Blackmagic Design announces DaVinci Resolve 18.5

Blackmagic Design has announced the latest version of its DaVinci Resolve video editing, color grading and visual effects program. DaVinci Resolve 18.5 introduces dozens of new tools, including four new AI tools, over 150 feature upgrades, and major updates to the Cut page. It is available now as a public beta release.

What is a public beta release?

The current official release of DaVinci Resolve is still 18.1.4 because the 18.5 version is a public beta. A public beta release of a program is the almost finished next version of the program. Companies make beta versions available so that users can try out new features and identify bugs not found during development. As such, using a public beta for an important project or upgrading during a project is not recommended. However, user feedback is vitally important in developing the final release version of a program. It’s also a great way to get a sneak peek at the newest features before anyone else.

New Color page features

Image courtesy: Blackmagic Design

One of the most exciting new features on the Color page in DaVinci Resolve 18.5 is Relight FX. With this, you can add virtual light sources into a scene to alter the environmental lighting, fill dark shadows or change the mood. You can also adjust the light sources to cast a broad light, a point source, or a spotlight. In addition, DaVinci Resolve color management can now be configured on a timeline level. This allows the setting of independent timeline and output color spaces per timeline for projects with mixed media.

New Cut page features

In DaVinci Resolve 18.5, the Cut page has three new menus for quicker and more flexible editing. You can use the timeline options, timeline actions and edit actions to toggle ripple editing, trim edit points to the playhead, and resync audio. In addition, scene cut detection is now possible directly on the Cut timeline. The Cut page also has a new ripple button which enables and disables rippled edits. With Split A/V, you can adjust the edit point for video or audio separately by dragging the clip’s lower part to adjust the audio track.

Remote monitoring

With DaVinci Resolve 18.5, you can now initiate remote monitoring using just a Blackmagic ID and a session code. You don’t need to worry about IP addresses and port forwarding. In addition, you can stream to multiple computers, iPads or even iPhones simultaneously. You can export your timeline to the Blackmagic Cloud using the new Presentations feature. This means that other people can review your timeline and leave comments which appear as markers on the timeline.

Speech to text

Image courtesy: Blackmagic Design

In DaVinci Resolve 18.5, the Cut and Edit pages now have an auto subtitle feature to transcribe speech automatically into a subtitle track on the timeline. The ‘transcribe’ feature has also added speech-to-text editing, which automatically transcribes video and audio clips. This means you can search for specific terms or jump to the section of a clip where a word appears without having to listen to whole scenes or interviews. In addition, the DaVinci Neural Engine AI can analyze and automatically sort audio clips based on classification. After analysis, audio clips appear in bins categorized for dialogue, music and effects with detailed sub-categories such as explosions, water or insects.

Other new features

DaVinci Resolve 18.5 can now upload videos directly to TikTok, which is great if you are a content creator. The beta version also supports the OpenTimelineIO (OTIO) format, making it easier to import and export timelines from other NLE applications. In addition, Fusion now supports Universal Scene Descriptor files for easier collaboration between VFX artists. This means you can now import USD data such as geometry, lighting, cameras, materials and animation. There are also new Fusion tools to manipulate, relight and render files and the native AI-based Depth Map tool is now supported.

What we think

The public beta of DaVinci Resolve 18.5 adds some great new features, such as Relight FX. The Cut page also develops with each new release, becoming a powerful alternative to the traditional Edit page. In addition, using AI to help find the clips you need and sort your footage will speed up your edit workflow so you can concentrate on creating your edit. It’s important to remember that this is only a beta release, so you shouldn’t rely on DaVinci Resolve 18.5 for critical projects. Hopefully, the official release will come in the next six months, however, so we shouldn’t have too long to wait.

Pricing and availability

The beta version of DaVinci Resolve 18.5 is free and is available to download from the Blackmagic website now. There is also a beta version of DaVinci Resolve Studio 18.5 which requires a DaVinci Resolve Studio license dongle or software activation code.

Pete Tomkies
Pete Tomkies
Pete Tomkies is a freelance cinematographer and camera operator from Manchester, UK. He also produces and directs short films as Duck66 Films. Pete's latest short Once Bitten... won 15 awards and was selected for 105 film festivals around the world.

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