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The Definitive Guide to Davinici Resolve 15 - official BlackMagic training materials.

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    The Definitive Guide to Davinici Resolve 15 - official BlackMagic training materials.

    This is my on going review of the book "The Definitive Guide to Davinici Resolve 15. This is part of the official BlackMagic training for this software. This will be a multipart review as I work through the sections so watch for edited entries.

    First, let's start by commenting on the title. The word "Definitive" suggests all encompassing and is a stretch. However if they had put the words (an introduction) below the title, I'd be in agreement.

    Who is this book good for? I would say this specific book would be good for the person who has never used a real professional NLE before. I find concepts dragging a little for my current knowledge, but I also find that most things are explained really well, even if things start off a little slow for me. This opinion may change as I get into unfamiliar territory like Fairlight and Fusion, and deeper into the concepts of color correction and grading.

    PART 1

    I am most of the way through the "editing" section. They provide good explanation of the basics of editing and the basics of moving media into a project and timeline. They aren't spending as much time on keyboard shortcuts as I'd like, still a lot of clicking on things. I'm also finding that they really should have included a removable keyboard shortcut list with the book, or as a cheap optional purchase (or even a PDF in with the downloaded media!). I had to track one down from Logic keyboards. I will also say that it doesn't help that I have Media Composer stickers on my keys. I could map Resolve's edit functions to MC keys, but I try not to do that when working through guided educational materials because it causes confusion. I'll probably end up using an X-Keys XK-68 Jog control panel for everything once I get going. Anyway, lots of adding clips to timeline, unlocking audio, locking audio, chopping out parts of a clip, moving a clip, etc. Good basic stuff. The next couple of chapters are on basic trim functions and I've skimmed through those chapters but have not gone through the exercises yet. They go over a bit of media management, getting clips into the overall media bin, some things you can do in the bins, and ways to automatically organize clips into sub bins (smart bins based on keywords added to the clips). As mentioned the basic editing skills. Some basic audio manipulation in the edit mode, basic titles, basic transitions. Fairlight has one chapter (part 2), Fusion has one chapter (part 3), color tools has 4 chapters (part 4), then on to delivering and database base management (part 5 and 6). I'll probably leave a placeholder of part 7 for a summary in case it is needed.

    The media is good and clean, not stupidly over compressed, and my laptop is handling the clips very well (i7-6700, 16GB, external USB3.1 G-Tech 4TB drive, 2.5k wide display).

    They have the media organized nicely for the different concepts you are working through with multiple timelines to go over the specific skils. So far overall I like the way this book has been written.
    Last edited by Greg_E; 01-12-2019, 10:49 AM.

    With my trusty helper by my side, I finally sat down on a very snowy evening to go through the audio sections. No real surprises here, audio controls in the "edit" mode are pretty basic and pretty similar to anything else you have used. You can adjust levels by dragging a bar, typing a value, keyframing changes, and there is a peak nomalization function. Pretty blah but it will get you working if you don't know what to do. Moving into the Fairlight chapter and it is pretty much the same. They run you through copy/paste, recording a track, making tracks mono from stereo... Went into a de-hum effect slightly (only worked OK, I expect a better implementation in the Fairlight book). Again, pretty basic stuff to get you working in that part of the interface, nothing mind boggling here but good for people who once again, have never used an NLE or DAW.

    One thing they spent a lot of time on in the "audio in edit" mode was markers. Most of you have probably used markers forever. If you haven't been using markers to "tag" portions of your clips, then this may be new to you. You can apply markers to a single moment in time, or you can spread them out to cover a region of time. They are searchable in the index, clickable in the index to move the play head to them, and of course, you can scroll through them with keyboard shortcuts. But you can also turn them into in/out points which could be useful if you are using them as a rough cut, especially in log clips that you would normally want to subclip. May not need the subclip function if you are using markers, not positive though.

    Thankfully it is on to different media for the next chapters, getting tired of the short bits of "Age of Airplanes"
    Attached Files
    Last edited by Greg_E; 01-19-2019, 06:15 PM.


      Fusion - while this is only a single chapter and clearly labeled as an introduction, I found the info. very good. This is reaching into unfamiliar territory for me. They start off having you doing a basic CGI overlay with a little softening (blur), painting some reflections, and a vignette to isolate the actress. Again pretty basic stuff but also one of the more common things to do (blend two or more nodes). Next you move on to a green screen matte/mask, refine the settings for a clean key, and then a little motion tracking to keep a CGI insert in frame with a handheld camera. Then on to a quick title over a CGI clip, fade in with key frames and change the text with key frames.

      Again this is all basic stuff, but stuff I had never done in a node based system so it was fairly new to me. This made it valuable to me. The Fusion specific book should be good, and I'm told all the rest of the books should be on Amazon within the next month.

      So far, money well spent on this book.
      Last edited by Greg_E; 01-24-2019, 06:11 PM.


