May 16, 2017

Why I Am Ditching Premiere Pro For Davinci Resolve

By: Ben Farnham

Recently, I made an announcement that I will be ditching Adobe Creative Cloud's Premiere Pro. So what made me do it? Davinci Resolve 14.

Now I will try to make this short and I will try not to downplay Premiere Pro too much. And last but not least, please remember this is my opinion and I respect that it may not fit your needs / workflow. I personally feel like I have outgrown what Premiere Pro has to offer and I am falling more and more with the workflow that Davinci Resolve has to offer.

The Biggest Reason I Switched...

Ok, with all of that out of the way, let's start this thing. The biggest reason I ditched Premiere was simply because of all of the bouncing around. I personally could not stand needing to switch between 2 - 3 programs to finish an entire video project. Typically, depending on the shoot, I would need to get my editing done in Premiere Pro and then would need to move over to After Effects where I would then track some shots and add some masks to cover up some blowouts (and yes, I know you can adjust color in Premiere but for most projects but you can't track / mask). After I would track the shots and make the adjustments, it is back to Premiere to color my footage (which I will touch on more in a moment). Once colored, I would then tackle the audio. 

Now, let me first say I am an audio snob but that is because it is where I come from. I learned audio from my past as a musician / recording for so long and with that in mind, Premiere's audio adjustments just didn't cut it so I would then bounce on over to Ableton Live (my preferred DAW) to mix / EQ audio tracks. Once done there I would bounce back to Premiere to adjust a few levels and finally... export.

So, now that I have shared my previous workflow, let me share with you why I love Davinci Resolve. They have a tab for each part of the workflow starting with:

  1. Media (Importing your media and project files)
  2. Edit (Editing your timeline)
  3. Color (Color correction and grading)
  4. Audio (Mixing and mastering your audio levels)
  5. Deliver (Export)

Each of these tabs comes jam packed with tools that, in my opinion, put Premiere to shame. Your tools that you have access to that help you color your footage in Davinci Resolve 14 are INCREDIBLE (and even more incredible if you pay for the 'Studio' version). You have a node based workflow (non linear layer workflow) that allows you to isolate color frequencies and hues to adjust and really fine tune your project. Seriously powerful tools. And the audio? All I can say is for the first time, I feel confident in my EQ's / mixing INSIDE of a video editing program. And that is huge for me.

With all of that said, that doesn't even skim the surface of what Davinci Resolve does / can do so, allow me to dig a little deeper and go over what each tab does differently from Premiere.

A Quick Overall

Ok, before I dig into my take on all of the tabs that make up every video editors workflow, let me first say that there are 2 versions of Davinci Resolve... and one is completely free. Yep, the basic version, which comes jam packed with essentially everything you could really need including the tracking, masking, camera stabilizer and so much more, is free. For all of the additional bells and whistles like Rendering 4k, and denoisers, you would need the Studio version which comes at a not so steep price of $299 (currently that is but they could alter this).

Media Tab

Honestly, this really isn't much different. You can drag and drop your media. Boom... Done.

Editing Tab

Editing in Davinci Resolve was a slight learning curve but all in all the same as Premiere (honestly, it was just learning the different hot keys but nothing major). So... Workflow is still great, easy, and intuitive.

Color Tab

Oh... my... gosh... COLOR! This is what really won me over. The creative arsenal that comes built in to Resolve (especially Resolve 14) is amazing. 

First, you have so much more creative control over color adjustments. Like I said earlier, you can isolate color frequencies and adjust them (if Premiere can do that, it isn't easy to find). On top of that, you can mask inside of the color tab AND you can create masks. And, in my honest opinion, the Resolve tracker is a tad bit better then the trackers built in to After Effects. You can keyframe of course and if you invest in the Studio version (currently $299), then you can also denoise and gain access to an even larger arsenal of tools (which I currently haven't tried as my Resolve Studio license is in the mail and on the way).

Now, I also want to mention that the color system works in nodes. This was new to me but very easy to pick up and I love this system far more than your standard 'layer' system set in place by many other editors. If you have never seen a node based system, just think of creating a spiderweb of layers that you can route in all different directions to really fine tune your color grade. If you want the creative control from Davinci but are too nervous to tackle the node system, don't worry. With nodes you can mimic your basic layer system easily.

Audio Tab

Now, while there aren't a lot of built in effects for audio, I love the fact that I can use a lot of my other plugins for my DAW along with Resolve's built in EQ to get the same audio results I would in Ableton. Again, just being able to stay in the same program to adjust my audio is so wonderful and I was amazed at the amount of time I save with each project now that I don't need to bounce around.

Deliver Tab

Very straight forward. Set your export settings and then launch that bad boy!

So there it is. My biggest reasons why I decided to switch. All in all, I have really started to see how limited I was in some of Adobe's apps and when I feel that way, I always try to find solutions that will allow me to really push my own limits and, right now... Davinci Resolve does that for me.

Benjamin - Teacher At Pure Presence Creative
Post Author

Benjamin (Creative Dork)

I am true nerd to the core, believer in quality design, Horde player, and an all around creative dork. I create films, photos, websites, and music and honestly believe that the saying 'Jack of all trades, master of none' is an excuse. I do what I want really.