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DaVinci Studio - Dongle or Card


EphraimP

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The instability of Premiere is driving me out of my mind. It's latest little quirk is to freeze up when opening existing projects so that I have to close it down, delete all temp files, rename the project and then reopen. 

Moving into 20201 my schedule drastically changes and I should have time to learn a new NLE, plus I have two big jobs lined up that involve tons of pretty basic editing of footage shot by everyday people with no particular camera training (basic color grading, audio adjustments for voice tracks, simple cuts). With Blackmagic throwing in the Speed Editor right now with DaVinic Studio purchases, it seems like the right time for me to finally pull the trigger. 

If I remember correctly, once you buy the Studio version, you are entitled to get the new versions that come out each year or two (e.g you can buy 17 now and get the upgrade to 18 in 2022). With that in mind, which option is better for transfering the software to different computers as you upgrade or changes systems over time, the dongle or card? Or does it even matter?

Any suggestions for particularly good tutorials for 1. basic NLE operations/software overview 2. creating a sequence and editing footage 3. color grading with no previous knowledge of DaVinci's node system and color controls (which seem to be very different in some regards to Premiere's Lumetri panel 3. Sound in Fairlight. I've messed around in the free version of 15 and 16 a little bit, but am not really comfortable enough yet to jump into a project for a client on it yet.

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Premiere was worse when I switched, but resolve still crashes for me. I turned on live save which saves all the time and it's less frustrating now...  Only lose a few minutes of work as opposed to like 15.

With all these new features in resolve it's bound to get buggier by release...

Still better than premiere though 🙂

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14 minutes ago, scotchtape said:

Premiere was worse when I switched, but resolve still crashes for me. I turned on live save which saves all the time and it's less frustrating now...  Only lose a few minutes of work as opposed to like 15.

With all these new features in resolve it's bound to get buggier by release...

Still better than premiere though 🙂

Geez, it's a bit disappointing to hear that DaVinci still crashes. I figure anything is better than Premiere though. It's pretty crazy when part of your workflow with a supposedly professional software is to save every 5 minutes and just expect it to lock and crash every so often or simply not be able to open perfectly fine working files it has just created. 

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If you have the license key, you can have at most 2 activations at a time. If you activate a 3rd computer, it will automatically deactivate on the other two computers. On an activated computer, if you go too long without it checking in with the server, it will not open. So for the license key, you need to have an internet connection at least periodically. With the license, if you have the key available then you can activate on any internet-connected computer at any time, no need to remember to bring a dongle if you are editing remotely. The dongle is perhaps slightly easier if you always have it on you, and it's necessary if you go off grid for a project and don't have internet, but it's also easier to lose, so there are tradeoffs in the edge cases either way.

It is true that once you buy a dongle or license, you get access to all future upgrades for free.

As far as crashing, yeah Resolve crashes from time to time. I've never had it crash every 5 minutes, more like once a day, and usually only when I'm working with the Fusion tab. Pretty much all complex software crashes sometimes. In my experience, Resolve is much more stable than Premiere. I do think that v16 was worse than v15 for crashing. I'm now using the v17 beta now and it has been very stable so far, so I'm hopeful that they are improving stability.

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7 hours ago, EphraimP said:

The instability of Premiere is driving me out of my mind. It's latest little quirk is to freeze up when opening existing projects so that I have to close it down, delete all temp files, rename the project and then reopen. 

Moving into 20201 my schedule drastically changes and I should have time to learn a new NLE, plus I have two big jobs lined up that involve tons of pretty basic editing of footage shot by everyday people with no particular camera training (basic color grading, audio adjustments for voice tracks, simple cuts). With Blackmagic throwing in the Speed Editor right now with DaVinic Studio purchases, it seems like the right time for me to finally pull the trigger. 

If I remember correctly, once you buy the Studio version, you are entitled to get the new versions that come out each year or two (e.g you can buy 17 now and get the upgrade to 18 in 2022). With that in mind, which option is better for transfering the software to different computers as you upgrade or changes systems over time, the dongle or card? Or does it even matter?

