How Much Does Film School Cost?

Anyone who wants to be a filmmaker thinks about film school. It’s inevitable.

Sure, we’ve all heard the classic tales of Tarantino not attending film school or James Cameron dropping out of college. But there are plenty of other famous directors who did attend film school like Robert Zemeckis (USC), Ed Zwick (AFI) and Kathryn Bigelow (Columbia University) to name just a few.

Columbia University boasts filmmakers such as Kathryn Bigelow, Jennifer Lee & Greg Mottola

But how much does film school cost? According to the Hollywood Reporter, here are just a few:

USC is $55K (undergrad); $33K to $44K (grad) per year

AFI is $59K to $61K

Columbia University is $60K (grad)

UCLA is $28K (in-state), $31K to $40K (out-of-state)

I personally attended the Los Angeles Film School located in Hollywood, CA. Their current yearly tuition rings in around $33K after aid. So…ouch. Just like any career, going to college to study film hits the wallet quite hard. But here’s the thing, and there’s really no getting around it: The entertainment industry doesn’t care about your education. Especially if you want to write and direct.

If you attend a film school and invest your heart and soul into the education, you’re going to hit the streets of Los Angeles with thousands of other wanna-be filmmakers trying to get their break into the industry.

Don’t believe me? Go to LA and hit up the restaurants. Ask your waiter or waitress where they’re from and what they’re doing in LA. I rest my case.

The entertainment industry doesn’t care about your education. Especially if you want to write and direct.

If you want to be successful in the film industry, you must begin writing and directing movies. Besides the experience, you need the credentials. Credits on IMDb.

But think about how much film schools cost! If you’re tabbed out after graduation, you can’t even pay rent and buy gas, let alone fund movies.

I’ve been there. Rented a couch after graduating from film school because that’s all I could afford. I was 30 years old with nothing to my name except a film school education that couldn’t get me a job. It didn’t matter that I was a double major or that I graduated with honors or that my demo reel was all ready to go.

The receptionist at Fox told me they only hire award winning filmmakers. So how do you win awards and get IMDb credits as a writer and director if no one will hire you?

The receptionist at Fox told me they only hire award winning filmmakers. So how do you win awards and get IMDb credits as a writer and director if no one will hire you?

Such is the scary reality for many aspiring creatives. A proper education on the craft of filmmaking is paramount, but if it sets a student back so far financially they have to work a non-industry job to make ends meet, something isn’t working right. And this is the problem that Write&Direct is here to remedy.

Write&Direct is cohesive instruction on the craft of filmmaking

Write&Direct is like nothing you’ve seen before in online education. It is cohesive training on the craft of narrative filmmaking. If you’re after a career shooting real estate commercials or wedding videos, this isn’t for you. But if you aspire to tell stories for the big screen, Write&Direct will teach you how.

You’ll begin with development and work your way through post production in literal, actionable steps. At the end of the training you’ll have a completed film that you can submit to festivals, and even get on IMDb. If you’re considering the cost of film school, consider Write&Direct and side step the educational and financial land mines that claim the careers of so many. Enroll in Write&Direct today!

Remember the cost of film school is about more than just the dollars spent. It’s about the quality of the education and the time path you have to take after graduation.

Which Film School Should You Go To?

So does the school you attend make that much of a difference in your chances at a career in Hollywood?

No. The school you attend has nothing to do with where you’ll end up. Why? Because if there’s one thing the entertainment industry doesn’t care about, it’s your education.

Sure, you’ve gotta know what you’re doing. Yes, you need to network. But how you get to these points is irrelevant. Ask Tarantino who dropped out of high school. Chris Nolan who studied English in college. Or James Cameron who dropped out of college entirely and worked as a truck driver while learning to write.

If there’s one thing the entertainment industry doesn’t care about, it’s your education.

Personally, I did the normal thing and attended film school. Right on Sunset Boulevard in the heart of Hollywood. My directing teacher was a member of the DGA. My sound design teacher worked on Law & Order during the day and taught us at night. I graduated with honors with one of the most polished reels in my class.

Did this land me a job in the industry? Not in the least.

