Buying Guides

IS BLACKMAGIC DAVINCI RESOLVE STUDIO WORTH PAYING FOR?

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So you’ve heard the hype and started using DaVinci Resolve, but why pay for the Studio version when there is a free option available?

The free version of DaVinci Resolve is packed with more features than most paid software applications.  You can use it to edit and finish up to 60 fps in resolutions as high as Ultra HD 3840 x 2160. You get extensive color grading tools including luma, HSL and 3D keyers, color warper and HDR tools, video collage, elastic wave audio retiming and more. Plus it now also enables cloud collaboration so multiple people can work on the same project, all at the same time. It’s a great application for novices and first time users to gain experience of this suite of editing tools and once you’ve mastered how to use it, you can then make the jump to Resolve Studio.

DaVinci Resolve Studio supports up to 120 fps at a massive 32K resolution, as well as support for multiple GPUs for real time playback of professional 10‑bit formats, and accelerated H.264 and H.265 hardware decoding and encoding.

The most powerful DaVinci Resolve adds DaVinci Neural Engine for automatic AI region tracking, stereoscopic tools, more Resolve FX filters, additional Fairlight FX audio plugins and advanced HDR grading.

There’s a full suite of immersive audio tools including Dolby Vision and HDR10+ grading and rendering, the DaVinci Neural Engine and 30 extra Resolve FX. You get temporal and spatial noise reduction, motion effects, lens distortion correction, de-interlacing, workflow and media asset management integration, remote scripting API, remote and networked color grading, plus rendering and encoder plug‑in support. Plus there’s full screen playback on a second monitor.

What does this all mean?

More GPU Acceleration

DaVinci Resolve Studio lets you turbo charge the performance of your system with support for multiple GPUs. Whether you’re using Metal on a Mac, or OpenCL and CUDA on Windows and Linux, you’ll get incredible performance gains with additional GPUs.

Advanced Noise Reduction

DaVinci Resolve Studio includes some of the most sophisticated noise reduction tools in the world. Temporal and spatial noise reduction tools can be used independently or together to help clean up and remove unwanted noise in virtually any image.

Lens Distortion

DaVinci Resolve Studio includes a lens correction feature that allows you to analyze a clip and correct for spherical lens distortion or other aberrations. It uses advanced image analysis and processing algorithms for incredibly high quality results.

Professional HDR Scopes

The HDR scopes in DaVinci Resolve Studio are capable of measuring and providing detailed information about ST.2084 and HLG images. This allows you to replace the 10‑bit scale of the scopes with a scale based on nit values, or cd/m2, instead.

Stereoscopic 3D

DaVinci Resolve Studio features a complete set of tools for editing and grading stereoscopic 3D projects. You have total control over stereo specific clip properties such as convergence, floating windows, eye alignment, mastering and output.

Remote Grading

Remote grading lets colorists work interactively with clients across the globe. It allows two matching DaVinci Resolve systems to be synchronized via an internet connection so that changes made on one system are immediately visible on the other.

DaVinci Color Transform Language

Unlike LUTs, which rely on simple lookup tables, DaVinci color transformation scripts are GPU accelerated bits of code that directly transform images using combinations of math functions. That makes them extremely fast and non destructive.

Scripting and Automation

DaVinci Resolve Studio features support for both Python and LUA scripting, along with developer APIs that allow you to add workflow integrations and custom encoding options. This lets studios of all sizes create deeply integrated custom workflows.

Workflow Integration Plug‑ins

DaVinci Resolve Studio supports workflow integration plug-ins for connecting to local and remote asset management, automation systems and more. Users can write their own plug-in and interact with DaVinci Resolve’s JavaScript APIs.

DaVinci Resolve 18 is a major release featuring cloud based workflows for a new way to collaborate remotely. You can host project libraries using Blackmagic Cloud and collaborate on the same timeline, in real time, with multiple users globally. The new Blackmagic Proxy generator automatically creates proxies linked to camera originals, for a faster editing workflow. Plus, support for Apple M1 Ultra gives you a powerful image processing engine, eliminating expensive cloud computing. There are new Resolve FX such as ultra beauty and 3D depth map, improved subtitling for editors, GPU accelerated Fusion paint and real time title template playback, Fairlight fixed to FlexBus conversion and more.

