This is a complete guide on how to make YouTube Shorts in DaVinci Resolve.
YouTube Shorts are rapidly growing in popularity, and a train you definitely should not miss.
However, to increase your chances of success, you need to make videos that stand out. This is no easy task, but by using advanced editing software like Resolve, you are already one step ahead of most people.
In this article, you’ll find everything you need to get started.
Can You Make YouTube Shorts in DaVinci Resolve?
DaVinci Resolve is an excellent choice for creating YouTube Shorts. The requirement to make a proper YouTube Short is that you can set the correct aspect ratio and export it in a format supported by YouTube.
You can also trust that Resolve encodes the video in high quality as it’s one of the most popular NLE software in the world, used by experts and amateurs.
In addition to that, it’s free.
Now, let’s not waste any more time; it’s time to go viral!
First of all, we have to set the correct project settings for a YouTube Short:
How to Set a Vertical Aspect Ratio (Resolution for YouTube Shorts)
The most important thing to do when making YouTube shorts is to make the aspect ratio vertical.
This is because shorts are watched mostly on mobile phones at an upright angle.
While watching regular YouTube videos or Netflix movies, they are usually in an aspect ratio of 16:9 or 1920 x 1080. However, for YouTube Shorts, we will switch these two values so it will be 9:16 or 1080 x 1920.
Here’s an illustration image:
Gladly, this is an effortless thing to do in DaVinci Resolve.
Go ahead and launch DaVinci Resolve, and then open the “Edit” page:
In the top left-hand corner, click on “File”> “Project Settings”> “Master Settings,” and then you should be able to see the “Timeline resolution” option.
By default, it’s set to “1920 x 1080” to change it, type into the two boxes, and switch the values to “1080 x 1920”.
Once that is done, click on “Save”:
Another critical thing to get right is the frame rate:
What Frame Rate to Use for YouTube Shorts in DaVinci Resolve?
YouTube Supports frame rates between 24-60 FPS.
The frame rate for your YouTube short should be the same as the one in which you captured the video.
For example: Setting DaVinci Resolve to 60 fps when your video is 30 fps can result in two possible outcomes:
- The video will be played at 30 FPS.
- The video will be played at double speed.
If you want another frame rate, you must reshoot the video for the best results.
Benefits of the different frame rates:
- 24 fps has been used in movies for years, giving the videos a cinematic feeling.
- 30 fps is commonly used in the news, reality TV, etc., and provides a more smooth, realistic feel.
- 60 fps is excellent when there are a lot of actions and details. Like skiing or dirt bike videos. It will also give you the most realistic look, maybe a bit too realistic for many people.
Back to the project settings:
DaVinci Resolve will automatically match the project frame rate to your clips if you allow it to. Let me show you how it’s done:
This happens when you import the clips to Resolve:
Import Clips to DaVinci Resolve
To import clips to DaVinci Resolve, open the “Media Pool” in the top left-hand corner of the “Edit” page.
Next, locate the video clips in your system folders. Once you’ve found them, select the clips, and drag and drop them in the “Media Pool” on the gray area, like in the illustration image below.
- If you are unable to import your clips, read this article.
Alternatively, press the keyboard shortcut “Ctrl + I” or “Command + I” inside Resolve, select the files, and click on open.
This is when you’ll get a popup message about the frame rate; I explain it below the image.
When you see the “Change Project Frame Rate?” click on “Change.”
Then the project frame rate will be the same as the video clips you are importing.
This is the easiest way to change the frame rate and the one I prefer.
BONUS TIP: If you want to stay a bit more organized, it’s possible to import folders to DaVinci Resolve. For example, in the image below, I have created folders for video clips, music, sound effects, etc.
To import these, drag them into the “Media Pool” but drop them all the way in the right side where the “Master” folder is; watch the image below for reference.
How to Edit YouTube Shorts in DaVinci Resolve
Editing YouTube Shorts contra regular videos are a bit different as they are vertical and you can’t do everything the same way. You also have to create the videos faster phased and more engaging as the YouTube short audience is really good at scrolling!