The reality for wanna be writers and directors is that after you put your heart, soul and bank account into film school, there’s nothing waiting for you. Many graduates work odd jobs just to pay rent. Others end up in the industry in a job they never wanted that has nothing to do with directing. Still others call it quits and move back to Iowa.

For me, it was the brutal schedule of a full time job while working on indie film nights and weekends. I was so broke I rented a couch to sleep on. This delayed my filmmaking aspirations significantly.

Directing actors on the set of RECKONING

It took years for me to finally write and direct my own projects. And it took equally long to truly understand the craft of story telling. You see, as educational as film school was, I graduated without understanding the deep truths of telling a story for the big screen. And I’m not a solo case of this.

So back to the question, which film school should you go to?

The answer is simple: One that will truly teach you the craft, and do it in the right way. A school that will assist in networking with other filmmakers. And finally, a school that educates you in the least amount of time possible with little money spent.

Because regardless of where you go to school, you’ll end up the same as everyone else. A film school graduate faced with the daunting task of producing your own projects in order to gain credits as a writer and director.

This is the indisputable fact of the entertainment industry.

Regardless of where you go to school, you’ll end up the same as everyone else. A film school graduate faced with the daunting task of producing your own projects in order to gain credits as a writer and director

So what’s the good news?

You can achieve this with Write & Direct. This is cohesive training that will make you unstoppable as a filmmaker. I’m with you every step of the way, and afterwards. During the training you’ll write and direct your own film with the goal of submitting to film festivals and IMDb. You’ll learn how to do things right from development through pre-production, production and post production.

Playing the role of Director, DP, Sound Mixer and 2nd AC on the film RECKONING

You haven’t seen anything like this. You see, I too am an independent filmmaker, currently wrapping production on a film as this blog post is typed. Back in 2020 while on another movie, the idea of Write & Direct hit me, and I’ve been on the war path ever since.

I know what you need to know to get started as a filmmaker. From start to finish. The goal isn’t to always do everything yourself. But when you’re starting out with limited finances, you simply have to. And beginning directors who don’t know how to do it all are dependent on other people. And this will never get you anywhere quickly.

Write & Direct is the film school you should go to. It could shave years off your pursuit of filmmaking. Trust me, I know what it’s like to do it the “normal” way.

I’m ready to enroll.

I hope to see you on the other side!

Why Film School Is Worth It

All of my friends knew I was that person. The guy who was crazy about movies. Couldn’t stop talking about them. It was common practice for me to watch a movie multiple times in the theater.

The Matrix? Over 15 times.

Maybe this is you? Movies are your life?

And now you want to make them. You wanna be a filmmaker.

“And I dig that about you!” (Jerry Maguire)

I was 26 when the light finally turned on. It happened in my office at work. Out of nowhere something crashed into my head. Not a ceiling tile or light fixture. It was this radical idea:

“I should go to film school.”

Packed up everything and moved to Los Angeles. Just me, an old Honda and BIG dreams.

My life had finally begun!

I attended film school a stone’s throw from major studios.

I attended film school in the heart of Hollywood. My directing teacher was a member of the DGA. Sound design teacher worked full time on Law and Order. My editing teacher even cut Blazing Saddles back in the day.

Needless to say, I learned a lot. And this is why film school is worth it.

But there was a problem.

Something film school didn’t prepare me for.

But there was a problem. Something film school didn’t prepare me for.

When I graduated from film school I was sleeping on an air mattress. Sharing rent with a couple other guys. Around $62K of school debt.

I had one of the most polished reels in my class. Started calling studios before graduation, hoping to land an assistant editor position to just “get in the door” and start working my way up.

I’ll never forget what the receptionist at FOX said to me.

She was like, “You know we only hire award winning editors, right?”

Nope, didn’t know that.

After the hurrah of graduation is over, and everyone tells you how great your thesis project was, you’re on the streets of Los Angeles with no job on the horizon. And a sobering reality sets in.

After the hurrah of graduation is over, you’re on the streets of Los Angeles with no job on the horizon.

Film school teaches a lot about making movies. It doesn’t teach how to find work after school. Why? Because it’s nearly impossible to find work in the film industry — Especially if you want to write and direct.

