Video Production

How to Use DaVinci Resolve

DaVinci Resolve has quickly become one of the most popular video editors out there. Learn everything about it in this guide!

DaVinci Resolve is a powerful, professional video editor that will allow you to do everything you need to do in order to create great looking (and sounding) videos. Created by Blackmagic Design, it’s known best for it’s industry leading color grading tools. It also has all of the tools and features you need to cut footage, edit and mix audio, and even work with true 3D visual effects. It truly is an all-in-one solution for professional video editing. 

Let’s take a look at some of the basics to help you get started.

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How to import video into DaVinci Resolve

How to Use DaVinci Resolve

Importing video into DaVinci Resolve can most easily be done from the Media page. Simply click on the Media icon at the bottom of the window, and then navigate to the folder where your video files are stored using the built-in file explorer on the page. From there, you can preview your clips, view metadata, and drag files and into the Media Pool. 

The Media page in DaVinci Resolve will allow you to organize your media into bins. Bins act as folders for your audio and video files. To create a new bin, simply right click in the bins section of the media page and select Add Bin. From there you can drag your files from the master bin or from the file explorer into one of your created bins. Additionally, you can drag entire folders from your file explorer into the bins section, which will automatically create a new bin.

How to import audio into DaVinci Resolve

Audio is imported into DaVinci Resolve in the same way as video. Click the media icon at the bottom of the Media page, now all you have to do is locate your audio files on your system and drag them into your media pool. 

How to organise files in DaVinci Resolve

The Media page in DaVinci Resolve will allow you to organize your media into bins. Bins act as folders for your audio and video files. To create a new bin, simply right click in the bins section of the media page and select Add Bin. From there you can drag your files from the master bin or from the file explorer into one of your created bins. Additionally, you can drag entire folders from your file explorer into the bins section, which will automatically create a new bin.

How to zoom in DaVinci Resolve / How to crop in DaVinci Resolve

How to Use DaVinci Resolve

Zooming in or cropping video in DaVinci Resolve can be done from the Inspector on the Edit page, or from the transform controls in the Color page.

In the Edit page, click Inspector in the top-right corner. This will open the Inspector, where you can adjust your footage in multiple ways, including zooming, cropping, changing the position, adjusting audio levels, changing effect controls, and even stabilizing footage and performing lens corrections.

From the color page, simply click the transform icon in the tools bar. This will allow you to zoom and crop your clips.

How to rotate a video in DaVinci Resolve

Rotating a video in DaVinci Resolve is performed in the transform controls in the color page. Open the color page, from here click the transform icon in the tools bar - now you can rotate your video.

How to split a clip in DaVinci Resolve

How to Use DaVinci Resolve

Want to know how to cut clips in DaVinci Resolve? The fastest way is to use keyboard shortcuts. The other way is to use the blade tool.

To cut a clip using keyboard shortcuts, simply place your playhead where you would like to make a cut and press CONTROL+B (COMMAND+B on Mac). If you have no clips selected when you do this, all of the video and audio clips beneath the playhead will be cut. If you only want specific clips to be affected, make sure those clips are selected in the timeline when you use the shortcut.

To use the blade tool, simply press the blade tool icon in the toolbar, or press B on your keyboard. From there, you can click on a video or audio clip where you want to make a cut. To cut multiple clips at the same time, make sure that all of those clips are selected.

How to Use DaVinci Resolve

You can also pre-cut your footage before you bring it into the timeline by setting in and out points. There are two ways to do this. The easiest way to make precise “cuts” is to drag a clip from the media pool into the source monitor (alternatively, double-clicking on the clip in the media pool will send it to the source monitor.) From there you can scrub through the footage and set in and out points, and drag only sections of your source clips into the timeline. To set an in point, scrub to where you want the clip to begin and press I. To set an out point, scrub to where you want the clip to end and press O. Once you have your in and out points set, click and drag the clip into the timeline. Alternatively, you can choose to drag video only or audio only into the timeline by clicking and dragging from the video or audio icon in the bottom of the source monitor.

To set quick, less precise in and out points in your footage, you can mouse over your clips in the media pool. This will automatically start scrubbing through the footage. When you get to where you want the clip to begin, click I, and when you get to where you want your clip to end, click O. Then, when you want to add your clip to the timeline, simply drag it in from the media pool. Only the section of the clip between your in and out points will be added. This method is best used on b-roll clips that will have no audio. 