So let me show you how it’s done in DaVinci Resolve!
Add the Clips to the Timeline
The timeline is where the editing is done.
There are many ways you can add clips to the timeline, depending on your situation. Check out this article for more information on that.
However, for now, we will use the fastest and easiest way.
Start by opening the “Media Pool,” then drag one by one video to the timeline and drop them.
Add them in the same order you want them in the YouTube Short.
If the clips you have filmed/are using include audio that you don’t need, I would delete it to make the timeline a bit more organized.
Simply, hold down the “Alt” or “Option” key while at the same time lasso selecting the audio; make sure to release the mouse button before the “Alt” or “Option.”
When ONLY the audio is selected, and not the video part, hit “Backspace” on your keyboard to remove it. I’ve written an article here on how to fix this problem more effectively.
The next step is only relevant for those who have clips that are filmed horizontally, with the phone/camera lying:
Make Horizontal Videos Fit a Vertical Frame/Aspect Ratio
If you have filmed your video with the camera at a lying angle, your video clips won’t fit into a vertical frame. Or it will fit, but you’ll get huge black areas above and below the video, which is not ideal.
To fix it, click on “File” (top left-hand corner) > “Project Settings”> “Image Scaling”, and set the “Mismatched resolution files” against “Scale full frame with crop”.
Since the horizontal videos are almost twice as wide as the vertical ones, you’ll lose some parts of the video (sideways).
To adjust what’s being cut out, select the clip in the timeline, open the “Inspector” tab, and under “Transform” adjust the x-value of the “Position“:
Before starting to edit the YouTube short I recommend reading these tips:
Tips on How to Adjust the “Edit” Page’s Layout
It’s nice to know how to increase the size of the timeline viewer, video- and audiotracks, and the timeline itself when editing.
To make the timeline viewer a bit bigger, you sometimes have to make room for it.
To do this, hover over and pull the black horizontal line downwards between the viewer and the timeline. Check out the illustration GIF below:
Once you have made a bit of room for the viewer, you can adjust the size even more by hovering your cursor over it and using the scroll wheel on your mouse to zoom.
If using a touchpad: stroke two fingers upwards or downwards while hovering over the viewer to zoom.
Here’s what it looks like:
Another thing that is very convenient in many situations is increasing the height of the video and audio tracks.
This is especially useful when you need to see the audio waves more clearly.
To do this, hover your mouse on the horizontal black line between the tracks on the right side of the timeline, click hold and pull.
Add Music to the Timeline
Adding music to the YouTube short is a great way to make the video more engaging.
If you want free non-copyright music, I recommend checking out YouTube’s audio library; you may have to check the copyright for some of the melodies, as YouTube does not take responsibility for any inconvenience.
- Check out this article on how to save music inside Resolve for other projects.
- If you can’t import your MP3 files to Resolve, read this article.
Anyways, adding music to the timeline is the same as how you would add a video; the only difference is that you must drop it below the videos in an audio track.
If there is dialogue from your video clips, you should drop the music below it in a “Video 2”, as I’m showing in the image:
Adjust Audio Levels
When uploading to YouTube, I recommend setting the volume as high as possible (grabbing viewer attention). I know a lot of people recommend sticking to about -10 dBFS. However, I’m always trying to get as close to 0 dBFS as possible without peaking over (that creates audio distortion, which is not pretty).
Luckily, I have a cheat code to do this 🙂
So if your video includes dialogue, that is the main audio and should have the highest volume. The background music should be around -10 to -20 dB lower than the speaking voices.
If you only have a melody, that’s your main audio.
Select all the main audio clips in the timeline (press “Ctrl” or “Command” to select multiple clips), then right-click one of the audio clips and select “Normalize Audio Levels.”
A window should now appear; set it to “Sample Peak Program” and the “Target Level” against “-2 dBFS.”
You also want to ensure the “Individual” option is enabled if you have multiple clips, then click on “Normalize.”