I need this to sink in. If you want to be a filmmaker, you must understand that film school is not the silver bullet you might think it is. If you’re about to sink tens of thousands of dollars on film school, I’m here to suggest that there’s a better way. Film school isn’t worth that kind of money.

Is this the fault of film school?

No, not really. Film schools can’t tell prospective students their odds of success. If they did, film schools would go bankrupt overnight.

The entertainment industry is SATURATED. Film schools are pumping out thousands of wanna-be directors every year.

What’s the solution?

To understand what matters in Hollywood. And guess what? It’s definitely not where you went to school. Hollywood doesn’t care. What they do care about is what you’ve done. About credits on IMDb.

Hollywood doesn’t care about your education. They care about what you’ve done.

If you’re on the path to be a writer and director, you need credits as a writer and director. Which means you must start writing and directing your own movies.

But how do you afford to pay for film school, pay rent and make movies without rich parents?

And there lies the problem.

Many film school graduates end up working jobs not even related to filmmaking. Some land an industry job, only to be stuck for years in a position they never wanted. Others simply give up and move back to the Midwest.

Again, what’s the answer?

Write & Direct.

I’ve been to film school. Worked on studio films and slaved in the trenches of indie filmmaking. Write & Direct takes all of my experience and packs it into a training program that could shave years off your pursuit of becoming a filmmaker.

Write & Direct is hands on training that covers everything from development through post production.

This is cohesive, hands-on training that doesn’t drain your finances.

But it’s about much more than that.

Write & Direct teaches you how to be a story teller for the big screen the right way. You’ll understand more about making a movie than many who spend tens of thousands of dollars on film school. Why? Because film schools have a lot of distractions. And the training is assembled by many instructors with various levels of experience.

Every step of filmmaking is covered with the Write & Direct training.

With Write & Direct I personally take you through development, pre-production, production and post production in literal steps that build on each other in the right way. At the end of the training you’ll have an actual movie you can submit to festivals, and even get on IMDb.

And most importantly? You’ll understand how to do things right instead of nuking years of your life learning things the hard way. And after you’re done with film number one, we’ve just begun. The Write & Direct training continues, along with a community of people like you.

So let’s circle back: Why is film school worth it? Because learning the conventions of filmmaking will shave years off your path to becoming a filmmaker. But your education must be dialed in, and it can’t drain your bank account, because education is only step one.

Write & Direct will get you on the path to becoming a filmmaker. Start today!

I want to be a filmmaker!

P.S. My training is backed by a no questions asked money-back guarantee.

Does film school matter?

Have you heard a similar story before? Maybe you have these same dreams!

You’re crazy about movies and can’t imagine anything more fulfilling than a career making them. So now you’re wondering which film school to attend, and you’re ready to jump in!

That was me all the way.

I put my heart and soul into film school. Even though directing was my goal, I realized early on that nobody was going to hire me to direct anything after school. Decided on a double major in editing and sound design. Graduated with honors and had a polished demo reel ready to hand out.

Things were going to happen!

I learned a lot in film school, but there was a problem. An elephant in the room that we just didn’t see coming.

But something unexpected materialized after graduation. It was this elephant in the room that none of us “dream seekers” really wanted to face, and film school didn’t prepare us for.

What was it? That Hollywood doesn’t care about our education.

I realized my time in film school simply didn’t matter in the film industry. I’ll never forget calling studios hoping to land an assistant editor position. The receptionist at Fox said, “You realize we only hire award winning editors right?” No…not really.

With no jobs on the horizon, I was forced to work in retail just to pay rent. Slept on an air mattress in a condo with two others guys who were also trying to “break in.”

You realize we only hire award winning editors right?

The receptionist at 20th Century Fox

This was sobering. Did film school not matter? This wasn’t how I saw things going.

But something happened — Someone I’d met on a short film contest worked at Universal Pictures. And she got me an editorial PA job on Let’s Go To Prison, a movie directed by Bob Odenkirk.

Whoa…My Hollywood life had finally begun!

Tracey Wadmore-Smith, Kyler Boudreau, Bob Odenkirk
Tracey Wadmore-Smith, Kyler Boudreau and Bob Odenkirk on the set of The Brothers Solomon

On the first film I was hit with the crazy realization that the best thing to do in preparation for life as a PA was to know where all the restaurants and Coffee Beans were located in Hollywood. Film school education not required.

