To make an edit of your recordings, there is a lot of software available on the market. I have experience with Magic, Pinnacle Video Studio, Sony Vegas Pro, Adobe Premiere (Express, CS and CC), Final Cut Pro and recently also DaVinci Resolve Studio.
New updates of all these software packages are released almost every year. You can then obtain the new version on payment of an update price, and for the software packages with a subscription you can often download the update immediately when it is available. A few packages are an exception so far. Final Cut Pro (only available for Apple computers) costs around 325 euros and that price has remained unchanged since its introduction. Updates have also been free for over 12 years after its introduction. I haven’t had to pay an update fee since the first version that came out in 2011.
Two versions of the DaVinci Resolve package are available online. The version without Studio is the free version that can be downloaded from Black Magic Design’s website. As written earlier, there are differences between the free and Studio versions. Thus, anyone who wants to edit up to Ultra HD in 4K video will be fine. The free version uses one processor core, so if you want to make use of multiple cores you should switch to the Studio version. That is also suitable for working with footage filmed above Ultra HD (4K): 6, 8 and even 16 megapixels. The free version also lacks a small collection of effects that the Studio version does have, and so there will be a few more minor differences.
So why a free and paid version? DaVinci Resolve is a full editing suite that is over-complete in a software package. Whereas with Adobe, for example, you can use Prelude, Premiere, After Effects, Audition and Media Encoder, Resolve has actually integrated almost all those components into the same programme, which has very big advantages. For instance, you never have to export your work from one package to the other, and you’re also not stuck with the mess if there are incompatibility problems. In Resolve, even in the free version, you can find each component very easily accessible in the bottom bar. You can switch back and forth between screens without any problems.
From left to right you have the Media page, Cut page, Edit page, Fusion page, Color Page, Fairlight page and finally the Deliver page. From left to right, you have the entire professional workflow on your screen. Professional? DaVinci Resolve used to be a professional colour correction suite, bought by Black Magic Design years ago. Since then, engineers have worked hard on this software and built this over-complete suite.
Returning briefly to the price differences: The smallest packages are excellent for use on a PC with HD or Ultra HD (4K) video material. The price then averages 99 euros and can be purchased either in a box or online via a paid download. If you do everything online, make sure you have a good backup of your mail with data so that you can fall back on that when reinstalling.
The free packages include iMovie and DaVinci Resolve. The professional versions of these are similar in price. Both Final Cut Pro and DaVinci Resolve both cost around 329 euros. Updates are free until now. Then we have the software packages from Adobe, Avid and Sony Vegas Pro from Sony is available in different versions and has a subscription price between 12 and 25 Euros per month. With Adobe, you can get their full Creative Suite with all their applications for just over 50 Euro per month for the first year. After that period, you pay 63 Euro per month. With AVID you also have three different flavours; Media Encoder First which is free, the standard Media Composer costs 24 Euros per month and the Ultimate version costs 50 Euros per month. For hobby use, it might be advisable to compare everything carefully. For professional use, it is wise to factor that monthly recurring rent into your prices.
There is no such thing as free software. Of course, they would very much like to persuade you to the paid version. But it is entirely up to you to make that choice. Almost all packages are stable to work with, with exceptions, but with most brands you’ll be fine. Black Magic Design has an advantage: like Apple, it is a hardware company and they are also very keen to sell you their hardware which they can delve into a lot more. For instance, they have an extensive range of keyboard and controllers available that work very well with their software. So, if you really want to work professionally, it might be a very good idea to visit their stand at the IBC 360 which often takes place in September at the RAI in Amsterdam. Registration for this event is free until a certain date. All major brands will be there with a stand to advise and assist you.
My reason for choosing DaVinci Resolve Studio: it is a very comprehensive and totally integrated suite with similar capabilities that Final Cut Pro, Motion and Compressor have. Many features are, it seems, copied verbatim. With one big difference: the audio mixer. That part is largely missing from Final Cut Pro. I’ve written about it before on my blog. It is that part of the software that made it final for me. Many plugins I used from MotionVFX have now also migrated. So an excellent time to switch over. Possibly in the future, with sufficient use, I can expand this editing suite with the matching hardware for editing, colour correction and audio mixing.
I myself work on a MacBook Pro with one of the latest Intel processors, which will be succeeded by a MacBook Pro with the new Apple hardware in a few years’ time. DaVinci Resolve Studio is suitable for OSX (Intel and M-series processors) as well as computers running Windows and Linux. It works very quickly and stably so far. But it is quite a big step to make coming away from Final Cut Pro. But as with all software packages, it’s a learning curve you have to go through. By doing a lot, you can learn it fairly quickly.
Personally, I use several platforms: Youtube, Everlearn and Ripple Training. And as with the software, there are different price levels attached to these. Youtube is mostly free, but for those who want to know and learn more, many channel owners offer their own courses. These prices can vary between 150 and over 1,000 euros. Then Everlearn and Ripple Training are quite a bit more attractive with their prices for under 100 Euro per course. Those who sign up on their websites can also regularly take advantage of various promotions and/or discounts.
Personally, I work on a MacBook Pro with one of the latest Intel processors. DaVinci Resolve Studio is suitable for both OSX (Intel and Silicon processors), Windows and Linux. It works quickly and stably. But it is a big step to make coming away from Final Cut Pro. But as with all software packages, it’s a learning curve you have to go through. By doing a lot, you can learn fairly quickly. Quite honestly, with the updates that become available regularly, new features are also introduced and depending on whether you use them you will have to learn them again.
On YouTube, I follow a number of channels, including that of Darren Mostyn. As a professional colourist, he has been working with DaVinci Resolve for a very long time and he started his own Youtube channel in the corona period on which he regularly publishes new instructional videos:
The choices you have to make to turn your recorded footage into a video is not always easy. If you really can’t make a choice, it is wise to look around your neighbourhood to see if anyone can help you with that. Companies can often give you good advice, you can also send me an e-mail or ask if there is a video club operating in your area. Yes, they really do exist, I have given a talk several evenings for small groups of very enthusiastic hobby filmers. There are many people involved in photography and video. You will also come across them on various social media channels. And each user, like me, has their own tastes, opinions and experiences. So think of this story as a summary of some of the facts that I have experienced and take them into your decision, but also continue to inquire.
Good luck with building your own experience.