Generate Optimized Media In DaVinci Resolve - Tutorial

To ensure smooth playback in DaVinci Resolve, especially with high-resolution or RAW files, utilize the optimized media feature by accessing the Project Settings and selecting the appropriate codec. After generating the optimized media, activate it for playback, and remember to delete these files post-editing to save storage space.

October 3, 2023
Generate Optimized Media In DaVinci Resolve - Tutorial
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What Does Generate Optimized Media Mean?

When I first started using DaVinci, I was running it on a less-than-ideal Acer Aspire, and playback lag was the bane of my existence. Every editor knows the frustration of choppy playback, especially when precision is key. Enter the concept of optimized media. This feature is designed to enhance the editing workflow by improving real-time playback. It's essentially a method that allows DaVinci Resolve to create and use proxy files, ensuring that even on less powerful systems, playback remains smooth.

In this article, I'll tech you:

  • The essence of optimized media and its significance in the editing process.
  • Step-by-step guidance on setting up and utilizing optimized media.
  • Tips and tricks to ensure you get the most out of this feature, without compromising on the quality of your final output.

Setting Up Optimized Media in DaVinci Resolve

Step Description
Understanding Optimized Media If your machine struggles to play back media in DaVinci Resolve at the correct frame rate, you may need to use optimized media. This is especially true when editing on a less powerful laptop or when working with RAW files. Optimized media in DaVinci Resolve are processor-efficient pre-rendered duplicate media created from the original source footage. This makes it easier to work with in real-time without any lag.
Optimized Media Settings While DaVinci Resolve’s default proxy setting will likely work for most media types, you can adjust or verify the settings if needed. Click on the Project Settings cog in the right-hand corner. Navigate to the master settings panel, and you'll find an "Optimized Media and Render Cache" area. If you're a Mac user and want to change the proxy to the popular ProRes proxy, you can adjust it here.
Generating Optimized Media Return to the edit or media page. In the media pool, select the clip or clips you want to optimize. Right-click and select “optimize media.” DaVinci Resolve will take some time to generate the optimized media, depending on the number of clips and their formats.
Using Optimized Media Once the optimization is complete, go to the playback menu. Select “Use Optimized Media If Available.” Now, when you press play in the timeline, the clip should play back at its correct frame rate without any stuttering or dropped frames.
Post-Editing After completing your edit, you don't need to uncheck the “Use Optimized Media If Available” setting for delivery. DaVinci Resolve will automatically render using the original file format. However, if you want to render the optimized media, you can find that option in advanced settings on the video panel in the “deliver” page.
Important Notes Remember that you won't have control over where the proxy files are generated. They will be produced in the same location as the cache files. It's crucial to delete the optimized media after use, as they can take up significant storage space.
Video Guide For a more visual guide, Casey Faris has a video tutorial on how to use optimized media in DaVinci Resolve 12.5. While some menus might have changed in later versions, the process remains largely the same.

Accessing the Optimized Media Settings

To be honest, if you've ever faced playback issues in DaVinci Resolve, it's likely because the software is trying to process high-resolution or RAW files in real-time. No worries, there's a solution: optimized media. To access these settings, look for the Project Settings cog. You'll typically find this icon located in the bottom right-hand corner of your screen. Once you click on it, a panel will open up. Now, navigate to the "Master Settings" section. As you scroll, you'll come across an area labeled "Optimized Media and Render Cache". This is where you'll make the necessary adjustments.

Choosing the Right Codec for Optimized Media

Now that you're in the right section, you might be tempted to skip ahead. But, believe me, taking a moment to ensure you have the right codec can save you a lot of hassle later on. DaVinci Resolve offers a default proxy setting that works for most media types. However, if you're a Mac user and prefer the ProRes proxy, this is where you'd make that change. On the other hand, if you're on a PC, I'd recommend opting for the DNXHR SQ codec. Both choices aim to make your media more manageable without compromising too much on quality.

Generating the Optimized Media

Alright, let's dive into the actual optimization process. Head back to either the edit or media page. In the media pool, which is the section where all your imported clips reside, select the clips you want to optimize. Right-click on your selection. In the dropdown menu, you'll see an option labeled “optimize media”. Click on it. Depending on the number of clips and their respective sizes, this process might take a few minutes. So, grab a coffee or stretch your legs while DaVinci Resolve does its thing.

Activating the Optimized Media for Playback

Guess what? Once the optimization is complete, you're almost ready to enjoy smooth playback. Go to the playback menu located at the top of your screen. From the dropdown, select “Use Optimized Media If Available”. Now, when you hit the play button on your timeline, you'll notice a significant improvement. The clips should play without any hitches, giving you a clearer view of your edits.

Finalizing Your Project

By the way, after you've finished editing, there's no need to revert any settings for the final render. DaVinci Resolve is smart enough to use the original high-quality files for the final output. However, if for some reason you want to render using the optimized media, you can find that option in the advanced settings on the video panel within the “deliver” page.

A Few Parting Tips

In a nutshell, while optimized media is a lifesaver, there are a couple of things to keep in mind. Firstly, DaVinci Resolve decides where the proxy files are stored, typically in the same location as cache files. Secondly, and this is crucial, always remember to delete the optimized media after you're done. They can take up a significant amount of storage space. So, always ensure you're not clogging up your system with unnecessary files.