Then on a typical sunny California afternoon I was sitting at my desk in a production office off Melrose, right down the street from Paramount Pictures. I listened as Matt Berenson (producer) and Bob Odenkirk searched for an editor for their next movie, The Brother’s Solomon.

Where were they looking? IMDb.

The fog began to clear — Hollywood only cares about what you’ve done. Who you know matters too, but even with that you still need credentials on IMDb. I made the decision to jump into independent film in order to hold key positions and get credits on IMDb vs spending years working up the PA ladder with no guarantees.

But there was kind of a big problem: Indie film doesn’t pay.

Sure, you land credits on IMDb, but a full time job is required to pay rent, buy food and…oh yeah, pay off school loans.

Film school taught me a lot about filmmaking. It didn’t prepare me for the reality of life after school in the entertainment industry. And this devours the careers of so many people who moved to LA to follow their dreams.

The first thing any aspiring director must do after graduation is begin writing and directing movies. But those who dump $30-60K on their education typically don’t have any resources left to pay rent, let alone fund their films.

Film school taught me a lot about filmmaking, but it didn’t prepare me for the reality of life in the entertainment industry.

So what’s the answer — Does film school matter? Is it worth it?

I think film school is definitely important, but the system is messed up. The entertainment industry is overloaded with people trying to make a living. Studios are guarded citadels, with scores of hopefuls waiting outside the castle walls, hoping for their chance to break in.

Hundreds of people are working for free on any given week just to gain credits on IMDb. And if you won’t work for free? Then get out of the way because there are 100 people in line behind you who will.

Am I trying to say it’s impossible? NO WAY. If you want to make movies, nothing can stop you. Nothing.

But if you don’t approach it right, you could end up as yet another statistic.

You know, that cool person who moved to LA from Ohio to follow their dreams only to crash and burn and move back home at the age of 38.

If you’re serious about making movies, then you need to learn the craft quickly without draining the bank account. And you’ve gotta learn it the right way so you don’t waste time doing it wrong.

And this is precisely what Write&Direct offers aspiring filmmakers.

Write&Direct is hands on, cohesive training that effectively teaches the craft at an affordable price. Students begin in development and move through every phase of making a movie. They complete their first film during training — A film that can be submitted to film festivals, and even put on IMDb!

Filling in as 2nd AC on my film RECKONING shooting in the mountains of Western North Carolina.

I’m a current filmmaker who lives in the trenches of independent film.

It’s one of the most rewarding things you’ll ever do! But it’s hard work, and you have to put in the time to get anywhere. And most of all, you have to truly learn the craft. Too many filmmakers make movies before they even understand the conventions of story telling.

But that’s not gonna be you.

I can teach you things you won’t learn in some film schools. Things that took me years to learn after graduation.

The Write&Direct training could literally shave years off your pursuit of a filmmaking career. It’s backed with a 100% money back guarantee, because once you experience my training it you’ll realize it’s one of the best things you could ever do to take the first step in the entertainment business.

Instead of spending $50K on film school, learn the craft and use your money to buy gear and pay rent while you truly make the magic happen!

Enroll today.

I hope to see you on the other side!

P.S. If you’d like to follow my current production, check out the film RECKONING.

How to Add Audio Fades & Key Frames in DaVinci Resolve & Fairlight

This tutorial is written for DaVinci Resolve Studio 17. Adding audio fades are extremely easy and highly flexible in DaVinci Fairlight and Resolve, but not 100% intuitive. So allow us to clear the flog! With an open project, click over to the DaVinci Fairlight edit page (the music notes icon on the bottom of Resolve).

1) Add Initial Fade in Fairlight

If you right-click any edit point on your audio track, you’ll be presented with various cross fade options. Just pick one as you can adjust the exact frame count easily after adding. If your edit point has adjacent audio, it will add a cross fade. If the audio clip is isolated on another track, it will add the fade to the beginning (or end) depending on where you right-clicked on the clip.

