I’ve had to move a few projects from Premiere Pro to Davinci Resolve just lately and here are some notes on things to do to prep your edit before sending it to me, I’m trying to make this page a resource for editors that don’t do this every day so if you can think of something I haven’t mentioned here, feel free to let me know and I’ll. add it to the list.
Step 1 – Simplify everything
Delete any unnecessary clips, flatten any nested sequences, and generally do your best to reduce the edit to as close to a single track as you can get it. Put any titles, motion graphics, etc on their own track. You’ll be exporting both these tracks separately.
Step 2 – Burn in effects
If you’ve applied any visual effects or speed changes, etc to the clips use the render and replace option to burn them into the clips – with the obvious exception of any temporary colour grading. This is the time turn that off.
Resizing does translate to Resolve although not normally the way you’d expect and I usually have to go through and do a bit of manual resetting to get the new sizes to match in the Resolve version of the project so it’s usually easier and faster to render and replace those clips as well.
Step 3 – Render a master
Render a master version of the edit without titles in as high a quality as you can. This is not only a reference so I can check anything I think may not have translated into Resolve properly but if all else fails and we’re getting desperate I can cut up this copy and use it to do the grade. Include audio there as well, even if it’s just a rough mix. Not every colourist cares about audio but I think it helps if I know what’s actually going on in a scene.
Also render any titles, graphics, etc to another file with an alpha channel so that I can lay them back over the edit inside resolve.
Step 4 – Media manage the project
If you’re sending me a drive with the clips, media manage the project to that drive. Clips should have some handles but it’s not important how long. Whatever you decide. Save a copy of the Premiere project to the drive as well. Eject any other media drives and test that the project does open and the media relinks properly. Relinking isn’t a huge issue but this is the best way to see if anything got missed.
Step 5 – Export the project
I usually save another copy of the project as a safety at this point because audio can be a bit of a mess when projects are imported into Resolve so it’s a good idea to delete all the audio before you export.
There are a few options for exporting but I’ve found that exporting the project as Final Cut XML seems to be the best, especially if the project has any resized or reframed media.
If there’s a copy or two of the original Premiere project on the drive I’m sent, then I can open the edit in Premiere and try exporting as something different if there’s an issue.
Optional – test the import
If you have a copy of Davinci Resolve available, feel free to try importing the XML to test that everything relinks properly. Obviously I’ll be doing that anyway but for really complex projects with a lot of media it can be good to resolve any relinking issues or missing media before the drive is shipped.
Got a question? Something just didn’t make sense? Feel free to give me a call on 0488 118 857 or shoot me an email via jeff [at] jeffkirkland.com. I’m always happy to help.