Using Multiple Playheads – Working Faster In DaVinci Resolve’s Color Page

August 31, 2020

Learn how to accelerate your color grading in DaVinci Resolve's Color Page by using multiple Playheads to quickly navigate the timeline.


Playheads: A Fantastic (but semi-hidden) Color Page Feature

Recently, in one of our Office Hours slack chats, the topic of multiple playheads in DaVinci Resolve came up – and I realized that a lot of colorists don’t know this feature exists. Or, if they do know about, they aren’t using it to its full potential.

Multiple playheads have tons of great uses – but it gets forgotten about easily, because in a default Resolve installation they aren’t mapped to any keyboard shortcuts. Using playheads as menu commands can really slow you down and you will abandon that feature.

BUT, mapping the playhead functions to keyboard shortcuts or to Stream Deck keys, my personal favorite, makes them a lightning-fast method to navigate your timeline.

In this Insight I’ll walk you through how to:

  • Bind playhead commands to keyboard/Stream Deck shortcuts
  • Use playheads to help match shots in a scene
  • Navigate the Color Page’s Lightbox faster and easier by using playheads as bookmarks
  • Adjust multiple parts of a long take using playheads

For Premium members, I’ve also included my Stream Deck playheads layout – In case you want to give it a try.

Related Tutorials

In this Insight I mention several related concepts. Here are a few Insights on those concepts, if you’re unfamiliar with those terms or need a better understanding of them:

As always, leave any comments or questions below!



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Homepage Forums Using Multiple Playheads – Working Faster In DaVinci Resolve’s Color Page

  • Adam L

    Never though of using it with Lightbox!! Thanks Joey!

  • Alejandro M

    Thanks Joey! Another great article.

    One oddity I’ve encountered can happen when clips overlap (on different video tracks). The more overlap, the worse it is. Let’s say you have two clips, AA and BB, and that they overlap significantly, where BB is on top of AA. Let’s also say you put playhead A on AA and playhead B on BB such that playhead B is on part of the timeline where the clips overlap. When you go back and forth between the two playheads, the image in the preview window changes as you’d expect, but the node graph gets stuck on the one for clip AA. It doesn’t switch to BB’s node graph. If you have clips visible, you can see clip AA is still selected even though you switched to playhead B and are looking at an image from clip BB. I’m on version 16.2.6, but also saw this on 16.2.14. Don’t know if it’s a bug or a feature, but either way it’s something I have to watch out for in my work.

    How do you work around this? Of course, you could flatten the edit onto one track, but what if you don’t want to do that? Have you encountered this in your work?

  • Joey D’Anna

    Thanks! There is a button in the viewer (bottom left, looks like a stack of layers) called “unmix” that will always show you the current highlighted clip, not the layered image.

    as for selection, I just tested it – unfortunately, it looks like switching playheads just always selects the bottom clip, it doesn’t remember what you had selected. I’ve never really come across it because in general I do try and keep my timelines as flat as possible

  • Dario Bigi

    Nice! I was doing something similar to this with markers but this is a much better option. I’ll be updating my stream deck immediately. Dario

  • Warwick Field ACS

    Hey Joey. I know you use multiple Stream Decks. I am thinking about getting another one but am curious how they work together without stomping on each other. I assume you can assign different hotkey shortcuts to the same key position on each unit without clashing, but can you assign a different Keyboard Maestro script to the same key on the other unit without them clashing? Does the second unit get a separate ‘address’ for each key in the same position on the Streamdeck, say R2C3?

  • Willian Aleman

    Thanks Joey. Great tip!

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