Pro Tips, Tutorials

Post-Production Collaboration Made Simple in DaVinci Resolve 14 Studio

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Post-production can be done alone, but it’s much faster and often leads to better results when done with a team. In Blackmagic Design’s DaVinci Resolve 14, there a number of tools that make collaboration between team members easier. Here are five things to know when getting started with team projects in DaVinci Resolve 14 Studio. (Note that collaboration features are only available in the Studio version of Resolve 14, not the free version.)

 

1. Setting Up Collaboration

When you launch DaVinci Resolve 14 Studio, it will open the Project Manager. In the upper-left corner of the window is the “Show/Hide Databases” button. Click it to reveal the database panel.

Show Hide Database

At the bottom of the panel, click the “New Database” button. To create a new, sharable database, click “Create” and select “PostgreSQL” as the Type. Give the database a name (it must be lowercase with no spaces, but you can use underscores as a replacement for spaces). For the location, type the IP address for your PostreSQL server. Leave the Username and Password as set by the software and click “Create.” For all other users, when selecting “New Database,” choose “Connect” rather than “Create,” then fill in the same name and location that were entered when creating the database.

Create Database
 

2. Edit, Media, Color, and Fairlight Pages

When opening a Project within your database, make sure to select File > Enable Collaboration so others can join you in the project.

Enable Collaboration

Once you’ve enabled collaboration on a project, you can share it with assistant editors, editors, colorists, and audio mixers. An editor can be working on the Edit page, while an assistant editor is sorting through footage on the Media page. Colorists can work on the Color page using the same timeline as the editor. Only sound designers and audio mixers need to wait until an editor is done with a timeline before opening it on the Fairlight page.

The only major tasks Resolve doesn’t address directly are visual effects and motion graphics. Thankfully, Fusion Connect is built into Resolve, working similarly to Premiere’s dynamic link. To use Fusion Connect, right-click a clip on the Edit page and select “New Fusion Connect Clip.” Give the clip a unique name and select the format and codec you want to send to Fusion.

Fusion Connect Clip

Tip: Fusion often works more efficiently with image sequences. If you have the space on your server, use DPX, EXR, or TIFF sequences. Make sure to communicate with your VFX artists to find out which will work best for your workflow.

If you’re interested in learning more about how Fusion can fit into your motion graphics arsenal, check out this presentation from Tony Gallardo:

 

3. Bin, Timeline, and Clip Locking

To ensure that nobody loses their work during collaboration, DaVinci Resolve 14 Studio provides three kinds of locking: bin locking, timeline locking, and clip locking.

Bin locking in Resolve 14 Studio is similar to bin locking in Avid Media Composer or project locking in Adobe Premiere Pro. To lock a bin, simply open it in either the Media or Edit page; all other collaborators will then only have read access to that bin. To release the lock, select a different bin. If switching frequently between a few bins, you can be lock them manually by right-clicking and selecting
“Lock Bins.” To unlock, right-click and select “Unlock Bins.”

Bin Locking

As changes are made to a bin, a “refresh” icon will appear next to that bin for each collaborator. To update the contents of the bin, click that icon.

When editing in a timeline, both the timeline and its enclosing bin will be locked. Other users can open the timeline in read-only mode, but they will not be able to make any edits to the timeline. Opening a timeline in read-only mode can be useful when reviewing the work of other editors, or as a reference point for content in other timelines.

Unlike the Edit page, on the Color page, you and another colorist can have read and write access to the same timeline at once. This is thanks to clip locking. When you select a shot in the timeline, that clip is now locked to everyone else. Changes made to that clip will be saved once the colorist selects a new clip. And unlike bin locking, no refresh is required to see updates to a color grade.

Clip Locking Refresh
 

4. Timeline Comparison Tool

If you need to combine work done on two versions of a timeline, you can use the Timeline Comparison tool. Open the timeline you want to update, then right-click the second timeline and select “Compare With Current Timeline.” When the Compare Timeline window appears, the timeline on the top will provide possible changes to the timeline below.

Timeline Comparison

Each timeline has its own playhead, which is ganged to the other playhead by default. This allows you to watch through both timelines at once and observe their differences. The playhead can be unganged, if desired.

There is also a Diff Index on the left side of the window. This gives a very specific list of all of the differences between the two timelines.

If you want to use the changes from the newer timeline, right-click a highlighted section in the timeline and choose “Accept Change.”
 

5. Collaboration Chat

Resolve 14 Studio also includes collaboration chat, which makes it easy to communicate with your team members. Each user can add their name and select a color. This makes it easier to see who is speaking.

Collaboration Chat

As new messages arrive, the chat bubble in the lower-right corner of the window will turn orange. To read your message, just click the chat bubble and the chat window will appear. Once you’ve read your message, you can type a response and hit Return or Enter
on your keyboard to send it.
 
That’s the basics of collaboration in DaVinci Resolve 14 Studio. The one thing we didn’t cover in this article is setting up the PostgreSQL database on a server. It can be difficult to set up if you don’t have an IT background, but thankfully, the LumaForge Jellyfish comes preconfigured with the PostgreSQL database for Resolve 14 Studio.

To learn more about the Jellyfish, check out the LumaForge website. Also make sure to subscribe to the LumaForge YouTube channel for additional tutorials and post-production presentations. Meanwhile, if you have any questions, leave them in the comments below!