        The Color chapters. They talk a bit about color theory, and the theory of operations in the Color section. A little detail on best practices, things like balance the image on the first node, then do additional grading on more downstream nodes. Some power windows, some track of power windows. A bit of chang the color of an object along with using the qualifier to select an object. Inverse masks to preserve fleshtones while grading the rest of the frame. Good solid basics again. It was enough to get me to buy an Avid Artist Color panel (used), I'll not be mousing around in the Color Correction book (next on my list).

        All in all, a good 3 chapters for anyone new to Resolve.
        Last edited by Greg_E; 02-11-2019, 07:16 PM.


          Delivering a project... They didn't spend much time on this. Really only covered an encoded output with Vimeo presets and an EXR for SFX. Kind of disappointed with this section, really short and not a lot of meat.
          Last edited by Greg_E; 02-11-2019, 07:19 PM.


            Media and database management... Another really short section, not a lot of detail and some parts are different (making an archive). Hopefully more time will be spent on these in the advance editing book. Didn't really come away with much info, felt like this section was rushed.

            I should also mention that this section is the only section where my computer crashed, and did it numerous times! Think there is a bug in the project manager on Windows 10.
            Last edited by Greg_E; 02-11-2019, 07:39 PM.


              The exam... Nothing real hard, a few tricky bits of wording. Biggest bit of advice is to use the "Review Later" check box in the upper right corner of each question (I didn't but will next time). This gives you the chance to think about your answer while you go through the test, then come back to those question before you hit finish. Take your time, you have an hour.

              What I don't like is that they don't show you the questions you get wrong.

              But in the end, I passed. I'll take more time on the next course, didn't get the kind of score I should be getting. The more focused courses should review a little of each section.
              Last edited by Greg_E; 02-11-2019, 07:32 PM.


                Finished the video editing section last night and so far all but one thing can be done in the free version (and the book warns about that one thing). Starting on the audio section when I can, have to check out our local "film hub" tonight and see what's what there. Like to think I could pick up a job here or there through them, but not sure at this point.

                Overall, the editing portion is a good intro to what you can do. I think there are a few important things left out or not detailed that would be useful, but overall a good intro.

                The Fairlight section is actually labeled as an intro (single chapter after all), and I do have their book on Fairlight waiting until I finish this current book and pass my certification exam.


                  Hi Greg,
                  Thanks for the review.
                  Have you compared the book to video trainings, like the Ripple Training ones?
                  Does the editing section deals with multicam editing?


                    The editing did not deal with multicam or syncing things to markers or with timecode on an audio track. It was mentioned but that must be a topic for the not yet available advanced editing book.


                      Part 2 done, nothing mind blowing but decent basic skills. Remember this is an introduction book whether they specified this in the title or not.


                        Very interesting... on the BM page for training, all the not yet finished "courses" are gone, the remaining two are the book I'm using and the Fairlight book that I also bought. There is rumor of version 16 at NAB, and this may herald the update, even though no beta version is out yet.

                        The book I'm working through definitely has some button groups in different places on the screen, I bet they wrote it based on the beta version of 15, or based on 14. Maybe it's time Resolve slowed on the massive UI changes and just worked on bugs and feature additions, would be easier to issue an addendum.

                        The Fusion chapter (yes only one) is taking longer than the suggested time, but some of that was with changes to the software settings to get it working faster. I need more RAM if I'm going to be doing much in Fusion, or probably color.


                          Got the Fusion section finished, learned a bit on this chapter.

                          Also the Color correction/grading book just landed on Amazon for those interested I'll buy it when I check on some other stuff I want to add to the order.

                          And I was told by one of the training support people that the rest of the courses should be on Amazon in the next month:

                          Advanced Editing

                          Keep track of the training website to see what is out and links to buy them. It appears these are Amazon published books which may be why they are not on other book buying sites. If you are into electronic books, the Kindle versions are dirt cheap!


                            OK guys, no more excuses... BMD just made this even more accessible! These books are now available for download in PDF FOR FREE!. I was just about to order the color correction book for $50, now I'll just have to charge up my little Android tablet and copy the files to it.

                            Currently available at :

                            Definitive Guide
                            Intro to Fairlight
                            Color Correction

                            Coming soon is Advanced Editing

                            I also asked on the BMD forums how closely the BMD official videos track these books, if they track the same, then the videos would be good supplements to the PDF files.

                            I'll continue the review as I get time to go through more chapters, but the next section is about 100 pages and probably 4 to 5 hours of time to really go through it. This is another chapter where I expect to learn a lot and therefore enjoy the topic more than the first couple of chapters.


                              I finished reading the book, but haven't gone through the last few lab activities. It's still all really basic stuff, but some good info on the basic tools for those that have not used Resolve before.

                              I've looked at some of the videos, and they do not track the books. Though that may not be a bad thing as there might be good stuff in consuming both types of tutorial.

                              I'll get my thoughts on the final sections for this first book when I have time to complete the exercises and take the test.