AI-Powered Audio Features in DaVinci Resolve Can Clean Your Dialogue — Should Sound Mixers Worry?

Editors will now be able to isolate dialogue and remove noisy ambient conditions using artificial intelligence.

When you think of artificial intelligence (or AI), do you think of sci-fi spaceships trying to kill Dave, weird photos generated by Dall-E that make your uncanny valley itch, or do you think about magic?

Well, Blackmagic Design announced a new update to DaVinci Resolve 18, which has several new features, including, most notably, new artificial intelligence-based tools that can isolate and level out recorded dialogue.

There are also new vertical video formats for social media content that will end up on TikTok, Snapchat, and Instagram. So, is this going to put sound mixers out of a job?

New Audio and Dialogue Tools

The DaVinci Resolve 18.1 update includes new tools to the Fairlight Audio Tab, which enabled voice isolation track FX to the DaVinci Neural Engine. This new feature will allow editors to separate voice and dialogue while eliminating ambient noise, such as loud background elements or aircraft sounds. The tools promise to reduce the need to either re-record dialogue in voiceover or reshoot a scene while on location and will likely be a godsend for documentarians and news organizations shooting interviews out in the wild.

Moreover, Fairlight will also gain grid support so that editors can create a grid of edits positioned to be more easily cut by timecode or musical temp. This will make the process of cutting on the beat for music videos and montages to be easier for faster turnaround .

The Fairlight TabCredit: Blackmagic Design

Social Media Aspect Ratios

Meanwhile, Resolve gets several new social media-centric video formats.

The update adds support for vertical resolutions such as 1080×1920, as well as square aspect ratios to make it faster to set up a timeline and produce social media-style videos. Additionally, users will be able to create their own custom thumbnails and channels for uploading videos to YouTube.

Content collaborations will now be able to lock a timeline to prevent two separate users from selecting the same timeline. Multiple editors can now work on different timelines within the same bin simultaneously.

Apple iPhone 14 Pro Camera App
Vertical or square layoutsCredit: Apple

More Magic Masking

Over on the Fusion tab, users can get an expansion of the Magic Mask tool, enabling it to detect animals, vehicles, people, and objects and then track their movement in a shot. This will allow editors to create clean traveling mattes and add effects or backgrounds.

There is also a keyword and category search of Fusion’s 200-plus effects tools and filtering the list to find the proper effect without knowing the exact name.

Users will also be able to use the Resolve FX DustBuster in the editing timeline.

DaVinci Resolve 19 Fusion Tab
The Fusion TabCredit: Blackmagic Design

Housekeeping

As for housekeeping fixes, Blackmagic has improved importing of video files when using the ATEM Mini ISO, by attaching audio to video clips. The speed editor has been improved, and there’s now the ability to override the subtitle capture properties individually.

Finally, when editing Dolby Vision 5.1 projects, editors can adjust the brightness levels of HDR video, optimizing clips for either cinema or television broadcasts. The resolution can also be optimized for Windows or Linux to see fonts for titles more easily.

ATEM Mini Pro ISO
ATEM Mini Pro ISOCredit: Blackmagic Design

Things Not to Miss

As always, updates to Resolve are free. The DaVinci Resolve 18.1 update is now available from the Blackmagic Design Support Website.

However, that’s not what piqued our interest. While the update is a nice addition to an already sprawling editing suite, the inclusion of AI is a really interesting change of pace.

With AI-generated imagery causing quite a stir in the arts community, we’re seeing the technology have a huge impact, both big and small. If this audio feature in Resolve works well enough, this will open a ton of doors for creatives on a time crunch or on a budget.

I know more than a few student filmmakers who would give an arm and a leg for this kind of audio support. But will it work better than a dedicated sound mixer? That remains to be seen.

Let us know your thoughts!