11 Things You Must know in DaVinci Resolve 19 as a beginner – Part I

Published on 22 May 2024


From a mere color grading program to one of the most popular video editor or NLE, Black magic’s DaVinci Resolve 19 is the latest version release that we’ll be talking about in this piece.

Although you have to obtain the Studio version at a subscription, the free version offers many features that a full-fledged video editing software does usually have.

Adobe Premiere Pro, Avid Media Composer and Apple’s FCP all have high market share. But they often fall behind a free NLE like DaVinci Resolve with so much to offer to the video editors and CG artists.

It’s particularly evident in this era of AI, when things are often done in quantity, with a less emphasis on quality. I never suggest to compromise with quality, but producing in tons is something you can’t overlook.

And if you need more volume, with many nodes (read editors), you must have a solution where you can bypass the rentals for the NLE itself. There is how Resolve is scoring higher than expected compared to its peers.

Like all other NLEs, DaVinci Resolve has similar structure and kind of learning curve in equal footing. I’ll go through Installation, Project management, Interface, Editing, Audio, Effects and Color page one by one, along with the screen shots.

If you have any familiarity with an NLE before, Premiere pro, Avid or FCP, you’ll start ahead. But don’t worry, if you don’t have any such familiarity. I’ll take you through in a way that you can follow along easily.

So. let’s get into the business.

1. Install DaVinci Resolve 19

Go to the Black magic Design’s website. You two different versions, one free and the other being the Studio at a fee. Let’s get to the

free version and click on it. It will pop us another download window asking about your requirement of a Windows installer or a Mac or a Linux installer. I have downloaded a Windows installer. Now clicking on the appropriate button will take you to a pop up form.

You have to fill this up and it’ll throw up a download link once you fill up and submit the form.

You get the installer and double click on the executable file to install the program. It’s like installing any other program that you load on your PC and once through, you’ll be prompted to restart machine for once to complete the process of installation.

Pretty straightforward, right! Now, it’s time to restart and launch the program.

The launcher might ask you to do a quick set up by asking to select the project size, SD, HD or Ultra HD or 4K. I have selected HD 1080p or 1920 X 1080 for the purpose of this article.

2. Launch DaVinci Resolve 19

When you launch DaVinci Resolve 19 for the first time, a window for your project will open up. It could open in two different ways. Either with the side panel of the Local Database opened or most likely without the side panel opened.

No issue in either of the scenarios. Just click on the Show/Hide Project Libraries icon in the left to the ‘Projects’ to open up the side bar of the ‘Local Database’.

2.1 What is a Local Database in DaVinci Resolve?

In any NLE or non-linear editor like DaVinci Resolve, apart from Media including clips, images etc. you create many files that contain data.

These data can be projects, user settings, times lines, Bins, workspace settings and more. And they are central to proper functioning of a project. If you lose any project files or any such data that you generated during editing, no matter if all your media files are kept intact, you won’t be able to open that project.

Davinci Resolve has something called Database or Local database that contain all such metadata except the Media. By default, it has a specific location: Local Database Location:

C:\Users\YourUserName\AppData\Roaming\Blackmagic Design\DaVinci Resolve\Support\Resolve Project Library

I had created a folder called Resolve Projects in one of my internal drives. So the above line has changed to another sub structure that I’ll talk about in the next segment.

It’s important to understand the hierarchical relationship between the Database and Project Library, else it’ll be difficult to handle the any project for back up, restoration or transfer later.

2.2 The Hierarchical relationship of Database and Project Library in DaVinci Resolve 19

At the top of this structure lies the Database which contains the project library, one step lower. Now this Project Library is again a collection of Projects. Therefore the Project lies at the bottom.

How do these affect your work? Suppose you’re producing a series of product videos in different niches, like Cosmetics, Fitness Kits and Running Shoes.

So these are the categories and you could create different Project Library for each category that will be there inside the Resolve Project Library folder.

Within each of these Project Libraries, you can then create different Projects for each series. Let’s say, you’re going to make 30 videos under Cosmetics which can again be subdivided in 6 different categories. So, there will be one Project Library for the Cosmetics and the six different Projects for those 30 videos inside the ‘Cosmetics’ Project Library.

2.3 How to create a Project Library in DaVinci Resolve 19 ?

Pretty simple. Click on the left bottom corner of the Database panel and it’ll pop up a dialogue.

