How to Speed Ramp in Davinci Resolve - Just 2 Steps to Success

To create a speed ramp in DaVinci Resolve, start by adding your clip to the timeline, enable "Retime Controls", and add speed points where you want the speed ramp to start and end. Customize the speed of each section, smooth transitions using the "Retime Curve", enhance quality with "Optical Flow", add special effects like motion blur, and synchronize the effect with audio for a dynamic and professional video.

October 19, 2023
How to Speed Ramp in Davinci Resolve - Just 2 Steps to Success
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How To Speed Up Video In Davinci Resolve

As a beginner in the world of video editing, you might be wondering, "What if I could add a dynamic effect to my video that could highlight a specific moment in an epic way?" Well, you're in luck! DaVinci Resolve, a powerful video editing software, offers a feature called "Speed Ramping" that does exactly that. Let's dive into how you can leverage this feature to enhance your videos.

Understanding Speed Ramping

Speed ramping is a technique used in video editing to alter the speed of a clip at different points, creating a "ramping" effect between different speeds. This can be used to highlight specific moments, create dramatic effects, or simply add a touch of creativity to your videos. Here are some examples:

How to Change Clip Speed On It's Own

To start, simply right-click on your desired clip in the timeline. From the dropdown menu, select "Change Clip Speed". A window will pop up, allowing you to adjust the speed percentage. A value above 100% will speed up your clip, while a value below 100% will slow it down. This method is particularly useful when you want to create a fast-forward or slow-motion effect without the nuances of speed ramping.

Getting Started with Speed Ramping

To be honest, the process might seem a bit daunting at first, but trust me, once you get the hang of it, it's quite straightforward. Here's how you can create a speed ramp in DaVinci Resolve:

Step 1: Setting Up Your Clip

First things first, you need to add your clip to the timeline in DaVinci Resolve. Make sure you're on the "Edit" page. This is where all the magic happens.

Step 2: Enabling Retime Controls

Next, right-click on the clip you want to speed ramp and select "Retime Controls". This will change the appearance of your clip in the timeline, indicating that the retime controls are now enabled.

Step 3: Adding Speed Points

Now, play your video in the timeline and stop where you want the speed ramp to start. Click on the triangle located at the bottom in the middle of the clip, and select "Add Speed Point". Repeat this process where you want the speed ramp to end. These speed points will divide your clip into different sections, each with its own speed.

Customizing Your Speed Ramp

Now that you've set up your speed points, it's time to customize the speed of each section.

Step 4: Changing Speed

Click on the triangle again and choose "Change Speed". Here, you can select how fast or slow you want that part of the video to be. For instance, you might want to start with a fast-paced section (800%), slow down to highlight a specific moment (100%), and then speed up again (800%).

Step 5: Smoothing Transitions with Retime Curve

However, jumping directly from one speed to another can be jarring. To make the transition more gradual and smooth, right-click the clip in the timeline and select "Retime Curve". This will display a curve below the clip in the timeline, representing the speed over time.

By adjusting this curve, you can control how quickly or slowly the speed changes, creating a more natural transition. This is where the true artistry of speed ramping comes into play.

Step 6: Enhancing Quality with Optical Flow

If you decide to slow your clip below 100%, I'd suggest activating "Optical Flow" to avoid your video getting laggy. This feature generates new frames in between existing ones, creating a smoother slow-motion effect. To do this, select the clip in the timeline, go to "Inspector" > "Retime and Scaling", and set "Retime Process" against "Optical Flow".

Adding the Finishing Touches

Now that you've created your speed ramp, you might as well add some special effects to enhance the effect.

Step 7: Adding Motion Blur

In my opinion, adding some motion blur can give your speed ramp a more realistic and professional look. To do this, go to "Effects" > "Open FX" > "Filters" > "Resolve FX" and drag the "Directional Blur" onto your clip in the timeline.

Step 8: Synchronizing with Audio

All things considered, a speed ramp is not just a visual effect. It can also be used to synchronize your video with the audio. For instance, you can add a "woosh" sound effect when the speed changes, enhancing the overall impact of the speed ramp.

