Peter Langmead's Blog

Film Director, Screenwriter, Composer, Steadicam operator, Social Documentary Photographer. My latest film is The Borderline, released on December 4, 2019.

Notes on How to Use Davinci Resolve


Anyone who has produced ads, shorts and even tv 1/2hrs may not understand why I have written this booklet. Those who have produced feature films will be in no doubt and probably came to similar conclusions. This article starts where Davinci Resolve’s books stop, and you may find some of what follows challenging if you are not familiar with the programme and the DR books. I assume you know how big a feature film is. This is not version sensitive because precedent is established. You are about to discover that historically secretive soundscape is ten times the value, degree of difficulty and time of the cinematography and picture edit.

Here is the Dropbox version of the locked cut and final mix Here is the Dropbox version of the locked cut and final mix that saves all the important bits of the feature film. Dropbox's 50GB file size limit makes including a 250GB working final print of the locked cut impossible, which is sensible really, but it also means the 150GB MFX video file in the DCP cannot be stored on Dropbox. Having had an HDD with important material die alone in a draw all on its own recently, these things matter. English subtitles are always required in USA, I also use French Inevitably you will be making changes forever. DIAL is the mono bounced track of all dialogues for the front centre speaker, VX(2.0) is stereo off-camera dialogue, FX(2.0) is camera seen sound effects for left and right front speaker, MX is stereo non-diagetic music from front left and right speakers; FX(5.1) is atmos, diagetic music.

Before you start

I use uncompressed RAW. If you have been doing Colour and Fusion in your scenes, you may be okay, but sequences and acts will stretch your I7 computer. Shift-D (View > Bypass) switches off rendering clips with Colour and Fusion effects, but not in Delivery. This is also switched by the three yellow stars with coloured circle top right in Edit tab. By default, Colour and Fusion are not bypassed. Get in the habit of switching > Bypass to ON when you start DR, then you can decide not to. I leave Playback > Render Cache to None to save my 2TB M.2 work-in-progress SSD that otherwise fills quickly, includes my Dropbox backup and is enough for 4K. I have a 500GB M.2 SSD for programmes and working videos. I have 4x4TB 7,200rpm HDD RAID0 for a 4K feature film; you are not managing without and may need more or bigger HDDs. (I have my eyes on the large HDDs hiding in my nearly redundant server. I have an i9, overclocking by 39%, 64GB RAM. My electrical system is solar powered. Finally, Alt-L (auto return play) or Alt-K (auto return stop) for reviewing changes, setting in and out points takes time, but has its uses.

Scenes, sequences and acts

The beginning is a Fairlight scene in Audio Post and where to go from here. Why is there a conundrum? Here is the colour-corrected and graded, vfx completed, audio post timeline. An average scene is two minutes, 60 scenes to a feature film. There this no point in rendering this unless it is short. Even part of a drama, between ads, ten or so scenes or a few sequences can fade to ads. Such sequences can be one timeline, but what happens with a 90-minute feature film with no ad breaks?

In Media, > Create a new timeline with selected clips. But before we go there, look at the scene, sequence and act structure. Scripts are not what they should be and while scenes are numbered, sequences and acts are not clear, often identified by fades to black. Double Indemnity calls its acts, sequences A to E, all fading to black. If you studied film, many books seem to be derived from student opinion on shorts rather than feature film-making practitioners.

Best regards,

Peter Langmead

P.S. Please have a look at my website here, for all sorts of interesting things about my film productions, operas and books on social photography. Remember, if there is no spit on the lens, you are not close enough - I do not know who said that but it is true. Write to me if you have a question.

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Langmead & Baker Ltd is a public relations and communications company based in Lusaka, Zambia. Although there is a free version of Davinci Resolve, which will do nearly everything, I use the current version of Davinci Resolve Studio. Although I use the usual suspects, I normally use Blackmagic Cameras and Studio Equipment.

For those of you who noticed that I am a Steadicam operator, I can assure you that the Mini 4k with SSD recorder and, importantly for me, a global shutter, works beautifully.

The Next Movie

The script is prepared for my next movie and pre-production is in progress. This is the most time-consuming part of filmmaking and production is expected to begin at the end of the year It will be shot on Blackmagic cameras and postproduced almost exclusively on Davinci Resolve.