DaVinci Resolve 14 is a professional video editor with a generous free version to complete any YouTube video. In this Davinci Resolve tutorial, I will show you how to go from steps A – Z in editing a video in your projects.
Getting DaVinci Resolve
The app is available for download at https://www.blackmagicdesign.com/products/davinciresolve/ for Windows, Mac, and Linux. Grab the package associated with your operating system and install as normal for any application. Once you have it, boot it up and we can start this DaVinci Resolve tutorial.
Starting a New Project
When you first boot DaVinci Resolve you will be given a project selection screen showing all current and past projects stored in your computer’s project folder. Since we are starting a new project we will want to click the new project button in the bottom right hand corner. Once saved, any projects on our computer can be opened by clicking on the thumbnail images on this screen.
The fastest way to import clips and other media such as music is to drag them from your desktop or directories (folders) into the media section. You can also go up to the File menu at the top of the screen or hit Ctrl-I in order to open a Import Media dialog.
Once your media is in the pool, you can drag it onto the timeline to add it to your track and start editing.
Removing What You Don’t Want
Look above your timeline for the timeline toolbar containing most everything you need to start working on your video clips. One of the most essential parts of editing your video is to cut out what you don’t need. You’ll probably want to start in Razor Edit mode (Hotkey – B) to separate your clip(s) into smaller pieces. After making cuts, if there’s anything you want complete you can select it with left moue click and delete on your keyboard to do a ripple delete. When you ripple delete, clips to the right are squeezed with clips to the left to make the video keep it’s continuity rather than having empty black space.
After you get rough cuts, you can use the trim edit mode to start fine tuning the start and end point of your clips. Hit T for Trim Edit Mode or select the icon on the timeline toolbar. Now for each clip you want to trim the side of, click on the clip near its border with the adjacent clip and drag to the left or right. You’ll see time indicators pop up informing you how much time is changing on that clip. Note that if you are the very start or very end of a clip in it’s original import that the trim won’t move because there is no more data to add in.
Adding Music and Effects
Very likely you will want transition effects between your edited clips and music to go in the background. Here’s how you add both.
Adding music to your timeline works just like adding a clip in except that music will have no video track data. You need to import the music to your media pool by either dragging and dropping the content, going to the File Menu -> Import Media, or Ctrl – I on the keyboard. Once in the pool, place the music in an audio track. You can make a new audio track by dragging the music below the current audio tracks and it should make a new one. Alternatively, you can right click on the current audio tracks and hit add track to add a new stereo (2 channel) audio track. You can test how the music interacts with your clips by hitting space or play in the timeline. Make sure that the sound levels are decent.
If you need to adjust how loud your music is you can either increase the track volume in the mixer or modify the music track directly.
- To increase volume on the full track, hit mixer in the top right of resolve and the mixer will pop up on the right side of the timeline. Find the audio track that needs more volume and drag it’s slider up or down to increase and decrease volume.
- To increase the volume on the track, look for a white bar on the audio clip and drag it up and down. This will increase or decrease the volume levels across the whole track. Alternatively, left click the track and audio settings will pop up in the top right of DaVinci Resolve 14. The first setting is clip volume which you can drag up and down for the same effect.
Adding a Transition Effect
While still in edit mode (on the bottom of the screen), clip on effects library up by media pool in the top left. Right below you’ll be given lists of effects. If you want something like a fade or slide on any clip or title sequence, open up Video Transitions. You can find the one you like and drag it onto your video clips. You can position it between two clips or on one side of one clip. Once placed, you can select it in the timeline and change it’s settings in the top right like you could for audio clip settings.
Titles are added in almost the exact same way. Adding titles is two spots below in the effects library toolbox. To change the text on a title, select the title sequence to change the options. Text, size, color, and background are all available in the right side options box. Note that you can apply visual transitions to a title sequence as well.
Recording a Voice Over
To record a voice over in Resolve 14 requires you to move to the Fairlight tab. You can find that at the bottom. For most of this tutorial we have been in Edit mode.
In Fairlight Tab
- Make sure the mixer is open (top right)
- Make sure you have a spare track you want to record to (right click over existing audio tracks and hit add tracks to add a new one)
- Position the timeline cursor where you want to record from.
- In the mixer, select input at the top where we will assign a microphone to recording channels.
In the Patch Input / Output panel, select the microphone you want to record with by left click. You’ll get a white box indicating it’s selection. Change audio destination to track input on the right. Select the -L and -R channels for the audio track you created for voice overs. Finally, hit patch at the bottom to link your microphone with the audio track.
The last steps are simple. On your audio track there is a R button for Record. If you patched your microphone to your track properly, clicking on the R should toggle the track on for recording. You’ll see the button turn red meaning it’s active. When you hit the record button now in the timeline, it will begin pulling in sounds from your microphone and writing them to the track. Note that this will overwrite any existing data on the track so be careful which track you are recording on and from what time in the project timeline.
Exporting Your Project
To finally export our project, we need to go over to the deliver tab to the right of Fairlight. You’ll see render settings on the top right including some default setups for YouTube and Vimeo. Select and that seem applicable to you and navigate right below to where it says Video, Audio, and File. Here we can change some of the settings of our final export.
In the video tab
- Make sure export video is checked.
- I recommend changing format from Quicktime .MOV to MP4. Leave codec on H.264 unless you need something specific.
- Change resolution and frame rate if you need to. Note the higher resolution means bigger file output.
- For quality, it will very much depend on what video you’re editing. If you are doing a simple screencast like I tend to, you can easily get away with dropping quality down to medium or 4000 kb/sec and notice no drop in the video export quality. For videos recorded with an HD camera or have lots of action, you might want to leave the settings to restrict to 10000 kb/sec or higher. You can always experiment a bit. Higher quality will mean bigger file size and longer exports.
- I usually leave these as defaults AAC format 192 Kb/sec bitrate. It’s plenty good for most projects.
- On the file tab, be sure to set a name for your exported video file. It defaults to Timeline 1 and you probably want to set a real name.
- You can also choose to set a location now (Browse button) but once you add to render queue it will prompt you for that anyway so it’s not critical.
If all your settings are good then you can hit Add to Render Queue on the left and Start Render on the far right to begin exporting your project. It will probably take a while and consume most of your computer’s resources so it’s a good time to take a break.
If all goes well then the video will have exported in the format and location that you specified. Find it on your computer and make sure that it plays back properly. If all goes well, then congratulations on successfully editing your video with this DaVinci Resolve tutorial. I hope you get as much use out of the program as I am.