How to Adjust and Fix Frame Rates in DaVinci Resolve (Tutorial)

DaVinci Resolve 04/11/2021 5 min read

You may have noticed that while it is a powerful tool, it is not always as simple as you might expect to adjust the frame rate in DaVinci Resolve. If you are having trouble understanding how to change the timeline frame rate or even the frame rate of your clips or project itself, you are not alone.

In this article, not only will you learn how to do all of the above. You’ll also understand how to deal with a project using footage with different frame rates, and why templates come at one frame rate, while your project is at another.

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Part 1: How to Set Your Project Frame Rate in DaVinci Resolve

In many projects, the frame rate will have been selected in pre-production, so this step will already be clear. If this isn’t the case for you, now is the time to decide for certain which frame rate you will use to edit and deliver your project. 

Step 1: How to Choose the Right Frame Rate

Choosing your frame rate in advance will save you a lot of time from potentially having to redo work, especially since in DaVinci Resolve you cannot change your project frame rate once it’s been set. To help you to decide, you can consider the frame rate specifications for different distribution platforms.

  • The US uses 23.976 frames per second in general
  • Usually, Europe and some of Asia use 25 frames per second
  • YouTube and Vimeo both support videos uploaded at a higher frame rate but will play them back at a maximum of 60 frames per second.

Remember to double-check the individual delivery specifications of any film festivals, broadcasters, or theaters where you will be sharing your film project.

Step 2: Project Setup 

In DaVinci Resolve, it’s important to set your project frame rate correctly; it cannot be changed after importing any media. If you have DaVinci 16, you can start a timeline with a different frame rate later, but it’s better to get the first step right and save yourself time later.

  1. Bring up your Project Manager window by selecting File > Project Manager.
  2. Start a new project by clicking on the New Project button.
  3. Name your new project and confirm.
  4. Before importing any materials, click on the cog icon in the bottom right corner
  5. Select the Master Settings tab.
  6. Set Timeline Frame Rate to 23.976 fps (or whatever your chosen frame rate is). Remember, once you import any media, you will be unable to change this.
  7. Make sure your Playback Frame Rate matches your Timeline Frame rate.
  8. Select Save.

Step 3: Adjust Your Clip(s) Frame Rate

If your footage does not match the frame rate you have selected for your project, you do not have to be concerned. DaVinci Resolve is designed to automatically handle clips of different frame rates in a timeline. Resolve will ensure everything plays back at normal speed at the timeline frame rate.  

As an example, if you have a 30 fps timeline and you have some clips that are 30 fps, some at 23.97fps, and some at 60fps all the clips will play at normal speed on the 30 fps timeline. To achieve this DaVinci will create extra frames for the 23.97 fps clips using the frame interpolation settings of the retime process (nearest, frame blend, or optical flow. As set in the project settings) and it will drop every second frame of the 60 pfs clips.

In some cases, this may not be what you want to achieve, for example, if you intended your 60 fps clips to be slow motion b-roll and play at half speed. In this case, you need to change the frame rate of the clip in the media pool or media tab to match the timeline frame rate using the steps below. After changing it the clip will use every frame and play at half speed on your 30 frames per second timeline. It is important to note that the audio will remain unchanged and be out of sync with the footage.

  1. In the media pool or Media tab click on the FPS (frames per second) column title to group together any clips that share the same FPS value.
  2. Select clips sharing the same FPS value that you want to adjust, e.g. 60 fps. Press Ctrl as you click on the files to select multiple clips.
  3. Right-click on your selection and choose Clip Attributes from the dropdown menu.
  4. Adjust Video Frame Rate row to your timeline frame rate, e.g. 30 fps.

Step 4: Retime Your Clip

  1. Make sure you are on the Edit tab and are in the timeline you want to adjust
  2. Select the clip where you want to adjust the speed on your timeline
  3. Press Control + R on your keyboard to open up speed settings for the clip
  4. Click on the arrow next to the percentage value.
  5. Hover over Change Speed from the dropdown menu, and select the new playback speed you want. Remember, sticking to a multiple of 100 will make playback smoother.

Step 5: Play the Same Clip at Different Frame Rates

If you want the same clip to play at two different frame rates within the same project, it’s not enough to duplicate it within the timeline. Any changes you make to one clip’s frame rate will apply to all instances of it within the timeline, even if you copy and paste it within the Edit tab before making the changes.

  1. Click on the Media Pool tab to view your media
  2. Select the clip you want to adjust, and press Control + C followed by Control + V to duplicate the clip
  3. Rename each clip so you know which one to playback at which frame rate. Click once on the file name to rename, and press enter when you’re done.
  4. Follow the instructions from Step 3 for each clip so each will playback at the desired frame rate.
  5. Drag each clip into your timeline separately where you want the different speed versions of it to appear.

Part 2: Pro Tips & Troubleshooting

Maybe you’d already started to edit when you realized that your timeline wasn’t set to the correct frame rate. It used to be the case that you would need to start a whole new project with the right frame rate, but in DaVinci Resolve 16 there is a fix for this.

  1. Make sure you have already opened your chosen project.
  2. Click Control + N to start a new timeline and give it a name.
  3. Click on the Use Custom Settings button and go to the Format tab.
  4. Select the frame rate you need from the Timeline Frame Rate dropdown menu and hit Create.
  5. Go back to your old timeline using the dropdown menu above the preview panel.
  6. Click and drag to select everything on your old timeline and press Control + C to copy it.
  7. Navigate back to your new timeline on the same dropdown menu, and click Control + V to paste your old timeline media onto your new timeline.

As you can see, there are a number of elements to consider when learning how to change the frame rate in DaVinci Resolve 16. 

Now that you know more about how frame rates interact with your projects and media within DaVinci Resolve, you’re well prepared to troubleshoot any frame rate issues you might meet along the way. Also, check out a nice way to speed up your project workflows with Dynamic Project Switching in DaVinci Resolve.

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