Crafting Multiple Ramps in DaVinci Resolve

While a single speed ramp can add flair to your video, using multiple ramps can elevate your project to new heights. This technique involves changing the speed of a clip multiple times, creating a dynamic and engaging effect.

Steps to Sync with Beats

  1. Listen Intently: Before making any edits, play your chosen music track alongside your footage. This will give you a feel for the rhythm and where potential speed ramps could be placed.
  2. Mark the Beats: As you listen, use markers in DaVinci Resolve to pinpoint the exact moments in the music where significant beats or transitions occur.
  3. Apply Speed Ramps: Once you've marked out the beats, navigate to those points in your footage and apply speed ramps. This can involve speeding up, slowing down, or even freezing the frame momentarily.

Tools to Assist

DaVinci Resolve offers a waveform view in the audio track, which visually represents the peaks and troughs of the audio. This can be an invaluable tool when trying to match visual edits with audio cues. By aligning your speed ramps with these peaks, you ensure a seamless blend of visuals and sound.

Steps to Multiple Speed Ramps

  1. Initial Speed Setting: Start by setting your clip to its initial speed. This could be either slowed down or sped up, depending on your vision.
  2. Adding Speed Points: As you move through your clip, add speed points at intervals where you want the speed to change. This can be done by right-clicking and selecting "Add Speed Point".
  3. Adjusting Speed Between Points: Between each pair of speed points, adjust the speed to your desired rate. This can create a rhythmic or chaotic effect, depending on your desired outcome.

Synchronizing Speed Ramps with Music in DaVinci Resolve

Music can set the mood for any video. When combined with speed ramps, it can create a harmonious blend of visuals and sound. Ramping to music involves synchronizing your speed changes with beats or transitions in your soundtrack.

Harmonizing Visuals with Sound

Play your clip alongside your chosen music track. Listen for beats, drops, or any significant musical cues. As you identify these moments, add speed points on your clip to align with them. Adjust the speed between these points to either slow down or speed up, creating a visual representation of the music's rhythm.

Bonus Technique: Optical Flow in DaVinci Resolve

Optical Flow is a game-changer for those looking to achieve ultra-smooth slow-motion effects. Instead of simply slowing down footage, Optical Flow generates new frames, making transitions between frames seamless.

Optical Flow is more than just a tool; it's a sophisticated algorithm that DaVinci Resolve employs to interpolate between existing frames in a clip. By analyzing the motion between two frames, it can predict and create new frames that bridge the gap, ensuring that slow-motion sequences are fluid and free from jitters.

How Does Optical Flow Work?

At its core, Optical Flow examines the pixel movement between two frames. By understanding this movement, it can then generate new frames that represent the intermediate stages of that movement. This is particularly useful for high-speed action shots or any footage where a smooth transition is essential during slow-motion playback.

Implementing Optical Flow in DaVinci Resolve

  1. Select Your Clip: Begin by selecting the clip you wish to apply Optical Flow to in the timeline.
  2. Access Retime Controls: Right-click on the clip and navigate to the "Retime and Scaling" option.
  3. Choose Optical Flow: Within the "Retime Process" dropdown, select "Optical Flow". DaVinci Resolve will then process the clip, applying the Optical Flow algorithm.

Tips for Best Results with Optical Flow

  • High-Quality Footage: Optical Flow works best with high-quality footage. The clearer the original frames, the better the interpolated frames will be.
  • Avoid Rapid Movements: While Optical Flow is excellent for most slow-motion sequences, it might struggle with extremely rapid movements. In such cases, consider using other methods or combining techniques for optimal results.
  • Experiment with Settings: DaVinci Resolve offers various settings for Optical Flow, including different algorithms. Experiment with these to find the one that best suits your footage.

Wrapping Up

In conclusion, speed ramping is a powerful technique that can add a new level of dynamism and creativity to your videos. As a beginner, it might take some time to master, but with practice, you'll be able to create stunning effects that will take your videos to the next level. So, why not give it a try in your next project? After all, the best way to learn is by doing. Happy editing!