I am a huge fan of roundtrip workflows using Davinci Resolve and various NLE softwares! For one, when shooting 4K on the F55 in XAVC and especially RAW the files can be massive but often reduced to a very small fraction of the originals which then can easily be given to an editor, producer, etc.. as either dailies and for editing purposes.
Later once the edit is made only a very small XML file needs to be emailed back to me so that I can import the edit and begin the grading process in Davinci Resolve. The great thing about the F55 is it can record simultaneous proxies in MPEG HD quality while recording 4K XAVC or 4K RAW, however I’ve written two separate guides on transcoding footage from the F5/F55 using FCP X and Davinci Resolve which you might find useful if using a different camera.
In a nutshell the entire roundtrip workflow process goes like this:
Shoot 4K and record either simultaneous proxy, or later in post create your own proxy files from the 4k XAVC files using the batch process in Resolve. It is painless. One advantage of using Resolve to do it is you can get ProRes files with instead of Sony MPG and Davinci will fully preserve the timecode which is needed for later. I’ve written two separate guides on transcoding footage from the F5/F55 using FCP X and Davinci Resolve which you might find useful.
Have your editor or edit yourself using the proxies in Premiere or FCP X. Mac or PC it doesn’t matter. Export the edit to an XML file using “Export for Final Cut Pro” from the file menu. If you use Premiere you still use “Export for Final Cut Pro” from the menu, it doesn’t matter as long as you have the XML file.
Import this XML file into Davinci resolve from the Import panel. File -> Import XML -> then browse to your XML. Then UNCHECK the box “automatically import source clips”. You do not want to import the proxies, you will want to relink the XML edit to the original 4K files. Davinci may do this automatically if you’re lucky but if not then you can relink them yourself. For a step by step guide see below:
Step by Step Guide to importing XML
From your NLE software export your edit to XML and save this file.
I use this workflow using Premiere CS6 and FCP X without any issues. See the tips section at the end of this post.
Drag your media clips to the media pool:
Go to the EDIT panel and create a new timeline by right clicking right below the Timelines box and select “Create New Timeline”.
When prompted leave the checkbox checked for “Empty Timeline” since we want a timeline with the edit we will be importing.
Note: If you do not check the “Empty Timeline” box then all your clips from the media pool will automatically go onto your timeline.
From the File Menu select “Import XML” and browse to the XML file you exported from your NLE.
In the LOAD XML box be sure to uncheck “Automatically import source clips into media pool” because 1.) you already have the clips in the media pool and 2.) you do not want to import the proxies anyway – you want to relink the edit to the original 4K MXF files instead.
Once Davinci Resolve finishes the import of the XML file you will see the imported edit on the timeline.
Now you can go to the COLOR panel in Davinci Resolve and begin grading the clips according to the edit.
When you are ready to export your graded footage you’ll go to the DELIVERY panel in Davinci Resolve where you can export the timeline.
Couple of important notes:
It’s important that whatever software you do use to create the proxy files from the 4K original that you do not mess up the timecode. I gave beautiful proxies to an editor once and they lagged on his machine so he decided to re-encoded them using QuickTime with a more lossy setting and in that process all of the timecode was reset. After completing his edit and sending me the XML file I was unable to relink the clips because all of the timecode was gone.
Once the grading is finished in Davinci you will have to export them as high quality in the format of your choice and relink them back in the NLE. You can do this a few different ways; one is to use the software to RELINK to the new graded footage by using a clip replacement or similar function. Another way (if I’m using Premiere) is to simply rename the folder of the graded clips to the same folder that the proxies were located in. Premiere is not that intelligent enough to know that the source clips were replaced and it saves you from having to play around with re-linking. (which to be honest is very easy anyway in Premiere)
Last note is you may have to adjust your project settings if originally you were editing HD resolution proxies and then switching to 2k or 4k, etc…