Any suggestions for particularly good tutorials for 1. basic NLE operations/software overview 2. creating a sequence and editing footage 3. color grading with no previous knowledge of DaVinci's node system and color controls (which seem to be very different in some regards to Premiere's Lumetri panel 3. Sound in Fairlight. I've messed around in the free version of 15 and 16 a little bit, but am not really comfortable enough yet to jump into a project for a client on it yet.

I completely lost my mind with Premier as well, not to mention that endless bill; right after the pandemic hit and all of my projects dried up I did the math: I'd spent a total of $3600.00 on Premier over the years. That same day I downloaded DR, uninstalled Premier and told myself I'll do whatever it took to learn DR. It took exactly one week 8hrs a day of YouTube and practice in Resolve to get just as proficient or even more so in Resolve than I had been in Premier and it was the best decision I could have made. With DR  the hardest part really is finding the settings. So much is not intuitive and you'll never find it without knowing where to look.  Other things are awesome like the color grading tools, warp stabilizer is way better, speed ramping is easier IMO, Fusion is built in, node color grading/editing is waaayyy better than AE layers, etc.

Anyway, I could talk about DR for hrs, as far as tutorials go, there are way more than there used to be on YouTube. For the basics Blackmagic Design has excellent video tutorials right on their website, I would go through their basic editing and color grading tutorials to start. If you have used Premier you are already familiar with editing in an NLE so DR really won't feel much different. You will just need to learn DR's quirks and how to find the different settings; Blackmagic's tutorials are great for that...the UI not so much.

As far as stability goes; I've found with DR it is way more stable than Premier as long as you don't use Fusion. Fusion is awesome....but I can't use much of it because it won't stop crashing long enough to do cool things with it. They have a standalone version (like AE) and I have been told that it is way more stable but it costs extra.  So if you aren't planning on doing any Fusion compositing and just basic NLE work (timeline editing, audio synching, color grading, etc.) then DR is rock solid stable if your system is set up properly and you have a supported video card configuration. I use a dedicated cache drive, I have my Anti-Virus set to not scan the dedicated cache drive, I have CUDA acceleration enabled (NVIDIA video card), the Studio version of the NVIDIA drivers vs the gameready version, and all of the caching settings configured as recommended. 

One thing you cannot do with DR is have any other GPU accelerated applications opened when it is open. I have complained to the developers for over a year now and they couldn't care less; if  you have Lightroom, Photoshop, PTGUI, or any other application open that uses GPU acceleration, DR will crash and become very unstable, its annoying to say the least. Also keep in mind that you may have to upgrade your video card to get DR to run smoothly because DR relies heavily on GPU acceleration. I upgraded from a GTX980ti to an RTX2080Ti in order to smoothly edit H264 and H265 4K 10bit footage without needing proxies.

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8 hours ago, EphraimP said:

The instability of Premiere is driving me out of my mind. It's latest little quirk is to freeze up when opening existing projects so that I have to close it down, delete all temp files, rename the project and then reopen. 

Moving into 20201 my schedule drastically changes and I should have time to learn a new NLE, plus I have two big jobs lined up that involve tons of pretty basic editing of footage shot by everyday people with no particular camera training (basic color grading, audio adjustments for voice tracks, simple cuts). With Blackmagic throwing in the Speed Editor right now with DaVinic Studio purchases, it seems like the right time for me to finally pull the trigger. 

If I remember correctly, once you buy the Studio version, you are entitled to get the new versions that come out each year or two (e.g you can buy 17 now and get the upgrade to 18 in 2022). With that in mind, which option is better for transfering the software to different computers as you upgrade or changes systems over time, the dongle or card? Or does it even matter?

Any suggestions for particularly good tutorials for 1. basic NLE operations/software overview 2. creating a sequence and editing footage 3. color grading with no previous knowledge of DaVinci's node system and color controls (which seem to be very different in some regards to Premiere's Lumetri panel 3. Sound in Fairlight. I've messed around in the free version of 15 and 16 a little bit, but am not really comfortable enough yet to jump into a project for a client on it yet.

Welcome to the DR club.  Come on in, the waters fine!

I think you have three main decisions in front of you - the first is if you want to focus on the Cut or Edit page first, the second is if you want to invest lots of time up front or learn as you go, the third is if you're going to use a hardware controller of some kind.  All have pros and cons.

