Black Magic Design recently released version 16 of Davinci Resolve and, once again, they have packed it with amazing new features.
Some of these, such as the new cut page, have elements of pure genius that are designed to speed up the editing process. But there are a couple of features that were mentioned, but received little fanfare. One of particular note is Facial Recognition – the ability to automatically tag clips with the people that are in them
To me, this sounds pretty amazing. So why the lack of coverage?
In a nutshell, it is not ready for prime time yet.
One thing to be clear about, Davinci Resolve 16 is just the first Beta (test) release. And, as some have discovered, you should upgrade at your own risk. If you do decide to upgrade, please, please, please backup your database beforehand!
I’ve been using 16 without too many problems and wanted to take a peek at these new features, starting with this one.
First off, there is precious little information about how to use this new feature and so I was left hunting around in the software. Fortunately, as an ex developer, I’m pretty good at that and was able to find most things. So, let’s see what I found out.
Why Facial recognition?
Here’s a scenario where I see this being potentially magical.
You’re editing a wedding video and you need another clip of the bride. No problem! You go to the people page, find the clips tagged Bride and scoot through just those to find a clip that fits your needs.
You have just saved yourself hours of scrubbing back and forth in clips or limiting yourself to just the most obvious clips that would have the bride in them.
But, sadly, that isn’t’ reality yet, as we can see in this video.
As you can see from the video, running the face scan is pretty quick.
But then (and this is a big problem) it only tags one face per clip, and you have no control over which face is tagged.
It doesn’t even seem to do it in a logical manner. I found examples where a tiny person in the background was selected, instead of the person close to the camera and center frame.
OK. A nice start, but not yet ready to provide much practical value.
But these things give me hope. BMD have some amazing developers and I see these are just teasers of what is to come.
I started using this at version 12 which was only 3 years ago. Since then the software has gone from strength to strength. This combination of an incredibly professional editing suite that has a fully functional free version is starting to make real inroads into the usual suspects of Final Cut Pro and Premiere Pro.
Someone recently told me they didn’t think Davinci Resolve would ever be mainstream since no major production house is using it.
That reminded me of the mid-’90s when I was still in IT and the Linux operating system burst onto the scene. No one could believe that it was truly free and that, if it were, it would ever gain any traction. It is now the #1 operating system for web servers in the world and is the heart of the Android OS.
I see the same thing here. This feature might not be ready for commercial use today…but it’s only a matter of time. And, at the rate these guys are putting out new releases, I don’t think we will have long to wait!