Alternatively, and even easier, you can simply click the white indicator on the top left or right of any audio clip and drag it over to introduce a fade. This works for both audio and video tracks.

Right-click on an edit point to choose a certain frame count fade.

2) Adjust Track Height for Fairlight Tools

To access additional tools in Fairlight you’ll need to adjust the height of your audio track. Each track has an information/settings box on the left of the track. Move your cursor to the bottom of this area for the audio track you’re working with. When your cursor turns into a double arrow, click and drag to change the height of the track.

3) Adjust Fade Length

Now you can easily adjust the length and style of your audio fade using the white marker on the top of your track. Simply click and drag to shorten or extend the audio fade. You can also use the center dot on the fade to adjust the style of the audio fade.

4) Add Fade Using DaVinci Resolve Edit Page

You can also work with fades on the edit page. Simply right-click or drag the white indicator as in Fairlight. You can also add them via the Effects palette, although this takes longer. First make sure the effects palette is open by clicking the Effects icon on the top right of DaVinci Resolve. Next, in the lower right effects palette, click on Toolbox. Here you can access various cross fades. Simply drag them onto your timeline in the desired spot.

You can use the Effects Toolbox in DaVinci Resolve to add cross fades on the Edit Page.

The fades added via the Edit or Fairlight pages are accessible in each area. Personally, I like to keep all of my audio editing in Fairlight so everything is consistent. You also cannot control the type of fade on the edit page as you can within Fairlight.

Rubberbanding Audio in DaVinci Resolve

Another powerful method of manipulating audio is via audio keyframes. You might hear people call it “rubberbanding.” If you hear that term, they’re talking about adding keyframes to a clip of audio in the timeline. To add an audio keyframe in DaVinci Resolve or Fairlight simply option + click (alt + click in Windows) on the gain line of your audio clip. Be careful to click on the gain line otherwise it will not give you the key frame.

You can add audio keyframes by Option + Click on the gain line in DaVinci Resolve Studio 17

You can also use the Inspector to add a key frame from the DaVinci Resolve edit page, but the keyboard method is much faster.

And there you have it! Again, crazy simple but with Resolve Studio 17 freshly installed and everything at defaults, not always intuitive. If you’d like to learn more simply check out other articles or visit the Write & Direct YouTube channel. For comprehensive training on writing and directing films, enroll in Write & Direct today!

Is Film School Worth the Money?

If you look at successful directors, the answer to the film school question is all over the map. Quentin Tarantino is a high school drop out. Steven Spielberg was rejected three times from USC. Chris Nolan attended University College London, but studied English, not film. James Cameron dropped out of college. M. Night Shyamalan graduated from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts.

These are wildly successful filmmakers, with drastically different degrees of education.

So if we stop right there and ask the question, “Is film school worth the money?” we’d be tempted to say, “not really.” Right? I mean M. Night is the only one who actually went to a legit film school before starting his career.

But here’s the thing, and there’s really no getting around it: You must learn the craft.

Take music for example. Sure there are prodigies born with the ability to master an instrument at the age of 7. But that’s not the norm. Most musicians have a deep knowledge of music theory along with thousands of hours of practice before they find success.

Filmmaking is no different.

An aspiring director must not only understand the craft, but invest thousands of hours in mastering the craft. And the key to this is to obtain the right education with the least amount of time and money spent. Why? Because practicing the craft will cost much more than film school ever will.

The key is to obtain the right education with the least amount of time and money spent.

Too many aspiring filmmakers nuke tens of thousands of dollars on school only to be hit with a stark realization after graduation: Nobody is going to hire them.

The only writers and directors who get hired are the ones with experience. So as a film school graduate, how do you gain experience as a writer and director? By writing and directing movies. But how do you pay rent, pay off school loans and fund a production?

And this is the entire problem with film school.

Is film school worth the money? Well, that depends on how much money you have in the bank. Because once you graduate, you have to start making movies immediately. And somebody has to foot the bill.

A production still from my independent film RECKONING

Another massive challenge for aspiring writers and directors is a dependence on crew. What happens if on day three of production your sound guy doesn’t show because someone can pay him more? Or the camera operator flakes? Or the one with the lights is sick?

For many filmmakers, their production stops right there.