What exactly is happening here? You click on the Add Project Library. I have named something as Resolve_19_HD and browsed a different drive other than C:\. Once I clicked create there is a new Project Library named Resolve_19_HD appeared on the side bar and its location is the Drive I browsed and selected.

Now this is a Project Library where you keep all you projects. Let’s now go and create a new Project in DaVinci Resolve 19.

2.4 How to rename an ‘Untitled Project’ Project in DaVinci Resolve 19 or ‘Save Current Project As’ ?

The opening pane or interface of DaVinci Resolve 19 comes with an Untitled Project that you can start working with. But you will hardly do that. It’s awkward to work on any project titled ‘Untitled’ .

Just Right Click on the Untitled Project Tab and you’ll have a dialogue, select ‘Save As’ and you’ll get the ‘Save Current Project As’ pop up. I have changed the project name to a new one then clicked on Save. Pretty simple.

You could also right click on the empty area of the open pane and click on ‘New Project’. But I don’t like leaving anything as ‘Untitled’ and that’s why I have saved it with a new title.

You could also rename an existing project with a new title. Just right click on the existing project and then click on the Rename.

But we’re not over yet before landing inside the software workspace. There is still something to do with the Project Settings.

2.5 How to change the ‘Project Settings’ in DaVinci Resolve 19?

Just right click on the project that you saved as and select Project Settings. And it’ll open up a dialogue box with hell lot of features. Don’t get overwhelmed with so many features. Focus on the Master Settings and Fairlight for Audio.

I want to make it an FHD ie.e 1920 X1080 of 25 FPS and changed the settings accordingly. Now, scroll down to the bottom in this ‘Master Settings’ Tab. We have to deal with the Render Cache and Media Cache.

Every Non linear editor or NLE generates a huge number of caches or render proxies when you create layer after layers, adding video and audio effects one after another. It’s important to know how to set the drive for these caches or proxies and why do you want to do that!

Let’s find that out in the next segment.

2.6 How to deal with Media Caches or Proxies for Database Management in DaVinci Resolve 19? Land inside the Program.

There is a thing. If you don’t finish you project setting adjustment at one go, you have to complete it from with the program itself. That means you have to first open the DaVinci Resolve 19 and then select override to adjust the project setting afresh.

Let me show you what I meant by that. There are a few strange things takes place at this point.

If you close the session of the DaVinci Resolve 19 at point of our last adjustment where we only changed the Video Resolution and Frame rates, the next time this window will open yet another ‘Untitled Project’ and the Project you have created, in this case we made Tuts_DaVinci_19.
Now the strange thing is the Untitled Project will carry a check on mark despite the fact you have clicked on your new project. In that case what you’ll have to do is

  • Right Click on the New or any project that you want to tweak the project settings of
  • Click on Override – It’ll enable you change the settings afresh – That means you have to make it in one go.
  • Click on Don’t save – It will open the New Project that you created, somewhat strange right ! Now, I am not sure what will happen if there are multiple projects in a database. That we’ll see later.

This will land you inside the DaVInci Resolve 19 for the first time. We’ll go through interface one by one shortly.

But we not over yet in terms of finishing our Project Settings. Now, Go to File > Project Settings. It’ll pop up the window that we have already seen before.

Now, I have tweaked the project settings like before in terms of the video resolution and time line frame rates. Then scrolled down to the bottom of the Master Settings Tab and let the Proxy media Format and others under the ‘Optimized Media and Render Cache’ remain what they were in their default state.

See just below the ‘Optimized Media and Render Cache’ is Working Folders. It’s important to set these folders as you find them appropriate according to your storage. I’ll say it’s better not to set these working folders as the C drive of the System drive.

Since it would generate a hell lot of files, it’s better to assign a different drive as you may not be able to flush these caches and proxies and keep them for sometime.

I like to keep all the settings of other tabs at their default status , except Fairlight which deals with audio. It’s default with 48KHz and I do let it remain that way.

There is also another way to access the Project Settings of DaVinci Resolve.

There is a Cog or Gear icon the bottom right of the interface. Just click on it to see the Project Settings. It will open with the current settings and you need to save and exit the pop up window, just in case you made any change.

There you’re with all the required Project Settings at this point of time with the DaVinci Resolve 19. Let’s now get familiar with the interface, before actually starting video editing in DaVinci Resolve.

3. The Interface of the DaVinci Resolve 19 – Different Pages

On boarding the interface is yet another key stepping stone for getting a firm hold over any NLE and Resolve 19 is no exception.

