MIDIGrade: Controller for DaVinci Resolve

If you are tired as I was to see the small range of different controllers for DaVinci Resolve color grading software and how they all require an investment up to thousands of Dollars, I think you are going to like this.
Combining the power of DJ hardware, MIDI message software and some clever programming - I present you the ultimate color grading controller panel solution for DaVinci Resolve on a budget!

Reading professional grading forums I have many times come by issues from people that even the commercial grading controllers aren’t mapped as well as they could have been for DaVinci Resolve and that the mapping cannot be altered. This combined to simply to huge cost of owning one made me to look for any reasonable alternatives and to realize that there simply wasn’t one suitable for my needs. So I decided to come up with a solution of my own which comes as close as possible to a full-size controller but without breaking the bank and not looking like something from Frankenstein’s creations.
Here’s the best part: everything you need to start turning some knobs in DaVinci Resolve including this mapping preset will cost you just about $350!!

Now watch the video above to see MIDIGrade in action!

More videos available at:
https://www.youtube.com/juliousfi

Windows version under development:
https://youtu.be/ornqtJzwLOo




Requirements: (note that THIS IS WORKS IN MAC OS X ONLY)


Compatible with these Desktop resolutions with a single monitor setup:

6400 x 3600 (iMac 27” 5K Retina in wide mode)
5120 x 2880 (iMac 27” 5K Retina)
4096 x 2304 (iMac 21.5” 4K Retina)
4096 x 2160 (Widescreen setup)
3840 x 2160 (Wide setup with two Dell P2715Q monitors)
3440 x 1440 (2:35 wide angle monitor)
2560 x 1440 (iMac 27”, HP 27” Z27X DreamColor…)
3840 x 1200 (Super wide with two monitors)
1920 x 1200 (Dell 24" U2410 UltraSharp)
1920 x 1080 (iMac 21.5” and most common monitors)
1280 x 1024 (Dell 19" E198FP)

Compatible with these Laptop resolutions with a single monitor setup:
2880 x 1800 (MacBook Pro 15” Retina)
2560 x 1600 (MacBook Pro 13” Retina)
1440 x 900 (MacBook Air 13”)
1344 x 756 (MacBook Air 11”)

Compatible with these Desktop resolutions with a dual monitor setup:
6400 x 3600 (iMac 27” 5K Retina in wide mode)
5120 x 2880 (iMac 27” 5K Retina)
4096 x 2304 (iMac 21.5” 4K Retina)
3840 x 2137 (Dell 32" UltraSharp 4K)
2560 x 1440 (iMac 27”, HP 27” Z27X DreamColor…)
1920 x 1200 (Dell 24" UltraSharp)
1920 x 1080 (iMac 21.5” and most common monitors)

Compatible with these Laptop resolutions with a dual monitor setup:
3840 x 2400 (MacBook Pro 15” Retina in very wide mode)
3360 x 2100 (MacBook Pro 15” Retina in wide mode)
2880 x 1800 (MacBook Pro 15” Retina)
2560 x 1600 (MacBook Pro 13” Retina)
1440 x 900 (MacBook Air 13")
1344 x 756 (MacBook Air 11”)


So far these are all of the resolutions that I have been able to implement but my goal is to add more. For this I will need your help. If you'd like to see your screen resolution added please see the instructions here: https://www.dropbox.com/s/wcnkzl8w1zq1nls/MIDIGrade-resolution-suggestions.jpg?dl=0




Setup:


  1. You will need to have Midi Fighter Twister MIDI Controller plugged into your computer.

  2. Open Midi Fighter Utility (download link: https://s3.amazonaws.com/djtt-utility/mf_utility_installers/Midi_Fighter_Utility_OSX.dmg) and import the settings file provided in the MIDIGrade ZIP package. Click SEND TO MIDIFIGHTER.

  3. Open fully licensed ControllerMate by OrderedBytes, delete all of it’s default Programming Items and import the .cmate file provided in the MIDIGrade ZIP package. In this newly imported file open the group “2: Monitor Resolutions” and enable the correct Page for your monitor setup. You may check your resolution by taking a screenshot with ”Cmd + Shift + 3” and looking at the screenshot resolution.

  4. Save and quit ("Cmd + Q") ControllerMate. Note that the program will do mouse clicks only after it is fully closed.

  5. Open DaVinci Resolve and open either an empty or one of your already existing projects.

  6. Open Project Settings from bottom right corner, select Keyboard Mapping, import New Keyboard Preset, select file “MIDIGrade v.1.2 Resolve 12.5 Keyboard Mapping.txt” in folder “4-Resolve Keyboard Mappings”, name the new keyboard preset however you like and click OK and then Save.