This should make the loudest parts of your audio be -2 dBFS, it’s not perfect, and the reason we don’t set it against 0 dBFS. You will still have to ensure no peaks above 0 dBFS.
To do this, play through the video while watching the “Mixer” tab. If it’s not open, click on «Mixer» in the top right-hand corner of Resolve.
Then you have multiple audio channels depending on how many tracks there are in the timeline.
Here’s how it’s categorized:
The “A1” controls the first track in the timeline, etc. Then “Bus1” controls the project’s total volume, which you don’t want to peak above 0 dBFS! If so, decrease the volume in the mixer.
Check out this article to learn about different ways to adjust the volume in DaVinci Resolve.
Next, it’s time to trim the clip!
Trim and Cut Clips
There are many techniques and methods to trim and cut a video in DaVinci Resolve, which I’ve written more about in this article.
For now, I will show you a simple yet effective way of doing it!
In this example, I’m going to edit the video clips to the music, and I want the clips to change on the beats of the bass. However, the way of trimming is the same if you don’t have music.
To do this, I recommend adjusting the audio waves a bit; watch the image below for how to do it:
To start, click on “Trim Edit Mode” in the toolbar above the timeline or press “T” on your keyboard (see GIF below where it’s located).
This is a powerful mode, where you can trim the clips down, however, leaving no space between the clips. Meaning you don’t have to delete empty space afterward, saving you tons of time.
Here’s how to edit to music:
- Listen to the music to find a good beat where you can change the video.
- Place the timeline playhead (time marker) on the beat in the audio waves.
- Grab the end of the video clip and drag it against the playhead to trim it.
- It should snap to the playhead when you trim it.
- If not, enable “Snapping” in the toolbar (shortcut: “S”).
- It should snap to the playhead when you trim it.
Watch the GIF illustration:
In the image below you can see I’ve trimmed all the clips to change on a beat or where it felt right:
I’m also using multiple melodies to change the mood throughout the video:
Once the trimming is done, it’s time to make the video even better:
How to Add Effects (Make the video more interesting)
Now it’s time to make the video go from good to pro!
First, I will show you how to animate movement using keyframes.
In this example, I will create a gradual zoom-in effect. In my case, I have a clip where I can’t see what’s really going on because it’s too zoomed out.
In the image below, I’ve included what the video looks like before zooming. It’s pretty hard what’s going on.
Here’s how to do the zoom-in effect:
- Place the timeline playhead where you want the zoom effect to start.
- Select the clip in the timeline, and open the “Inspector.”
- Under “Video” > “Transform,” click on the diamond icons on the right side of “Zoom” and “Position.”
- When they are red, it means you have created keyframes.
- Move the playhead to where you want the zooming in to stop.
- Open the “Inspector” (with the clip selected).
- Adjust the “Zoom” and “Position” to how you want the effect to end.
- New keyframes are automatically generated this time.
You can now see what’s happening in the video I zoomed into! + I got an awesome effect doing so.
Another great way to make the video look better is by adding video transitions between the clips.
You find these by going to the “Effects” (top right-hand corner) > “Toolbox”> “Video Transitions,” and here you are presented with some alternatives.
You can preview the transitions by hovering your cursor over them.
Once you’ve found the one you like, drag it to the timeline, and drop it between two clips.
You can adjust the duration of the transition by hovering over the edge of the transition and stretching it (like you do with the video clips when trimming). It’s easier if you zoom in to the timeline. To zoom press “Ctrl” and “+” (“Command”for Mac).
You can also add audio transitions; “Effects” > “Toolbox” > “Audio Transitions“. Then drag the one called “Cross Fade -3 dB” and drop it between two audio clips (if you have multiple). This will make the switch from one melody to another much smoother.
To end the melody more smoothly, you can do an easy fade out; hover over the top right corner of an audio clip in the timeline as a “handle” appears, and pull this to the left to fade the audio out.
To learn all the ways to fade out audio, check out this article.
