Using the Render Cache to Guarantee Full Frame Rate Playback in DaVinci Resolve 11

Render Cache: Full Frame Rate Playback Guaranteed in DaVinci Resolve 11 – Part 1

July 16, 2014

Are you having problems with full frame rate playback in DaVinci Resolve? Learn how to use Resolve 11's redesigned Render Cache.


How to Guarantee Full Frame Rate Playback in DaVinci Resolve 11: Part 1

Taking control of those Red playback lights

The frame rate indicator in DaVinci Resolve
The frame rate indicator in DaVinci Resolve. Red is bad.

If you’ve ever experienced juttery playback in DaVinci Resolve, take a quick look at the playback speed indicator. Chances are you’re seeing Red bars, indicating you’ve exceeded the Real Time playback capabilities of your system.

A great many factors play into when precisely you’ll see those Red bars – and this Insight will teach you what you can do to force Resolve into smooth Green bar playback! To that, we’re going to use the completely overhauled Render Cache function in Resolve 11.

Resolve 11: The Render Cache Revamped

If you’ve ever tried using the Render Cache in previous versions of DaVinci Resolve, you probably found it a frustrating experience. As the colorist, once enabled you had almost no control over when the Render Cache would kick in – and even worse, it wasn’t persistent. Once you exited the software, the Render Cache would immediately be deleted, forcing a brand new re-render. Every. Single. Time.

The old Render Cache also forced a render to DPX image sequences – and only a small fraction of users had sufficient infrastructure to guarantee full frame rate of uncompressed DPX sequences, resulting in stuttery playback. This would shift the our playback problems from insufficient image processing to insufficient hard drive speeds – making the solution no better than the problem!

Resolve 11 solves all these problems with a much more sophisticated multi-layered Render Cache. As the colorist, you now have much more specific control over how, when and what gets Cached by Resolve. New features include:

  • Persistent Cache – When you re-open a project, cached clips are still cached (yay!)
  • Multi-Level Caching – Cache a specific node, an entire clip or the initial RAW debayering
  • Smart Caching – Let Resolve cache what it thinks it needs to, with no further interaction on your part
  • Adjustable Cache Timer – Decide how long you want to wait before the Resolve automatically starts rendering to the Cache
  • User Selectable Caching Codec – Render to DPX… or ProRes or DNxHD or Uncompressed. Your choice!

Manually Using the Render Cache

In this Insight, we’re going to leave the Smart Cache option aside – understanding how it works requires a deeper understanding of Resolve’s Cache architecture… which is what you’ll learn about in this Insight.

We’ll take a look at how to set up the Render Cache and then the various manual options for specifically targeting what you want Resolve caching for you.

In Part 2, we’ll examine the Smart Cache, how it makes its caching decisions and some additional caching options it employs.

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13 thoughts on “Render Cache: Full Frame Rate Playback Guaranteed in DaVinci Resolve 11 – Part 1”

  1. I can’t even tell you Pat what a difference the Render Cache has made in my work! Client requests I used to cringe at even with 4 Titans in my machine I now happily do thanks to the render cache!

  2. Does the render cache always render HD even if working in 4k…..I would imagine the DNxHD does but does ProRes too? Just curious what resolution you are watching on playback.

    1. I’m an HD guy – so the render cache renders to the frame size in the Timeline prefs. If I’m in 4K, I’m probably not going to select DNxHD as my render cache codec… I’m sure craziness would ensue! But give it a shot and let us know how it goes! 🙂

        1. You are correct. I guess I should have been less tongue-in-cheek about the ‘craziness ensues’ reply. Resolve will likely let you select DNxHD as a render cache format on a larger than 1080p timeline… but who knows what will happen since the codec itself doesn’t support those formats.

  3. I’m finding that I get worse performance when I render to DNxHD185x than I do trying to play the H264 files with the grades on. The render cache line above the clip turns blue then when I play it it turns red again and fps drop from 25 down to 5fps

  4. I am an excited to try out the individual node cache. I usually run into playback problems after I apply the neat video plug in, so I am going to give the node cache a shot and maybe save some money on updating cards and by a color panel or monitor. Thanks Pat for the insight

  5. Does render cache have limitations w groups and timelines in R11? I.E DOes render cache work for groups? Prepost clip ? DOes it work when applied to the tracktimeline level? The recent podcast, Pat mentioned it was funky w groups.

  6. I’m just building a new windows machine and thinking about the best drive config for this. I have 3 x SSDs for ‘current project’ storage.
    I was thinking of 3xSSD software RAID 0 but would I be better with a separate cache drive?

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