Jordan Dueck from Motion Array recently posted an interesting video looking at a question that is increasingly being asked by a growing number of video editors at all levels – should we choose Blackmagic’s DaVinci Resolve or Adobe’s Premiere Pro. Each has its own sets of pros and cons and you are unlikely to get a clear-cut answer but looking at some of the differences presented in this video might help you decide what is right for you.
As this video is quite long, Dueck was kind enough to present us with a table of contents so you can skip to the part which might interest you the most – we added some comments for each section:
Adobe now has a subscription-based service for quite some time and most users tend to get the full creative suite for AI and Audition as well as Photoshop which is even more expensive (around $50 a month) while the full DaVinci Resolve is only $300 (one-time payment) and there is a free version with some limitations (most of them are actually not that critical for most users) so the clear winner here is certainly DaVinci Resolve.
Dueck claims that Adobe markets its creative suite mainly for content creators (whoever those might be) while Blackmagic uses DaVinci Resolve mostly as a sort of a marketing tool to draw more professionals to its other (typically hardware) products such as cameras or consoles. This might help you understand the differences in approach and pricing.
DaVinci Resolve is much faster when it is given a high-quality GPU (it knows how to use a GPU much more than Premiere which relies significantly more on the CPU). With that said, Premiere can use proxies much easier and so you can edit in low resolution and switch to a higher resolution when needed (you can sort of doing this in DaVinci Resolve but not as easy).
This one is sadly very easy. Premiere Pro is notoriously unstable and has a tendency to crash in the most inconvenient moments (yeah that has happened to us more times than we want to admit). DaVinci Resolve is far more stable although being less common its online documentation and community assistance if something does go wrong might not be as extensive (but again – it is much better not to need those in the first place).
The timeline in DaVinci Resolve has some advantages like being able to see how long your clip is when you move it (when it is not fully visible between other clips) but Premiere has more shortcut keys for repeating tasks (funny that Dueck mentions this since we actually feel that Premiere doesn’t have enough options for shortcut keys and many are still missing – especially if you are using a Stream Deck like we do to edit faster).
Premiere is super flexible in creating your own workspaces. DaVinci Resolve is more restrictive but it isn’t necessarily bad.
When it comes to handling color, DaVinci Resolve is much better here hands down.
Peripheral Products (15:30)
Both Premiere and DaVinci Resolve have sound and “effects/text” software – audition and after-effects in Adobe and Fairlight and fusion in the Blackmagic universe. One thing that we think Fairlight is still missing and we personally use a lot is the Audition function of remixing audio (to change the length of a sound clip to match a specific video length – we actually use this one for every video we make and it is wonderful) while the Elastic Wave function in Fairlight doesn’t seem to be able to do the same thing (although it is possible that in a future update of the software this will change). As for AE vs. Fusion – they are both powerful but it seems that AE is more intuitive for many users although it might be a personal thing.
The bottom line is clear – go and try the free version of DaVinci Resolve if you didn’t do so until now. If it works for you – great – you saved a ton of money and if you need some extra features you can buy the full version for $300. If it doesn’t work for you – Premiere is not going anywhere.
You can find more articles and videos looking at different aspects of video editing in our special section here on LensVid.
Update: With the newly announced (November 2020) version of DaVinci Resolve 17 with hundreds of new features and improvements it seems that trying out the software (at least the free version) has never been the easier choice (see our new article here on the exciting new features of DaVinci Resolve 17).
You can find more tutorials on the video editing section here on LensVid.