First hands-on look: DaVinci Resolve 11

First hands-on look: DaVinci Resolve 11

This article originally appeared on redsharknews. Read the original here

Blackmagic have made a habit of buying up companies, revamping the products and then re-releasing them at a massively reduced cost. Certainly that has been the case with DaVinci, with their Resolve colour grading software now available for a fraction of the price and the lite version for free. And they didn’t stop there, not only is Resolve now incredibly good value but the performance and capabilities get stronger with each new release.

Since the first release of DaVinci Resolve as a software only package Blackmagic have been steadily adding to the functionality and performance. With the release of Resolve 11 they have added more editing functionality and some indispensable on-set tools, whilst at the same time lifting some of the restrictions of the lite version to make it an absolute must have for anyone working with digital cameras.

Resolve is available for Windows, Mac and Linux and it will take adavantage of multiple graphics cards to process your grades in real time. If you are working on a lower specced system Resolve 11 now has multiple options for caching of media and grades to improve real time performance. Working on a Macbook Pro with Retina display I was able to maintain real time playback of my media at all times by tweaking the caching and proxy options so that I never felt that I was being held back by the hardware.

Resolve 11 can now support dual monitors and if you have a Blackmagic I/O card you can also have a reference monitor which can be calibrated. Both your UI and your reference monitors can have a LUT (Look Up Table) applied to them to ensure that you are seeing your media as intended.

Editing

The editing capabilities of Resolve have been extended with support for seperate video and audio edits and trimming. You can now use JKL controls for scrubbing and in fact you can load keyboard maps for Adobe Premiere, FCPX and Avid Media Composer, or indeed create you own custom keybaord mapping for all of the shortcuts.

There is now a broader range of video transitions and the titling tool has added functionality so that you could easily use Resolve to edit many projects without ever having to use another editing package. Of course there are still a range of options for sending projects to and from other packages including Avid and FCPX and these have been enhanced too, with many more settings directly supported in FCPX.

The User Interface has been given a revamp with the most obvious change that the viewer is now in the centre of the screen, with the Gallery panel to the left. The Gallery page has gone and it is replaced by the ability to expand the gallery panel into it’s own floating window when managing saved grades and looks.

Enhanced Raw

There are enhanced controls for dealing with raw format footage from the ARRI Alexa, RED or Blackmagic Cinema Cameras with far greater control over the look of the RAW media. This even allows photographers who are shooting in raw format to take advantage of the controls in Resolve and use it to grade their stills.

There is also a new Color Match tool, which will attempt to apply a neutral grade based on a reference color chip chart from X-Rite, DataColor or DSC labs. Simply shoot the chart on location and then drag a grid over the shot in Resolve to get a match. It works but you have to be quite careful about the lighting on the chart.

The grading tools are basically the same with some small ergonomic improvements, but you now have the option to apply OpenFX filters such as those from Sapphire as part of the node tree or as transitions. This makes look creation in Resolve even more powerful and certainly sets it far ahead of the grading tools in most editing packages.

One of the major new features in Resolve 11 is the ability for multiple users to collaborate on a project. This allows editors and colourists to work on different parts of a project simultaneously and to be able to update their timeline to accept the grades that have been made by the other users.

On-set tools

Another addition in Resolve 11 is the inclusion of on-set tools. The first is Resolve Live, which allows you to grab a still from the camera whilst shooting and apply grades in Resolve. The still is referenced by timecode and later when the media is brought into Resolve the Live grades can be automatically applied. The second is a new clone tool that allows cloning of Camera Media to multiple destinations simultaneously. All the copies are checksum verified so that you know you have perfect copies of your media. Incredibly this is included in the free version of Resolve so I would definitely recommend you get this even if just for the clone tool.

The other major thing is that Resolve Lite now has the ability to work at 4K resolution. Previously the Lite version was restricted to HD only but that restriction has now been lifted. Resolve Lite now also supports 2 GPU’s on the new Mac Pro and a single Red Rocket card.

The full version

So why would you buy the full version? The full version of Resolve supports Spatial and Temporal Noise reduction as well as Motion Blur and it also has full support for Stereoscopic projects which Resolve Lite does not. It also supports up to 8 GPU’s (on Linux, 3 on Windows or Mac) and remote grading which allows two Resolve systems in different locations to be connected and controlled by the colourist in one suite whilst the client is at the other location.

For a full comparison of the difference between Resolve and Resolve Lite, and all the new features in Resolve 11 take a look at this page on Blackmagics website, I warn you it will take a few minutes to scroll through the list!

So what are my overall thoughts about Resolve 11? I think it is amazing that Blackmagic design have managed to create such a well rounded, easy to use and incredibly capable editing and grading system. By providing the Lite version for free they have put Colour grading and look creation into the hands of anyone with a camera and I applaud them for that.