I'm not sure how familiar you are with DR, so apologies if you already know this..  DR has two main edit pages, the Cut page and Edit page.  The Cut page is the all-in-one screen designed for fast turnaround and you can do everything inside it including import - edit - mix - colour - export, but its got limited functionality.  The Edit page is fully-featured but is a bit cumbersome in terms of needing lots of key presses to get to functions etc.  The Edit page also only focuses on editing, and is designed to be used in conjunction with the Fairlight and Colour and Delivery pages.

I think BM have decided to leave the Edit page mostly alone and are really focusing on the Cut page.  For example their new small editing keyboard is targeted at the Cut page but apparently doesn't work that well with the Edit page with buttons not working there, at least at the current time.  

I started using DR long before the Cut page, so haven't gotten used to it yet but if your projects are simpler then it might be worthwhile to get good at the Cut page to rough-out an edit and just jump into the Edit page for a few final things.  If you're shooting larger more complicated projects then it might be good to focus on the Edit page first.  Eventually you'll need to learn both as they have advantages.

The other major decision is if you take time to watch decently long tutorials, taking notes along the way, or if you want to jump in and just do a few quick tutorials to get up and running.  The first approach is probably better in the long run but more painful at the start.  I suspect you're going to have three kinds of issues learning it:

  • Finding the basic controls which every NLE has
  • Finding the more advanced things that DR will have but won't be named the same so are hard to search for
  • Accomplishing things when DR goes about it a different way than what you're used to (eg, differences in workflow) which will be impossible to search for

Learning deeply / thoroughly at the start will give you all three, whereas learning as you go will leave the latter two subject to chance, and potentially leave you less productive for months or years.  Plus it's pretty painful to go through the deep / thorough materials once you've already got the basics as much will be repeated.

If you're getting a hardware controller, at least for editing, then that can steer your other choices.  Like I said before, the new Speed Editor editing keyboard is designed to work with the Cut page, so that will steer you in that direction.  The other reasons I mention it is that it will give you clues about what things are called and the rationale of wider workflow issues, especially if you watch a few tutorials on how to use it as they will cover the specifics as well as at least nod in the direction of the concepts.  If you're going to get a hardware controller then now is probably the time, you can always sell it again if it doesn't fit your workflow or you change devices to a different one.  The Speed Editor is pretty cheap (in the context of edit controllers) so that might be something worth considering.  

Some general advice:

  • Make good use of the Keyboard Customisation - it has presets for other NLEs but is highly customisable so use that to your advantage
  • RTFM.  Even just skim it.  It is truly excellent, and is written by a professional writer who has won awards.  I open it frequently and keyword searching is very useful, assuming you know what stuff is called.  Skim reading it may answer a lot of more abstract / workflow type questions too.  It's long though - current version is 2937 pages, and no I'm not kidding!
  • Google searches often work - I didn't learn deeply and thoroughly when I started (as I didn't really know how to edit so much of it would have been out of context) so I do random searches from time to time, and I often find other people are asking the same questions as me, so this can help find things, or help you with what stuff is called at least.  Workflow searching unfortunately doesn't yield much help, at least in my assistance.
  • As questions here, EOSHD has a growing number of DR users, and even if we don't know, an experienced editor asking a question is useful to me as it gives away how pros do it, which helps me, so I often research questions for myself as much as for others.
4 hours ago, scotchtape said:

It depends on your luck I suppose, some will say they get no crashes with resolve. To be fair on v15 I got very little, but v16 crashes almost every other session. At least it has live save...

It seems so.  12.5 used to crash about 2-4 times per hour for me, but 16 basically hasn't crashed in weeks/months.  I think it's probably related to your software / hardware environment.

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3 hours ago, KnightsFan said:

If you have the license key, you can have at most 2 activations at a time. If you activate a 3rd computer, it will automatically deactivate on the other two computers. On an activated computer, if you go too long without it checking in with the server, it will not open. So for the license key, you need to have an internet connection at least periodically. With the license, if you have the key available then you can activate on any internet-connected computer at any time, no need to remember to bring a dongle if you are editing remotely. The dongle is perhaps slightly easier if you always have it on you, and it's necessary if you go off grid for a project and don't have internet, but it's also easier to lose, so there are tradeoffs in the edge cases either way.

