How To Green Screen in DaVinci Resolve - 5 QUICK Steps!

Green screening, or chroma keying, is a powerful technique used in video editing to replace a specific color (usually green) with another image or video. In DaVinci Resolve, this process is not only possible but also quite efficient. Let's dive into the details of how to make the most of green screening in DaVinci Resolve, especially if you have just started exploring this incredible tool.

August 8, 2023
How To Green Screen in DaVinci Resolve - 5 QUICK Steps!
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Davinci Resolve Chroma Key Tutorial

Chroma key compositing is the process of replacing a specific color in an image with another image or video. In DaVinci Resolve, this is done using powerful tools that allow you to work on your green screen video without having to switch to different software. How about we explore the simple steps to take your green screen clip and composite it with another clip? Before you know it, you'll know how to replace your green screen in a flash, and learn some useful techniques to make it look as realistic as possible.

Step Requirements Pro Tips Best Practices
Importing Footage Two clips: one with a green screen, one to replace it Use high-quality footage for better results Organize your media pool for efficiency
Setting Up Your Timeline Properly configured timeline Align clips accurately Use the auto-create timeline feature
Chroma Keying Color correction window, Qualifier tab Use the Highlight icon for precision Take time to select the exact green color
Working with Alpha Channels Nodes workspace Use Alpha Output for blending Follow the node system instructions carefully
Masking Techniques Power Windows (masks) Resize or reposition as needed Crop out only undesirable objects
Refining Edges Qualifier tab, High Contrast Highlight mode Use Clean Black/White values Preview in both color and black & white
Color Correcting & Exposure Curves and Color Wheel Utilize DaVinci Resolve's color tools Adjust for natural blending

How to Chroma Key in DaVinci Resolve

Importing Footage

To start your project, decide which multimedia clips you want to use and import your files. Of course, you'll need a minimum of two: one clip with a green screen, and one clip to replace the green screen. Open your desired project in DaVinci Resolve, or start a new one. Click on the Media Pool icon in the top-left corner of your window, right-click in your Media Pool, and select Import Footage. Browse your computer and select the clips you want to import, and then click Open.

Setting Up Your Timeline

Make sure your timeline is configured properly so that the area with the green screen will be replaced with the footage you want it to later on when it's transparent. Drag your two chosen clips into the timeline space on your screen. DaVinci Resolve will automatically create a new timeline for you based on the specifications of your clips. Position the clip with your green screen on the video track (the row) above your background footage. If there isn't another video track, simply drag your video up from the video track it's on, and DaVinci Resolve will automatically create another one.

Chroma Keying in DaVinci Resolve

Now that your timeline is prepped, it's time to get rid of that green screen! Switch to the color correction window by clicking on the Color icon at the bottom of the screen. Select the Qualifier tab, then click on the Qualifier Tool underneath the heading Selection Range. Hover over the green screen area, and left-click. This will select the color you want to isolate and make any other colors transparent. View the area you have made transparent in gray by clicking on the Highlight icon. Press the Invert Selection icon to reverse the gray area so that only your green screen is transparent.

Working with Alpha Channels

You have told DaVinci Resolve which part of your video clip is the green screen, but now you'll need to blend it in with the footage you've put underneath. Select the Nodes icon to view the Nodes workspace for the footage you currently have selected. In the Nodes workspace, right-click in a blank area and select Add Alpha Output. Your alpha output will appear as a small blue dot on the right of the window. Click and drag the small blue square on your node to draw a line to the Alpha Output icon. This acts as a set of instructions in your node system to blend your green screen footage with whatever multimedia is on the video track below.

Masking Techniques in DaVinci Resolve

With some green screen footage, you may find it necessary to crop out undesirable objects that made their way into the frame. This can be done with Power Windows, also known as masks. This is a useful technique if you want to resize or reposition your green screen layer. Basically, anything in your green screen footage that's inside the Power Window will be visible. Anything on the same layer that is outside of the Power Window's boundaries is cropped out. Now the space outside of your Power Window will appear as whatever's on the video track below by default.

Refining Edges

Perhaps there are still some green edges around your subject that are visible in the preview window. This is the time to use some of the other tools that DaVinci Resolve has to offer to make them cleaner. Return to the Qualifier tab, press Shift + Control + H to toggle the High Contrast Highlight mode. This setting lets you preview where your transparent area starts and stops in black and white. This can make it easier to spot any color disturbance compared to color mode. Bring up the Clean Black value to clean up any black disturbance in the white areas, or increase the Clean White value to remove small areas of white in black areas.

Color Correcting & Exposure

To make your footage blend more naturally, remember to do some simple color and exposure adjustments to the footage that you are adding to the foreground. In this example, that is the image that will replace the green screen on the billboard. In this tutorial, you will adjust the image's Curves and Color Wheel. Don't forget that DaVinci Resolve has many other color tools that you could use too!


1. Why does the green screen return after being keyed out in DaVinci Resolve?

In my experience, there can be several reasons for this. Sometimes, after keying out the green screen and moving on to other tasks, the green might reappear, especially if you close and reopen the program. It's crucial to ensure that you've saved your project after keying out the green. Also, avoid making changes to the clip, like color grading, that might interfere with the 3D keyer effect. If you're still facing issues, consider starting with a fresh project and testing the keying process again.

2. How should I approach color correction when working with green screens?

To be honest, color correction is a vital step when working with green screens. Before pulling the key, it's advisable to denoise your footage and then color correct your subject. This includes addressing any green contamination (despill) in nodes that precede the LUT. It's essential to view the corrections with the LUT on to see the final effect. After applying the LUT, you can then work on pulling the key. For intricate details like hair, you might need separate keying operations. Learn more about color grading in DaVinci Resolve.

3. Should I perform color work in DaVinci Resolve's color page first and then move to Fusion?

In my opinion, it depends on the complexity of your project. For basic color corrections, you can start with Resolve's color page. However, for more advanced tasks, especially when dealing with intricate details in green screening, Fusion might be the better tool. Fusion offers advanced keying tools like the Delta Keyer, which can be more effective for challenging green screen scenarios.

4. What are the best practices for dealing with hair while keying out the green screen?

Hair can be one of the most challenging aspects of green screening due to its fine details. I'd suggest using tools like the Delta Keyer in Fusion, which offers advanced controls for dealing with intricate details like hair strands. Additionally, consider using one of the RGB channels where the hair contrasts well against the background to create an alpha channel. This can help in preserving the fine details of the hair against the green screen.

5. Why does my keyed footage look different after rendering?

Let's address this. Sometimes, the rendering process might not reflect the exact changes made during the editing phase. Ensure that you're using the latest version of DaVinci Resolve. Also, double-check your render settings and make sure they match your project settings. If you've applied any effects or transformations after keying, ensure they are rendered correctly. Lastly, always preview your rendered footage in DaVinci Resolve before exporting to ensure consistency.