  7. DONE. Enjoy grading!



The mapping:


  • I have setup the knobs so that it resembles how settings are laid out in DaVinci Resolve. For example if you look at Hue in Qualifiers it has 4 settings in top row. This means it’s most logical to set 4 knobs on top row of the Midi Fighter Twister to have these same 4 functions in the same order. This way you don’t even have to have labels on the controller, just look what you have on the screen on make your changes with the controller based on that!

  • Sometimes there were more settings than there are knobs. In these situations there has been two options for me to choose from: either I choose just a portion of the settings to cover in the knobs or mix them a little around so that they aren’t in the most logical pattern anymore but at least I got more buttons covered. I chose to go with the first option since based on my experience and grading habits it was easier to choose the most commonly used settings and include them in the most logical pattern I could come up with. I believe for your workflow it’s much more important to have everything in places where they just feel right instead of having them all no matter what.

  • Do note that there are settings that I wish I could have mapped to this setup but DaVinci Resolve just doesn’t have a keyboard shortcut for that function or the button for that setting isn’t always in the same place. For example I wish I was able to map Next Node / Previous Node but that just isn’t an option. Also inverting your currently selected Power Window isn’t possible with this because those buttons are shown as a list and there’s no other way to apply that function.



FAQ:

Why do you charge for your plugin more than the needed software even costs?


  • I spent many many many hours programming this whole setup and in figuring out how to get it work in the first place. These methods used here were not off-the-shelf solutions but instead I had to come up with my own mapping and how to get it to work. This has been developed keeping professional needs in mind and my top goal was to provide you with an out of the box ready solution that works straight away with your screen resolution. Covering these resolutions has been a very tedious work and by purchasing this you are probably saving many times the amount spent anyway than if you started from scratch yourself - though I wouldn’t be there stopping you either! ;) Also, by purchasing this once you will get the future updates free of charge covering newly added screen resolutions and ultimately any layout changes DaVinci Resolve may go through in it's next versions.


Why Midi Fighter Twister?


  • I have seen many different solutions other people have built upon other MIDI controllers but none of them were as user-friendly, compact sized and intuitive to use as I wanted. Midi Fighter Twister by DJ TechTools is initially a product built for DJs by DJs and the beauty of it lays in the knobs functionality. Since they work as turnable knobs as well as buttons you basically save already half of the surface area needed in that simple solution. Add to that the banks too and now you have already 96 functions available right there at your fingertips. What I realized very quickly after starting figuring out the mapping for this specific MIDI controller was also that in DaVinci Resolve many buttons are divided into groups of 2 or 4 buttons. This means that Midi Fighter Twister is ideal for controlling DaVinci Resolve for it’s 4x4 knob layout. Other specs which are great about this controller are that it's light weight, compact, very durable, has it’s own software, customizable colored lights and it works with a single USB cable.


How future proof is this product?


  • When it comes to DaVinci Resolve, I simply don’t know if the Color Page layout will drastically change in the next update and break this mapping. Grading is a passion and profession to me though so I will definitely get everything updated when that time comes. I have already developed my own developer's toolkit for adjusting the mapping in MIDIGrade for each knob so updating would be a pretty fast procedure to me. Then the ControllerMate has been around for over 10 years already and is still receiving updates thanks to the large user base it has. And finally the software for Midi Fighter Twister will most likely be updated too as long there are DJs around. So I'd say you are covered!


Is MIDIGrade Windows compatible?


  • Not yet. MIDIGrade works only on Mac OS X and the reason for that is in the software it runs on, ControllerMate. I am currently developing a Windows version which will run on a Windows compatible software so definitely stay tuned! More info about Windows MIDIGrade version: https://youtu.be/ornqtJzwLOo


Does this work with the Free version of DaVinci Resolve?


  • It does! I have developed this with the Studio version but with my testings there were no issues using the Free version.


Does the controller work when plugged into a USB hub?


  • Yes! I have mine plugged to a 4-port USB hub too. NOTE! When updating the firmware don't connect Midi Fighter Twister via a hub because that may cause damage to your controller.


Is MIDIGrade compatible with other controllers like Tangent Ripple?


  • It is! Because MIDIGrade doesn't have to be enabled as a controller in Resolve for it to work that leaves you with the option to add another controller alongside it. Here is a video showing MIDIGrade and Tangent Ripple together: https://youtu.be/Wy4Pbs9Fibs




Troubleshooting:


  • The function of the knobs is basically ordering your mouse to move clicking and dragging pixel-accurately on your screen lightning fast so please keep in mind that manipulating multiple knobs even slightly at once or moving your mouse while adjusting a setting may result in unwanted jerkiness or make it seem like the functions aren’t working.

