Switching from Adobe Premiere to DaVinci Resolve

I feel like it’s finally time to make the switch!

I will document the questions and answer I encounter as a long time Premiere and After Effects user here in order to help other making the same switch! This post will grow as I keep learning more and encountering new issues.

  • Q: How can I resize my video on the timeline in order to reframe/crop the image? In Premiere this would be done with the “Effect controls” tab. Where is this feature in Resolve?
  • A: Open the Inspector panel in Resolve from the top right corner. Then just select a clip on the timeline and adjust it’s “zoom” and “position” values. If you want to animate values, simply click on the little keyframe symbol right to the value. You can change the easing of the keyframes from linear to eased if you right click on a keyframe you have created.
  • Q: How can I copy-paste video attributes like position, rotation and scale to other video clips on the timeline?
  • A: Select the video clip from which you want to copy, right click on it and choose “copy”. Then select the videos to which you want to paste the attributes, right click and select “paste attributes”. A window opens from which you can select the exact attributes to paste. This functionality is pretty neat! In Premiere you would go to the effect settings, select the motion-panel and hit ctrl+c and then paste to the target videos, but there was less control for what things exactly to paste.
  • Q: How can I move the keyframes I create from the transform panel?
  • A: Look at the clip on the timeline; it has a little keyframe symbol next to it’s name. Click on this keyframe and it will toggle open a panel in which you can manipulate keyframes. This actually works smarter than in Premiere, because in Premiere you would have to do this in a separate window (Effect controls) which doesn’t actually make a whole lot of sense when you think about it.
  • Q: How can I change the frame rate when exporting at the “delivery” tab? In Premiere you could easily change the frame rate and other export settings when opening the file export dialog box.
  • A: Seems like you can’t really do the frame rate conversion at the export stage. You need to first create a timeline with the desired frame rate and then export that.
  • Q: How can I see the audio waveform in the timeline?
  • A: It should be enough to just enable the waveform display of your liking from the timeline view options button located at the top left part of the timeline. There has been some buggy behavior around this according to lengthy online discussion threads. If the waveform doesn’t show up at first, restarting Resolve might help.
  • Q: How do I render the timeline for better playback?
  • A: The option used to be called “render cache clip source” but it has now been weirdly renamed to “render cache fusion output”. The workflow is simple, just select the clips on the timeline you want to cache/render and right click and choose “render cache fusion output”. Then make sure “playback” –> “render cache” is set to “user”. Now Resolve should start caching the clips indicated by a thin red line growing on the top of the timeline. There is also another option for smooth playback which is called “generate optimized media” which is more like an online/offline workflow.
  • Q: How can I get a full screen viewer for my second monitor while editing?
  • A: Looks like bad news for now: Resolve seems to be surprisingly inflexible in letting you arrange your windows and panels freely. Many other programs let you create any arrangement/window setup you might want.
  • Q: How can I import an image sequence into DaVinci Resolve?
  • A: Select all the frames when importing, as long as they are numbered correctly, Resolve should assume that they are a single image sequence instead of a bunch of individual still images. This is different from how Premiere and After Effects handle the same thing (you need to only select the first frame in the sequence and make sure the “image sequence” checkbox is checked in the import settings). After you have imported the sequence, just drag it into a timeline. Remember to set the timeline zoom to something appropriate so you can properly scrub the footage.
  • Q: How can I minimize DaVinci Resolve in Windows?
  • A: Resolve has the standard Windows buttons in the top right corner, but only if it’s not set to full screen so if you can’t see the minus button to minimize Resolve, check that you are not in full screen mode from “workspace” –> “full screen window”.
  • Q: DaVinci Resolve 16 crashes while rendering, what can I do?
  • A: These steps helped me: disable full screen mode, minimize Resolve after the render has started, use a prebuilt preset (instead of a custom one).
  • Q: How do I do a track select in DaVinci Resolve?
  • A: DaVinci Resolve doesn’t have a “track select tool” like Premiere does, but you can select everything on a track after your playhead location by pressing Y and everything before your playhead by pressing ctrl+Y. The behavior depends somewhat on the autoselect functionality (the little buttons with angle brackets pointing left and right in the timeline). Alt+Y will select all the tracks forward instead of just one track.
  • Q: How do I create a freeze frame in Resolve?
  • A: Right-click on the clip you want to freeze and select “change clip speed”. There is a checkbox for freezing the clip. Resolve will automatically add an edit point where your playhead is located and everything after the playhead will be frozen at the frame of the edit point.
  • Q: Is there a rate stretch tool similar to Premiere in DaVinci Resolve that allows you to visually change the clip speed on the timeline?
  • A: Unfortunately it looks like Resolve doesn’t have such a tool yet.

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