At NAB 2016, Blackmagic didn't unveil a completely new version of DaVinci Resolve 12.5 as they normally do. Instead, they gave us a greatly enhanced half version and introduced a boatload of tools and features. Of those new features, compound nodes are undoubtedly going to be the most useful, especially for folks who often find themselves with way more nodes than they can handle. In a handy (and funny) new video from Theo at Miesner Media, he breaks down what compound nodes do, and why they're such an awesome new feature for power users of DaVinci Resolve 12.5.
Long story short, compound nodes are basically the same thing as pre-comps in After Effects. They allow you to take complex node sequences and turn them into a single node. This is useful for several reasons, most notably for organizing complex grades. No more staring at a messy cluster of nodes. The other great thing about compound nodes is that they allow you to make small adjustments to entire grades, even if the grade is super complex. For example, if you have a grade that consists of 10 individual nodes, you can adjust the strength of the whole grade by tweaking the opacity on the compound node instead of having to add a layer mixer. All in all, compound nodes are likely to become an integral part of Resolve 12.5 workflows for both amateurs and professionals alike. They're just that useful.