Using Parsec and VirtualHere For Remote, Secure Color Grading Sessions

April 27, 2022

Learn how to control a remote DaVinci Resolve workstation using Parsec with VirtualHere to virtualize locally-attached USB devices.

How to set up Parsec and VirtualHere for remote color grading

Working remotely in post production has come a long way, especially in the past few years due to the lockdowns imposed by the pandemic. With developments like the Blackmagic ATEM series, Streambox, SetStream,, developing a reliable, robust remote workflow that doesn’t break the bank is now a lot easier.

And while options like Resolve 18’s remote collaboration database and proxy options allow for real-time remote collaboration – there are jobs and clients that want you, the colorist, to remote into their machines without their media sitting on your machine. So it still makes sense to keep Mixing Light members updated on these types of solutions.

Here’s the good news: Most of these remote workflows can be disassembled and reconfigured based on your specific requirements. For me, when I’m working this way, not only do I want to control the software (DaVinci Resolve) remotely I also want to use the hardware attachments that significantly speed up my work and enhance my productivity and my creativity.

This means: I want use a colorist control surface and Stream Deck at my remote location, controlling my grading software back at the office using the same settings as if I was there, at the office grading suite.

In this Insight: Parsec Virtual Desktop and VirtualHere USB Server

In this particular insight, we’ll be working with the Parsec Remote Desktop app, but this set-up can be similarly replicated with Splashtop and several others products. I’ll admit I have a particular love for Parsec as I’ve relied on it successfully to develop remote workflows for several studios, both small and large, so I finally feel it’s mature enough to share with you, hence this insight.

Then, we’ll install, configure, and pair Parsec with the VirtualHere remote USB server and client – allowing us to use a Blackmagic Mini control surface and Stream Decks as if they were directly attached to the grading computer back at the office.

But first, let’s review the goal of building a remote grading system, using Joey D’Anna’s excellent 2021 Insight as our frame of reference.

Summarizing the Ideal Remote Grading System

Reiterating Joey’s Insight: The idea is to remote into your powerful grading system, at the office, but work off-site using hardware tools such as color critical reference monitors, control surfaces, Elgato Streamdeck(s), and any other USB interface devices that accelerate our workflow.

Here’s a quick summary of the basics we need for a good remote set-up (from Joey’s previous article) when ‘dialing in’ to the office computer:

  • A ‘remote server’ color grading system that we connect to remotely – generally, your office grading machine.
  • A local “client” computer for the GUI. This machine doesn’t need to be very powerful. I’ve used a Mac Mini, Intel & M1 Macbooks, and an HP Z2 with positive results. It’s largely just screen sharing back to the color grading system that’s doing the actual heavy lifting.
  • A reference monitor. This is (color) critical and paired with your local ‘client’ computer. For final color grading, there’s  no way around using a calibrated accurate display at your remote location.
  • A decent internet connection. While we’re not sharing the actual media, we are streaming 1 or 2 streams of HD resolution 4:4:4 HEVC video as we screen share, so ideally you have a minimum of 30 Mbps upload and latency below ~30ms. If you don’t know internet speeds, check using
  • Any compatible control surface – Unlike the official BMD streaming solution, VirtualHere should work with any DaVinci Resolve compatible control surface (think: Tangent panels).
  • A specific grading “environment” with controlled lighting and neutral walls. A bias lightbulbs, some paint and blackout curtains go a long way.
  • A remote desktop solution, like Parsec, Teredici, Splashtop, HP RGS, etc. We’ll be using Parsec in this insight, but any of the above should work.
  • Optional: An Elgato StreamDeck or other USB Interface Device
  • A video streaming solution that supports SDI video to feed the reference display – Some solutions include:

Signal Flow, Revisited

If you recall the signal flow discussion from Joey’s article, it’s just as important to discuss here as it was in his article. Below is a modified graph showing how our specific workflow breaks down in terms of signal flow.

Signal flow for remote operation of a DaVinci Resolve system
The direction of TCP/IP connections in our remote workflow

As a reminder, all TCP/IP traffic is bi-directional and while it may sound counter-intuitive to run the VirtualHere server on our remote “server” system, it actually makes the workflow more secure by initiating the USB-over-IP connection from the remote system to our local “client” workstation at home.

 Ideally, you’ll only need to deal with port forwarding at your home studio instead of wrestling with the potential security risks of opening ports at the facility, which tends to have much higher infosec requirements.

Let’s get our hands dirty and get these apps set up….

Remote Desktop Set-Up with Parsec

As mentioned, there are quite a few remote desktop solutions available and luckily, we have several that work for our highly specific needs: color accurate; highly responsive; and allows for multi-monitor.

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Homepage Forums Using Parsec and VirtualHere For Remote, Secure Color Grading Sessions

  • Not sure if I missed something in the article but how are you handling the signal to the reference monitor? With the build in feature for windows and linux inside Resolve 18 or are you using Parsecs multiple monitor function (with some cable adaptors)? Thanks 🙂

  • Patrick Inhofer

    Hi Lars –

    A few Insights for you (I’ll also add these to Jason’s Insight as related content):

  • Hi Lars,

    In the insight, I was using Colorfront Streaming (currently in beta) to stream my reference monitor (SDI) over to my home studio. It comes out using a AJA T-Tap Thunderbolt device, which provides an SDI connection to my FSI reference display.