How to change the speed of a clip in DaVinci Resolve.

How to Use DaVinci Resolve

The easiest way to change the speed of a clip in DaVinci Resolve is to use Retime Controls. To activate retime controls for a clip, simply select the clip in the timeline and press CONTROL+R on your keyboard (COMMAND+R on Mac). You can also right-click a clip and choose Retime Control. Once Retime control is activated you can change the speed by either clicking and dragging to the left or right from the upper right or left corner of the clip, or clicking the dropdown menu at the bottom of the clip. 

You can also use Retime Controls to set speed points on a clip, allowing you to change the speeds of different sections of the same clip. To do this, click the dropdown at the bottom of the clip and choose Add Speed Point. From there, you can adjust the speed of each section.

How to reverse a clip in DaVinci Resolve

How to Use DaVinci Resolve

You can reverse a clip in DaVinci Resolve in the Edit page by right-clicking on a clip in the timeline and choosing “change clip speed.” This will bring up a dialogue box that will give you options to change the speed of the clip, do a freeze frame, ripple sequence or reverse speed. Check the Reverse Speed checkbox to reverse the clip.

How to add text in DaVinci Resolve

How to Use DaVinci Resolve

DaVinci Resolve makes it easy to add text to a video clip. Rather than adding the text directly to the clip like you would an effect, text elements can be added to the timeline by dragging them in from the text section in the effects menu.

The effects menu can be found by clicking Effects in the top-left corner of the window. From there, navigate to the Text section, where you will find both normal text and animated text elements. Simply drag the element on to your timeline like you would a video clip. From there you can shorten or lengthen the text clip, and make all of your adjustments in the inspector.

How to add transitions in DaVinci Resolve

How to Use DaVinci Resolve

Transitions can be found in the Effects menu on the Edit page. Simply navigate to the Video Transitions section, find the transition you want to use, and then drag the effect to the cut in between the two clips you want to transition to and from. You can shorten or lengthen the transition by clicking and dragging from either edge of the transition, and make other adjustments in the inspector.

DaVinci Resolve will also let you add a simple crossfade by right-clicking in between two clips and choosing to add a 6, 12, or 24-frame crossfade.

How to export DaVinci Resolve

How to Use DaVinci Resolve

Exporting, or rendering a video can be done from the Deliver Page in DaVinci Resolve. On the Deliver page, there are presets for YouTube, Vimeo, and Twitter, along with other presets that are more customizable. The Vimeo, YouTube, and Twitter presets will allow you to upload directly to the platforms from DaVinci Resolve.

Simply choose your template, change the settings you want to change, and click Add to Render Queue. From there, you can begin your render by clicking Start Render in the Render Queue.

You can also export your videos directly from the Cut page or the Edit page by using the Quick export feature. In the Cut page, simply click Quick Export in the upper right corner of the window, choose your template, and click Export. In the Edit page, you can find Quick Export under File in the top menu.

How to use audio plugins and audio effects in DaVinci Resolve

How to Use DaVinci Resolve

The Fairlight page in DaVinci Resolve has all of the audio plugins you need in order to create professional audio mixes for your video. You may also check our guide on how to edit audio in DaVinci Resolve for more.

DaVinci Resolve also supports third-party audio plugins, like the ERA 5 audio clean-up bundle from Accusonus. You can activate any third-party plugins you have installed on your computer in the Audio Plugins section of your Preferences menu.

Both your native and your third-party plugins can be found in the Effects Library in the Fairlight page. To use them, simply drag and drop them from the Effects Library to either an individual clip, or an entire track. You can tweak the settings for each effect either in the dialogue box that appears when you place the effect on a clip or track, or from the inspector.

With the information in this guide, you should be able to perform most basic tasks in DaVinci Resolve. If you’re looking for more how to guides on video editing, check out our blog. There you’ll find loads of guides on working with audio for video, how to be successful on YouTube and TikTok and tutorials on Premiere Pro, Avid Media Composer and Final Cut Pro.

January 05, 2021
Jay Lippman

Jay Lippman is a freelance video and audio editor. He has a YouTube channel where he teaches filming techniques, editing in Davinci Resolve, and reviews film making gear. Find out more at jaylippman.com

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