See where the Davinci Resolve Speed Editor fills in the gaps left by the DaVinci Resolve Keyboard and how it can speed up your workflow.
In 2019 Blackmagic Design released the DaVinci Resolve Editing Keyboard, the first peripheral device for the editing and cutting side of Resolve. At $ 995, the keyboard was not readily available for hobby editors looking to improve its efficiency. While there were such as the Logic Resolve keyboard on the market, the search switch functionality and preprogrammed function keys were the elements that gave the Resolve keyboard its wow factor.
Fortunately, Blackmagic introduced the Resolve Speed Editor in the recent live announcement for Resolve 17. This lighter and more compact variant of the keyboard costs $ 295.
Admittedly, on the night of the announcement, I focused heavily on writing the new features on the edit and color pages and wanted to catch up on the other Resolve features and the speed editor a little later. But I never got around to it. When the speed editor arrived and I started playing around with it, I quickly noticed that some of the buttons weren't working. Did I receive a defective unit? I just pushed it on the wrong side.
As stated by Grant Petty, CEO of Blackmagic Design;
"We think this is an incredibly exciting product because it has such a dramatic impact on the workflow," said Grant Petty, CEO of Blackmagic Design. “So far, the editing software has been developed for use with a mouse. However, this is slow because any editing function often requires multiple clicks of the mouse to complete each task. Now that the DaVinci Resolve Cut Page and DaVinci Resolve Speed Editor are designed together, it means they work together for a whole new generation of machining workflows. It's so fast and great fun! "
Yes, this tool is primarily designed to be used in conjunction with the cut page.
The cut-out side has its merits, but it's not a side I spend time on. I feel more than adequate when I put my first cut together on the edit page. Maybe it's my stubbornness, or maybe I'm so used to the edit side that I know that learning the cut side methodology will only slow me down. Knowing that some of these functions could still be used on the edit page, I really wanted to jump into an edit and see if it was as efficient as the keyboard to resolve.
I recently released my hands-on impression video for the Speed Editor where I presented my thoughts after a week for a short documentary. After using the Speed Editor for over three weeks, here are my final thoughts.
Light through design
You will find that in the official media that came with the speed editor, many models are using the speed editor in a cafe with a laptop. This is because the Speed Editor is the perfect tool for compiling daily newspapers or making small changes on the go. Due to its weight and size, the editing process on the go becomes a lot easier with a laptop than with a dreaded trackpad.
With 24.49 x 15.6 x 4.39 cm and a weight of only 779 g, it is a far cry from the bulky and extended keyboard with just under 2.5 kg. I've found that the speed editor feels a little cheaper than the keyboard in my practical impression, but since it's cheaper, maybe this should be pretty obvious. Other than that, however, the elements of the speed editor remain identical to the older variant, including the grouping of the buttons.
Like the Resolve keyboard, the Speed Editor uses the same type of key as the eSports keyboards. Each key is certified for over a million operations. In addition, this also has a graduated profile that enables a more comfortable machining experience. However, because the speed editor is much more compact, keeping your hands close for long periods of time can create undesirable tension.
The speed editor uses a USB-C connection, but it also has built-in bluetooth to work wirelessly. There is no power button, but there is a battery indicator in DaVinci Resolve when the panel is running over bluetooth. In addition, the speed editor is only activated when dissolve is active.
There was some slight confusion about whether the Speed Editor came with a USB-C to USB-C cable. Some users including me received a cable with their device and some did not. I heard from Blackmagic who said the Speed Editor came with a USB-C cable, and they're not sure why a handful of users didn't get one.
Unofficially, the speed editor is divided into five sections.
- The editing tools
- The trim tools
- Function keys
- Multi-synchronization compartment
- Search choice
Obviously, given the compactness of the Speed Editor, it lacks several keys with special day-to-day functions found on a full-size keyboard (e.g. highlighting a clip). As a result, you'd have to revert to your standard keyboard or use the mouse.
Upon reviewing the keyboard, I found that "the main selling points and advantages of the keyboard are the utility keys that surround the input area – the keys that reduce a few mouse clicks to a single keystroke."
And with the speed editor, that still sounds right. In essence, the speed editor is just a device without the keyboard's QWERTY section. In fact, maybe I'm brave enough that I can translate all the positive things I've said on my Resolve keyboard into the speed editor too. It's close enough to the same device.
However, much more emphasis has been placed on using the cut-out page. In fact, there are a number of keys in the Speed Editor that you won't find on the keyboard. This is to be expected because the speed editor was advertised as a cutting-side-specific device. That doesn't mean these keys won't work on the edit side. However, they don't work exactly the same as on the cut page.
