Insider Tips: Getting a Handle on Resolve’s Handles

Every week, Insider asks one of our expert contributors to share a tip, tool, or technique that they use all the time and couldn’t live without. This week, Heather Hay shows us how to use DaVinci Resolve’s handles properly.

How to use DaVinci Resolve’s handles

Picture this: you’re working on a project, and your client or editor tells you to deliver handles and the length, or they decide at the last minute they need handles at the end of the project. (They may use the terms “head” or “tail” material, instead of handles. Same thing.) Either way, here’s how to handle handles from start to finish.

First, set up the preferences to reflect your desired amount of handles. Click on DaVinci Resolve->Preferences->Use->Editing, then scroll down to the Default handles length setting.  24 frames is the default—and what I typically use—but I’ve been asked for anything from six frames to two minutes.

Next, to see your handles on the Color page, click on View->Show Current Clip With Handles.

This is especially important when you’re tracking. You want to ensure you track with handles as you go, but view without handles as you work—especially with clients. It can be a difficult habit to form. But you can double-check at the end before you deliver.

Then, to ensure you’ve tracked all the shots with handles, select Tracked in the Clips drop-down menu in the Color Page under Davinci Resolve. That will only display your tracked shots in the timeline. That way, you can easily see all the tracked shots to verify that your tracking has included handles.

Finally, handles need to be rendered for your deliverables. In the Deliver page, select the Individual Clips toggle in the Render Settings panel. Scroll down to the Export Video section, and open the Advanced Settings section. You can add frame handles there.

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Heather Hay

With 20 years of experience, Heather Hay began her career at the Brooks Institute of Photography in Santa Barbara, CA. She transitioned to film coloring at Avenue-Edit in Santa Monica, CA, then moved to the Chicago office before making a mark at Vandal (formally FSM) in Sydney, AU. After six years there, she joined Cinema 305 in Mexico City, and for the past seven years, she's been freelancing remotely from CDMX, showcasing her versatility and expertise in the field. You can see more of her work here.

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