It’s 2022. If you want to write and direct movies, you have to know it all. You can’t afford not to. You need to be able to get movies made, even if you have to be the sound mixer. Or the DP. Production designer, location scout, casting director, editor and sound designer.

Because unless you can pay all of these people, you can’t rely on them.

This is what Write & Direct is all about.

You will gain the required knowledge of the craft for drastically less time and money spent on film school.

Write & Direct begins with Development and ends with Post Production.

How? Because I’ve done it the hard way. $60K in school loans only to start as a production assistant on studio films, barely paying rent. Then I jumped into the trenches of independent filmmaking where I had to work full time as a web designer because indie film doesn’t pay.

Over the years I’ve learned how to do it all, and can help you side step some of the landmines that claim the passion and careers of so many aspiring filmmakers.

This isn’t training on how to shoot weddings or real estate commercials. This will teach you how to become a narrative filmmaker who understands the craft, and rapidly jumps into making movies. And the training is just the beginning!

Sign up today and change your future. Write & Direct is backed by a 100% money back guarantee.

I hope to see you on the other side!

DaVinci Resolve Insert, Ripple Overwrite, Replace & Fit To Fill

If you’re like me, you’ve spent a lot of time working in various non linear editing systems. They each have their own way of doing things. The first thing I do on a new NLE is familiarize myself with how to do the common tasks I need to do in order to edit quickly. Few things are used more than inserting media into the timeline!

The fastest way to place a clip in the timeline is to visit the Cut Page and drag the clip from a bin down to the timeline. However this is impractical most of the time.

Let’s look at some of the most common methods you’ll use from the Edit Page:

How to Smart Insert Footage

When you have a working timeline full of existing clips, sound FX and other items, you can’t just drags clips in. A common way to get a new clip into the timeline is to insert it. DaVinci Resolve calls this a ‘smart insert’ as it will push everything down the timeline to make room for the new clip.

Using smart insert will keep everything in sync on your timeline as all tracks will be pushed down to make room for the new clip.

First, make sure the right video and audio tracks on your timeline are active (red box). Next mark an in and out in the source clip (I and O). Then position your playhead where you want the clip inserted and hit F9.

Using the playhead and F9 to insert footage adds the clip and pushes everything else down the timeline.

And btw, as much as I appreciate Resolve’s default mappings, I prefer my own. You can fully customize the Resolve keyboard.

How to Overwrite Footage

Instead of inserting footage, you can overwrite existing footage from your source clip. With the same in and out marks selected, hit F10 to overwrite existing material in the timeline. Instead of moving everything down to make room for the new clip, it will simply overwrite whatever is on the tracks that you have selected.

Replace Footage

The replace footage feature is similar to overwrite, but used to replace only a certain area on the timeline. If you select an in on your source clip and then position the playhead over a section and hit F11, DaVinci Resolve will overwrite timeline footage either between to edit points on the timeline, or between a marked in and out.

Fit to Fill

Another option similar to replace is Fit to Fill. If you have two edit marks and you’re inserting source material that is shorter than the desired section on the timeline, you can use Fit to Fill to fill the entire space by slowing down the source clip. Obviously this only works in certain situations. Use Shift + F11 to insert source material as Fit to Fill.

Once you’ve inserted the source material if you right-click on the section in the timeline and choose Retime Controls you can see detailed information on how much the clip was slowed down, etc.

Tip: To access all of these tools when dragging a clip into the timeline, simply drag the clip from your bin to the right, over the timeline monitor window. Various insert options will show up on the right.

Delete Selected

If you select a clip in the timeline, or mark an in and out in the timeline and then hit the ‘delete’ key on your keyboard, DaVinci Resolve will lift the material from the timeline and leave a gap where it used to be.

Ripple Delete

Using the same scenario for delete selected, ripple delete will remove the material from the timeline and also remove any remaining gaps. Every track in the timeline will be kept in sync with a ripple delete.

Using the delete selected tool will leave a gap in the timeline as the content is simply lifted out.

DaVinci Resolve Ripple Overwrite

The ripple overwrite tool is like combining normal overwrite with ripple delete. It overwrites existing content, but if the clip is longer or shorter, the timeline is either extended or the remaining gap is removed. Use Shift + F10 on the keyboard for Resolve’s ripple overwrite.

