By Bart Weiss
For the last several years, Blackmagic Design continues to be one of the first stops at NAB, and in recent years, it hasn’t been for the cameras but for the innovations in DaVinci Resolve, the color grading that has morphed into a full-fledged editor. Each year, it gets more robust adding sophisticated sound editing (Fairlight) and graphics (Fusion). This year, they have new cameras and new black boxes and new features all over Resolve, but I am most excited about the addition of a new page in Resolve, the Cut Page.
For those that have not worked in Resolve, instead of exporting or opening up another app, when going to different functionality, you just click to go to another page in the app. This is quick and helpful.
They promote the new cut page as a way for those that need to cut quickly to move faster. Especially for those doing Youtube videos, and that might be true, but I think the cut page can be useful for anyone editing to help get your first cut together, then you can just hit the edit page to do more detailed work.
The interface of Cut Page is designed to work with a laptop, which is again a great way to start your edit.
Looking at the interface, you can see two timelines. The top one shows you the whole project, and this is not just another view, it is an active timeline that you can trim or edit more shots around in. It’s a nice way to see the whole as you are working in the weeds.
The second timeline is unusual and might take a moment to feel comfortable with. Here, the cursor stays in the middle of the screen and the clips move around it. Once you get used to it, it works well.
The top left window, the bin area, has three ways to look at your footage. A clip icon video, a list view and a filmstrip view that will look familiar to FCP X users (as is much of this cut page). You can quickly skim through the filmstrip to get where you want.
On the top right side, you can see either the source clip, the timeline, or something special. Tape view. In this mode, you can see all of your footage at once. This can be really helpful to find something specific or to remember something you forgot about. This fixes something Walter Murch talks about in his book, “In the Blink of an Eye,” (which I strongly recommend you all read,) where he discusses how digital video editing loses the moments of finding footage while running through the film or tape reel to get the footage you needed. It was a pain and time-consuming, but occasionally looking through the dailies to get to the end of the reel, helped you fix a problem. And now this button gives us that back if we want it. Another great thing about this is, I just got back from a shoot, and I could get a quick view of my dailies. It even adjusts the speed of playback depending on the length of the show.
You can get a lot done in this page. When you hit the tools button, you can scale and crop, stabilize, re-time a shot, dynamic zoom (Ken Burnes effect), and more.
There are many other niceties like being able to export right out of this page, and a smart insert mode that will insert the shot closest to where the cursor is, so you don’t need to be right on it.
But this is a public beta you are working on, so there will be bugs around, but there has already been an update, and Blackmagic Design is very aggressive in updating software and taking user input on features. It’s also worth noting that there is a very robust version that is free. And at that price, it is worth exploring.
Bart Weiss is an award-winning filmmaker, educator and director/founder of the Dallas VideoFest and produces “Frame of Mind” on KERA TV. He was President of AIVF and was a video columnist for The Dallas Morning News, and United Features Syndicate. Bart received an MFA in Film Directing from Columbia University. www.videofest.org