The present and future of post production business and technology | Philip Hodgetts

Sep/09

8

Why did Blackmagic Design buy daVinci?

Of course, I don’t have any direct link into the mind of Grant Petty, founder of Blackmagic Design and don’t know more about the purchase of daVinci other than what Grant posted, but it’s such an interesting purchase that I can’t help but comment and guess.

Like so many of the industry’s giants of old, daVinci was losing money in the face of lower priced competition (Apple Color) and a reliance on mostly-obsolete 2K-limited hardware. On the other hand, Resolve is software only and resolution independent running on a cluster of Linux machines connected with Infiniband high speed data interconnect. daVinci also have Revival, although I don’t know anything about what advantages it brings.

Clearly, Grant thinks that the company has not been making the most of its opportunities and more focus on marketing and product development will once-again bring the daVinci brand to prominance. (Assuming it ever lost it.)

However, I don’t expect we’ll see Blackmagic Design suddenly want to start competing with Apple Color. I don’t think that’s the market and Grant himself seems to rule out that direction:

DaVinci Resolve is unique because it uses multiple linux computers linked together with InfiniBand connections and multiple GPU cards so you get the real time performance advantage it has. I donʼt think that can be lowered in price much, however over the next few years as technology advances this might happen a little. However, DaVinci is different to a DeckLink card because itʼs a high performance computing based tool. Our focus will really be on adding more features. Thatʼs what we want, and I guess others would too.

Possibly, some time in the future, a network of multiple Linux machines might be replaced by optimized code on some future 8+core Mac with awesome graphics card and an application written with Grand Central Dispatch and  OpenCL in mind. But don’t hold your breath! Combined CPU+GPU power has to increase a lot to replace multiple machines and the market is not that big.

I think the move will allow daVinci to continue developing their modern products and repositioning the company (to be operated independently of BMD) for the mid-size post house: those that have become dissatisfied with Apple Color but who would not have purchased a full daVinci hardware/software package. If the price could be, say $60K instead of $300K (or more) then that has a really good chance of reviving the brand and – in that inevitable trend – make higher quality available at lower price. That has always been Grant Petty’s goal, so it seems this is consistent.

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2 comments

  • Rob (the ironic one) · October 5, 2009 at 1:07 pm

    What do you thing the future holds for node-based compositing applications?

  • Admin comment by Philip · October 5, 2009 at 1:35 pm

    I’d hope they have a bright and happy future! They’re not something I’ve got a lot of experience with so I don’t have a strong opinion, but I doubt node-based compositing apps are going to go away in the higher end of the profession.

    Philip

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