How to Add Text to YouTube Shorts & Where to Position it [Case Study]
Text is also an essential part of TikTok videos and is used to describe the video in the thumbnail and as a way to tell the story.
I’ve also done a case study analyzing YouTube shorts’ dimensions on a bunch of different phones.
After doing this, I created a template showing you where it’s safe to put text without elements from the YouTube app covering it! You can download the template below, I’ll show you how to use it next!
After downloading the template, you’ll, by default find it in the “Downloads” folder on your computer. Then all you have to do is import it to DaVinci Resolve as you would with a standard video and add it to the timeline.
You should add the template one track video track above the video in the timeline:
And just like that, you know exactly where to place the text!
When you have positioned the text, you can simply delete the template.
Next, I’ll show you how to add text and make it look good:
To add text to our YouTube Short, go to “Effects”> “Toolbox”> “Titles”; from here, grab the one that’s called “Text+” and drop it one track above the video (or above the template, which is above the video).
Now, it’s time to make the text look awesome.
Select the text in the timeline and open the “Inspector” tab. Here you want to be in the “Video” > “Title” > “Text+” > “Text” sub-sub-sub -tab (or something like that), watch the image below…
The first thing you should see is a black text box; inside this, you type what the text will say in the video.
Next, set the “Font” against “Comic Sans MS” and make it “Bold”.
The “Size” of the text depends on how many words you are going to use:
Make the switch from the sub-sub-sub-tab “Text” to “Shading.”
Then the first thing you should see is a bunch of numbers; click on number two.
Next, check the box next to “Enabled” and go to the options under “Properties” a little further down.
On the right side of “Appearance” click on the “A” that’s hollow inside (or outlined). After that, increase the «Thickness» until you are satisfied with the amount.
Once that is done, head down to the “Color” and change it to black.
Now the text looks pretty good and fits nicely into the world of YouTube Shorts.
You can also do a simple text fade out by hovering over the right corner of it in the timeline and pulling the “handle” that appears backward.
Next, I will show you how you can create a “write-on effect”; this makes it look like the text is being written in real time while playing the video. Excellent to hold the viewer’s attention!
To do this, we will use keyframes, as we did with the zoom-in effect above.
Here are the steps:
- Place the timeline playhead at the beginning of the text in the timeline.
- Click on the text in the timeline to select it.
- Open the “Inspector” tab and scroll down to the “Write On” option.
- Click on the diamond icon (it should turn red) on the right side of “Write On,” and then drag the slider to the right (the “End” value should then be “0.0”).
(The steps continue under the image)
- Move the timeline playhead to where you want the text to be fully written (effect to stop).
- Make sure the text is selected, and head to the “Inspector” tab again.
- Scroll down to the “Write On” option and pull the slider to the right (the «End» value should then be «1»).
Play through the video and enjoy!
Now it’s time to add some extra color to our video; this will make your video pop out from the others!:
Easy Color Grade
You’ll now learn a very simple yet effective color grading method called the “S curve.”
Head over to the “Color” page of Resolve:
Then make sure that the “Clips” tab is open (located in the middle of the page). If not, you’ll find the button in the top right-hand corner. This is the tab where you see the thumbnail of all the clips in your timeline.
Next, select the clip you want to color grade in the “Clips” tab, and then open the “Curves” tab (found among all the tabs on the bottom half of the screen).
Now you should be able to see a diagonal line inside the “Curve” tab; this is the line we want to bend slightly into an “S” (carefully).
Click somewhere on the line and pull upwards or downwards to form the “S” curve like in the image below. Watch your video while doing this to decide how much contrast you want.
That’s it! Now you have all the tools you need to edit awesome YouTube Shorts. However, there is one missing piece; the export settings, which are essential to get high quality once uploaded to YouTube.
How to Export YouTube Shorts in DaVinci Resolve
- Go to the “Deliver” page.
- Choose “Custom Export” in the “Render Settings” tab.
- Give a “File Name” and “Location.”
