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DaVinci Resolve Speed Editor Review

December 2nd, 2020 Jump to Comment Section 40
DaVinci Resolve Speed Editor Review

When Grant Petty introduced DaVinci Resolve 17 recently, he also demonstrated a new editing controller device , the DaVinci Resolve Speed Editor . Blackmagic Design was kind enough sent us a loaner unit . I had the pleasure of using it for close to two weeks . Let me share with you what I think about the device .

What is the Speed Editor ?

The DaVinci Resolve Speed Editor is a specialized keyboard ( also called a controller ). It puts a lot of functionality on dedicated keys and a wheel . The controller is supposed to be used alongside a regular keyboard or laptop . The device is designed to speed up your editing workflow by putting frequently used functionality on dedicated keys and the beforementioned dial .

The DaVinci Resolve Speed Editor - Placement
The DaVinci Resolve Speed Editor Placement on my Desk : Image Credit : CineD

Build Quality

The lightweight device is roughly 25cm x 16cm in size . Despite the metallic look it &# 8217 ; s casing is made out of injection - molded plastic .

43 keys — some of which have LED status indicators are arranged in five logical groups or sections . Some buttons have secondary functions that can be accessed by double - pressing and / or holding . A Jog / Shuttle / Scroll wheel sits in the bottom - right . The metal dial turns buttery smooth and has a nice weight to it that makes using it quite pleasing . You can bump the wheel and it will keep spinning for a while , because of it &# 8217 ; s momentum — very nice .

There is no haptic feedback when you switch the wheel to SHTL ( shuttle ) mode like in some similar controllers . This makes it hard to find the &# 8220 ; neutral &# 8221 ; or &# 8220 ; pause &# 8221 ; position of the wheel , as well as gauging how fast forward or backward you are going . However , a little indicator beneath the viewer appears ins SHTL - mode and tells you which way you are going and at what speed . I guess the haptic feedback feature fell victim to bugetary constraints . Unfortunately this makes the SHTL - feature a bit fiddly to use .

Note : SHTL ( Shuttle ) is basically what JKL functionality tried to emulate in most NLEs

The Keys

The buttons have a long key - travel and are easy to feel , which reminds me of using old PC keyboards or even the legendary Sony BVE - 900 A / B Edit Controller on which I started editing in the early 90ies . ( I &# 8217 ; m dating myself there , I know , but what the heck .)

While long - travel keys might be unfamiliar to people using modern laptop keyboards , it is actually very satisfying to be able to literally &# 8220 ; punch &# 8221 ;- in your IN and OUT points . Longer travel also reduces erratic keystrokes .

DaVinciResolve Speed Editor Review
Trim and Transition Section with IN / OUT keys . Image Credit : CineD

Because the device is meant to complement a normal computer keyboard it needs to sit somewhere within easy reach . I used the DaVinci Resolve Speed Editor on a desktop computer with a standard - sized keyboard . What worked best for me was to put the edit controller between me and the actual computer keyboard . Because it &# 8217 ; s not as wide as the normal full - size keyboard it was easy to reach around the Speed Editor , when I needed to use the normal &# 8220 ; claviature &# 8221 ;.

Installation

The device has a single USB - C port to plug it into the computer , but thanks to the built - in Bluetooth and battery , it does not need to be physically connected . That has an advantage : The cable does not get in the way when putting it in front of the keyboard . I charged the device overnight and did not have to charge it again for the 10 + days I used it . No idea how much longer it would have lasted .

The DaVinci Resolve Speed Editor - Installation: Image Credit: CineD
The DaVinci Resolve Speed Editor &# 8211 ; Installation is easy . Image Credit : CineD

No drivers need to be installed and there is no power switch on the device . I just opened the Bluetooth settings in System Preferences on my Mac , the Speed Editor showed as &# 8220 ; DaVinci Keyboard &# 8221 ;, I clicked &# 8220 ; Connect &# 8221 ; and that was it . When DaVinci Resolve is launched a few of the LEDs in the keys lit up and the controller simply worked .

There is no configuration or keyboard - mapping necessary ( nor possible ). All the keys have their function permanently assigned . The Speed Editor is solely built for DaVinci Resolve and does not function with any other software . This is not very likely to change in the future .

