Douglas Adams once said, “Space is big. No REALLY big”. (If you are a youngling, look up the “Hitchhikers’ Guide to the Galaxy”. You’re welcome.)
And so, to paraphrase, the Blackmagic Design Da Vinci Resolve 16 keyboard is big. No, REALLY big. The photo shows it next to a bog-standard Dell keyboard and you can see what I mean.
But there ain’t no flimsy plastic, string and elastic bands nailing it all together in this baby. The Da Vinci Keyboard (I’ll abbreviate this to DVK from now on) is all metal to start with (and weighs accordingly) and Blackmagic suggests the keys are good for over 1 million operations each.
Importantly, and I would suggest almost most probably uniquely, is that all components are available as spare parts giving the DVK an unlimited life-span.
Mind you, at AUD$1600+, you would never treat or expect it to be a throw away item.
One thing I do like, especially considering my current wrist affliction is that there is a soft touch hand rest aiding in reducing fatigue – a subject very close to my heart right now of course.
I love the sculptured keys as against the more normally flat ones in use today. They remind me very much of what I consider the very best keyboard I have ever used, that from the ill-fated Tandy Model 2000 in the 80s.
I have owned a LogicKey Vegas keyboard for about 15 years now and like it very much indeed. But at the end of the day it is a standard QWERTY keyboard with keys that relate to shortcut commands colour coded accordingly.
The DVK on the other hand goes way beyond this, and Jacqui (my partner who happens to be a keyboard wizard of the musical kind and a LogicPro for the Mac aficionado) summed it up nicely. You see, the DVK is not just a keyboard. No, Jacqui said, it is a workstation in its own right.
As well as the standard QWERTY and Function keys, Blackmagic has designed it with dedicated keys for specialist tasks including in and out, close up, roll trans and so on. In this sense it is akin to the Contour ShuttlePro 2’s buttons that can be programmed for certain tasks away from the main keyboard, but the DVK is at a whole new level in this area.
As you can see, there is an integrated jog wheel-cum-0controller and this is machined from a single piece of metal giving extraordinary control for jogging and trimming. To assist, the jog/controller has a built-in electronic clutch and multiple roller bearings giving extremely smooth scrolling forwards and backwards.
My only point of reference here again is my well used and loved Contour ShuttlePro 2, and as good as this is, there is absolutely no comparison.
The only criticism I have of the jog shuttle controller is that it is on the right of the DVK, as I prefer it left hand based (even though I am right-handed) as this means I can mouse and shuttle at the same time. This is largely offset by the functionality of the keyboard itself though, as you can use your right hand to control the position in a clip being edited, and the left hand to perform actions using the colour coded short cut (and other) keys.
Two of these “other” keys are Source and Timeline. The Source key instantly creates a virtual “source tape” of all the clips in the bin in the current project and using this button, you can simply scroll up and down all your media meaning you do not need to navigate potentially thousands of clips.
The clip being viewed is also highlighted in the bin in real time and as a bonus. switching between the source tape and timeline is immediate. You can also instantly resort all the clips in the bin based on parameters such as time, camera, duration and name.
The sheer size of the controller means that trimming is very precise and accurate and thoughtfully, there are transition buttons allowing you to switch between cuts and dissolves instantly.
The workflow to get the best means you may have to modify what you are used to, but the combination of move, mark in, mark out, apply edit and move again is a very fast way to work indeed.
The other innovations in the DVK layout and extra key functionality will, I promise, revolutionise the way you edit.
Is there a catch? Well yes, sort of. But it isn’t a bad one by any stretch.
The DVK is designed specifically to work with Da Vinci Resolve version 16.1 (or presumably any later versions) so if you are currently an AVID Composer, Vegas Pro, Grass Valley EDIUS, Adobe Premiere Pro, FCPX or other NLE jockey and have no intention to change that state of affairs, then save your pennies.
But I strongly urge you, if you haven’t already, to download Da Vinci Resolve 16.1 (you can get it for Windows, Mac and LINUX) and have a look. This is no pretend NLE I promise you, and as you may have heard, the colour grading capabilities alone are worth the price.
Except for the majority of users, there is no price, as the software is free (as is its sibling, Fusion, but that’s another story)
Da Vinci Resolve 16.1 is an awesome editor. Throw the Da Vinci Resolve keyboard into the mix and it becomes, for the professional, in my opinion an almost unbeatable combination. Add Fusion and it is one hell of a system.
All for the price of a 2-year subscription alone to other NLE software.
And you still get not just a keyboard, but almost a work of art to boot.
To get full details on the feature set of the Blackmagic Design DaVinci Resolve keyboard, see https://www.blackmagicdesign.com/au/products/davinciresolve/keyboard
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