How to Create Camera Flash & Shutter Effects in DaVinci Resolve 17

DaVinci Resolve 29/03/2022 3 min read

Camera flash or shutter effects and transitions are classics in movies. Maybe a photo is snapped of a happy couple in a wedding scene or on a holiday or someone is spying from a distance, snapping a bunch of photos in quick succession. Either way both these effects are easy to create in DaVinci Resolve 17 without the need for any plugins.

Part 1: Simple Camera Flash Transition in DaVinci Resolve

Creating a camera flash transition in DaVinci Resolve 17 is simple and can be done with one of the built-in transitions. Then all you need to do is add a bit of color grading and some sound effects to help sell the effect. Here is how to do it!

  1. First, we need to create a still frame from the video so that when the flash goes off the video freezes and then resumes after a few seconds
  2. Duplicate your clip and place it above by holding the Alt key and dragging a copy up
  3. Move the playhead to the position you want the freeze-frame to start then press Ctrl+R or Cmd+R to bring up the speed change dialog. Tick the Freeze-frame box.
  4. This will create a cut in your duplicate clip where the video will change to a freeze-frame. Delete the duplicate clip before this point and trim the freeze-frame to a couple of seconds
  5. Now cut your main clip at the start of the freeze-frame and then move the cut section to the end of the freeze-frame. Then move the freeze-frame back to the first video track into the gap. Now your clip will play, freeze and then resume again.
  6. Next, you need to add a Dip to Color Dissolve transition from the Effects panel to the cut where the freeze-frame starts. 
  7. With the transition selected change the Color in the Inspector to white and reduce the Duration of the transition to the minimum.
  8. You now have a white flash just as the freeze-frame starts.
  9. To help sell the effect use a sound effect like the one from Motion Array that we used to add a camera shutter sound as the flash happens.

We will take this a step further by adding a look to the still frame so it looks more like a photo. 

  1. Select the still frame clip and go to the Color page.
  2. Increase the Contrast, lower the Saturation and increase the Low and high soft to create a vintage look for the still frame.
  3. Lastly, add a smooth cut transition to the cut where the clip resumes so you have a smooth transition between the two.

Part 2: Fast Camera Shutter Effect in DaVinci Resolve

It could be models on a catwalk or that classic movie scene where the private detective stalks and photographs someone from a distance snapping lots of photos quickly.  It’s actually really easy to create a good fast camera shutter effect in DaVinci Resolve 17. Let us show you how!

  1. Place your clip on the first track of the timeline and move the playhead to where you want the effect to start.
  2. From the Effects panel under Generators add a Solid color generator on the second video track.
  3. Trim the solid color generator roughly to the length you want the effect to be.
  4. Using the Blade tool (Ctrl+B or Cmd+B) cut the solid color frame by frame. If you are using the keyboard shortcut make sure the auto track-selector for track one is disabled so you don’t cut both tracks.
  5. Using Ctrl or Cmd select alternate frames of the solid color and use Ctrl+X or Cmd+X to cut them, which will leave single frames in between the solid color frames.
  6. When you play it back it looks like quick shutter flashes. 

Now let’s do some more work to help sell the effect. A good fast camera shutter sound effect like the one from Motion Array that we are using really works wonders. 

  1. Add that to the audio below the effect and then duplicate the solid color frames using Alt or Option and dragging to extend the effect if needed.
  2. Next, place the play head at the start of the effect and select your video clip. Press Ctrl+R or Cmd+R to open the Retime controls then add a speed point.
  3. Move the playhead well beyond the end of the effect and then add another speed point.
  4. Drag the speed point to the end of the effect. This will add an abrupt speed change to the clip which, in combination with the flashes and shutter really helps sell the effect.  

Note: This works best with a moving subject. The faster the speed changes the stronger the effect. Just extend the speed point and speed it up even more if you need to.

Camera flash and shutter effects and transitions are simple to create in DaVinci Resolve 17. You can easily achieve great results as a beginner with the built-in tools in DaVinci Resolve without the need for plugins.  A few good sound effects from Motion Array will go a long way to help sell the effect!

If you are looking to learn and better your skills in DaVinci Resolve, check out additional effects you can create from scratch – 3D effects, the Matrix effect, and even clone effects

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