These are not the only ways to add media to the timeline in DaVinci Resolve, but these are my favorites! And I love that you can map all of them to shortcut keys on the keyboard.

Coming from a decade of using Avid Media Composer, I’m shocked at the tools available in DaVinci Resolve at such an affordable price point. I will always love Avid, but Resolve is making it possible for new filmmakers to tell their stories without the price tag of other solutions.

How to Install LUTs in DaVinci Resolve & the Pocket Cinema Camera

A LUT can be installed on both your camera and post production software like DaVinci Resolve Studio. LUT stands for “lookup table” and it is basically a predetermined computation used for color grading.

Example: Let's say you cut scenes from a controlled set with proper lighting and exposure. Once you color grade, you can create a LUT that allows you to rapidly apply the color grading to all of the footage.

Here’s a shot from the Black Magic Pocket Cinema 4K using the Meike 35mm lens. The camera was set to shoot BRAW which is essentially log. So all of the information is there, but no grading has been performed.

BRAW footage from the BMPCC4K without any color correction applied.

Next we’ll install a LUTs package in DaVinci Resolve from Roman Hense that will quickly transform the look of the image. We’re using Roman’s S21-Natural Soft LUT below.

The same BRAW image with a LUT applied from Roman Hense’s S21 LUT package

You can install LUTs on both cameras and an NLE. But I would never bake a LUT into your camera footage. However they are highly useful for monitoring on set so you can tell what the footage is going to look like after you’ve color corrected in post.

How To Install LUTs in DaVinci Resolve 17

This assumes you have a LUTs package ready to install. LUTs for Resolve will be .cube files. Once you have the files do the following:

1. Click the gear icon on the bottom right of Resolve.

2. Next choose Color Management and you’ll be presented with the following options:

The settings that display after you click the gear icon in Resolve.

3. Click on Open LUT Folder and copy your .cube files into folder that opens up.

It's best to keep a LUTs packaged inside a folder. Move your .cube files into a folder, name it whatever makes sense to you and then drag and drop that folder in.

4. Click the Update Lists button.

5. For monitoring in DaVinci Resolve select a LUT from the Video Monitor Lookup Table dropdown.

How to Install LUTs on the Black Magic Pocket Cinema Camera

As I already mentioned, don’t bake a LUT into your footage while shooting. However if you’d like to install a LUTs packed on your camera for monitoring, that can help a lot on set. You’ll need to copy the LUTs files onto an external SSD drive (or SD/CFast card) and have this connected to the camera.

  1. Click the settings button to access the main menu.
  2. Select LUTS on the top right of the touch screen
  3. Select the double arrow on the bottom of the touch screen
  4. Choose IMPORT

Now if you have an external monitor like the PortKeys LH5, you can view your footage on set with the LUT applied while recording in BRAW.

The S21 LUTs package used above from Roman Hense.

Where to Purchase LUTs Packages

There are many places you can purchase a LUTs package for your camera and/or Resolve. One that I’ve used is the S21 package from Roman Hense. Purchase it on Etsy.

How to Change Keyboard Shortcuts in DaVinci Resolve

If you’re a seasoned filmmaker, you know that when it comes to rapidly manipulating a timeline, the keyboard is king. And the great news is that DaVinci Resolve has a fully customizable keyboard palette to make editing a dream.

Mapping Commands

Let’s first look at mapping three simple commands to specific keys on the keyboard: Mark In, Mark Out, Clear In and Out.

  1. Click DaVinci Resolve in the top left and select Keyboard Customization. You can also hit Option + Command + K on the keyboard to get to the same spot.
  2. Select All Commands in the Commands column. Type “mark” in the right hand search box.
  3. Locate Mark In and Mark Out.
The keyboard command palette allows you to create shortcuts for menu commands for faster editing.

The keyboard palette will display any current mappings or shortcuts that are setup in Resolve. You can remove these by clicking on the “x” by the shortcut, and you can add your own by clicking the plus sign.

  1. Click the “+”
  2. Type in the keyboard command you’d like to use
  3. Click Save.
  4. Enter a custom name to save your keyboard mappings.

