The idea of working with R3D files in DaVinci Resolve at this point no longer phases me. I’ve been working with R3D files in this application for a little while and thrive for the opportunity to grade in RAW colour space, breaking free from the camera metadata and Rec 709 colour space from devices such as the Sony FS700 and Panasonic 101. The simple way to explain the process I have been committing religiously to is compiling all of the assets into one folder, then bringing the entire contents across to the grading suite. From this I can import the XML file that has been exported from the offline edit, DaVinci Resolve will then reference the assets folder to compile the sequence ready for grading.
With DaVinci Resolve you can import the XML file and the media will automatically link. However if there are issues locating the media it is recommending to bring in the R3D files as an import directly into the media pool before importing the XML; this way Resolve is already aware of the file paths that relate to the data file. From my experience the best practice is to ensure all the footage lies in a simple file structure which includes the XML at the top of the structure. This way the XML simply has to look in deeper levels of the folder it sits within rather than having to explore further afield and risk loosing its link with the original media.
After import one function that is useful for conserving processing power and file storage is trimming the R3D files. By selecting the entire timeline and right-hand clicking you can select “Trim RED Clips” which will then export the trimmed files into a new folder and reference this, allowing you to remove the original files. I would recommend doing this as an offline effort to avoid doing anything destructive to the original footage.
Once the footage is compiled you can jump straight into the grade and witness the additional colour space and increased manipulation of the file. During this process changing the settings of the referenced Camera RAW can edit the colour space available to grade. Making changes to the RAW allows you to truly explore the image shot such as exposure levels, whilst the use of nodes will expand upon these agreed settings.
When it comes to grading the R3D files for this project I am fully confident in approaching editing off the RAW files. I will want to oversee the process of organising the clips before editing takes place to ensure the structure is simple enough to accommodate for the XML referencing as I am uncertain if the rest of the post-production crew are aware of this process with the R3D files. Once the structure has been created I can happily bring the footage across to the dedicated grading suite using the EditShare virtual hard drive. In terms of the export settings I anticipate a ProRes 422 (or similar 2K codec) that can match the final export settings of the online edit.