Exploring Text Based Editing in Davinci Resolve

Traditionally, video editing involves meticulously scrubbing through footage, marking in and out points, and assembling clips on a timeline. This process can be time-consuming, especially for projects heavy on dialogue or narration. DaVinci Resolve is a powerful video editing software widely used by professionals in the film and television industry. One of ts standout features is text-based editing, which allows editors to efficiently manage and manipulate text elements within their video projects. This feature streamlines workflows, especially when dealing with subtitles, lower thirds, and other on-screen text elements.

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What’s Text Based Editing?

Blackmagic Design introduced text-based editing in the DaVinci Resolve 18.5 beta, integrating the feature into DaVinci Resolve Studio. This feature, known as “Speech to Text,” utilizes AI to generate transcripts automatically. It can also identify silent sections within clips. To use this feature, select a clip in the media bin and click the “Transcribe Audio” button. The software will produce a transcript, marking silent sections with ellipses. 

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Highlighting text in the transcript will correspondingly highlight the relevant portion of the clip in the timeline. This transcription can also be used to create captions for videos.

Features of DaVinci Resolve 18.5

DaVinci Resolve 18.5 offers several improvements and bug fixes for a smoother editing experience. To update to the latest version, visit the support page for DaVinci Resolve or use the “Check for Updates” feature within the software.

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New Language Options for Transcribing Audio

A notable enhancement in the 18.5 update is the expanded language support for transcribing audio. Previously limited to English, DaVinci Resolve now supports 14 languages. This broadened support improves transcription accuracy and accessibility for users worldwide.

Improved Text-Based Editing

The update introduces significant advancements in text-based editing, including handling gaps in transcribed text. Users can now select and paste specific words or phrases onto the timeline, making the process more intuitive and efficient.

Editing and Deleting Words in Transcribed Text

Users can now edit and delete words directly within the transcribed text, offering greater flexibility and precision. This feature eliminates the need to re-transcribe entire sections for minor adjustments, streamlining the editing process.

Automatic Detection and Display of Silent Segments

DaVinci Resolve 18.5 automatically detects and displays silent segments in transcribed text. The software highlights these periods of silence, helping users easily identify and manage them, thus saving time and effort.

Removing Silent Segments from Transcribed Text

The update allows users to remove all silent segments from the transcribed text with a single click. Selecting the “Remove Silent Portions” option in the three-dot menu eliminates gaps in the transcription, simplifying the editing workflow and enhancing the final product’s cohesion.

Addressing Issues with Tracking Presets

The previous 18.5 beta updates had issues with tracking presets, requiring users to use the Fusion page for setup. The latest update resolves most of these problems, ensuring tracking presets function correctly on the Edit page. For any persistent issues, users should seek assistance as developers continue to improve stability and performance.

Step-by-Step Guide to Text-Based Editing in DaVinci Resolve

Step 1: Initiating Transcription

  1. Select the desired clip and navigate to the top left corner to click the “Transcribe Audio” button. 
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  1. This action analyzes the audio within the video file and converts spoken words into text.
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  1. The transcription box will display the text version of all speech within the clip.
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  1. Ensure the source viewer is visible by toggling it on or off if necessary. 
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  1. For better readability, switch between black and white backgrounds as shown below and adjust the font size using the provided buttons “A+”.
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Step 2: Interacting with the Transcription

  1. Click on a word to place a red arrow above it, which moves the playhead in the source viewer to the corresponding position in the video.
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  1. Pressing the spacebar plays the video from that point, with the red arrow indicating the current spoken word.
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  1. Highlighting a section of text sets in and out points in the source viewer, allowing for precise selection of video segments.
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Step 3: Efficient Editing

  1. Quickly review and edit sections of the video by highlighting desired text portions and using keyboard shortcuts, like F9, to insert them into the timeline. 
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  1. Drag and drop text sections from the transcription into the timeline for seamless editing. This method allows for rapid auditioning of different takes and refining the video content before adding clips to the timeline.
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Step 4: Managing Transcription Text

  1. Edit and delete words directly within the transcribed text to refine the content without needing to re-transcribe entire sections. 
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  1. Remove unwanted text by right-clicking and selecting “Delete” or using the backspace key. 
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  1. To undo deletions, right-click and choose “Undelete.”
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  1. Silences or pauses in the video are marked with ellipses and can be deleted individually or removed all at once by selecting the “Remove Silent Portions” option.
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Step 5: Adding Transcribed Text to the Timeline

