DaVinci Resolve’s price has caught the attention of many filmmakers over the last couple of years. DaVinci’s tools have been helping professionals in the industry for a long time. But now their free software, DaVinci Resolve, along with their more advanced editing, DaVinci Resolve Studio, have become even more widely known. So which one should you be using?
Today, we’ll look into the price of both versions of the software and the tools included in each. By the end of this article, you should be ready to make an informed decision about which version is right for you.
A Comparison of DaVinci Resolve vs Studio
1. DaVinci Resolve (Free)
The free version of DaVinci Resolve, formerly known as DaVinci Resolve Lite, already has a lot to offer in its own right. This version has the capacity to do most of what your average solo filmmaker will need on a day to day basis. You can carry out multi-cam editing, animate your multimedia through keyframing or compositing, and add custom titles and transitions.
DaVinci generally markets itself to high-end production professionals, which means they can afford to pack a lot of features into a free software. So when you download the free version of DaVinci Resolve, you are not downloading a trial; there is no expiration date or watermark on your export! You will have the tools to start creating professional-grade projects at your fingertips from the get-go. This includes not only editing software but also world-class color grading tools, a compositing program (DaVinci Fusion), and an audio editing program (DaVinci Fairlight).
Some aspects of DaVinci Resolve’s free version that may fall short include its inability to work with 10bit color space footage. This could pose a problem for certain cameras, such as the Panasonic GH5. DaVinci’s free version also doesn’t let you collaborate with more than one user on a project, and your timeline in the program will have a limit of 4K UHD (3840×2160).
2. DaVinci Resolve Studio
Even if you decide to upgrade to DaVinci Resolve Studio, it’s worth noting that the paid version costs only $299. Not only is it extremely affordable when compared with other professional editing software on the market, but it is a one-time payment for a program. You will be able to update DaVinci Resolve Studio for free as new updates are released. It’s also worth noting you even get a free license for DaVinci Studio when you purchase a Blackmagic camera.
When DaVinci already offers so much value in its free version, it’s important to consider whether it is worth investing in Studio. When is it worth the upgrade? If you are working with high-end equipment or post-production workflows, then there are a few features that might make the paid version interesting for you.
If you are working in a collaborative environment where multiple people need to work on the same timeline at once, Studio may be for you. This is a feature that is only available with the paid version, and lets multiple team members, such as colorists and audio mixers, work simultaneously on a project.
While the free version of DaVinci Resolve can import footage with a resolution higher than 4K, if you want your timeline to share that high resolution, then you will need to upgrade to DaVinci Studio.
Noise Removal and Motion Blur
To access the advanced noise removal tools and motion blur or mist effects, it may be worth upgrading to DaVinci Resolve Studio. This can help to create a crisper image, particularly on projects with higher resolutions where extreme attention to image quality is important.
HDR Color Grading
High Dynamic Range color grading is supported in DaVinci’s Studio version. The increase in the color data of your image in HDR color grading can add some incredible vibrancy for higher-end projects that need to be Dolby or HDR10+ compliant.
Neural Engine AI
In the DaVinci Resolve Studio 16 update, Neural Engine AI technology was introduced. This technology includes a range of tools, including facial recognition, object removal, and auto-color matching. This could be useful for speeding up your workflow on complex visual effects. This may also be one of DaVinci Studio’s benefits that are not limited to those working in high-end post-production studios.
Improved Resolve FX and Fairlight FX Plugins
Expect to see even more advanced visual and audio plugins in DaVinci Studio. There are dozens, including stylized video effects from analog noise to a pencil sketch visual plugin.
Stereoscopic 3D Tools
This set of features included only in DaVinci Resolve’s paid version will help you to correct alignment errors and excessive color. This means you can always have better control over your viewer’s eye line, and keep their attention right where you want it.
As you can see, DaVinci Resolve has some pretty powerful tools on both versions of the program. The paid version, DaVinci Resolve Studio, may appeal mostly to those working on more advanced post-production.
However, there are one or two compelling reasons that could make solo filmmakers or small teams want to invest in it, too. With DaVinci Resolve’s price being so affordable, there’s not much to hold you back from making stunning audiovisuals.