DaVinci Resolve

Highly Recommended


DaVinci Resolve is the best free software for video editing and color correction. Resolve is a color correction, video editing, and audio mixing tool. With a wide format support, powerful and intuitive color tools, it’s a great addition to any video or animation workflow. The Studio version is $299, while a nearly full-featured Lite version is available for free download. It is available for Windows, Linux (CentOS), and Mac.

DaVinci Resolve Website

DaVinci Resolve Official Forum



Competition

Adobe Premiere Pro, Audition, and After Effects Lightworks Natron Nuke


Features




What It's For

It’s for color correction, which is a specific enough task that by nature it is for professionals or advanced enthusiasts. That does not mean that beginners can’t or shouldn’t use it, but it is designed to be studied and learned in its entirety, unlike, for example, a generic word processor. Until Resolve 14 (September 2017), it was pretty much designed to be used exclusively for video color, in conjunction with a separate NLE for video, certainly a compositor for anything VFX related, and Anything Else for any audio work. Now, it is a viable NLE with integrated audio though neither are as good as its (paid) competition.




Usability

Resolve is very easy to get up and running for basic purposes. Just import clips, throw them on a timeline, and tweak color. The simplicity of having every control for every clip without searching through plugins and effects elevates this software. The export page is a wonder of simplicity, with a few straightforward options and no restrictive, outdated presets that only serve to confuse the user.

Advanced features are often not as intuitive, and occasionally one wonders if there is really no easier way. For example, Resolve simply will not import a FCPXML whose frame rate does not match the current Resolve project. There is no apparent option to interpret the frame rate differently, and if there is such an option, it is not intuitively positioned in the UI. Copying color grades from one project to another is a major hassle that is buried in various UI windows and systems that require careful reading of the 1300+ page manual. While it is possible to learn these features, there has to be a more intuitive UI design.