DaVinci Resolve is one of those unusual video editing programs: complete, extremely powerful, but completely free.

There is some logic behind this decision: Blackmagic Design, the company behind the tool, sells a lot of hardware that complements this impressive free video editing software for professionals, so this business model must somehow subsidize the work done on Solve.

There is an even more powerful version called DaVinci Resolve Studio, which includes over 50 advanced features on top of what Resolve offers. It's available for €295 for a perpetual license, which means that all future updates, no matter how big, will now be free for you. The video editor even includes its own VFX software, Fusion, one of the best Adobe After Effects alternatives for designers.

When we tested DaVinci Resolve 17, we called it "unbelievably impressive software." It may seem overwhelming at first glance because it's so comprehensive, but that's because it has almost everything you need to catalog, organize, edit, modify, and compose your video project, at a very high price.

With DaVinci Resolve 18 now in beta and ready for release, we take a look at what's new, improved, and what to look out for in DaVinci Resolve version 17.4.6.

  • DaVinci Resolve (Black) on Amazon for €579.99 (Opens in a new tab)

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The resolution is huge and fortunately it is divided into different “pages”. There's one to review your 'Media', one to prepare and 'Cut' your footage, and one to 'Edit', although you can also edit in 'Cut'. "Fusion" allows you to assemble and apply effects to clips through a node-based interface (it's more confusing and less straightforward than other FX editors, but it's also extremely powerful). “Color” is where color grading takes place, “Fairlight” is for heavy audio manipulation and work, and “Deliver” focuses on exporting your finished product.

While it's not a huge jump in version numbers, this iteration of Resolve still contains a host of improvements, from subtle interface tweaks to big under-the-hood performance improvements.

We'll take a look at a few that caught our eye, as we experiment with a video editor that we consider to be one of the best alternatives to Adobe Premiere Pro.

Editing improvements

Create your own custom shortcuts, now including the ability to switch between timeline tabs. (Image credit: Blackmagic Design)

The Edit page is where you can spend most of your time. This is the section of Resolve where you build your video, one clip at a time, and it has received many small but very useful changes that should be welcome in most workflows.

For example, it is now possible to quickly mark a gap in your timeline with In and Out points using a simple keyboard shortcut. This allows you to fill that gap extremely quickly with a selected clip from the media pool. Anything that eliminates a few seconds of work is a plus in our book.

Lorsqu'il s'agit de travailler avec de l'audio directly from the chronologie, vos options sont assez limitedées, mais vous avez toujours pu modifier le gain en faisant glisser la ligne de volume d'un clip vers le haut ou vers the bass. The downside was the difficulty of making precise changes. Up to this point. All you have to do now is hold down the Shift key while dragging to get finer control over the volume of this clip.

If you're working on a complex edit, you probably have multiple timelines open at once. As before, they all appear as tabs that you can click to toggle, but now you can use the customizable hotkey feature to set a shortcut to the “Next Tab” and “Previous Tab” commands. It is strange that such shortcuts are not set by default.

Composite preview mode in DaVinci Resolve

Hover over the composite mode menu to see an instant preview of the effect. (Image credit: Blackmagic Design)

If you like to play around with visual effects, the Fusion page is the place to be, though you'll find plenty of other areas available for easier editing. The Composite Mode menu on the Video tab is one. Before this update, you had to select a new mode to see how the effect looked on the chosen clip and the one below it. If I didn't know which one to choose, it would take many round trips through this menu to select one, then choose another, then another, and another.

You know how much we love it when video editing software saves us time, and now that tedious process is no longer necessary. Simply hover over the menu and the main preview section will instantly show you what the mod you hovered over will look like, eliminating tons of guesswork and drastically speeding up the selection process. When the improvements are so big, you end up wondering how you ever managed without them and why it took so long to implement them.

details in the cut

Text Enhancements in DaVinci Resolve Free Video Editor

The text tool has received many improvements. (Image credit: Blackmagic Design)

You'll also find improvements in other places, like on the cut page, where you can easily access your transitions, for example. By default, Resolve and many other video editors assume that you want a transition between two clips to be placed right in the middle: half in one clip, half in the other.

Some let you place such a transition entirely on one of those clips, for example, but Resolve now does it better: by holding down Command or Control (depending on which platform you're using), you can asymmetrically trim the video or audio transitions . , giving you precise control to get the effect exactly how you want it.

You'll also find additional controls in the Text tool, which has seen many improvements, including support for blended glyphs, and finally, right-to-left support.

Asymmetric transition in DaVinci Resolve

A quick keyboard shortcut makes it easy to set up asymmetric transitions. (Image credit: Blackmagic Design)

Color and Fairlight

Color management in DaVinci Resolve free video editing software

Simplify your color management with a new Color Science menu option. (Image credit: Blackmagic Design)

Perhaps the most interesting addition in "Color" is "automatic color management" in the form of the "DaVinci YRGB Color Managed" option. When enabled, your options are greatly reduced as Resolve automates much of the process, simplifying your workload.

And when it comes to audio editing jobs, you'll find multi-channel support for Linux systems and VST3 plug-in support for Mac and Windows.

You'll also surely notice the manual plugin controls on each channel strip, allowing you to drag to rearrange plugins, move them to another channel, or drag to duplicate them.

Delivery time

Bookmarking Chapters in DaVinci Resolve Free Video Editor

Select color markers to use as chapters for Quicktime, MP4, and YouTube exports. (Image credit: Blackmagic Design)

One thing to keep in mind when it comes time to export your work is its ability to color code markers, allowing you to specify what color you use for chapter markers. That way, when you go to "Deliver", you can set that color when saving the file in QuickTime or MP4 format. This also works when you upload the video directly to YouTube, so you don't have to do it manually later.


Let's not forget all the internal updates that have been carried out. Like Adobe Premiere Pro and Final Cut Pro, Resolve is now fully compatible with Apple's M1 Pro and M1 Max chips, and you'll see significant performance improvements when working with these chips.

Blackmagic information claims up to 5x faster boost, and these chips can handle up to 12 streams of 8K images.

Blackmagic RAW 12K file decode speeds are now 3x faster, and the DaVinci Neural Engine performance is up to 4x faster for real-time face detection, object detection and smart cropping.

final verdict

DaVinci Resolve is a tough app to beat. It's incredibly powerful, regularly updated, and to top it all off, it's free. This puts many competing programs to shame. The only drawback is that so much power leads to a complex interface.

But if you're serious about video editing, this shouldn't overwhelm you, and you're perfectly capable of sticking to the Cut and Edit pages, for example, leaving the more difficult pages for later. They will always be there when you are ready for them.

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