DaVinci Resolve: The Free Version

Released: DaVinci Resolve Lite

Resolve's Node-Based Interface

BlackMagic has posted a Public Beta of DaVinci Resolve Lite: a free version of BlackMagic’s $999 DaVinci Resolvw for Mac. Here are the details from the Read Me:

DaVinci Resolve Lite includes all the same high quality processing of the full DaVinci Resolve. However it limits projects to HD resolutions or less, only two color correction nodes, a single processing GPU and a single RED rocket card. Stereoscopic 3D features, noise reduction, Power Mastering, remote grading, and sharing projects using an external database server are features only offered in the full DaVinci Resolve and so are not included in this free DaVinci Resolve Lite edition. Customers who want to eliminate these restrictions can purchase the full DaVinci Resolve Software for only US$995.

The removed features seem pretty reasonable. The 2-node restriction doesn’t allow for the more complicated Parallel, Key, and Mix nodes – which are ‘power user’ features. Yet it still supports a GPU + Red Rocket card.

BlackMagic has struck a nice balance between giving away a very powerful color grading solution but holding back enough key features that owners of the paid versions won’t complain too much.

The download can be found here. Select MacOS > DaVinci Resolve > DaVinci Resolve Lite then fill in your details to download this free app.

3-Way Color Subtab

Resolve 8.0.1 just introduced this new mouse-driven 3-Way interface

This Lite version is pretty big news but don’t lose sight of a brand new interface that makes this Lite version much more accessible to the people most likely to use it… mouse-only desktop colorists. That’s right, this new version of both Resolve for Mac and Resolve Lite now include a new 3-Way Color Panel. See my accompanying blog post about the new 3Way interface and the modifiers you can use with it to enhance your experience grading with a mouse on Resolve.

iMac and MacBookPro Support

One of the big features of version 8 is Open-GL support, allowing Resolve to run on non-Nvidia cards (except for the new Noise Reduction feature which is CUDA – only and requires one of the supported NVidia cards). This opens up DaVinci from being a tower-only app to also running on iMacs and MacBookPros. Due to the limited architectures of these machines, DaVinci describes the ideal workflows for these two particular configurations:

MacBook Pro

Ideal for ‘SD Grading and SD / HD Shot Preview’ suited for:

  • On-set, pre-grade, previewing and training
  • Real-time processing of SD DPX files
  • Apply shot by shot ‘look’ grades to HD images (for later grading in a MacPro or Linux workstation)
  • Supports internal SATA or SSD storage options (BlackMagic recommends the biggest internal SSD you can afford for the best performance)

iMac

Best for ‘SD or HD 720p Grading’ suited for:

  • Pre-grade, Previewing and Training
  • Realtime processing of 720p images
  • Preview, grade, render HD images
  • Internal SATA or SSD storage options (again, they recommend a big internal SSD for performance with FireWire, USB, or Internal SATA only for low resolution images if realtime performance is required)

Resolve & Lite: Supported Configurations

Lite may be free but it’s still powerful and requires a very modern Graphics Processing board in iMacs and MacBook Pros for it to work properly. Version 8 was re-written to support Open-GL – the programming language that Apple has embraced for it’s graphics cards. For MacBook Pros, here’s the relevant  requirements for optimal performance of Resolve and Resolve Lite:

The MacBook Pro contains two GPUs; one for high performance graphics and the other for better battery life. It is essential to enter the Energy Saver preferences, in the System Preferences of Mac OS X, and select the high performance graphics option. Failing to do so will render Resolve unusable. On the mid 2009 model, set the Graphics radio button to “Higher Performance”. On the mid 2010 and early 2011 models, disable the “Automatic graphics switching” checkbox.

At the time of its release (Late July 2011) here are the specific MacBook Pro Specs:

  • 17-inch, Mid 2009, 2.8GHz Core 2 Duo
  • 17-inch, Mid 2009, 3.06GHz Core 2 Duo
  • 17-inch, Mid 2010, 2.53GHz Intel Core i5
  • 17-inch, Mid 2010, 2.66GHz Intel Core i7
  • 17-inch, Early 2011, 2.2GHz Intel Core i7
  • 17-inch, Early 2011, 2.3GHz Intel Core i7
  • Operating System: Mac OS X 10.6.7
  • RAM: 8 GB

Also as of late July 2011, here are the specific iMac Specs:

  • 21.5-inch, Mid 2011, 2.5GHz Intel Core i5
  • 21.5-inch, Mid 2011, 2.7GHz Intel Core i5
  • 21.5-inch, Mid 2011, 2.8GHz Intel Core i7
  • 27-inch, Mid 2011, 2.7GHz Intel Core i5
  • 27-inch, Mid 2011, 3.1GHz Intel Core i5
  • 27-inch, Mid 2011, 3.4GHz Intel Core i7
  • Operating System: Mac OS X 10.6.7
  • RAM: 8 GB

What About Mac OS Lion?

According to an email I received from BlackMagic – Resolve 8.0.1 and Resolve Lite 8.0.1 Public Beta are both Lion-ready. Decklink users should update to the latest drivers, which are also Lion-ready. I myself haven’t had time to test it. I suggest running these configurations on a separate boot drive or partition to make sure everything is working properly before putting it into a production situation.

 



 


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Tao of Color is part of the DaVinci Resolve Beta team but purchased Resolve at full retail price and has not received compensation, goods, or services from any 3rd Party mentioned in this post. We hope, one day, this might change. Affiliate links are used throughout this website, sometimes resulting in a commission on sales (which helps support TaoOfColor.com) but without raising the price you pay by one cent.

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