A Tip: Double click on the Project you want to open even if the Untitled Project is shown with the check mark on. It’ll open the required one. Now, below is the interface that you’ll land upon launching the software. There are seven main tabs or pages, as

they call it in DaVinci Video editor, you can see at the bottom of the interface.

We’ll go through each of these modules and will know their functionalities.

3.1 The Media Page – Import your Shots/ Clips, files and and Manage Media with Bins

If you do have any idea of using a video editor before, I’ll say this Media Page in DaVinci Resolve 19 closely resembles with the Project Panel of Adobe Premiere Pro or the Bin or Master Bin of Avid Media Composer. It lets you bring all the shots in one place, organize your shots in several folders or Bins, in accordance with your convenience. This helps you find a clip quickly at the time of editing.

This sorting or an orderly arrangement of the shots and the files is called Media Management. And this is extremely important for professional video editing works. And no matter, what NLE you select to work on, organizing material right from the beginning plays a pivotal role in executing a project successfully.

So come up with a system of Bin or folder nomenclature that even your fellow editors will understand in your absence, at a first glance of the Bins. This is immensely helpful especially in case of a large projects where you may have to deal with hundreds, even thousands of clips. And the last thing any video editor wants is to get messed up with the media.

I am assuming you don’t have any knowledge of any NLE prior and that’s why I explained the dire need of a proper media management in case of video editing from start . Let’s get to the Media Page and see what are the features.

The lower panes let you import files and create Bins for storing media segregated. Bins are like folders. That means they supersede files and the files are contained within Bins.

Now, it may sound a bit counter-intuitive why the term ‘Bin’ is used in place of ‘Folder’, when the latter is much more used and well understood. The thing is Bin is much more used in the Film industry and came into being long long ago.

People didn’t even envisage computer when the Film industry started its journey in the first half of the twentieth century. To cut a long story short, almost all the NLEs, like Avid, Premiere Pro, DaVinci use the term Bin to refer to a storage system (like folder) to keep the files, like clips, image sequence, graphic stuff, audio files etc.

Let’s now create a BIN and bring a few clips into that Bin to edit later on. Now, a quick disclaimer. I had long downloaded a few clips, where construction workers are working to build a concrete structure. Let’s first see the clips below. My notepad file on the sources has following sites written.

videvo.net, videezy.com and videos.pexels.com

I’ll however give you a download link, just in case you want to use. I have chosen these links because, we can create a small edit out of these clips.

Let’s now create a Bin inside the Media Page of DaVinci Resolve 19 and then import these clips.

As you have already seen, right click on the Master Pane in the left to create a New Bin and then double click on the Bin to get inside the Bin. I have created a Bin titled Concrete Works and then double click on it.

On the middle pane, right click on the empty area and click on Import Media.

Now, here is something we would be interested in. When I adjusted the Project Settings for the first time, I set resolution and frame rate in our DaVinci Resolve 19 project as 1920 X 1080 and 25 FPS respectively. Now these clips have a different frame rate i.e. 29.97. So it asked you to change to match the time line frame rate with that of the clips.

I said ‘Yes’ and clicked on ‘Change’. Now the clips are brought into and the timeline or project frame changed to match with the one of the clips.

You can even check the clip properties by invoking a different set of tools. It’ll throw a new set of features of the DaVinci Editor. And it’s an essential feature for editing in DaVinci Resolve.

First click on any clip and then Go to Workspace Menu > Dual Screen > On. Remember, if you forget to select a clip, the features of ‘Dual screen On’ inside the Media Page of DaVinci Resolve 19 will show up, but without the clip characteristics. So, select a clip first.

Let’s now see how the interface of the Media Page within DaVinci Resolve 19 changes.

Now. this is something any video editor will be interested in and so should you be to assess the clip characteristics in terms of its various parameters. We’ll discuss all these features in greater details later.


This series will be published in parts. Here we have discussed how to install and lunch DaVinci Resolve 19. We have also seen how to create projects or rename the Untitled one and adjust different settings within the ‘Project settings’ dialogue, including the resolution, the frame rates, the audio sample rates etc.

It’s also important that you take control of the Working folder of your DaVinci Resolve 19 Projects, so that your system drive doesn’t get cluttered, eventually slowing down the machine.

We have started scratching the interface right after landing into the ‘Cut Page’. As many as seven modules or or Tabs or Pages, as they call it in ‘DaVinci Resolve parlance’. We have just seen the Media page and will move on to the others in the following Parts of this series.

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