How To Optimize Smooth Playback in DaVinci Resolve (Tutorial)

DaVinci Resolve Motion Array February 26, 2020 3 min read

Today we’re going to be going over how to achieve smooth playback in your DaVinci Resolve templates even if you have an old weak computer.  One of the side effects of using a template with lots of effects and graphics and alterations, is that it can push your computer a little harder than normal. 

So on the timeline we have a template with our own footage placed down, but it’s not playing back at full speed. We can see that it’s choppy, and our number of frames being displayed is less than our playback frame rate of 24 frames per second. Thankfully the process to getting smooth playback in this kind of situation is simple and we’re going to be walking you through that step by step.  


Step 1: Set Smooth Playback Settings

The solution is to essentially tell your computer to create different, more optimized, versions of your media to playback. The first thing you’re going to want to do is go up to go to Settings > Master Settings > Optimize Media and Render Cache.


You’re going to want to set a new optimize media format and render cache format. If you’re on a PC, set it to DNxHR SQ. If you’re on a MAC set it to Prores 422 LT. If you really know what you’re doing you can choose different options, they are just different codecs after all. But this is our personal recommendation for getting smooth playback while still retaining high quality.

Then right underneath that, set background caching to 1 second.

Step 2: Render Cache

Great. Now let’s make sure that what we just set up is actually able to be used by going to playback, and check that “Use Optimized Media if Available” is selected.  Once it is, then go down in the same menu to Render Cache and set it to “User”.

Step 3: Generate Optimized Media

Awesome!  We’re almost there. All we have to do is select the media in question that we want to play back smoothly. Keep in mind, the more media you select, the longer this process will take. So you could select 1 clip, or you could select your entire timeline by hitting Control or Command + A.

Once you do, right click on your clip or any of your highlighted clips, and click “Generate Optimized Media”.

Generage Optimized Media 2


What this will do is start to generate the new media codecs we set up before in DaVinci Resolve, which your computer will be able to process a LOT faster. Once it’s done, you should be able to see that your media is playing back at lightning speed! Now I’m able to not only playback at full speed, but I’m also able to move around my playhead anywhere on the timeline and get an immediate visual response.

Depending on the template you’re using, you may find that you’re unable to find the “Generate Optimized Media” option. If this is the case, you can simply navigate to the media section at the bottom of DaVinci Resolve, and then highlight all the footage in question you would like to optimize. In this section you can now right click on any selected clips and select “Generate Optimized Media” to initiate that same process.

Just keep in mind though that if you make changes to a clip with either color, or compositing work with fusion, you’re going to need to re-render these changes for smooth playback.  Thankfully, once you’ve applied changes like these, you can easily re-render out a section, like for us having just made some color adjustments, by right clicking the clip or clips in question and selecting “Render Cache Color Output”.

And after letting it render out, you should be back up and running to a smooth playback experience even if your computer isn’t the most powerful piece of hardware in the world.  

Guys I hope you found this quick tutorial helpful.  And I can’t wait to see what you create using our amazing templates.  

If you would like to upgrade your toolkit, make sure to check out Motion Array. Our extensive library of Final Cut Pro add ons, effects, and plugins include everything you need to create top-notch videos.