Using Resolve as Fusion Edit Connection for Media Composer

 

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One of the features of Avid’s Artist|DNxIO offering is the ability to use Blackmagic’s Fusion Edit Connection, an AVX plug-in connecting elements in a Media Composer timeline to Blackmagic’s Fusion. From Blackmagic Support:

The Fusion Edit Connection for Media Composer plugin is installed when you install Blackmagic Design Desktop Video (required to connect Artist | DNxIO). The Fusion Edit Connection for Media Composer plugin will work with both Fusion Free and the full Fusion Studio (requires purchase). The plugin is installed with the Desktop Video software but the Fusion Free and Fusion Studio need to be downloaded separately.

The  AVX plug-in is currently only available for Windows based system and only on system with an Artist|DNxIO device connected. In this scenario, the Artist|DNxIO works as dongle for the plug-in to operate. While that is great for those needing all the functionality of an Artist|DNxIO, it does not help those who work on OS X operating systems, in software only mode, or in a collaborative environment where one system may be dedicated to I/O and others are VFX previz stations, or even using another Blackmagic I/O solution like the UltraStudio 4K of which the Artist|DNxIO is the Avid branded version.

But there is a way to recreate the same workflows with some small advantages by using the free versions of DaVinci Resolve as the gateway to the free version of Fusion using AAF. With the most recent version of Resolve (12.5), Blackmagic has added the ability to for Resolve and Fusion to work together by defining a Fusion Compound clip in the timeline on the Edit tab. There is a whole chapter in the very well written Resolve User Manual on using Fusion Connect. Always download most recent versions of software and User Manuals from their support page. Also be aware that there are limitations to each of the offerings between the free and the Studio versions. Check the product compare pages for details.

The following is a simple example of the process. The timeline has 3 video layers where V3 has two stacked effects on it and show in expanded view:

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Activate the tracks and mark an IN-OUT over the range of the clips you want to send to Fusion.  When exporting AAF, make sure “Use Marks” and “Use Selected Tracks” are active:

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How you name the AAF export will be dependent on how you want to manage and track the VFX workflows in your production. In this quick example, since it is the first VFX, it is named VFX_01. Eventually I could add VFX_01_v1 for versioning etc. It will most likely be tied to the scene number in a scripted program, etc. If you’re working as a team, make sure you set up the naming schema that all agree on to make life easier.

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Once in Resolve, you have the option (and flexibility) to use the MXF files being used in the timeline or conform back to the camera originals. This allows control over how you want to manage the resolution, and color management of the VFX process and is fairly straightforward at the time of conform.

Once imported, the Resolve timeline is just the elements as edited from the Media Composer:

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Select all the elements, right click and select “Fusion Compound Clip. From here, follow the steps described in the User Manuals for both Resolve and Fusion. For the most part the user will want to work with the source clips - many of the more complex effects are not supported in the AAF conform, but the source elements are and properly aligned. This process will only get better as the AAF conform gets better. Here is the layout once opened in Fusion:

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Once the effect has been created in Fusion, the Resolve timeline automatically updates with the rendered effect.  From here it is a simple process of exporting out in whatever format you want to work with. I would suggest DPX via the AMA link or an OP1a with an Avid DNxHD/HR codec so that you have a new source clip created that matches the VFX naming being used. This makes things easier to track for versioning and final conform later if finishing in Resolve or other third party system.

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