For example, there is a transition button (titled "trans") in the upper middle area of the speed editor. When pressed on the cut page either a default transition is added or, if held, the list of transitions that can be selected with the search wheel is displayed. Nothing is done on the edit side. If you hold down the push button, you can also resize the user interface on the cut page. Meanwhile it doesn't do anything on the editing side.
You can find this with multiple keys. For the most part, however, all of the speed editor's features work on the edit page. I've been informed by a Blackmagic representative that the edit page may be improved as we move forward. However, this cannot be guaranteed.
In general, there isn't much to say about the features themselves. They do as labeled. From setting the entry and exit points for a clip in the source viewer, to appending it to the end of your edit, to applying a dissolve. Anything is possible with the speed editor.
You will find that some buttons have separate functions. You can access these by either double-tapping or holding the button, depending on the function. However, the Speed Editor has a new, inherently cool feature on how the Cut Side works in Resolve 17. The editing features are now smart and use the “Smart Indicator” on the Timeline to figure out where to insert the selected clip. Therefore, there is no need to show or hide points on the timeline. They will be found automatically.
Unlike the Resolve keyboard, there is a camera number range where you can select the cameras when using the cut page sync tray. This is not the same as the keyboard function on the Resolve keyboard. The sync container is not on the edit page, but it is a new style of multi-cam and allows you to find recordings that are synchronized with the current recording on the timeline. This allows you to find cutaways using a familiar multiview interface. The numeric surface allows you to make various changes in the sync tray by pressing a camera number while turning the search dial to edit the selected camera clip while jogging forward and performing the same task with the audio-only button enabled.
The beautiful search wheel
If you didn't know, and given this year's must-have technology, I doubt Sony recently released the much-anticipated Playstation 5. In particular, many reviewers have given the new controller that comes with the console overwhelming praise. It has something called adaptive triggers, which means that when you press the trigger button it feels different depending on the action you are taking in the game. Many of the reviewers struggled to introduce this concept as it has to be felt to understand how it works and what is important. how it feels. I feel the same way with the search wheel. It's not easy to document how fluid the search wheel is and how much extra control it gives you while editing.
There are three modes of operation.
- Use the shuttle to browse long media files at a custom speed
- Use Jog for precise frame finding
- Next, use the scroll button to navigate quickly
I love jogging, moving, or trimming a clip, which is incredibly more efficient than using the mouse or using the comma and period linking to easily move a clip. You simply hold down one of the buttons on the trimming tool and use the search wheel to determine the duration of the edit.
A prime example of the exemplary use of the search wheel are the audio levels. Even when the audio track is full height, increasing or decreasing the audio level of the selected clip can sometimes be inconsistent when performing the action over the clip itself. Even the slightest mouse movement can move you too high or too low. This results in the need to use the inspector to fine-tune the audio.
However, if you use the search wheel in conjunction with the audio level button, you can subtly adjust the exact dB level.
To me, the price tag alone is worth using the search and trim key feature.
Only 17 resolve
The speed editor only works with Resolve 17. By the time you write this it may be a bit of a problem for some as 17 is still in beta development. And as mentioned earlier, upgrading software to a beta can be disastrous for both your project and editing efficiency. A beta is not an early access to the latest software version. It is part of the developer's development process to gain valuable insights for the users of the software to find bugs and issues that they did not find in the early stages of developing the new software iteration. As a result, you can assume that things are not working properly, items have been moved or possibly removed entirely, and the software is slightly unstable. But that's inherently beta.
If you bought the speed editor during the project in Resolve 16, you may not be able to use it for that project unless you update the versions.
As I pointed out in my practical impression, I am not really using the cut page. In this video, I may have been too preoccupied with the idea that a good third of the speed editor is dedicated to cutting page functions. Even if it's a page cut tool, you have almost all the cropping and editing features you need to efficiently navigate your editing on the edit page with the speed editor. It's incredibly difficult to discredit how efficient the search wheel is at tweaking your changes faster than a mouse and keyboard. For this purpose alone, I recommend the Speed Editor. As mentioned earlier, there are features that require you to use your keyboard. However, if that is too disadvantageous, then of course there is the resolving keyboard.
At the time of this writing, there is currently an offer to get a studio license for Resolve 17 along with the speed editor. If you used the free version of Resolve with the thought that someday you will upgrade, this offer can get you the license and essentially a free speed editor. If you already own the studio version of Resolve, you can sell the replacement license to offset the cost of the Speed Editor.
Other tips for working in DaVinci Resolve: