The new control panels make bespoke color grading hardware much more affordable and portable.
While Blackmagic Design has offered a free version of DaVinci Resolve for some time, only the highest-end users had access to a bespoke hardware interface — the $30,000 Advanced Panel. Now, Blackmagic Design is bringing the best parts of the Advanced Panel to a broader range of users with the Micro and Mini control panels.
The Micro Panel costs $995 but is made to the same degree of quality as the Advanced Panel. The casing is machined aluminum, and the control surfaces, while slightly smaller, are made in the exact same way as those of the larger panel. The Micro Panel features three trackballs for smooth changes and a number of nobs with 4,096 levels of sensitivity for making fine adjustments. The panel offers a collection of preset hotkeys for navigating Resolve more quickly.
The Micro Panel is Blackmagic Design’s solution to users who both edit and color in DaVinci Resolve and is designed to be used in conjunction with a mouse and keyboard. It can easily fit on a desk beside a keyboard, allowing users to jump between the two as they go from editing to coloring. It is also conveniently powered by a single USB-C cable.
The $2,995 Mini Panel builds on the Micro Panel by adding more nobs, more buttons, and two LCD screens for displaying menus. It makes it possible to control virtually every aspect of DaVinci Resolve without having to reach for the mouse or keyboard. This puts it more in line with the Advanced Panel, but it is also portable, giving colorists the ability to work on location with the same level of control they have in the studio.
While Thursday’s announcements, which also included the new Ursa Mini Pro cinema camera, offer plenty of excitement for both amateur and professional filmmakers, what is perhaps even more amazing is that each product is already en route to storefronts. (B&H lists availability as March 9 for the Micro Panel). Blackmagic Design has previously been notorious in the past for its inability to deliver products on time. Interested customers should probably still get their orders in as soon as possible –we wouldn’t be surprised if demand shortly outstripped supply.