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DaVinci Resolve 18 Beginners' Quick-Start Tutorial Guide (30 minutes)

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Read Time: 8 min

This guide will help you get started in DaVinci Resolve 18. You’ll learn how to import your footage, edit the best takes, add graphics, logos, and text, and even do some basic color correction.

Watch the Full DaVinci Resolve 18 Quick-Start Guide

What You'll Learn

  • How to edit videos in DaVinci Resolve
  • How to navigate the timeline
  • How to do a basic color grade 
  • How to use LUTs in DaVinci Resolve 18
  • How to import and export videos

About Your Instructor

tom grahamtom grahamtom graham

1. Introduction to DaVinci Resolve 18

1.1 How to Download DaVinci Resolve FOR FREE

Watch video lesson (2 mins) ↗

This course is designed for complete beginners to DaVinci Resolve, so let's start right at the beginning and download the software.

Go to the Blackmagic Design website and click Free Download Now to download DaVinci Resolve 18. The paid option, DaVinci Resolve Studio, does give you some extra features, but the free version is what we'll use in this course. It's very powerful and is perfect for beginners.

You can also download all the files used in this course by clicking the button below:

Download the Course Files

1.2 DaVinci Resolve 18 Overview

Watch video lesson (5 mins) ↗

When you open DaVinci Resolve for the first time, here's what you'll see:

project libraryproject libraryproject library

It's not very intuitive, but don't worry—that's what this quick-start guide is for! Project libraries are simply folders where you can store and organize your DaVinci Resolve projects. For now, just double-click on Untitled Project to open it. Then you'll see another not-very-intuitive screen:

davinci resolve opening screendavinci resolve opening screendavinci resolve opening screen

DaVinci Resolve offers you seven main tabs, which you can access using the icons along the bottom of the screen:

  1. Media: for importing and working with different media
  2. Cut: for quick, basic editing
  3. Edit: for more in-depth editing of your videos
  4. Fusion: VFX software, similar to Adobe After Effects
  5. Color: powerful tools for color grading
  6. Fairlight: for professional audio editing
  7. Deliver: where you finalize and export your project

Watch the video for an overview of these different areas, or read this article:

In the rest of this quick-start guide, we'll mostly be working with the Edit tab.

2. How to Use the Key Features of DaVinci Resolve 18

2.1 How to Import Videos Into DaVinci Resolve

Watch video lesson (3 mins) ↗

You can import footage right from the Edit tab in DaVinci Resolve. Just right-click in the Media Pool and choose New Bin. This will create a folder in the Media Pool to help you keep things organized.

Then you can right-click > Create New Timeline to add a new timeline with the following settings.

new timelinenew timelinenew timeline

Now you can just drag and drop footage, audio and other resources into the Media Pool, and from there you can drag them into the timeline. Feel free to work with your own footage or download the clips I'm using. Now you'll see a timeline appear across the bottom.


2.2 How to Edit Videos in DaVinci Resolve

Watch video lesson (7 mins) ↗

Now that we have our video in the timeline, let's edit it. An easy way to edit a clip is simply to press B and use the Blade Tool to cut a track at the point where you click. You can also just click and drag from the end of the track if you want to cut the end off, for example.

edit track in davinci resolveedit track in davinci resolveedit track in davinci resolve
DaVinci Resolve is a non-destructive editor, so you'll always have access to the original video and audio clips, no matter how many edits you make.

You can also make edits with the Effects panel, which gives you some excellent premade effects to use in your videos.

Change Video Parameters With the Inspector

The Inspector panel is a useful tool for DaVinci Resolve video editing. It appears on the top-right of the screen when you've selected a clip, and it lets you make detailed edits simply by typing over the numbers you see in the panel.

inspector panelinspector panelinspector panel

You can use this, for example, to rotate, crop, zoom, reposition, etc. You can even add blending modes and opacity to create some interesting effects, so explore this panel and see what all the tools can do.

Useful Keyboard Shortcuts

Learning some keyboard shortcuts can make your editing work so much easier. Here are some essential DaVinci Resolve shortcuts that you'll be using all the time to navigate the timeline:

  • Space: play/pause the video on the timeline.
  • L: play your footage faster.
  • J: go backwards on the timeline.
  • K: stop playing.
  • Hold K and press L/J: go forward/backward one frame at a time.

2.3 How to Color Grade in DaVinci Resolve 18

Watch video lesson (4 mins) ↗

I produced a separate course on color grading in DaVinci Resolve, so be sure to watch that if you want more detail, but here's a quick look at the basics of color grading.

color gradingcolor gradingcolor grading

How to Color Grade in Da Vinci Resolve


Switch to the Color Tab

Click on the fifth icon at the bottom of the screen to open the Color tab.


Adjust the Color Wheels

Use the Lift wheel to work on the shadows, Gamma for the midtones, Gain for the highlights, and Offset for global adjustments.


Make Other Adjustments

The boxes above and below the color wheels let you adjust the Contrast, Hue, Saturation, and more.


Copy to Your Other Clips

When you're happy with one clip, just select the others and right-click > Apply Changes to apply a consistent color grade to all the clips in your project.

2.4 How to Use LUTs in DaVinci Resolve 18

Watch video lesson (3 mins) ↗

While we're on the subject of color grading, let's look at how to use LUTs in DaVinci Resolve. LUTs are like filters that you can apply to your footage to get a certain look.

Apply them by clicking on LUTs in the top-left corner of the screen when you're in the Color tab. You'll see some built-in LUTs designed for particular cameras, but you can also download premium LUTs for DaVinci Resolve from Envato Elements.

When you've imported your chosen LUTs, all you need to do is click on them to get a preview of the effect on your footage, and when you decide on the one you want, just right-click > Apply LUT to Current Node.

apply lutsapply lutsapply luts

3. Conclusion

3.1 How to Export Video From DaVinci Resolve

Watch video lesson (3 mins) ↗

Now that we've covered the basics of editing and color grading video in DaVinci Resolve, let's see how to export our video.

To export from DaVinci Resolve, go to the Deliver tab and select the in and out points of the video in the timeline. On the left-hand side, you'll see the Render Settings. Choose H.264 Master, which gives you the right basic settings for uploading video to the web. Just change the Format to MP4 and leave the others as they are, unless you want to make changes such as selecting a higher-quality output. Then click Add to Render Queue, and that's it!

With the skills and techniques you've learned in this quick-start guide, you're now ready to jump in and start editing video in DaVinci Resolve. There's plenty more to learn, though, so if you're ready to take it further, check out the free tutorials highlighted below.

Why not take your video-editing skills to the next level by downloading some powerful DaVinci Resolve templates from Envato Elements?

Learn More About DaVinci Resolve

The purpose of this guide is to help you get started quickly in DaVinci Resolve. If you want a more detailed, comprehensive DaVinci Resolve tutorial, check out this guide or watch the course below. These four videos will teach you some more advanced video-editing techniques in DaVinci Resolve.

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