Resolve 11: Taking Advantage of the Improved Render Cache

This article was originally published on Premiumbeat’s blog here.

If you’re regularly experiencing dropped frames and sluggish performance, Resolve has a Render Cache feature that renders corrections for smoother playback.

For most Resolve systems utilizing modern graphics cards, real-time playback should be attainable (aside from intensive exceptions like playing Red footage at a high debayer).  However, in previous versions of Resolve, the Render Cache has never fully worked. It was the software’s glaringly broken feature, an anomaly in a package that worked so well otherwise. I found myself frustrated mid-session, quitting and re-opening the program to get the Cache to kick in. I assigned offending clips to the Cache manually, only to have the renders clear out, “get stuck” and not regenerate. Rendering was also often slow, with percentages ticking up at a crawl. When dealing with clients that expected a fast session, and at the least real-time playback, it wasn’t optimal.

Updated Render Cache in Resolve 11

That’s why I’m so happy to report that the Render Cache has been revamped for version 11. As with many of the software’s evolving features, Render Cache has been streamlined, simplified. We used to have Cache options for None, All, User, Dissolves, and User and Dissolves. Now, we have only three: None, User, and Smart. The Resolve team must have seen rendering dissolves as not very processor-intensive, and I’d seldom found a use for it in my work, usually opting to work in Unmix mode when on the Color page.

I’ve found the Smart setting to be most useful when utilizing noise reduction, one of the most processor-intensive tasks in the grading process. The Temporal Noise Reduction offered in Resolve has saved more than a few projects I’ve worked on, and the third-party OFX plugin Neat Video for Resolve is one of the best noise reduction tools out there. However, due to the intense processing involved, noise reduction is a memory hog that slows playback to a crawl. This is where the Cache comes in.

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Basic to Advanced: Resolve’s ‘Deliver’ Window Demystified

This article was originally published on Premiumbeat’s blog here.

Better control your project’s workflow and delivery by tweaking the options available in Resolve’s ‘Deliver’ window.

To developing colorists, some choices available in the Deliver page may be confusing. The Advanced tab contains many specific options for rendering a finished project, and while some of these are straightforward, others are a bit esoteric. For many projects, the Basic tab may be sufficient, but in this post we’ll delve into the features in the Advanced tab of Resolve’s Deliver window.

Deliver > Advanced > Presets

All of the tabs have an Easy Setup option. Depending on how the project was edited, selecting the corresponding Easy Setup will highlight and lock certain settings found below. Choosing Final Cut Pro XML Round Trip, for example, forces you to output individual source clips as opposed to a single clip.

fcp round trip.png

The Avid AAF Round Trip can only output MXF files. Colorists can save their own Easy Setups as presets in the Intermediate and Advanced tabs.

avid round trip.png

Deliver > Advanced > Video

In Video, you can choose to output files as Individual Source Clips, used in the majority of outputs where you want to conform in a nonlinear editing software. The timeline can also be rendered as a Single Clip, an option for sending an off-site client a color pass for review.

Once you’ve chosen one of the two options we’ll need to decide what video format we’ll be outputting. This’ll be dependent on the post workflow for the job. For round-tripping back to Premiere, Final Cut or Avid, Quicktimes or MXF files are the norm. If a compositing machine is the next step in the post pipeline, outputting DPX files is preferred. Output options for cinema projection are also available.

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The Future of Cinema: Laser Projectors

This article was originally published on PremiumBeat’s blog here.

Laser technology is changing the way films are projected – now in theaters, next in homes.

Laser Projectors
Image from Barco

For over six decades, xenon lamps have been the standard for use in theater and home projectors. An alternative solution using lasers may make the prevalent technology a thing of the past. The products known as Laser Illuminated Projectors (LIPs) are already available for commercial use.

There are two types of LIPs, differentiated by brightness levels: High Brightness RGB LIPs deliver more than 60,000 lumens of brightness and will be used in premium and large-screen theaters, and Blue Pumped Phosphor (BPP) LIPs generate about 6,000 lumens for usage in smaller theaters. Household names such as Sony, NEC, IMAX, and Casio are producing models now.

Benefits of Laser Projectors

One of the main benefits of lasers over traditional xenon lamps is their high spatial brightness. Lasers have the unique property of emanating light from a highly parallel, or collimated, source while having minimal spread. Think of the laser pointer you use to tease your cat: the beam is concentrated to a pretty specific, single point as opposed to, say, an incandescent bulb where the light is more spread out. The technical term for this spread is called theétendue, in case you want to impress your friends at a cocktail party! In lasers, less spread is desirable since the beam will be more focused and thereby more efficient. In the 60,000-lumen models this results in brightness that’s two to three times higher than xenon lighting.

Another significant feature of lasers is their extremely long lifetimes, lasting up to 100,000 hours in RGB LIPs and diminishing very little over this time. At full power, these lasers typically lose only 20% of their energy after 30,000 hours, which is considered end-of-life at that power. BPP projectors are down 25% in 10,000 hours.

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