linux version for $19,995 which supports up to 16 GPUs, plus the Resolve control surface for $29,000. By the time you purchase a multi-core Linux workstation (or workstations) with lots of RAM, hard disk and 16 graphics cards, you can hit $150,000, but you've got a system that performs as well or better than DaVinci's previous $800,000 solution.

I'm not a colorist, but I've spent days in a color correction suite with a professional colorist working on an earlier version of Resolve. It's an amazingly powerful tool, and to think that the same basic capability that took an entire room full of equipment five years ago is now available to anyone with a powerful enough Mac is mind-boggling.
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