Want to know more? Give us a call on 03332 409 306 or email davinci@Jigsaw24.com. For all the latest news, follow @Jigsaw24Video on Twitter or ‘Like’ us on Facebook.


Jigsaw24 review: EIZO’s ColorEdge CG276 monitor

Jigsaw24 review: EIZO’s ColorEdge CG276 monitor

If you’re looking for a monitor for colour critical applications, the CG276 - EIZO’s flagship model in their ColorEdge range - certainly has the edge over other models out there. A 27” LCD monitor with a resolution of 2560×1440 pixels, the CG276 also comes with a host of other added features that show it’s designed for use in applications where colour fidelity is critical. 

The key specs

With DisplayPort, DVI-D and HDMI inputs (both the DisplayPort and HDMI inputs are HDCP compliant), EIZO’s ColorEdge CG276 will also accept 10-bit colour so it’s perfect for working with the latest digital video and stills cameras. It can also accept interlaced or progressive video inputs, and will accept 4K x 2K resolutions via its DisplayPort input then downscale them to its native resolution of 2560×1440.

EIZO's CG276 on Jigsaw24

The CG276 can be positioned horizontally or vertically on the included stand and it can tilt 25 degrees and swivel nearly 360 degrees. It even comes with a monitor hood to reduce glare from external light sources, and all the cables you’ll need (AC power cord, signal cables [DVI-D – DVI-D, Mini DisplayPort – DisplayPort] and USB cable) to hook it up to your machine.

Calibration

One of the most interesting features of the CG276 is the built-in calibration sensor which analyses the output of the screen. By selecting the calibration routine, either from the menu or from EIZO’s ColorNavigator software, the sensor pops up out of the bezel and the screen runs through a sequence of tests images to ensure that the display is properly calibrated.

EIZO's calibration sensor

By connecting the CG276 to your computer via USB you can access the calibration sensor and monitor settings. EIZO’s ColorNavigator software allows you to calibrate the monitor and save different colour profiles for different types of work. Monitor settings are then saved within the hardware so you don’t lose settings if you power down or experience a power failure (very handy!). You can also save or load LUTs (lookup tables) to match the monitor to settings that might have been used on set or at another location.

The monitor can even be set to auto-calibrate at intervals, even if switched off or not connected to a computer. You can also use an external calibration system like ColorMunki to match the monitor to other monitors or to match the output to other devices like smartphones and tablets.

Uniformity

EIZO have also incorporated digital uniformity equaliser technology which maintains a uniform brightness across the screen and even compensates for changes in ambient temperature. A common issue with reference monitors is the time it takes to reach a stable setting (often this can take 30 minutes from power on until the monitor stabilises), but the CG276 reaches a stable setting in just seven minutes.

Colour reproduction

The EIZO CG276 monitor’s 10-bit display capability and 16-bit lookup table allow it to show more than 1 billion colours, which results in smoother colour gradations. The colour range of the CG276 is excellent, covering 97% of Adobe RGB colour space and 100% of sRGB colour space. The front panel buttons allow you to switch between industry standard colour spaces including Rec. 709, EBU, SMPTE-C and DCI as well as Adobe RGB and sRGB. There are also three user-defined settings that can be customised as you wish.

Having the ability to display images in their correct colour space is incredibly important for many different applications. Obviously colour grading for film and TV needs to be viewed on properly calibrated monitors, but video editors also need to be sure that the grades they are applying to their material will look correct when broadcast or projected.

Being able to emulate portable devices is also very useful when so much content is now being viewed on tablets and smartphones, and the ability to match printer outputs is also vital in pre-press applications.

EIZO's colour reproduction

The verdict

Working with the CG276 was a pleasure - the 27” screen and the resolution of 2560×1440 pixels is perfect for Resolve and allows plenty of space in editing and compositing applications like FCPX, Premiere Pro and After Effects. The monitor handles interlaced and progressive video well and there was no lag or ghosting. It also has excellent uniformity, and gradients are smooth with no banding.

The ability to calibrate the monitor and work in different colour spaces is great for pre-press work in Photoshop and Illustrator, but also for editors and graphic designers working on content designed to be displayed on websites or portable devices.

Having a monitor that you know you can trust is crucial in today’s post-production environment where so much of the content is being switched from one colour space to another and being able to compare what your output will look like on different devices is incredibly useful. The CG276 even comes with a five year warranty so you have peace of mind that even if something does go wrong with it, you’re covered.

This is an ideal monitor for colour critical environments. If you work in magazine production, photographic studios, editing and colour grading facilities or 3D animation you should take a close look at the CG276 - I think you’ll like what you see.

EIZO CG276 on Jigsaw24

For more information and pricing on the EIZO ColorEdge CG276 monitor, give us a call on 03332 409 306 or email broadcast@Jigsaw24.com. For all the latest news and how-tos, follow @Jigsaw24Video on Twitter or ‘Like’ us on Facebook.

