On another note ... using the heck out of Resolve Lite, and I love/hate it.
First the good stuff.
Before I go on, I should note that my work so far in Resolve has been with DVCPRO HD material. 8 bit 4:2:2, highly compressed. Its just a tiny notch above DSLR footage in my opinion ... and I'm getting results that I would have needed at least ProRes sources for in other applications.
Wow, even this lite software is VERY powerful. I didn't expect it to be particularly usable, but it is even suited for production work, if you think creatively.
The quality of the qualifications you can make with the curves is excellent as is the quality of the adjustments. Frankly amazing.
The tracker is so good ... I often have to comment out loud even when I am alone with the work. I can't believe I was once satisfied with the tracker in Color.
Scene detection is a huge timesaver. Huge. When faced with just "cutting up" a longish sequence ... its amazing to me how long each cut takes. So, even if the scene detector misses some shots, just not having to execute the edits it does see is a huge time savings.
OK ... suffice it to say that Resolve is easily worth the asking price. Just amazing capabilities.
Now the complaints. I have a lot more complaints ... but don't let that make you believe that I don't love this software. Its sold already. As I use it more however, its clear it could work better for me.
First off, there are just too few nodes in the Lite version.
If you take a look at the manual many of the examples require 3 nodes, and quite a few need 5. A few examples need "many" nodes ... and its probably not reasonable to ask for that in less than the full version.
A major goal for me with the Lite version is to learn Resolve, and with just two nodes you can't practice many things. Such as a parallel node set.
So as a feature suggestion, find a way to make more nodes available in the low end version.
How about 5 modes for free for a demo period, then let it go to 2 nodes like it is today?
My preference is a 7 node restricted, but otherwise full featured version of Resolve for $199 on the App Store? Call it "Resolve Indie" That gets you the rough equivalent of doing a primary plus three secondaries, each with an inside and an outside adjustment in Color.
Now the tracker. I'd really like to be able to blend Resolve's automatic tracking with my own manual tracks. Most commonly this comes up when I am intentionally tracking something that moves off screen. Resolve obviously will lose the track, and that's OK. I'd sinply like to tell the tracker to continue moving off screen with the momentum it had, or just set an extra track point of screen. Maybe you can do this, but I haven't discovered how yet.
UPDATE: I found out how to do this, about 5 pages further into the manual than I was when I wrote this "first impression."
I can already see that it would be useful to have Resolve running without the dongle. If there were a serial #/activation code you could type in AND a dongle, then you could have three sets of functionality in the same software. No codes & no dongle? Its just like Resolve Lite today, but it runs. Code but no dongle? It runs in an intermediate restricted mode (like above) Code and Dongle? Full feature set.
If I have a laptop for the field and a desktop in the studio ... its easy to see how a single Resolve user could end up losing a dongle ... or simply not have it where they need it. In that case, some functionality is better than no functionality.
Graceful degradation, to keep Resolve projects portable. Say for example I create a project in the full version of Resolve, then open it in Resolve Lite. I would really like Resolve Lite to be able to play back the Resolve project - even if it has 14 nodes. Perhaps, since this is an artificial limit, Resolve Lite could play it back, but not render or edit any but the first two nodes. If the current hardware can't support a feature in the current project, then display a unique disabled node icon to indicate that, but leave the node in place with an error message that explains and play back the other nodes.
Audio ... the current arrangement is antiquated. Resolve should play audio attached to a video file by default. The process of extracting an audio track and resynching it is pretty silly. I understand that Resolve is not about audio editing/finishing. When rendering ... Resolve could multiplex the currently attached and synched audio as an option. If I sync the final mixed audio track in Resolve ... why should I have to resynch it when I render out of Resolve ... its there already, just multiplex it in already. Its reasonable to require another application to manipulate that audio in any non-trivial way, but lets also not force users to do the same work several times.
The rest of my issues are GUI interface issues. I think I'm some sort of GUI expert, so I have a lot to gripe about here.
The thing I hate most is how the interface is restricted to one screen, except for scopes.
There are lots of ways of working in Resolve, and the GUI just doesn't have the flexibility to show you what you are doing without manipulating it.
The panels let you access functions rapidly, but they don't represent the state of the controls ... so even panel users could stand to have a more configurable GUI.
Now, if BlackMagic plans a multitouch panel with displays for indicating the state of the physical controls ... that could address many of the issues I'm having.
Speaking of panels ... Contour Shuttle Pro 2 doesn't recognize when you switch in to Resolve, so you have to use the "global" settings for it to work. (doesn't work with Media Express either) It's a crappy control ... but it works well enough as a transport for mobile applications.
Also, why is there support for the MC Color, but not MC Control or MC transport? Are those coming?
So to my specific GUI complaints:
Most of these can actually be solved with existing Resolve GUI elements ... they just need to be rearranged. One of my goals is to set the interface up so what I need is available to my eyes without rearranging.
First off the scopes are a mess. Black Magic should take a look at how Final Cut and Premiere do scopes. Those scopes suck too ... but they have advantages. The FCP way of displaying is good with a unified window whose contents are configurable. Now, I hate the Premiere scopes, but one feature I love is that you can have more than one set of "monitor" and any monitor can be configured to display picture or a variety of scopes, including multiscope displays.
I realize BMD sells hardware to solve this problem, but the hardware has other advantages, and that's why it should sell. Clean up the scope situation in Resolve.
I'd love it if the markers/dynamics (known as keyframes everywhere else) were represented in the timeline and manipulatable there. When I need lots of markers and dynamics the space allotted is too restrictive, and when I don't need them its wasted screen real estate. I don't need another timeline with limited functionality.
The same can be said of the "conform" screen ... There is no reason for more than one timeline representing the same session. There should be one timeline, and it should let me do everything in the one place. Scene detection, conform/edit and coloring should all be handled in the same timeline ... and that timeline should be resized/rearranged when needed for special tasks. Doing this introduces other complications of course, such as the need to lock the timeline so accidental edits aren't made. (neatly avoided in the current arrangement.)
I'm using Resolve Lite right now, but when I get the full version ... I can see that I will want to make the node graph full screen.
I''ve already wanted to make the still portion of the GUI full screen while keeping the Color controls visible.
In general Resolve breaks tasks up in to "modes" that aren't really useful. Like the example above. What I'd really like is to have both the Gallery and Color tabs open at once.
If you could tear them away that would work.
Being able to tear away the curves panel would be of great use too. Right now the "custom curves" are too small for operations that are a breeze in Color. Just making them bigger could almost certainly solve this.
So, just to reiterate, Resolve is very impressive. Even if it din't have the reputation it does, this Resolve Lite product would have convinced me to purchase.
My compliments to the chef!