Let’s look at what’s included in DaVinci Resolve Studio

DaVinci Resolve Studio’s Neural Engine uses state of the art deep neural networks and machine learning, to power many of the features found exclusively in DaVinci Resolve Studio. This powerful tool runs through many different features and pages inside the software. Some highlights include;

  • Media Page can analyse clips to sort via facial recognition for automatically organizing media into bins based on the people in a shot, track type and audio type.
  • Edit Page has multiple features including;
    • Auto Transcribe that can create text from a video file that can be used to edit with.
    • Auto Subtitles that can auto generate subtitles from a dialogue track, it can also translate into different languages.
    • Smart Reframe will auto keyframe a subject or object in the shot to keep it central, ideal for social media portrait videos.
    • SuperScale high quality image uprezzing so you can create 4K and 8K images from HD sources
    • Speed Warp retiming for crystal clear, smooth speed changes
  • Color Page has people and object masks whereby the neural engine will learn a person or shape and automatically create a mask for object isolation and tracking. As well as smart reframe, object removal, scene cut detection and more.
  • ResolveFX such as; 
    • Depth Map (will work out what is in the foreground and background of an image and allow adjustment separately)
    • Relight (gives the ability to relight a scene whereby the neural engine learns where the light would show, where shadows would be etc)
  • Fairlight Page features a voice isolation tool which will learn a dialogue track and reproduce it without background noise.
  • AI Based Voice Isolation let’s you remove loud, undesirable sounds from voice recordings by isolating dialogue from background sounds in a recording. Eliminate everything else from moderate noise to aircraft and explosions leaving only the voice. Voice isolation is perfect for interviews and dialogue recordings from noisy locations.

Still not convinced? Here are a number of key features that might just sway you:

Noise Reduction: DaVinci Resolve Studio’s noise reduction is both spatial and temporal therefore you get much better results than in camera. That’s why Blackmagic don’t do any noise reduction in camera but why their cameras ship with a Studio licence.

Remote Monitoring: You can now send a live timeline out to an iOS device. Simply download the iOS monitoring app and send a live timeline out of Resolve.

ResolveFX: Many of the ResolveFX are studio only. Useful effects such as Lens Flare, Lens Blur, Face Refinement and Patch Replacer are all Studio only.

Output Rendering: The free version of Resolve is limited to a UHD render. While it will read files in any resolution it cannot go above 3840×2160 in export. This is often a stumbling block for film festival submissions where a 4K DCI file is required.

Codec support and hardware acceleration: The Studio version includes codecs to render to. The DCP render in Resolve gives users a much cheaper alternative to using something like EasyDCP for cinema delivery. As more film festivals require DCP’s for screening many users don’t have the budget to render out a specialised DCP but in Studio you can. Certain H.265 codecs do not decode in the free version, and such things as GPU accelerated H.264/5 encodes through Nvidia GPU’s are only supported in Studio.

HDR Tools: Studio has numerous HDR tools, including sending metadata over HDMI (a Desktop Video device is required to do this as well) which allows the use of domestic TV’s for HDR monitoring. Many HDR tools are simply Studio only.

DaVinci Resolve Studio is a one-time purchase with no subscription fees. You’ll receive free regular updates, can install on up to 2 machines and has over 50 advanced features, Resolve Studio includes DaVinci Neural Engine, additional Resolve FX, stereoscopic 3D and more, it’s the ideal solution for editors, colourists, VFX artists and audio engineers. 

We’ve outlined for you a number of the key features that are exclusive to DaVinci Resolve Studio. For more information, please contact us either through our ‘Live Chat’ function, email: [email protected] or by phone: 0203 137 2901; we’re always here and happy to help.

We have the entire Blackmagic Design range available on our website. ESV offer FREE next working day delivery on all UK mainland orders over £249!

As an authorised Blackmagic Reseller we can offer you extra warranty on your purchase, ensuring every Blackmagic product has at least 2 years warranty.


Did you know a number of Blackmagic’s bestselling products come with a free version of DaVinci Resolve Studio. If you haven’t done so, read our article HOW TO GET A FREE COPY OF BLACKMAGIC DAVINCI RESOLVE STUDIO,’ for a full list of what’s included in this offer.


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