  • When you first engage a function by turning a knob left (counterclockwise) it may not take into effect before turning it slightly right (clockwise) first. This is because in Midi Fighter Utility you need to have ”Has Detent” selected in Encoder Settings for each knob. This is enabled on the settings file I’m providing you by default but because of a known issue in the DJ TechTools software that setting resets itself at times for no apparent reason. I am too very keen to see this fixed but for now you just have to be aware of it and work around it.

  • After purchasing MIDIGrade you can contact me in case an issue appears with this mapping and I will do my best to resolve the problem with you!






About the author Julius Koivistoinen:
I’m a 25-year-old award winning Cinematographer and Colorist based in Helsinki, Finland. My day job is working as a freelance Director of Photography for medium sized commercial productions and music videos, and my current goal is to get more into doing narrative films and high-end commercials. I love sports - especially running and climbing, nutritious foods and having a good laugh with my girlfriend. Check out my Instagram @julious_dop to learn more about my latests projects.



Updates:



  • August 28th, 2017: Started rolling updates to make MIDIGrade compatible with Resolve 14 by adding 1920 x 1200 single monitor resolution.

  • March 22nd, 2017: Added support for 3840 x 2137 dual monitor resolution.

  • March 9th, 2017: Added support for 4096 x 2160 single monitor resolution.

  • January 16th, 2017: Added support for 3840 x 2400 single monitor resolution.

  • January 14th, 2017: Support for 3360 x 2100, 3840 x 2160 and 1280 x 1024 single monitor resolutions has been added.

  • December 16th, 2016: Support for 3440 x 1440 single monitor resolution has been added.

  • December 12th, 2016: ControllerMate has finally been updated and the problem causing issues with MIDIGrade on macOS Sierra has been fixed! Be sure to update your ControllerMate software to its newest version 4.10.

  • October 15th, 2016: The new macOS Sierra has major issues with ControllerMate at the moment. Starting from today I'm gradually rolling out MIDIGrade updates with temporary fix to each screen resolution. Please contact me if you'd wish for me to prioritize your setup in the next batch and I will do so.

  • September 28th, 2016: Improved compatibility with Resolve's newest 12.5.2 version. Support for 3840 x 1200 single monitor resolution has been added. Also various performance improvements.

  • August 16th, 2016: Honored to have MIDIGrade featured on No Film School, the resource for my filmmaking news and knowledge since 2014: http://nofilmschool.com/2016/08/midigrade-brings-diy-color-grading-hardware

  • July 8th, 2016: MIDIGrade version 1.2 full release now available! It is fully compatible with DaVinci Resolve 12.5.

  • May 23th, 2016: Added support for 1920 x 1200 single screen resolution into MIDIGrade version 1.2 Beta

  • May 8th, 2016: MIDIGrade version 1.2 Beta compatbile with DaVinci Resolve 12.5 Beta is now online

  • Apr 14th, 2016: Added support for 3840 x 1200 dual screen resolution.

  • Mar 30th, 2016: New feature! Thanks to user feedback a new universal button has been added to bottom row, second knob: Pause / Start Playback. Also tracking in Bank 1 is now accessible by turning the knob and Highlight has been added to Bank 3.

  • Mar 14th, 2016: Added support for 3840 x 2440 single screen resolution.

  • Mar 12th, 2016: Added support for 3440 x 1440 single screen resolution.

  • Feb 29th, 2016: Added support for 6400 x 3600 single screen resolution.

  • Feb 18th, 2016: Added support for 1920 x 1200 dual screen resolution.

  • Feb 17th, 2016: MIDIGrade version 1.1 is now online! See the new features demonstrated herehttps://vimeo.com/155662895

  • Feb 10th, 2016: I am currently working on an update which brings not only Primaries Bars into MIDIGrade but also has huge performance improvements based on the feedback I got from early adopters! This and future updates are free for those who have already purchased MIDIGrade. ETA for this update is next week. A video will be posted alongside the update when it's ready.

  • Jan 23rd, 2016: I have received requests for implementing Primaries Bars' Lift/Gamma/Gain/Offset controls for each channel Y/R/G/B. Adding this is totally plausible since there's still a 4th Bank unused and 6 side buttons in total so one of them can easily be programmed for getting into that Bank 4. I will add this feature in an update which will be ready later in February 2016!

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