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How To Change Aspect Ratio in DaVinci Resolve - 3 QUICK Steps!

Changing the aspect ratio in DaVinci Resolve can be accomplished through three main methods: fully manual, fully automatic, or using custom presets. By understanding the specific needs of your project and following the step-by-step guides provided, you can easily modify the aspect ratio to achieve the desired visual effect in your video editing.

September 21, 2023
How To Change Aspect Ratio in DaVinci Resolve - 3 QUICK Steps!
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Fully Manual Method: DaVinci Resolve Aspect Ratio Change

Every video or image has a defined width and height, and the relationship between these two dimensions is termed as the aspect ratio. Commonly, you might have come across values like 16:9 (often used for modern TVs) or 4:3 (reminiscent of older television sets). But there's more to it:

  • 16:9 (1.77): This is the standard for most modern displays, including TVs, computer monitors, and smartphones.
  • 4:3 (1.33): An older standard, reminiscent of classic television and early computer monitors.
  • 2.35:1: Known as the cinematic widescreen, this ratio gives videos that Hollywood movie feel.

Aspect ratios like 2.35:1, 2:1, and 1920 × 1080 are common in the film industry. They represent the width and height of the screen. In other words, they define how wide and tall the video will appear.

Aspect Ratio Width x Height (pixels) Common Uses
1:1 1080 x 1080 Social Media (Instagram, Facebook)
4:3 1440 x 1080 Standard Television
16:9 1920 x 1080 High Definition Television, YouTube
2.35:1 2048 x 858 Cinematic widescreen
9:16 1080 x 1920 Mobile video, Instagram Stories

Step-by-Step Guide

  1. Determine Your Output Aspect Ratio: Before diving into the settings, decide on the aspect ratio that best suits your project. Whether it's the cinematic 2.35:1 or the standard 16:9, this decision will guide your subsequent steps.
  2. Navigate to Project Settings: Once inside DaVinci Resolve, head to the project settings. Here, you'll find options to manually set your desired aspect ratio.
  3. Adjust Zoom and Image Scaling: After setting the aspect ratio, ensure your video fits this new ratio without any distortion. DaVinci Resolve offers tools to adjust the zoom and image scaling to make this fit perfect.

That said, the fully manual method gives you complete control but can be time-consuming. In my opinion, it's best for those who want precise adjustments.

Previewing the Desired Aspect Ratio

Before committing to an aspect ratio, it's always a good idea to preview it. DaVinci Resolve offers a feature called “Safe Area” that lets you visualize different aspect ratios on your footage. This way, you can play around with various ratios and see their impact on your video, ensuring you make an informed decision.

If you're still having trouble with aspect ratio responsiveness, try using these templates.

Fully Automatic Method: DaVinci Resolve Aspect Ratio Templates

Utilizing Built-in Templates

DaVinci Resolve offers built-in templates for common aspect ratios. How about using these templates to save time? It seems that this method is perfect for those who want a quick solution.

Step-by-Step Guide

  1. Choose the Aspect Ratio Template: Navigate to the settings and select the desired template. For instance, UHD or HD might be suitable for most projects.
  2. Apply the Template to Your Clip: Just apply the template, and DaVinci Resolve will automatically adjust the aspect ratio.

Furthermore, this method is user-friendly and ideal for those who are new to video editing. Nevertheless, it might not offer the same level of customization as the manual method.

Using Aspect Ratio Presets: DaVinci Resolve Customization

Creating and Using Presets

What if you want to create custom aspect ratios? DaVinci Resolve allows you to save custom presets. Let's explore how to do this.

Step-by-Step Guide

  1. Create a Custom Aspect Ratio: Adjust the width and height according to your needs.
  2. Save the Custom Preset: Once satisfied, save the preset for future use.
  3. Apply the Preset to Other Clips: You can now apply this custom preset to other clips in your project.

In addition, this method combines the best of both worlds, offering customization and convenience. On the other hand, it requires a bit more understanding of DaVinci Resolve's settings.

Working with Multiple Aspect Ratios in a Single Timeline

Sometimes, a project demands the use of multiple aspect ratios. This can be a bit tricky, but with DaVinci Resolve, it's manageable:

  • Individual Clip Aspect Ratio: Instead of changing the entire timeline's aspect ratio, you can adjust individual clips. This is done by selecting the clip and navigating to the “Inspector” tab, where you can crop and adjust the clip to your desired aspect ratio.
  • Keyframing Aspect Ratio Changes: For dynamic projects, you might want the aspect ratio to change during a clip. This is where keyframing comes in. By setting keyframes at the start and end of a clip, you can have the aspect ratio change smoothly over time.

