Resolve’s Threat to Media Composer

With the announcement of Resolve 14 today at NAB 2017, it seems that Blackmagic Design have their sites clearly on Avid’s Media Composer: intentionally or not.

I’ve long wondered what apps would be most threatened by Blackmagic’s rapid development of Resolve.

Adobe’s suite of tools and dynamic link makes a powerful argument for that platform. Although Resolve has improved integration with Fusion, it’s not yet at the level of Dynamic Link. Not that Dynamic Link is the most robust of Adobe tech. Despite being free, it’s hard to see Resolve directly threatening Premiere Pro, After Effects et. al.

Apple’s Final Cut Pro X/Motion combination features a new look at the editing interface – probably the reason it’s the most used professional NLE now –  and those who use it, love the Magnetic Timeline. The most common response to today’s Resolve announcements was “but it’s track based.”  Once you’re a fan of the Magnetic Timeline it’s hard to go back.

There are other players like Media 100, Edius and Vegas that will definitely be threatened by Resolve Free or the full version for just $299, but the one company that – mid term – is most threatened is Avid.

Resolve has already replaced Avid’s excellent (but left to die) Symphony grading and with major audio improvements – integrating their Fairlight purchase – and shared project upgrades directly threaten core focuses of Media Composer and ProTools.

Fortunate or not, while these are key parts of Avid’s current software lineup, there are a small percentage of Avid’s overall business.

Very interesting to see how the new features and pricing affect adoption, and who will be most threatened. If you’re looking for a modern, track-based NLE with good audio, great color grading, and excellent DIT tools and collaborative workflows gaining maturity, Resolve deserves a version 14 look.

Alex Gollner (aka Alex4D) has seen the same issues: Blackmagic Design has sights set on Avid with DaVinci Resolve 14

12 replies on “Resolve’s Threat to Media Composer”

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  1. These observations are quite accurate.

    For the moment, the one thing protecting Avid/Pro Tools is an old guard of editors, sound mixers, engineers, and post production workflow that is already heavily invested decades of Avid based infrastructure.

    There is still a great majority of TV (news, reality, drama) and a good portion of film that seems to be quite oblivious to the recent updates in NLE platforms particularly FCP X.

    During my last Assistant Editing days I realized just how useful the metadata tagging in FCP X (I worked on a few reality shows that tried to emulate the tagging with a clip naming system) but that world is VERY slow to change.

    As the old broadcast infrastructure gets replaced it would be hard to see companies continuing to go with Avid unless Avid REALLY starts innovating again.

    1. Not just an investment in infrastructure, but editors are often hesitant to learn a new program if given the option. I know some post houses that are still working with FCP7, partly due to infrastructure, but also due to editors not wanting to change their workflow that they have spent years refining. These places are finally moving away from FCP7 now but I don’t think Resolve is even on their radar.

      Avid is still the most vulnerable I would agree, because they are slow to innovate, and when you had post houses still working on 6.5 because the later versions weren’t stable enough that’s not a good image. They are improving in that area, but not quickly enough I might argue.

      I also agree with Brian; many people are oblivious to the changes, and it’s going to take some time for Resolve to build that awareness to be at the same level as Adobe or Avid.

      1. True that many editors are resistant to change. In some ways I can understand as no one wants to wrestle with remembering new workflows or keyboard shortcuts with a cut due at end of day.

        And yes I remember many facilities hanging on to Avid 5.5 despite Avid going 64bit in version 6. I think it took certain codecs only being supported in 6 and above to finally get shows to move up.

        There was a time when Avid seldom crashed and was near bullet proof.
        The really started to change about 10 or so years ago.

  2. I think that Davinci is getting very close to complete and efficient editing software. Premiere – A.E will be the tool of choice for many. Nevertheless they are attracting lots of editors to their new editing/sound capabilities. I use Premiere / A.E in lost of my projects and Resolve in others. The tools are there and each is good in their own right. Great article. Thanks.

    1. And as Apple have officially announced 2 million active seats, that’s about twice the number of Premiere Pro Active seats, and more than 10x the Media Composer active seats.

      1. 2 million seats is indeed quite a milestone. Another indication of how healthy the platform is can be seen in the ever increasing 3rd party presence.
        One thing that sets Apple apart from other developers is their understanding in nurturing and involving a 3rd party development community to enhance their products. They probably do this better than any tech company.

        I’m sure Phillip knows this more than most.

        This among a few other things (original design approach, clarity of purpose) gives me faith that FCP X will continue to see steady if not exponential growth.

      2. I’d be curious to know what percentage of each NLE user makes their primary income from that software – like, not a hobby.

        My gut tells me that most of those people use AVID.

        Personally I used Final Cut since it came out and switched to Premiere shortly after the release of FCP X.

        Premiere felt like Final Cut 8 – and by using the built in FCP keyboard shortcuts, it was an easy transition.

        I don’t know enough about Resolve. What I do know is that it seems to be a relatively closed system. – When it comes to getting things done quickly, third party plugins, native format support, basic effects and animation abilities, how does it stack up? – Can I do color correction without using the world’s best color corrector?

        1. I think you’re looking at it all wrong. Long gone are the days of ‘production’ being a specialized career. Think of it more as a form of literacy that everyone uses as part of their work life. With over 2 million sold seats of FCP X, about a million active Premiere Pro seats, and under 150,000 Avid seats, it’s hard to correlate with the Bureau of Labor Statistics official record of “25,500 Film and TV Editors” in the USA.

    2. My biggest takeaway from the growth of all of these edit platforms is that it shows just how much the field of video production has grown in the past decade.
      The industry has so many areas now (broadcast tv, web tv, film, YT/social media,etc) that it is feasible to have 4 solid edit programs that grow in their own area of the market.

      While FCP X is still making inroads into the traditional video markets I’m starting to realize the considerable dominance it has in video production geared for the internet.
      While this is a less visible area it is perhaps the largest and fastest growing area of production and viewership.

  3. I have two different friends at NAB that told me that now they do a quick cut in FCP and ingest in Resolve for finishing. Seems the best of both worlds.


  4. If Fairlight is good enough for Peter Gabriel is
    good enough for me, and it’s free!

    1. If Lightworks is good enough for Thelma Shoonmaker, it’s good enough for you too? It’s also free. Is that really the way to choose a tool?

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