The latest ZDF’s TerraX documentaries have been edited and graded with DaVinci Resolve Studio

Frame of ZDF's TV TerraX documentaries series

Blackmagic Design has announced that three documentaries produced for national German broadcaster, ZDF, as part of its primetime TerraX series, were edited and graded with DaVinci Resolve Studio. The 3 x 45’ documentaries were developed by Munich production house, South&Browse Fictual, part of South&Browse GmbH, and edited by Sebastian Riezler of Aufschnitt TV.

“The TerraX format has been part of prime time German TV for many years, covering a huge range of topics, from significant historical events, to space exploration, to geographical wonders of the world,” explains Sebastian. “I’d worked on previous TerraX productions, and was brought into the project to share my creative and technical experience with the format.”

Sebastian explains that he chose to edit in DaVinci Resolve Studio, primarily because the documentaries had to be delivered in both SDR and HDR. “For our previous projects, we had to roundtrip, which made the post process complex and unwieldy, so we decided to stay within DaVinci Resolve for a more streamlined approach.”

The three documentaries form part of a ‘One Moment in History’ season and examine key events including the ‘Völkerschlacht bei Leipzig’ (Battle of Nations), the biggest battle fought on European soil in the 19th century, the assassination of Julius Caesar and the storming of the Bastille. Each program features a reenactment of the events, which the host can ‘freeze’ and walk through the set, interacting with characters and props. Interviews with historians, some filmed with the Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 4K, are interspersed throughout the sequences.

“As all of the separate elements were filmed with different cameras and frame rates, there was a lot to do to make sure the edit flowed seamlessly,” continues Sebastian. “In the films there are a lot of moments where the movement completely stops, and here I used speed ramps to 0% with Resolve’s Optical Flow, which delivered impressive results.”

During the initial rough cut of the films, Sebastian relied on the DaVinci Resolve Editor Keyboard to help speed up his work. “The keyboard and Cut Page work so well together, and made a big difference to the heavy lifting you often have to do at the beginning of a project,” he explains. “From an ergonomic perspective, the shuttle wheel was excellent.”

“Although every TerraX documentary has its own style and identity, they all have to be finished to the same high standard,” concludes Sebastian. “The DaVinci Resolve post pipeline gave us a firm and flexible foundation for multiple, high quality deliverables for a prime time format and freed up the team to focus on bringing as much creativity as possible to the productions.”

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