  1. After editing the transcript, select all text (including deleted sections) with Ctrl + A. 
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  1. Insert the refined text into the timeline using the appropriate button as shown below, ensuring only desired segments are added. 
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  1. This method cuts the video file, adding only the specified parts, thus streamlining the rough cut process.
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Step 6: Editing Multiple Clips

  1. To edit multiple clips using the text-based approach, select all clips, right-click, and choose “Create New Timeline Using Selected Clips.” 
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  1. Name the timeline and create it, placing all clips in one timeline. Right-click on this timeline and select “Transcribe” to generate a single transcription for all clips. 
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  1. Follow the same editing steps as before, but remember to enable “Decompose Compound Clips on Edit” from the edit menu. 
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  1. This ensures individual sections are added to the timeline instead of a single long clip.
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Step 7: Final Adjustments

After adding the edited text-based segments to the timeline, make any necessary fine-tuning adjustments. This method, while not perfect, significantly accelerates the initial rough cut process, allowing for a more efficient workflow. For projects with multiple individual clips, create a transcription source timeline, edit within it, and then transfer the refined segments to your main timeline for final adjustments and finishing touches.

Comparing Timeline-Based and Text-Based Video Editing

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Choosing the right editing approach is crucial for efficiency and quality of video production. Video editing methods primarily fall into two categories: timeline-based and text-based. Timeline-based editing offers a traditional, visual timeline for making precise cuts, adding effects, and adjusting audio, making it a staple in professional editing environments. However, this method can be complex and time-consuming, especially for beginners or simpler projects.

On the other hand, text-based editing revolutionizes the process by using transcripts as the main tool for manipulation. This innovative approach allows for quick and straightforward editing by modifying text, making it an attractive option for content-focused videos and verbatim footage. Understanding the strengths and limitations of each method can help editors choose the best tool for their specific needs and scenarios.

Choosing Between Timeline-Based and Text-Based Editing

Selecting the appropriate editing method depends on the specific needs and scenarios of the project.

Documentary-Style Film

Best Choice: Text-Based Editing

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For content-focused videos, the features of timeline-based software may be unnecessary. Text-based editing simplifies the process by making videos searchable, eliminating the need to scrub through a timeline. Tools like Resolve facilitate easy removal of filler words and offer efficient editing through searchable transcripts.

Non-Narrative Videos

Best Choice: Timeline-Based Editing

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Text-based tools struggle with videos containing audio gaps or no spoken words. Precise selection and editing require timeline-based software, which handles non-verbal content more effectively. Recommended software includes Resolve, Adobe Premiere Pro, Final Cut Pro, and Avid Media Composer.

Verbatim Footage

Best Choice: Text-Based Editing

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Live recordings from conferences, meetings, and presentations often contain filler words and redundant parts. Text-based editing identifies and removes these efficiently, maintaining a concise and engaging video. Timeline-based editing can achieve similar results but requires more time and effort.

Visual Elements for VFX and Special Effects

Best Choice: Timeline-Based Editing

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Applying visual effects, color grading, and transitions demands detailed attention to visual elements. Non-linear timeline-based editing offers comprehensive features for adjusting video clips across different layers, making it ideal for VFX and special effects. Top choices include Adobe Premiere Pro, Final Cut Pro, and DaVinci Resolve.

Limitations and Considerations using Text Based Editing

While text-based editing offers remarkable benefits, it’s essential to acknowledge its limitations. Here’s what to keep in mind:

  • Transcription Accuracy: The accuracy of automatic transcription depends on the audio quality. Background noise, unclear accents, or technical jargon can lead to errors in the transcript. Always double-check the transcript and adjust it as needed to ensure accuracy.
  • Non-Verbal Cues: Text-based editing focuses solely on the spoken dialogue. It doesn’t capture the visual aspects of communication, such as facial expressions, body language, and visual actions. These elements can be crucial for conveying meaning and tone. While text-based editing streamlines dialogue editing, it shouldn’t replace reviewing the actual footage to ensure the overall message is conveyed effectively.
  • Creative Freedom: Text-based editing excels at precise editing and organization, but it might not be ideal for tasks requiring high levels of creative freedom. For instance, if you’re crafting a montage sequence or incorporating sound effects, a more traditional timeline-based approach might be more suitable.

Tips for Effective Text-Based Editing

Stay Consistent

  • Maintain consistent font styles, sizes, and colors throughout your project.
  • Use presets and templates to ensure uniformity.

Ensure Readability

  • Choose clear, legible fonts.
  • Ensure text contrast against the background for easy readability.