Do you have to have the dongle plugged in to access DaVinci if you go that route? I thought you'd load it onto you machine via the dongle and then unplug it.

25 minutes ago, herein2020 said:

One thing you cannot do with DR is have any other GPU accelerated applications opened when it is open. I have complained to the developers for over a year now and they couldn't care less; if  you have Lightroom, Photoshop, PTGUI, or any other application open that uses GPU acceleration, DR will crash and become very unstable, its annoying to say the least. Also keep in mind that you may have to upgrade your video card to get DR to run smoothly because DR relies heavily on GPU acceleration. I upgraded from a GTX980ti to an RTX2080Ti in order to smoothly edit H264 and H265 4K 10bit footage without needing proxies.

Great info. I have a year-old machine with three NVMe drives and an RTX2080 Super, so I'm sure it's up to it. I always use Creator Ready Drivers. It will kinda suck at times not to be able to have Lightroom on InDesign open at the same time, but I'll manage that, I'm sure.

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4 hours ago, gt3rs said:

Dongle is a pita and a thing of the past get a license key. You can have two active and if you add one more it kicks out an old one simple and reliable I moved from dongle to key as soon as they made it available years ago and never look back.

Yeah, I think you're right. The ability to have two instances loaded on computers at one time is attractive. How does it do for team projects. I'm a one-man band, but it's getting to the point where I may want editing help on some projects just to keep up with the work I'm getting. Mainly, I might want to get someone sorting clips for me, weeding out footage I don't need, marking in and out points on b-roll and marking up interview footage so I can quickly go through it and cut something together. Can someone with a free version start a project and do this sort of stuff and then hand it over to me virtually if we both have copies of the OG clips?

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26 minutes ago, EphraimP said:

Yeah, I think you're right. The ability to have two instances loaded on computers at one time is attractive. How does it do for team projects. I'm a one-man band, but it's getting to the point where I may want editing help on some projects just to keep up with the work I'm getting. Mainly, I might want to get someone sorting clips for me, weeding out footage I don't need, marking in and out points on b-roll and marking up interview footage so I can quickly go through it and cut something together. Can someone with a free version start a project and do this sort of stuff and then hand it over to me virtually if we both have copies of the OG clips?

No way would I use a dongle, as others have said its a PITA. Also, when I made the jump to DR I was able to find an authorized vendor who let me order online and I had the key within 24hrs vs waiting for it to be mailed. 

As far as free vs. paid, I don't think that would be a problem as long as the footage is not 10bit footage and as long as the person using the free version does not need some of the paid Fusion effects. The main limitation that people run into is you have to have the paid version to edit 10bit footage.

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9 hours ago, kye said:

I think BM have decided to leave the Edit page mostly alone and are really focusing on the Cut page.  For example their new small editing keyboard is targeted at the Cut page but apparently doesn't work that well with the Edit page with buttons not working there, at least at the current time.  

I started using DR long before the Cut page, so haven't gotten used to it yet but if your projects are simpler then it might be worthwhile to get good at the Cut page to rough-out an edit and just jump into the Edit page for a few final things.  If you're shooting larger more complicated projects then it might be good to focus on the Edit page first.  Eventually you'll need to learn both as they have advantages.

I'll admit, I find the Cut page the most confusing thing imaginable, in fact I dislike it so much that I removed the tab from the UI. Even after watching their tutorials on it there was nothing I liked about it.  I would love to be able to click the mouse a little less and resize the UI a little less, but the Cut page just doesn't click for me. I also do a lot of work with multicam sequences, Fusion compositions, motion tracking, lower thirds Fusion titles, etc. so even if I learned the Cut page I think I would end up in the Edit page at some point.

 

9 hours ago, kye said:
  • As questions here, EOSHD has a growing number of DR users, and even if we don't know, an experienced editor asking a question is useful to me as it gives away how pros do it, which helps me, so I often research questions for myself as much as for others.

 

The Blackmagic Forum is a good place too, especially for Fusion questions. Hollywood grade VFX experts are actually hanging out on the Fusion forum and there's also more and more great YouTubers who post DR tutorials and they help a lot when I'm trying to figure out how to do something in Fusion.

