If you are in need of high-end video editing software but think there are no free options that are viable, then think again. DaVinci Resolve 16 from Blackmagic Design is no joke.

This is a screenshot of the editing environment. This 4K footage edits smoothly on my computer.

It’s powerful, fully featured, and can stand toe-to-toe in the ring with some of the big players in the game like Adobe Premiere and Final Cut Pro. For a high school journalism adviser or student who’s looking at some possibilities for video editing, Davinci Resolve should definitely be on your list.

Over the past few years I’ve started doing some videos for clients (outside of my journalism advising job), and I’ve done almost all my editing using Adobe Premiere. However, when Premiere started crashing on my laptop every 30 minutes or so, I sought out alternatives out of sheer frustration.

The first one I tried was DaVinci Resolve, and I didn’t even look at any others because I loved it so much.

So – what did I love about it, and why should you consider it?

  1. It’s free. Like, really free. It’s great for almost any editing you might come across in a high school journalism program. Oh, there’s a paid version for $299, of course, but I have yet to come across any limitations that would force me to purchase the software, and I’m using it on summer-time paid jobs!
  2. The program runs beautifully, rendering 4K files much faster and smoothly than Premiere using the same footage. That doesn’t mean, however, that you won’t need a decent computer – I failed to get DaVinci to run on an older computer that did, indeed, run Adobe Premiere (although horribly). DaVinci also far outperformed Premiere with the time it took to render files. DaVinci was able to beat Premiere by almost 50% on my machines, seemingly able to use my multi-core processor more efficiently.
  3. The color correction abilities of the program are simply outstanding. They are easy for beginners to grasp, and the program seems built around their functionality. It’s very easy in DaVinci Resolve to get great, consistent color without a lot of headache.
The color controls in Davinci Resolve 16 are really great.
  • 4. Did I say it’s free? It’s so free it doesn’t even force a watermark on the exported movies!

So what are the limitations? There are some, but MOST high school journalism programs won’t see them. The paid version has more robust plug-in support, the ability to work with 8K and beyond files, more advanced noise reduction and includes more effects and fun stuff like facial recognition – all things that most high school programs just don’t need. At least mine!

When Adobe Premiere works, it’s absolutely outstanding and I’ll probably go back to it soon because school is about to start again and I’ll need to be using the software my students use. However, for personal work, I’m now a DaVinci Resolve guy, and if I were to start my program from scratch with a strict budget, I’d definitely be confident that the students could use Resolve 16 to achieve award-winning, stunning videos.

It’s professional and it’s free, and I’d recommend for you to download it and see if it works with your computers to give it a shot!