In Episode 3 of the DaVinci Resolve Playbook series, we’ll demonstrate how the keyboard shortcuts work and how different tools affect playback.

Over the past several months, we’ve been populating our channel with DaVinci Resolve editing content, as it has quickly become a viable choice against Premiere Pro and Final Cut Pro.

One series we’ve introduced is the Playbook series. This is an assortment of quick editing tips that would get glossed over in a more extended tutorial, or perhaps swept under the rug altogether.

Because of the nature of the tutorial, I recommend watching the video to see how the keyboard shortcuts work and how the different tools affect the playback. However, you’ll also find the written information below.

Still Length

As someone who creates software tutorials and gear videos, I’m always using still images and screenshots in my content. Of course, this is as simple as taking the still from the media pool and placing it onto the timeline. No real issue here.

However, if my still images are of a default length of six seconds, and I want them to be shorter — say three seconds — I must decrease the length using the trim tools. Again, no real issue, but when you’re doing this repeatedly, or have to import several stills at once, it becomes monotonous. 

Therefore, we need to adjust the default length that these images appear on the timeline.

To do this, we’re going to go to the DaVinci Resolve menu and open Preferences. In the new pop-up menu, switch to User, then Editing, and finally scroll down to General Settings.

The DaVinci Resolve Editing Playbook Tutorial: Episode 3 — Editing Still Images
DaVinci Resolve menu>Preferences>User>Editing>General Settings.

Here, we can set the still length under two parameters, either seconds or frames. You can also use this panel to adjust the default generator length, which is for text layers and solids.

After inputting a new duration and clicking save, any new images you add to the timeline will be of the new duration.

Selecting Specific Clips 

Sometimes we import a selection of video or audio, and we preemptively know that these clips will require an adjustment — all of them. Instead of having to go through every clip and individually adjusting, we can instead perform the automated technique of selecting all clips of a specific color. 

First, add all video or audio clips that require the same adjustment to a bin. Next give these clips a particular clip color, and make sure that you haven’t used the clip color anywhere else. You can do this by right-clicking over the clips and selecting Choose Clip Color. Next, go up to the Timeline menu and click Select Clips With Clip Color, and choose the corresponding color. 

The DaVinci Resolve Editing Playbook Tutorial: Episode 3 — Choose Clip Color
Once you’ve chosen the color, you can move the clips, add an OFX plugin, and transition them.

Every clip in the timeline that has been painted with the chosen color will be selected. You can move these clips, you can add an OFX plug-in to the media, and you can add a transition to them.

Some might ask, why not just add them to a track and make a track adjustment. Well, for specific adjustments, it’s not always possible. Likewise, sometimes it’s not practical to have these clips on the same track if they have a purpose elsewhere. Doing this allows you to select individual clips across multiple tracks and adjust them all equally.

Keyboard Shortcuts

In every episode, I love to dish out some keyboard short cuts that aren’t wholly obvious. So, let’s look at what we have for Episode 3.

Cut While Playing

When you press B, the blade tool activates, which allows you to splice clips into shorter clips easily. However, for longer clips that require multiple splices, instead of going along the timeline and pressing the left mouse button on each beat, we could utilize the shortcut Ctrl+B while the track is playing.

The DaVinci Resolve Editing Playbook Tutorial: Episode 3 — First Keyboard Shortcut
Press “Ctrl+B” while the track is playing to splice multiple clips.

You don’t have the blade tool activated to do this. And, of course, you can implement this shortcut whenever you need to create two individual clips without ever touching the blade tool again. But essentially the idea is to click play and press Ctrl+B wherever there is a needed splice. Resolve will create the edit and continue playing through the timeline. You will now have several clips spliced without touching the mouse.

Use Clip for Selection Length

You may know that the keyboard shortcut I and O creates a selection on the timeline. You can then delete, or ripple delete, anything within this region if it has the auto-selection active.

However, if you know that a certain clip is the required length in the area you want to remove, you don’t have to create an in and out point. Instead press Shift+A, which will create a selection based upon the length of the clip.

The DaVinci Resolve Editing Playbook Tutorial: Episode 3 — Second Keyboard Shortcut
Press “Shift+A” to create a selection based on the length of your clip.

Again, like the blade shortcut, this quick shortcut omits creating a manual selection with the mouse and will give you that extra bit of efficiency when creating selections. But, of course, it’s limited to the length of the clip. Useful, but not always.

Stop and Go to the Last Position

I feel like this is a shortcut very dependent on the style of editing you like to employ. But still, sometimes there’s a call for both styles. What I’m talking about is where you like your playhead to return after you press stop.

For example, I’m going to press play, which is a space bar, and then space again to stop, and the playhead remains in position. However, if I want to have the playhead return to its original start position, I’m going to click Alt+K to swap over to the way the stop and go operates. Now, when I press play and then press stop, the playhead returns to its original start position.

The DaVinci Resolve Editing Playbook Tutorial: Episode 3 — Third Resolve Shortcut
Click “Alt+K” will allow the playhead to return to its original position.

I prefer having the playhead stop when I press stop. But, I find the return to last position especially useful when I’m reviewing a specific clip, and it stops me from having to move the playhead back continually.

Create Sub Clips to Manage Lengthy Media

Every other project, I seem to run into an abnormally long file. Perhaps a time-lapse or interview, and it’s over ten minutes in length. Bringing the entire ten-minute clip onto the timeline will cause a headache, and to constantly return to the source monitor to find the smaller segments worth keeping can also be troublesome. Therefore, what I suggest is to create a sub clip.

To do this (and this can be in the media pool before import, or in the media pool after import), find the start and end section you want to use. Press I and O to create the in and out point, then either right-click and select Create Sub Clip or press Alt-B. This will create an independent sub clip and add it to the media pool.

The DaVinci Resolve Editing Playbook Tutorial: Episode 3 — Create a Sub Clip
Manage lengthy files by creating a sub clip.

With this sub clip, it’s not added to your desktop, and any changes won’t affect the original file. It’s just an independent file created within Resolve itself.

Of course, editing is about finding the right jigsaw piece, and sometimes we use the wrong one. However, if we decide that we need the data that appears five seconds further than our sub clip, we can’t go into a trim mode and slip the edit. After all, we’ve told Resolve that the information doesn’t exist within the sub clip.

Therefore, to fix this, we need to right-click on the clip and select Edit Sub Clip. Now, we can add the additional five seconds in the text field, or even bring back the entire contents by checking the box.

The DaVinci Resolve Editing Playbook Tutorial: Episode 3 — Edit Your Sub Clip
Right-click on your clip, then select “Edit Sub Clip.”

Want to catch up with the other episodes within the series? You can find Part One here and Part Two here.

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