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It's a great bit of software. There's no need for a dongle any more, if you have two machines activated and try a third it just de-registers the others, so it's all automatic.

The "Cut" page makes no sense to me, and remember that Fusion is a distinct piece of software that they've bolted in, so it's more like learning After Effects than a bit of an NLE.

But yeah I recently tried Premiere again out of curiosity and the terrible stability etc meant i didn't last long in it.

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1 hour ago, jgharding said:

It's a great bit of software. There's no need for a dongle any more, if you have two machines activated and try a third it just de-registers the others, so it's all automatic.

The "Cut" page makes no sense to me, and remember that Fusion is a distinct piece of software that they've bolted in, so it's more like learning After Effects than a bit of an NLE.

But yeah I recently tried Premiere again out of curiosity and the terrible stability etc meant i didn't last long in it.

It will be great if they ever get the Fusion integration right. As it stands now its an endless source of frustration. I'm always waiting for things to cache and the performance is terrible, simple things like Fusion titles cause the whole program to stutter, anything changes above or below a Fusion comp and the caching starts all over again..etc. etc. I think by DR20 they will have it where it needs to be. The rest of the program is already fantastic.

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52 minutes ago, herein2020 said:

It will be great if they ever get the Fusion integration right. As it stands now its an endless source of frustration. I'm always waiting for things to cache and the performance is terrible, simple things like Fusion titles cause the whole program to stutter, anything changes above or below a Fusion comp and the caching starts all over again..etc. etc. I think by DR20 they will have it where it needs to be. The rest of the program is already fantastic.

Yes it's not quite online yet is it? But it is phenomenally powerful... I recently used it to comp in some real VHS distortion using it as a luma displacement map, i had no idea whether I could, googled it, took 10 minutes on YT tutorial and it was done!

With an RTX3080 that was basically realtime. But it needs work for sure. It loves crashing.

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9 hours ago, herein2020 said:

I'll admit, I find the Cut page the most confusing thing imaginable, in fact I dislike it so much that I removed the tab from the UI. Even after watching their tutorials on it there was nothing I liked about it.  I would love to be able to click the mouse a little less and resize the UI a little less, but the Cut page just doesn't click for me. I also do a lot of work with multicam sequences, Fusion compositions, motion tracking, lower thirds Fusion titles, etc. so even if I learned the Cut page I think I would end up in the Edit page at some point.

The Blackmagic Forum is a good place too, especially for Fusion questions. Hollywood grade VFX experts are actually hanging out on the Fusion forum and there's also more and more great YouTubers who post DR tutorials and they help a lot when I'm trying to figure out how to do something in Fusion.

I also don't get it, although I suspect this is more because my projects are too disorganised at the start (multiple cameras without timecode) and my process is too disorganised during the edit.  

One thing that might be useful for you, and which I use all the time, is the Source Tape viewer.  It puts all the clips in the selected bin into the viewer in the order that they appear in the Media viewer (ie, you can sort however you like) and you can just scrub through the whole thing selecting in and out points and building a timeline.  The alternative to that in the Edit page is having to select a clip in the media viewer, choose in and out points, add it to the timeline, then manually select the next clip.  Having to manually select the next clip is a PITA, and I don't think you can do it via key combinations, so it's a mouse - keyboard - mouse - keyboard situation, rather than just hammering away on the keyboard making selects.

The impression that I got from their marketing materials and the discussion around launch was that it was for quick turnaround of simpler videos like 30s news spots, vlogs, or other videos that are simpler and require a very fast turn-around.  They even mentioned that the UI has been designed to work well on laptop screens, which further suggests that editing in the field because of fast turn-around times is a thing.  Watching how YouTubers clamour over themselves to 'report' from conferences like CES, Apple events, etc, trying to be first comes to mind.

If you were a YT or 'reporter' who shoots in 709, does a single-camera interview / piece-to-camera and then puts music and B-Roll over the top, puts on music, end cards (pre-rendered) and then hits export, it would be a huge step up in workflow.

I suspect that it's just not made for you.  I don't use multi cams, Fusion, or even Fairlight, but the Cut page is still too simple for me.

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