Replace Existing Keyboard Mappings

If you try to assign a keyboard shortcut or mapping to a key that is already mapped to another task for the same area of the Resolve application, you’ll receiving a warning.

If you try to assign a mapping to a key that is already in use, you will receive a warning.

DaVinci Resolve will allow you to save the mapping, but it will not work. You must manually remove the one you don’t need. This is done by clicking the “x” next to the mapping.

View Current Mappings

To see active mappings for any specific key or key combination, simply click the key (or keys) on the keyboard palette which will highlight them in red. DaVinci Resolve will then display the current tasks assigned. To remove a mapping, click on it under the Active Key column, and then on the right either change or remove the assignment.

Multiple tasks can be assigned to the same key for different areas of the DaVinci Resolve application such as the Edit Page vs Fairlight, etc.
View the unsaved changes by selecting ‘Modified’ from the dropdown menu.

View Modified Mappings

If you’re in the process of mapping your keyboard, you can view the current mappings by selecting modified from the dropdown menu in the Commands column area. This will display all of the mappings you’ve changed but haven’t saved yet.

Import, Export and Common NLE Presets

When you open the keyboard palette, the top right displays the keyboard preset in use. The default is of course DaVinci Resolve. When you make changes and click save, Resolve will prompt you to name the mappings as a custom preset. This will then be the active preset even if you close and re-open Resolve, or change projects.

The dropdown at the top right of the keyboard palette allows you to select a custom or default preset.

You can also also start by choosing custom default mappings from other non linear editing systems like Avid Media Composer, Final Cut Pro or Adobe Premiere. And finally, you can click the three dots to import or export a keyboard preset.

The keyboard command palette in Resolve allows you to create an ideal editing workspace that is portable to any DaVinci Resolve editing workstation!

How to Split Clips in DaVinci Resolve

If you’re a filmmaker who cuts your own films, a common task using your NLE is to add edit marks in the timeline. In the world of DaVinci Resolve this is called ‘Splitting Clips’ or using the Blade Tool.

Split a Single Clip (Edit Page)

To quickly add an edit in DaVinci Resolve use the Blade tool. I’m assuming you already have media imported into Resolve and a timeline created with at least one clip. From the Edit Page in Resolve:

  1. Click the blade icon to activate it (top left of timeline)
  2. Hover over a clip in the timeline. Your mouse pointer will turn into a razor. Simply click to split the clip.
Enable the Razor or Blade Tool in DaVinci Resolve by clicking the icon over the timeline.
To disable the blade tool once enabled, simply hit "A" on your keyboard and it will deactivate.

Split Using Menu & Keyboard

If you’d rather use the menu or the keyboard, from the Edit page:

  1. Move your playhead to where you want to split the clip and go to Timeline > Razor to add an edit at the playhead.
  2. Hit Command B (blade tool or razor)
  3. Hit Command \ (split clip)

Rejoin Split Clips

Sometimes you need to remove an edit mark. The great news is that it’s easy to do:

  1. Position your playhead at the edit mark
  2. Go to Timeline > Join Clips or Option \

Remove Section After Splitting a Clip

A handy way to speed up cutting in Resolve is to use the split clip combined with the play head position to remove a complete section of a clip.

Cut down on your clicks by using Command + Shift + Bracket to perform faster edits.
  1. Use the Razor (Blade) Tool to make an edit
  2. Position the Playhead
  3. Hit Command + Shift + Open Bracket to remove from the edit to the playhead
  4. Hit Command + Shift + Closed Bracket to remove from the playhead to the next edit

Split Clip from the Clip Page

And yet another way to add an edit on your timeline is from the DaVinci Resolve Clip Page. Once on the clip page (second icon bottom of screen) position the playhead and then Control + Click on the very top. Then click the scissor icon to split the clip.

You may be wondering what the difference is between Razor, Blade and Split Clip. From everything I’ve seen, there essentially is no difference. They will all cut through multiple tracks at once. If you edit with the blade tool, you can still use the rejoin clip option from the menu.

Also, if you like to cut fast, mapping your own keys will make using the Blade tool even faster.

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