Deconstructing The Sound Library In DaVinci Resolve 15 Public Beta

What’s Wrong With The ‘Sound Library’ Feature In Resolve 15 Beta?

June 19, 2018

The Sound Library feature released with DaVinci Resolve 15 Public Beta feels very incomplete, and how I think it needs to improve.

Why it feels like this new feature was released too early

One of the most interesting things working with Beta software is watching how the software develops over time. Features get added and refined. Sometimes they get pulled – only to reappear later. Occasionally a feature feels like it was released too early. Not because it’s buggy – but because it doesn’t add much to the existing workflow. And when it comes to the Resolve 15 Public Beta implementation of the Sound Library, an argument can be made the Sound Library is a step backwards.

A host of features are missing from the Sound Library

Again, it’s not that the feature is buggy (although, the way it fails to handle .aif files makes it feel buggy) it’s that basic functionality is missing:

  • Import dialogs fail to inform you of supported file types (only .wav files are supported for import)
  • Only two metadata fields are supported
  • There’s no way to alter clip metadata in the Sound Library
  • There is zero browsability of your library
  • The metadata fields in the Media Page is completely disconnected from the Sound Library
  • There’s no ability to import DaVinci Resolve metadata into the Sound Library

The end result makes for a rather frustrating experience that has me questioning my initial enthusiasm for this new Sound Library feature in DaVinci Resolve 15.

Why am I talking about the Sound Library on Mixing Light?

Yes, Mixing Light is dedicated to supporting the craft of color grading. But we don’t ignore the professional lives of a great many post-production creatives who find it necessary to supplement their core skill with at least one secondary skill set – especially in the earlier stages of their career. Fairlight integration opened up the possibility of color-centric creatives digging into post-audio as an add-on skill, especially if you’re coming from an editorial background.

In this video Insight, I talk a little about the value of having one or two additional ‘sub-specialties’ if you can’t make a full-time career of color. Or… if you’re a Finisher with serious color skills but still finds themselves doing quick mixes, pulling together graphics and VFX, or adding sound effects while doing the final mix.

The Sound Library is a great feature for that kind of creative. Or rather, it could be – if it were more fully fleshed out. But in the meantime, the feature is here and I’m going to take you on a tour of it as well as some gotcha’s and workarounds.

About this Video Insight

In this Insight you learn two workarounds to the .wav limitation of the Sound Library. But only one of them actually works (the other workaround *should* work, but doesn’t). You also learn how to set up your Sound Library. Plus, you see my thoughts on the various limitations of the current implementation – and a few things that need to happen for this feature to integrate more fully into the Resolve 15 workflow.

One last thing… I’m approaching this feature review as a colorist/finisher. If you want to see the needs of a serious full-time Fairlight professional with a hundred thousand sound effects they need to manage then check out this forum post on Blackmagic’s website. It’s inside a longer discussion on the Sound Library. It really shows you how far this feature needs to go if it wants to solve the needs of serious Power Users of a database like this. I’ll never need most of those features – but it’s always interesting to see how our peers in related crafts need to approach their job.

Comments? questions?

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