    As Pat mentioned, there are a bunch of more “economical” methods to do this using a BMD ATEM streaming device or even the official BMD streaming server, but I was using V17 when I recorded this insight.

  • Remco Hekker

    Hi Jason,
    Thanks for the insight! I’m actually in the proces of setting up two of these type of connections. So your insight couldn’t come at a better time. It looks like Virtualhere is exactly what I needed.

    I’ve been using Windows Remote Desktop in my setups, I’ll give Parsec a try. Is there a vital difference that justifies migrating from a free tool to this subscription based one? Perhaps it’s the internet connection here but I never had problems with the video quality using RDP.

    Also as alternatives for the reference streams I’m also testing these alternatives.

    • Resolve 18’s Remote monitoring looks very promising but requires more testing.
      It stops the scopes from working (using external scopes mitigates that.)
    • Ultragrid is free and looks almost too good to be true.
      Unfortunately, the only tutorial that showed this setup has been taken offline. So, I’ve reserved tomorrow to try and get it to work myself.
  • Hi Jason, I’ve successfully set this up to the point I can see my resolve micro panel on my remote “server” machine but when trying to use it from my at home machine it isn’t responsive. I can’t figure out if I’m missing a step or what is preventing it from working.

    • Hi Clark, sorry for my delayed response. Can you provide a bit more detail about your specific set-up? Are you using the exact set-up from the insight using VirtualHere or are you trying to use the official Blackmagic Panel option? If possible, I would recommend trying the official Blackmagic option first, as its more likely to be supported long-term. Either way, let me know and I’d be happy to advise further. Every set-up is unique and I understand it can be tricky to set-up the first time.

  • Hey Clark,

    Were you able to get the panels working with Virtualhere with a Mac to Mac connection? I’m trying that without success. The panels connect and even show up in the Davinci Control Panels Setup app and under the system usb device tree but they don’t actually work in Resolve. I’ve gotten them to work in a Mac(Server) to PC(Client) connection before but I’m wondering if this is a limitation with the Mac to Mac Connection.

    • you don’t need to do this with a 3rd party app.Resolve has supported remote panel connection natively for a while now it just requires access to the firewall on the remote side.

    • On a mac go to – /Library/Application Support/Blackmagic Design/DaVinci Resolve/Technical Documentation, on a Windows box go to – \ProgramData\Blackmagic Design\DaVinci Resolve\Technical Documentation

    • there is a read me doc there on setup…but basically you launch the remote panel app. You then on the remote side need to forward port 20323 to the internal IP on the remote machine via a firewall rule. Once that’s all setup, open Resolve on the remote machine and go to Preferences > System > Advanced and pop in the Advanced Settings box Local.Panel.Remote.Address = THE REMOTE MACHINE PUBLIC IP:2023 Save preferences and restart. Just make sure you also have the correct panel chosen in preferences.

  • Hey Robbie

    I’m running Resolve 18 and neither the documentation or Remote Panel App exist. Is this only a Resolve 17 feature?

  • Hey Dan,

    I’ve personally only tested VirtualHere on a Mac to a PC, but it should the same on a Mac to Mac set-up.
    That being said, I only suggest using VirtualHere if you have additional USB accessories such as a Streamdeck OR if you’re having issues using the official Blackmagic Remote Panel solution (that Robbie so kindly mentioned, thanks!).

    If you’re having trouble setting up the official remote panel workflow, I linked to a great insight where Joey walks you through the process below and posted a screenshot showing the folder where you’ll find the app \ script to launch the remote panel daemon, along with the documentation for it.

    I hope that helps, keep us posted on your progress!


    • Thanks, Jason! Joey’s article really helped and I’m so close to getting the official BlackMagic Remote Panel Solution working now. I have both systems (Both Macs) communicating with each other but the panels still don’t work. The only difference I see compared to Joey’s is that the command line on my side only says “Accepted new client.” It doesn’t say, “USB Session Successfully Started.”

  • Dan – no works fine in 18 and 18.5 it was introduced early in the 17 cycle. Joey and I use this setup several times a week back our facility with no issues.

    You’re likely looking in your user library folder and not the system library folder. Remember user library folder on Mac (and other unix/linux distros) is going to usually be denoted with a tilde ~ prior to the library folder in the file path.

    Also, If you’re not getting connection ensure you’ve properly setup port forwarding to your the internal IP of that workstation and your using the public IP in the advance section of Resolve preferences.

  • Robbie – I believe I’m setting it up correctly and it looks like the Remote Panel App is making the connection. However, it never says “USB Session Started Successfully” as it did in the screenshot of Joey’s article. I’ve tried with multiple remote machines now with the same result. I think I need to reach out to BM support now. Let me know if you see any issues here and thank you for your help.

    • hmmm I’ll do this setup from scratch too tomorrow morning, but what’s happening on the remote computer? Is Resolve open? If memory serves Resolve has to be open on the remote side, with panel chosen in preferences and ready to go for the session to start and for the terminal message to confirm the session has started. Otherwise, just like it is when working locally the panel is just sitting there in sleep. In other words, the session starts when the remote machine opens resolve and goes looking for panel, which of course is not the one that’s there but where ever you are!

      • I finally got this working! I just re-installed Resolve on the local machine and it finally started the usb session. Thanks for everyone’s help!

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    Jason Bowdach

    Insight # ML 1118
    Type Article
    Skill Level Intermediate

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