Frank Schönberger May 6, 2021 6:39:00 AM 12 min read

DaVinci Resolve Studio Project Rendering Capabilities on Linux & macOS

Blackmagic Design’s DaVinci Resolve Studio is a unique NLE (Non-Linear Editing) solution available for all major platforms (Windows, Linux and macOS), including a version that is running on the new Apple M1 chipset. The number of project rendering profiles that are already included in DaVinci Resolve Studio is quite impressive. However, especially on Linux (but also on macOS), there are some limitations. The MainConcept® Codec Plugin for DaVinci Resolve Studio was designed to bridge this gap and enable software codecs with encoding profiles that are not natively available.

The platform defines the available codecs

Video-editing software needs to deal with many different formats both for ingesting streams and exporting projects. This is also true for Blackmagic Design’s DaVinci Resolve Studio where the platform determines which codecs are present. Depending on the operating system you use, the available codecs may have some limitations.

 Capabilities of DaVinci Resolve Studio on various platforms
Codec Software IQSV NVENC
AVC Windows Yes Yes Yes
AVC Linux No Yes Yes
AVC macOS (Intel or M1) Yes No* No*
HEVC Windows No Yes Yes
HEVC Linux No Yes Yes
HEVC macOS (Intel or M1) Yes No* No*

*On macOS (Intel) and macOS (M1), GPU encoding is available via the Metal framework if it is supported by the hardware.

For example, under Windows, there are AVC/H.264 software as well as hardware encoding options for both Intel Quick Sync Video (IQSV) and NVIDIA NVENC, whereas on Linux there is no H.264 software codec but only NVENC hardware encoding for NVIDIA GPUs. For Apple systems, the native GPU acceleration is used for H.264 rendering which is an essential part of the macOS platform.

For the emerging H.265 standard, there are only hardware encoding options selectable in DaVinci Resolve Studio on all platforms; i.e., HEVC software video encoding for exporting a project from the timeline is not available. And on Linux, DaVinci Resolve Studio users are faced with one more challenge: There is no native AAC rendering available under the Linux platform. To overcome some of these obstacles, the engineering team at MainConcept has developed the first-ever plug-in for DaVinci Resolve Studio that offers the same features on all platforms, including Linux, Windows and macOS on Intel x86 as well as Apple Silicon.

MainConcept enables HEVC Software Video & AAC encoding on Linux

The focus is often on hardware encoding when speed is a key requirement. Admittedly, there is no alternative software solution that compares to GPU-accelerated encoding when performance is your number one requirement. However, hardware encoders do not offer the same encoding quality as commercial software encoders. When quality is more important than or just as important as speed, MainConcept provides a ready-made solution.

Powered by the industry-leading MainConcept AVC/H.264 and HEVC/H.265 software video encoders, the Codec Plugin for DaVinci Resolve Studio combines high-quality timeline rendering with exciting performance so you can deliver amazing studio productions. It includes presets for the AVC software encoder for Sony XAVC, Panasonic P2 AVC Ultra, and other broadcast outputs.

When quality counts, you need MainConcept

For H.265, the Codec Plugin allows you to select from several 8-bit and 10-bit rendering profiles up to 8K resolution—all powered by the award-winning MainConcept HEVC software encoder. This is the same software encoder that topped the 2020 Moscow State University (MSU) Video Codecs Comparisons. The renowned codec benchmarking Graphics & Media Lab (GML) from MSU shows the MainConcept HEVC/H.265 video encoder as the industry leader. To access this encoding technology, you simply select one of the MainConcept MP4 (HEVC) presets that come with our Codec Plugin for DaVinci Resolve Studio.

Not just for Windows! MacOS and Linux capabilities are now available

Using the MainConcept HEVC/H.265 software video encoder is not restricted only to Windows. The MainConcept Codec Plugin for DaVinci Resolve and its various ready-to-use HEVC render profiles are also available for macOS platforms, regardless of whether you run an Intel CPU or the latest Apple M1 chipset. Of course, these profiles are also included in the MainConcept Codec Plugin running on Linux, where it provides yet another feature—the AAC format.

Available software AVC & HEVC video encoders for DaVinci Resolve Studio with and without MainConcept Plugin

Codec DaVinci Resolve Studio MainConcept Codec Plugin
AVC Windows Yes Yes
AVC Linux No Yes
AVC macOS (x86 or M1) Yes Yes
HEVC Windows or Linux No Yes
HEVC macOS (x86 or M1) Yes Yes
AAC Linux No Yes


AAC format availability

Currently, the AAC format is not available in DaVinci Resolve Studio on Linux. But, with the MainConcept Codec Plugin, this audio limitation is removed because you can now render your timeline to HEVC video accompanied by AAC in the widespread MP4 container on this platform as well.

Why use the MainConcept Codec Plugin for DaVinci Resolve Studio?

The MainConcept Codec Plugin for DaVinci Resolve Studio not only enables most professional camcorder presets and broadcast formats, such as AS-11 UK DPP, it also enables more software codecs on all operating systems for project rendering. And, when you choose a MainConcept product, you know that it was designed by our exceptionally experienced engineering team with the built-in quality, performance and reliability you know you can count on every day. Take it out for a test drive today and you will also be eligible for 60 days of access to our product documentation and exceptional support services!


Frank Schönberger

Frank Schönberger has been with MainConcept for two decades focused primarily on product management. With deep knowledge of customer requirements and engineering methodology, he is dedicated to collaborating effectively across Sales, Marketing, Product Management and Engineering to ensure MainConcept brings users the technology they need to achieve their vision. A graduate of RWTH Aachen University, Frank studied languages, teaching, history and politics.