Achieving a Full-Screen Look without Black Bars

Black bars (often seen at the top and bottom of videos) can sometimes detract from the viewing experience. If you're aiming for a full-screen look without these bars, here's how:

  1. Determine the New Aspect Ratio: Multiply your desired aspect ratio by the height of your video. For instance, for a 1920 x 1080 video with a 2.35 aspect ratio, the calculation would be 2.35 multiplied by 1080, resulting in 2538.
  2. Adjust the Project Timeline Resolution: Update the resolution in DaVinci Resolve to the calculated value (e.g., 2538 x 1080).
  3. Zoom and Reposition: After setting the new resolution, you might notice black bars on the sides (known as pillar-boxing). To address this, zoom in to fill the screen and adjust the positioning as needed.

Additional Tips and Considerations

  • Understanding Black Pixels: When changing the aspect ratio, black pixels may appear on the sides of the video. To be honest, this is normal and can be adjusted with zoom and scaling.
  • Consider the Final Output: Always consider the platform where the video will be displayed. For instance, a 2.35:1 aspect ratio might look great in a theater but not on a standard TV.
  • Explore More Features: DaVinci Resolve offers many more features like color grading presets, importing image sequences, and plugins that can enhance your editing experience.
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What is Aspect Ratio in DaVinci Resolve?

Aspect ratio is the ratio of the width to the height of an image or screen. In DaVinci Resolve, you can work with various aspect ratios like 16:9, 21:9, 32:9, etc. It's a crucial element in video editing, as it affects how the video is displayed on different devices. For instance, 16:9 is a common aspect ratio for modern TVs and monitors.

How Can I Change the Aspect Ratio in DaVinci Resolve?

To change the aspect ratio in DaVinci Resolve, you can use the "Output Blanking" option on the Color tab. This allows you to select common aspect ratios such as 1.33, 1.66, 1.77, 1.85, 2.0, 2.35, 2.39, and 2.40. If you need custom aspect ratios, there are tools like Digital Rebellion's Aspect Ratio Matte Creator that can generate overlays.

What Does "K" Mean in Resolution, and What's the Difference Between UHD and 4K?

The "K" in resolutions like 2K and 4K refers to how many thousand pixels wide a resolution is. For 2K, it's 2,048 pixels wide. UHD 4K, or 3840x2160, is a standard for 4K TVs, while 4K in the context of movies is often 4096x2160. Both are commonly referred to as 4K, even though the numbers are slightly different.

How Can I Add Black Bars to My Video?

Black bars, known as "pillarboxing" (sides) or "letterboxing" (top and bottom), can be added through the "Output Blanking" option in the Color tab. This allows you to create a cinematic look or fit a video into a specific aspect ratio.

Why Can't I Select Certain Aspect Ratios in DaVinci Resolve?

DaVinci Resolve is "Resolution Independent," meaning it can easily scale between different resolutions. However, standard video resolutions must be even and evenly divisible by 4, 8, or 16. If you're trying to use a non-standard resolution, it may not be selectable in Resolve.

How Can I Restore My Timeline to the Original Aspect Ratio?

If you've accidentally changed the aspect ratio and want to restore it, you can adjust the custom timeline resolution in Project Settings using the Resolution button or Shift-9. You can also check the settings under Project Settings -> Master Settings -> Timeline resolution and Pixel aspect ratio.

How Do I Fix Pixel Aspect Ratio Issues in DaVinci Resolve Lite 10?

In DaVinci Resolve Lite 10, if you're facing issues with pixel aspect ratio options like "square" and "cinemascope," you may need to adjust the settings for your specific HD or 2K options. You can also refer to the manual or consult the Blackmagic Forum for specific guidance.

How Can I Restore My Timeline to the Original Aspect Ratio in DaVinci Resolve 16?

In DaVinci Resolve 16, if you've altered the aspect ratio and need to restore it, you can click the Tools button on the left-middle of your screenshot. If the Aspect Ratio/Display is still wrong, you can change the custom timeline resolution in Project Settings or use Shift-9. More details can be found on the Video Production Stack Exchange.

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