4K in DaVinci Resolve on an iMac is far from ideal but I’ve done it and want to share some quick thoughts on 4K post workflow on a less than ideal system.

There are many 4K Blackmagic Production Cameras out there and not everyone has a high-end system for post. So what do you do if all you’ve got is an entry level iMac?

You adjust your expectations.

1. Forget about native RAW editing. You’ll be cutting with proxies and round-tripping through Resolve.

2. Forget about real-time RAW playback in Resolve. You will be able to grade your RAW media, but it will be frame by frame.

3. External SSD storage for media on Thunderbolt or USB 3 is essential.

4. Expect some overnight transcoding and rendering. It will not be fast but it will get the job done.

The good news is you’ll get it done, and in the end for most people it’s impossible to tell the difference anyway (depending on your skills as a colorist of course). I’m assuming if you are on a low-end system you won’t have any dedicated monitoring, much less calibrated monitoring, so that’s another expectation to put aside, but you’re probably grading for Youtube or Vimeo and for this purpose if you like the look you create on your display, it’ll look good online for everyone else too.

With those expectations adjusted, here’s the nuts and bolts.

For a introduction to what exactly a “Round-Trip” workflow entails see my recent post here – The Round Trip Workflow

Below are three step by step guides depending on your chosen NLE.

Premiere Resolve Round Trip Workflow (Mac)
FCP Resolve Round Trip Workflow (Mac)
Avid Resolve Round Trip Workflow (Mac)

Please feel free to leave comments with any questions!

Below examples graded on entry-level 21.5″ iMac in DaVinci Resolve.

Sailing with the Blackmagic URSA (Round-tripped through Premiere, 4K RAW graded in Resolve, uploaded at 4K to Youtube)
Sailing with the Blackmagic URSA Before/After Grade (HD upload only)


  1. Really good post. I’ll remember this, when I’ll start working with 4 K

  2. Hi Richard ,
    Thanks for the posting , I was wondering on the iMac will it read MP4 file along with Devinci?

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