Focus Positioning

  • Use guides and safe margins to position text elements appropriately.
  • Avoid placing text too close to the edges of the screen.

Utilize Animation and Motion

  • Subtle animations can enhance your text elements.
  • Avoid overusing flashy effects that can distract from the main content.

Troubleshooting Common Issues

Text Not Displaying Properly

  1. Check for font compatibility and installation issues.
  2. Ensure the text layer is not hidden behind other elements.

Timing and Sync Problems

  1. Adjust the duration of text clips to match the timing of your video.
  2. Use markers to sync text with specific moments in the video.

Performance Issues

  1. Complex text effects can slow down playback.
  2. Use optimized media or render cache to improve performance.

Exporting and Delivering Projects with Text

Rendering Text Elements

  1. Go to the Deliver Page.
  2. Choose the appropriate render settings for your project.
  3. Ensure text elements are visible and correctly positioned in the final output.

Embedding Subtitles

  1. In the Deliver Page, choose to embed subtitles in the video or export them as a separate file.
  2. Ensure subtitle tracks are enabled in the render settings.


Text-based editing in DaVinci Resolve offers a powerful and flexible way to manage on-screen text elements. By mastering the tools and techniques outlined in this guide, you can create professional-quality text effects that enhance your video projects. Whether you’re working on subtitles, lower thirds, or animated titles, DaVinci Resolve provides the features you need to achieve your creative vision.

Your thoughts matter! Share your experiences with timeline-based and text-based video editing. What has worked best for your projects? Are there any tools you recommend? Leave a comment and join the conversation. Your feedback helps improve future articles and provides valuable insights for fellow readers.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do you edit text in DaVinci Resolve?

To create and edit text in DaVinci Resolve, click on the “Title” menu and select “Text.” Drag and drop the text icon into your timeline to create a basic text layer. You can then edit the text by accessing the video tab on the top right-hand side of the screen, where you can change the font, color, size, and position.

What are the edit types in DaVinci Resolve?

DaVinci Resolve offers various edit types to efficiently place clips into the timeline. The edit overlay provides instant access to popular edits, including insert, overwrite, replace, fit to fill, place on top, append at end, and ripple overwrite, allowing quick selection without needing to remember shortcut commands.

Do professional editors use DaVinci Resolve?

Yes, professional editors frequently use DaVinci Resolve, renowned for its advanced color correction capabilities. It is often used alongside other NLE programs like Adobe Premiere Pro and Final Cut Pro X. Projects are typically exported from these editors, graded in DaVinci Resolve, and then reimported.

Does DaVinci Resolve have text animation?

Yes, DaVinci Resolve includes templates for clean, clear, and creatively animated text animations. These templates allow for easy editing of text placeholders to suit your project needs.

How do I edit captions in DaVinci Resolve?

To edit captions in DaVinci Resolve, select your subtitle and manually type the caption into the inspector. Adjust the subtitle track length to sync with the audio. Use the Track Style tab to modify the font, color, size, and other styling options. Repeat this process for each subtitle throughout the video.

Can DaVinci Resolve transcribe audio to text?

Yes, DaVinci Resolve 18.5 and later versions can transcribe audio to text. This feature allows you to transcribe audio from any clip in the media pool. To use it, right-click the clip and select “Transcribe Audio” from the menu. The transcribed text appears in a transcription window, making it easier to edit and manage dialogue-based content​.

Does DaVinci Resolve have text-to-speech?

DaVinci Resolve does not currently have a built-in text-to-speech feature. However, you can use external text-to-speech software to create audio files from text and then import those audio files into DaVinci Resolve for use in your projects​.

How to make text type in DaVinci Resolve?

To create and animate text in DaVinci Resolve:

  1. Adding Text: Go to the “Edit” page, click on “Effects Library,” then “Titles,” and choose “Text.” Drag and drop the text into your timeline.
  2. Editing Text: In the Inspector panel, you can adjust font, size, color, and position.
  3. Animating Text: For text animations, use the “Fusion” tab. Apply keyframes to animate text properties such as opacity, position, and scale. You can also use pre-made text templates that include various animation effects.


John Doe

John Doe

I am John, a tech enthusiast with a knack for breaking down complex camera, audio, and video technology. My expertise extends to social media and electronic gadgets, and I thrive on making the latest tech trends understandable and exciting for everyone. Sharing my knowledge through engaging content, I aim to connect with fellow tech lovers and novices alike, bringing the fascinating world of technology to life.

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