Blackmagic Design’s new DaVinci Resolve 18.5 is a major update that includes new AI tools, AI audio classification and USD file support. Among the over 150 feature upgrades are Resolve FX relight, speech-to-text editing and automatic subtitling. New menus have been developed on the Cut page that help users to work faster.
DaVinci Resolve 18.5 introduces many new tools – in particular, four new AI tools. Editors can now transcribe audio within clips to search for media based on narrative content, or to quickly generate subtitles for timelines with the automatic speech to text feature. DaVinci Neural Engine AI can analyse and automatically sort audio clips based on classification, and on the Fairlight page, audio tracks can now be grouped for faster mix automation and editing.
It’s now possible to initiate remote monitoring using just a Blackmagic ID and a session code, without having to deal with IP addresses and port forwarding. Users can stream to multiple computers, iPad tablets or iPhones, all at the same time.
Blackmagic Cloud and Cloud libraries.
Teams can also export their timeline to the Blackmagic Cloud using the new Presentations feature, now in public beta, for people with project libraries. A group of people using Presentations can review their timeline, leave comments or share a live chat. Comments will appear as markers on the DaVinci Resolve timeline, which allows the operator to act on thr feedback quickly.
On the Color page, DaVinci Resolve colour management can now be configured at timeline level. Any existing custom timelines are automatically initialised to colour management settings from the project. This allows timeline and output colour spaces to be set independently per timeline for projects with mixed media.
With the new Relight FX tool, you can add virtual light sources into a scene and use them to creatively adjust environmental lighting, fill dark shadows or change the mood. Light sources can be directional to cast a broad light, a point source or a spotlight, and be adjusted for surface softness and specularity.
The Color page viewer now supports marker overlays and annotations for timeline and clip markers. A new option for vertical aspect ratio output makes creating content for social media easier.
Speed and Flexibility for Editors
The three new menus – timeline options, timeline actions and edit actions – introduced to the Cut page timeline add speed and flexibility for editors. They include tools to toggle ripple editing (see below), trim edit points to the playhead, resync audio or change the appearance of the timeline, for instance. Scene cut detection is also now possible directly on the Cut timeline. Choosing ‘detect scene cuts’ analyses selected clips for content and places cut points automatically on every new edit in the rendered clip. Users can modify or remove trim points as needed.
Previously edits were always rippled, but now the Cut page has a new ripple button that enables and disables this feature. Disabling the ripple button, preserves the duration of the edit and makes it possible to create gaps in the timeline. You can also hold the option key to disable rippling for one edit only.
Split A/V allows the edit point for video or audio to be adjusted separately, dragging the lower part of a clip to separately adjust the audio track, allowing the dialogue to be heard before or continue after the video clip is seen. Editors can now creatively focus visual attention on the scene using audio to add interest, drama and even tension to dialogue scenes on the Cut page.
Speech to Text
The auto subtitle feature on the Cut and Edit pages transcribes speech to text automatically into a subtitle track on the timeline. To activate, click ‘create subtitles from audio’ in the timeline menu. Once analysed, individual captions can be modified in the inspector.
Speech to text editing has also been added in the ‘transcribe’ feature which automatically transcribes video and audio clips. Customers can search for specific terms or jump to the section of a clip where a word appears. Instead of listening to entire scenes or interviews, customers can quickly locate the topic they need and add it to their timeline, saving considerable time.
Timelines and OTIO
Support for the OpenTimelineIO (OTIO) interchange format and API makes importing and exporting timelines from other NLE applications faster and easier. OpenTimelineIO (OTIO) is an API and interchange format for editorial cut information. Similar to an EDL, its API allows you to read, write and manipulate editorial data. OTIO supports metadata for clips, timing, tracks, transitions, markers and metadata, and for information about the order and length of cuts. However, embedded video or audio are not supported and must be referenced externally.
In Preferences, users can also now backup and restore their work more easily by enabling per timeline backups. Modified timelines will be backed up locally for both collaborative and non collaborative projects on local, network and Blackmagic Cloud project libraries, improving the security on multiple-user projects.
VFX in Fusion
Fusion now supports USD (Universal Scene Descriptor) files for collaboration between VFX artists. Once USD data such as geometry, lighting, cameras, materials and animation are imported, users can then use Fusion’s new USD tools to manipulate, re-light and render files using Hydra-based renderers such as Storm.
Using Fusion’s new USD tools
The new multi-merge tool merges numerous media sources into a single multi layer stack, helping the user to create composites by merging clips, stills or graphics using layers. Each layer has its own controls so that, even after merging, individual properties like position, size and apply modes can still be changed. The native AI-based Depth Map tool is now also supported in Fusion Studio.
Audio engineers are now able to combine related audio tracks or mixer channels into groups, in order to share mix automation or editing operations. When creating groups, you can determine the parameters they will share. Groups can be nested as well, or temporarily suspended to quickly switch focus to smaller groups or individual tracks.
The DaVinci Neural Engine can now classify audio clips based on their content, to help you speed up your editing choices faster when reviewing unfamiliar material. After analysis, audio clips appear in bins categorised for dialogue, music and effects with specific sub categories such as explosions, water or insects.
Fairlight edit and mix groups.
When using elastic wave processing to retime audio clips, the new ‘voice’ option preserves natural sounding dialogue or singing, giving high quality results when changing the speed, even when using more extreme keyframing.