Performance Optimization in DaVinci Resolve – Webinar

May 26, 2020

Creative decision-making on a stuttering timeline is no fun. Learn what you need to know about playback performance within DaVinci Resolve

How to increase real-time playback in DaVinci Resolve

Creative decision-making on a stuttering timeline is no fun. Luckily, Resolve has the technology to help you beat the real-time blues!

In this webinar, colorist & Mixing Light contributor Jason Bowdach explores everything you need to know about improving your playback performance within DaVinci Resolve. It doesn’t matter if you’re working on a high-powered server or an older laptop or in the free version of Resolve.

By the end of this webinar, you learn:

  • Why real-time playback is important and how to judge playback performance within DaVinci Resolve.
  • An explanation of multiple performance optimization features offered in Resolve, such as caching, optimized media, performance mode, and proxy mode.
  • How to choose your type of storage for cache files?
  • How do you develop a performance-optimization strategy for your specific workflow and hardware?
  • Are there performance optimizations differences between the Mac and PC versions of DaVinci Resolve?
  • How Resolve allows you to work with Optimized media or Proxy resolutions while defaulting to high-quality renders on the Render page.
  • What is the difference between Smart Cache and User Cache?
  • How do you decide which nodes to set as Node Cache?
  • Tips for caching the output of the Fusion and Color pages.
  • How you can mix and match optimization strategies for best results.
  • What does it mean if you run out of GPU Memory?
  • Tips on selecting the ‘Performance Mode’ options in Resolve preferences.
  • How does caching interact with RAW media settings?
  • How to discover what project a set of render cache folders is for?
  • Deleting, archiving, and cleaning up optimized and render cache media.

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Homepage Forums Performance Optimization in DaVinci Resolve – Webinar

  • Greg Greenhaw

    1) In a color managed workflow does optimize media occur before or after the aces and rcm transforms? If after, would optimized media being as 444 HDR be just as good as the original for rendering purposes?

    2) Is optimized media at the timeline dimensions or the original media dimensions?

    3) If you work in a HD timeline on 4k footage and change the output scaling to 4k on render do you loose quality? I get you would loose any cache files, or are cache files at the output dimensions vs the timeline dimensions?

  • Jason Bowdach

    Hey Greg!

    1. Optimized Media occurs before any color management (but after RAW settings). In all but the most extreme circumstances, 444 HDR media is probably good enough for rendering purposes. If you’re working on a project with RAW media and the metadata is pretty spot-on, it can be a very smooth process.

    2. In terms of resolution, you can specify in Project Settings (Settings -> Master Settings -> Optimized Media and Render Cache). I have it set to “Choose Automatically”, but you can adjust to everything from Original to 1/16 resolution. I use “Choose Automatically” as it intelligently choose the size based on current timeline size and source media. Depending on your workflow, that could be a good thing or it could throw a wrench in the mix. Feel free to take control if you prefer.

    3. The cache is at the timeline resolution, but if you’re trying to output at the highest quality in 4K resolution, have you considered working at HD and changing the Timeline settings to 4K prior to render? I’ll usually let the cache “bake” again for a few hours if necessary and playback a super smooth stream, potentially using that as a source (in render settings). Resolution independence is one of my favorite features in Resolve and it enables this workflow (although I recommend spot-checking your work on a 4K display if you’re a bit pixel obsessive like myself).

    Also, as a general mention, after some more in-depth testing, it appears the cache has gotten way more resilient in the last few versions of Resolve, breaking less with the output scaling and more related to changes with timeline resolution but I would love to hear your findings.

  • Diego B

    Jason, Great Insight! You mentioned that changing RAW settings or Proxy res. at Playback column cause Opt Media missing. Can you tell me what else produces that situation?

  • Malcolm B

    Thanks a bunch for this. I recently switched to Resolve from Premiere and even after reading the manual I was a bit unclear on these features.

    Just to clarify:
    1) ‘Render cache fusion output’ and ‘render cache color output’ are only able to be used in “User” cache mode?

    2) ‘Render cache fusion output’ is only useful if you are using the fusion tab? Or it also helps with editing tab performance?

    3) ‘Render cache color output’ has to be enabled to export from cached media and take advantage of the “use render cached images” in the delivery tab?


  • Jason Bowdach

    Hi Diego, optimized media is actually fairly resilient and shouldn’t require being recreated unless you make a change to the RAW settings or the underlying source media. Optimized Media shouldn’t disappear unless you clear it manually or the cache directory changes in your settings.

  • Jason Bowdach

    Hi Malcolm, I’m happy to hear the webinar was helpful.

    1. No matter whether you are using Smart or User caching, you can always manually enable “Render cache Fusion Output” and “Render cache color output”.

    2. Fusion Output Caching (formally known as Source Caching) can help improve performance on both the Fusion and Color pages, but not on the Edit page. Optimized Media is a better suited to improving performance on the edit page, along with ensuring Performance mode is set up correctly.

    3. If you enable “use render cached images” in the Deliver tab, it will utilize any available render cache. The workaround I mentioned in the webinar was to cache the entire timeline using the “Render cache color output” and render out using the “Use render cache” option. It will simply enable a much faster render, as its rendering from pre-rendered cache instead of from scratch. Perfect for tight deadlines or screeners when you don’t have time to be surprised by unanticipated render time errors.

    Hope that helps answer your questions!

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