- Set “Format” against “QuickTime” and “Codec” against “H.265.”
- Set the “Resolution” to “1080 x 1920,” and “Quality” to “60.000 Kb/s.”
- Click on “Add to Render Queue.”
- Click on “Render All” in the “Render Queue” tab.
(More details on how to do it below)
At the release of DaVinci Resolve version 18.1 and above, it’s possible to upload directly to YouTube when exporting. However, at the time of this writing, it does not give you the ability to adjust the bitrate. I will show you the classic way below. If you want to directly upload to the platform, select the YouTube preset.
Start by going to the “Deliver” page of Resolve.
Then, inside the “Render Settings” tab, select the “Custom Export option.”
Next, type in the name you want on the exported file, and click on “Browse” to set its saving location.
Make sure that it’s set to render “Single clip” and NOT the “Individual clips,” then you would export all the clips in the timeline as their own video.
Then in the “Video” sub-tab, set the “Format” against “QuickTime” or “MP4”; none of them will make a huge difference.
For the “Codec,” we want to choose the one called “H.265”, which has been proven to give higher quality uploads than the “H.264.”
The “Resolution” should be the same as the one to which we set the project settings, so “1080×1920,” which makes a vertical video.
- In Resolve v.18.1 and above you can simply check off the box next to “Use vertical resolution.”
Then for the “Frame Rate,” you don’t have any alternatives; it’s the same as your project settings regardless. If you clicked on “Change” when importing the clips, as I told you here, then it should be correct.
Now it’s the “Quality”, which controls how good our video will look.
I recommend manually setting this once by using the “Restrict to” option and then typing in how many Kb/s you want.
- For the highest quality on YouTube, multiply your framerate by 2000.
- For example: 30 FPS * 2000=60.000 Kb/s.
- This is a high number, but the file won’t be too big since the video is relatively short.
For the “Key Frames,” I’ve used to leave it on “Automatic”; however, according to YouTube, they recommend a GOP half the frame rate.
- So if your video is 30FPS, the “Key Frames” should be set to “Every 15 frames,” you could test it if you want.
Also, ensure that the “Frame reordering” is enabled; it gives higher quality video.
Then the last thing is to make sure the “Render” option above the timeline is set to “Entire Timeline,” if not you will suddenly be missing part of your video…
Once the above is done, click on the “Add to Render Queue” button.
Then the project should appear as a “Job 1” (if it’s the first time you click the button) in the “Render Queue” tab on the right-hand side of the “Deliver” page.
Next, click on “Render All”:
It should not take much time to render the video since it’s a YouTube Short.
Once it’s complete, right-click “Job 1” and click on “Open File Location” to locate where the file is stored on your computer.
Check out this article for a full explanation of the export settings in DaVinci Resolve + the best render settings for YouTube.
How to Upload the YouTube Short from DaVinci Resolve
I will show you how to upload YouTube shorts the classic way, as well as directly from Resolve.
To upload from directly to YouTube from DaVinci Resolve, click on DaVinci Resolve (top left corner) > Preferences > Internet Accounts, and then click on Sign In to add your YouTube account. Then, choose the YouTube preset in the Render Settings tab, and enable Upload directly to YouTube.
Here’s an illustration of how to add your YT account to Resolve:
Then, open the Deliver page inside Resolve, and click on YouTube 1080p in the Render Settings tab.
Next, check off the box next to Upload directly to YouTube, and click on Add to Render Queue.
Lastly, click on Render All, and once it’s finished you’ll find it on YouTube!
Then it’s the classic way.
To do this, simply export the YouTube Short as shown above.
Then, open the location where the video is saved on your computer.
Head to your YouTube Creator Studio (or click the link), then click on “Upload videos”:
Next, open the folder where you saved the video on your computer (export location), and drag the file into the “Upload videos” window on YouTube.
To help YouTube recognize the video as a short video, include the “#Shorts” tag in the video description like this:
Alright, good luck with your video! Give me a heads up if you get over 1 million views on it, because that would be awesome.