How to Reverse a Clip in DaVinci Resolve - 3 Easy Steps

Reversing a clip in DaVinci Resolve is a creative technique that can be achieved through various methods, such as using the "Change Clip Speed" option, "Retime Controls," or the "Inspector" tool. By selecting the reverse speed option or manipulating the speed percentage, you can create a reversed effect that adds depth and interest to your video project.

October 17, 2023
How to Reverse a Clip in DaVinci Resolve - 3 Easy Steps
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How To Rewind In DaVinci Resolve

Reversing a clip in DaVinci Resolve is a technique that can add a unique flair to your video projects. Whether you're looking to create a rewind effect or simply want to experiment with time manipulation, DaVinci Resolve offers several ways to reverse a clip. In this guide, I'll walk you through the process, explaining each step in detail. By the way, this tutorial is suitable for someone with just three months of experience using this video editing software.

Clip Speed Explained

Clip speed in DaVinci Resolve refers to the pace at which your video clip plays. By adjusting this, you can either speed up or slow down your footage. This is a powerful tool in the post-production process, allowing you to achieve various effects and transitions that can enhance your storytelling.

Why Slow-Motion Footage Works Best

Slow-motion footage is ideal for speed ramping due to the high frame rate it's shot at. The more frames you have, the smoother your speed ramp will appear. In DaVinci Resolve, when you speed up a slow-motion clip, it doesn't lose its fluidity because of the abundance of frames. So, if you have a clip shot at 60 frames per second and you double its speed, it will still play back smoothly at an effective 30 frames per second.

Clip Reverse Method 1 - Change Clip Speed Option

  1. Selecting the Clip: Begin by navigating to your timeline and clicking on the clip you wish to reverse. For this example, let's assume you've chosen a 5-second clip of a waterfall.
  2. Accessing the Menu: Right-click on the selected clip. A dropdown menu will appear. From this menu, locate and click on "Change Clip Speed."
  3. Navigating the Pop-Up Window: A window will emerge, presenting various options related to clip speed. Here, you're given the power to control the pace of your video, either by speeding it up or slowing it down.
  4. Reversing the Clip: Within this window, you'll notice a checkbox labeled "Reverse Speed." By ticking this box, you activate the reverse video effect. For our waterfall clip, activating this will make the water appear to flow upwards.

Altering Clip Speed via the Inspector Menu

Another avenue to adjust clip speed is through the Inspector menu, a comprehensive panel that offers a myriad of editing tools.

  1. Locating the Inspector Menu: On the right side of your DaVinci Resolve screen, you'll find the Inspector menu. If it's not immediately visible, ensure that the "Inspector" tab, located at the top right corner, is activated.
  2. Accessing Speed Change: Within the Inspector menu, search for the "Speed Change" submenu. This section is dedicated to controlling the speed of your clips.
  3. Reversing the Clip: Here, you'll find a rewind arrow symbol. Clicking on this will reverse your clip. So, if you apply this to our waterfall example, once again, the water will seem to defy gravity and flow upwards.

Clip Reverse Method 2 - Retime Controls

DaVinci Resolve's Retime Controls are a potent tool, offering a nuanced approach to manipulating the speed and direction of your clips. While it might seem a tad intricate at first glance, once you grasp its functionality, it becomes an invaluable asset in your editing toolkit.

Accessing Retime Controls

  1. Select Your Clip: Navigate to the timeline and click on the clip you wish to modify. Let's say, for our example, you've chosen a 10-second clip of a bird taking flight.
  2. Initiating Retime Controls: Right-click on the chosen clip. A dropdown menu will appear. From this list, find and select "Retime Controls." Alternatively, you can use the keyboard shortcut ⌘R (or Ctrl + R on Windows) to activate this feature.
  3. Understanding the Blue Arrows: Post activation, you'll notice a series of blue arrows appearing atop your clip. These arrows are directional indicators. If they point to the right, it signifies your clip is playing forward. Conversely, arrows pointing left indicate a reversed clip.

Reversing Your Clip

  1. Locate the Dropdown Arrow: At the base of your clip, there's a downward-facing arrow. Clicking on this reveals a concise menu.
  2. Select Reverse Segment: Within this menu, you'll find an option labeled "Reverse Segment." By selecting this, you're instructing DaVinci Resolve to play your clip backward. So, in the context of our bird clip, upon activation, you'd witness the bird seemingly retracing its flight path, moving backward to its starting point.

Delving Deeper with Retime Curve

For those seeking an added layer of control, the Retime Curve is a feature worth exploring.

  1. Accessing Retime Curve: From the same dropdown menu mentioned earlier, you can select "Retime Curve." This tool offers a visual representation of your clip's speed, allowing for precise adjustments.
  2. Speed Ramping & Freeze Frame: Within the Retime Curve, you have the capability to create speed ramps, smoothly transitioning from one speed to another. Additionally, the "Freeze Frame" option lets you pause your video clip at a specific moment, holding that frame for a desired duration.


How Can I Reverse a Clip in DaVinci Resolve?

In DaVinci Resolve, reversing a clip is quite straightforward. Here are three methods you can use:

  1. Using Change Clip Speed:
  2. Right-click on the footage and select "Change Clip Speed."
  3. Click the "Reverse Speed" checkbox to activate the reverse video effect.
  4. Using Retime Controls:
  5. Right-click on the video and select "Retime Controls."
  6. Click on "Reverse Segment" to reverse the speed of your video clip.
  7. Using the Inspector Tool:
  8. Go to the "Edit" page and select the "Inspector" tool.
  9. Click on "Speed Change" and select the arrow pointing to the left to reverse the clip.

What Is Speed Ramping, and How Is It Related to Reversing a Clip?

Speed ramping is the process of digitally speeding up and then slowing down a video clip. It can also work by reversing the speed of your video clip. This technique is popular in films and corporate videos, and it can be used to make a scene more "epic" or to transition from one segment to the next. In DaVinci Resolve, you can combine speed ramping with reversing for a myriad of creative reasons.

I Encountered Trembling in My Reversed Clip. How Can I Fix It?

Trembling in a reversed clip might be related to resolution and frame rate issues. For instance, reversing a clip in 4K resolution with 60fps might create this problem. Here are some suggestions to fix it:

  • Reduce the resolution to 1080p and 24fps.
  • Try switching off "Frame Reordering."
  • Use "Render in Place" for the reversed clips.
  • Optimize the clip to a different codec like DNxHD.

Can I Adjust the Speed of the Reversed Clip?

Yes, you can make the reversed clip faster or slower by changing the value percentage on the speed in DaVinci Resolve. For instance, -150% is a fast reverse, while -50% is a slow reverse. This flexibility allows you to achieve the desired effect for your project.