How to Freeze Frames & Export Stills in DaVinci Resolve 17

DaVinci Resolve 21/01/2022 4 min read

In the days of shooting on film creating a freeze frame meant optically reprinting the selected shot for as many frames as needed. Nowadays it’s as easy as pressing a button! Video editing software like DaVinci Resolve now has sophisticated but simple tools to re-time your video to create anything from freeze frames to speed ramps and every speed in between. Let’s look at how to create and use freeze frames in DaVinci Resolve 17.

Part 1: Learn How to Freeze a Frame in DaVinci Resolve 17

DaVinci Resolve makes it pretty easy to create a freeze-frame in your video and you can do it right on the Edit page. Here are two quick ways to create a freeze-frame.

Option 1: Change Clip Speed

When you right-click on any clip or use the shortcut R you are presented with the Change Clip Speed dialog. There is a tick box for freeze frame and when you tick this box it will change your clip to a freeze (still) frame from the position of the playhead. It will change the entire remainder of your clip to a freeze-frame.

This may or may not be what you intended. You can now use this freeze frame as a regular still image as you want. Just adjust the length to suit. If you just briefly wanted to freeze a frame and then continue the clip you will need to first cut the desired frame from your clip by using the blade tool. This is how:

  1. Move the playhead to the frame you want to freeze.
  2. Select the Blade tool and cut the clip on the playhead.
  3. Move one frame forward with the right arrow key.
  4. Cut the clip on the playhead.
  5. Zoom in to see better.
  6. Select the single frame then right-click or press R to bring up the Change Clip Speed dialog. Tick the Freeze frame tickbox and click change.
  7. Your frame is now frozen but short. It’s only one frame long.
  8. Use the Trim edit tool to extend your freeze frame’s duration as desired.

Option 2: Retime Controls

There is an even better way to achieve the quick freeze-frame effect by using the retime controls. 

  1. Access the Retime controls by right-clicking on your clip or using the shortcut Ctrl+R or Cmd+R.
  2. Place the playhead where you want to start your freeze frame then click the small black triangle to expand the dropdown menu. Now click Freeze Frame.
  3. The selected frame is frozen for a fixed duration and then the remainder of the clip continues at normal speed. 
  4. Drag the speed points (vertical bars) on either side of the freeze-frame to change the duration.

Pro Tip: Open the Retime curve (right-click) to display a graph which you can use to add more keyframes, smooth the curve, and even slow or speed up to the freeze-frame. 

Exporting Stills

If you need to save a still frame of your freeze frame (or any other frame from any clip) you can simply grab a still in the Color page by right-clicking in the viewer while the playhead is positioned on the frame you want.  Then export the still as a .png, tiff, or jpg file as you need by right-clicking the still in the stills gallery and selecting export.

Part 2: Create Cool Freeze Frame Intro Titles in DaVinci Resolve

Now let’s use this freeze frame technique to dive into Fusion in DaVinci Resolve 17 and create some cool titles with a freeze-frame.

  1. Use the method in Option 1 to create a freeze-frame in your clip where you’d like the title to appear. Make sure you extend it to be 2 seconds in length.
  2. Select the freeze frame and go to the Fusion page.
  3. We will now add 3 Background nodes that will form the main part of our title animation.
  4. Add the first background node and reduce the Opacity by changing the Blend mode in the Merge node. Also, change the color of the background node to something nice like a pastel color. Make sure you can see through this background node.
  5. Add another Background and Merge node and change the color to the same or similar as before but don’t change the Opacity this time.
  6. Instead, add a Rectangle mask to the Background node. Then adjust the Width, Height, and Angle of the Rectangle mask to be across the screen at an angle.
  7. Duplicate the Merge and Background nodes, as well as the rectangle mask, then adjust the Position, Size, and Color to be just above and a little thinner than the previous Background node.
  8. Use keyframes on the Position of the rectangle mask to animate the rectangle so they slide in from and out at the start and end of the clip.
  9. Add a Text node with the name of your subject in a nice font and color then animate the text using keyframes on the write-on effect in the Inspector.
  10. Your basic animation is now done, we just need to mask the subject and overlay it.
  11. To do this, duplicate your MediaIn node and add it after all the other nodes. This will overlay it over everything. Now use a Polygon mask to carefully cut out your subject.
  12. You’re done! Play your clip on the Edit page to see the full effect.

If this sounds like too much work for you, check out these cool freeze-frame title templates for DaVinci Resolve by Motion array:

Download Freeze Frame Cartoon Titles Now

Unlike days gone by it is now simple to create a freeze-frame in video editing software like DaVinci Resolve 17. There are a couple of main ways to create freeze frames and you can also easily grab and export still frames from your video. Freeze frames can also be used in Fusion to make great titles.