Jigsaw24 review: Sharp PN-321 IGZO monitor

Jigsaw24 review: Sharp PN-321 IGZO monitor

Sharp have released a 32” 4K monitor based on new IGZO display technology, which has smaller pixels and lower power consumption than typical LCD screens. We asked Red Shark’s Neil Roberts to take one for a test drive, as we thought the stable of demanding creative apps he deals with on a daily basis was just the thing to give this screen a workout. Here’s how he got on. 

Sharp's PN-321 4K Monitor

Sharp are launching their new PN-K321 32” monitor with a screen resolution of 3840×2160 pixels. At four times the resolution of HD, this is definitely an Ultra HD monitor even if it does fall slightly short of true 4K resolution.

Sharp PN-321 4K monitor from Jigsaw24

What is IGZO?

The panel uses new IGZO display technology. IGZO stands for Indium Gallium Zinc Oxide, a new compound that can switch states faster than previous LCD technologies, while also using less power. By using IGZO, Sharp have managed to create a display with four times the pixel density of previous displays but which only uses around 90 watts of power. 

The key specs

The monitor is 800mm diagonally (31.5”) but is only 35mm (1.4”) thick at its widest point, and weighs just 7.5 kilos without its stand. Connections include Displayport 2.1, which supports Multi Stream Transport mode – this allows the monitor to display Ultra HD images at 60 frames per second. It even has built-in speakers.

The display is 10-bit and displays 1.07 billion colours, so you’ll actually see your 10-bit footage in its true colours. Gradients are smooth, with no banding, and the colour range of the monitor is good but it does not cover the entire Adobe RGB or NTSC range, so while this is a good multi-purpose monitor it should not be considered a reference monitor for grading.

First impressions

Straight out of the box, the monitor is an understated grey monolith. There’s a stand included, which allows the monitor to be mounted either horizontally or vertically, but it cannot pivot between the two.

When the PN-K321 is mounted horizontally you can adjust the height of the monitor and it can swivel and tilt. The monitor also has standard VESA mounting points so it can be wall mounted or mounted on other types of stand. Power is provided by an external 19.5v power supply, so there is only a thin power cable running to the display.

The controls are concealed on the right hand side of the monitor, with buttons for power, menu, menu navigation and volume. The menu gives you access to standard picture controls and also three different sets of colour controls. All inputs are connected on the left hand side and, while there is a USB port, that might only be for service.

When first switched on and connected to a MacBook Pro the display was impressive: images were crisp and sharp, with the pixels being invisible from normal viewing distances. This is effectively a 32” Retina display.

Sharp PN-321 4K display article

The first thing you notice when opening applications like Resolve 10 or FCPX is that you have so much room to play with. I was able to run Resolve with the preview monitor at full HD but still have room for scopes and the rest of the interface.

Who’s it for?

This would be a fantastic monitor for editors working on FCPX or Premiere, After Effects and Photoshop users and 3D animators. Because there is so much space you can lay out your user interface with plenty of room for dense timelines and option windows, like scopes. And because it’s a single monitor, you no longer have to deal with the bezels of a two monitor setup. Then of course it is absolutely perfect for working with 4K media – it’s no surprise that this is the monitor that Apple chose to show with the new Mac Pro.

Loading 4K material into FCPX and playing it full screen was amazing; the footage looked crisp and vibrant with no scaling at all. The usual grid of pixels is just not visible, making the images look more like film transparencies.

The shots below were taken on my iPhone – hopefully you can see how huge the images look full screen and how close you’re able to get before you see any pixels, even if my phone isn’t quite 4K.

Sharp PN-321 4K display from Jigsaw24

Sharp PM-321 4K monitor

Want 4K and multitouch?

Sharp is also releasing a touchscreen variant, the PN-K322B, with ten-point multitouch. It will have a special stand that will allow you to lower the monitor down to a 25 degree angle to facilitate drawing on the screen. It will also come with a special pen and include palm rejection technology, so that your hand does not affect what you are drawing or writing.

This would be excellent for graphic designers and CAD users, but I can also see it as an interactive touchscreen display at points of sale or in museums and exhibitions. With such a high resolution the quality of the user interface and the on-screen content could be much finer than that we currently see.

In conclusion…

At £2899 ex VAT the PN-321 is not the cheapest monitor out there, but it certainly cannot be beaten for on-screen space. I really enjoyed having so much screen real estate available for the interface, and of course 4K material looked fantastic.

Want to know more about Sharp’s PN-321? Give us a call on 03332 409 306 or email displays@Jigsaw24.com. For all the latest news and reviews, follow @WeAreJigsaw24 on Twitter or ‘Like’ us on Facebook