Learning Curve

Make no mistake — before you gain any speed while editing with the Speed Editor ( or any other control surface for that matter ) you will edit way slower for a while . That is until you got all the keys and their functions programmed in your muscle - memory . Setting and clearing ( double tap ) IN - and OUT points is easy and using the SHTL / JOG / SCRL wheel intuitive . Doing more complex tasks had me pause and think more often than not . Tasks that would take me 2 seconds with a mouse , often took minutes to figure out with Speed Editor .

DaVinciResolve Speed Editor Multicam
Multicam Section with large Play / Pause Key . Image Credit : CineD

After using it for a while though it gets easier and easier . When I popped back to Final Cut Pro for a paid job , during the time I did this Review , I missed the controller ! That told me I had broken through the &# 8220 ; Learning Wall &# 8221 ;. So be prepared to be frustrated for a while . No pain no gain , I guess .

Designed Specifically for the Cut Page

As Grant Petty said , while he demoed the controller , this thing is designed for the Cut Page . He did not lie .

The DaVinci Resolve Speed Editor - Transport Section
The DaVinci Resolve Speed Editor &# 8211 ; Transport Section . Image Credit : CineD

While most Keys / Functions of the Speed Editor do something in the Edit Page most of the more advanced functions don &# 8217 ; t make sense with the Edit Page &# 8217 ; s traditional track - based timeline . The device works fine as a JOG / SHUTTLE , to set IN - and OUT - points and simple stuff like adding a transition . Finessing an already finished edit , by ( with active Trim Edit Mode ) moving through the edits and trimming them also worked . Although I had to lock a couple of tracks not to mess things up . Everything more complex has you reaching for the mouse and the normal computer keyboard . For me , that makes it largely obsolete in the Edit Page .

Who is it for ?

If you use the Cut Page in Resolve to edit Multicam content all day long — the Speed Editor can be a real timesaver . You don &# 8217 ; t need to take your hands off the Speed Editor to switch camera angles , add transitions , look for - and add cutaways , replace shots , and trim edits . It &# 8217 ; s a joy to use under these circumstances .

It also works great in non - Multicam situations , if your workflow allows you to use the &# 8220 ; Source Tape &# 8221 ; mode on Resolve &# 8217 ; s Cut Page . This is the feature where Resolve strings together all clips in a bin into a single virtual &# 8220 ; Tape &# 8221 ; and lets you navigate that without having to open individual clips .

I grew especially fond of the RIPL O / WR ( Ripple Owerwrite ) function : switch to SOURCE mode , set your IN and OUT points and press RIPL O / WR – the timeline - clip under the playhead gets replaced by the source - clip and the other clips rippled accordingly . This is awesome to quickly try out stuff .

The DaVinci Resolve Speed Editor - Edit Section
Edit Section / w nifty RIPL O / WR function : Image Credit : CineD

If you are working predominantly in one of the other Resolve Pages , the Speed Editor not a device you need . Functionality is more or less reduced to navigating the timeline with the wheel , play / pause , and setting IN / OUT points . Most other functions are too specific to the Cut Page to make sense anywhere else .

Final Thoughts

I &# 8217 ; m editing in one way or another since my career started in the 90ies and I have tried many an editing controller - device in the past , but I ditched all of them . Some faster than others .

I am a keyboard - shortcut person and barely reach for the mouse if I can help it . Switching my hands between three input devices is too confusing for my simple mind .

That being said , I can tell right now , I &# 8217 ; m going to miss the Speed Editor in some situations . Especially in the early stages of an edit , when scrubbing through tons of footage and quickly banging together the first rough cut .

If you want to see the Speed Editor in action , check out the DaVinci Resolve 17 presentation :

Improvement

I did the DaVinci Speed Editor Review using Beta 1 , 2 and 3 of Resolve 17 . Things in regard to the Speed Editor might change , when the final version is released .

For example the SHTL / JOG / SCRL wheel &# 8217 ; s behaviour in the Color Page was improved in Beta 3 already .

I think it would be great if Blackmagic Design could add the possibility to map your own commands to the keys especially outside the Cut Page of Resolve . The device could be much more useful for more people .

Misc Function Key Block
Misc Function Key Block on DaVinciResolve Speed Editor . Image Credit : CineD

Special Offer

If you are interested in the DaVinci Resolve Speed Editor , Blackmagic Design has a special offer going for a limited time : If you buy the Studio - version of DaVinci Resolve ( dongled or code - activated ) you get the DaVinci Resolve Speed Editor for free .

Let us know in the comments , if you are interested in the DaVinci Resolve Speed Editor . If you already got your device — drop us a line about your experience with it .

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