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How To Add A Reference Movie To A Timeline In Davinci Resolve

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Have you finished your edit in software like Adobe Premiere or Avid and are ready to start color correcting in DaVinci Resolve. If so, you are going to be exporting the sequence from your editing software of choice and importing it into another program.

When making a jump between different software there is always the possibility that something can go wrong. Here are some tips for adding a reference movie to your project to confirm that everything was imported properly into DaVinci Resolve.

Exporting a Reference Movie

It is essential that you take the current cut of your video and export it from within your editing software, not DaVinci Resolve. Perform a quality control check to ensure that everything is accurate in the edit before exporting. You can export the reference movie at full quality or a reduced quality to save space, since this movie file will only be used as a reference to ensure everything is correct and not color correcting.

Importing Your Reference Movie

You can now import the reference movie you just created to the media pool. You must then right click on the movie file and select "Add as Offline Reference Clip" from the dropdown menu. It should add a tiny checkerboard icon to the clip's thumbnail in the media pool to identify that it is a reference movie.

Locating Your Timeline

Your media pool is going to be filled with clips used in your project, and you will need to find the timeline of the sequence you will be color correcting. Sequences will have a red border around them, but if you have many sequences, it may be difficult to find them all.

It helps to create a smart bin so that you can easily locate sequences. You can do this by clicking on the gear icon in the bottom right corner to access your project settings. Under general options, select the "Create Smart Bin for Timelines" checkbox. You'll now have a window on the left side of the screen called "Smart Bins" with a folder for just timelines.

Linking Your Reference Movie

Each timeline should be associated with a separate reference movie. Do this by right clicking on the timeline within the media pool and selecting "Timelines > Link Offline Reference Clip" and select the media that you identified in the previous step.

The edit page will now have two screens with the reference clip and the current sequences that can be color corrected. If the reference movie and the timeline are not in sync, you can adjust the sync in the offset time box directly above the reference clip video window.

Use this feature to compare your timeline side-by-side with your reference video to ensure that everything imported properly. For more information, contact companies like Color Grading Central.