Welcome back to another DaVinci Resolve article. Freeze frames have a long history in the world of cinema, and it’s time you add this to your arsenal of DaVinci Resolve skills. Today I will be showing you how to freeze frame in DaVinci Resolve with 3 different ways and mention some of the iconic films that use this technique.

How To Freeze Frame in DaVinci Resolve

How To Freeze Frame in DaVinci Resolve (3 Ways)

You are going to learn how to freeze frame in DaVinci Resolve using the following ways:

  1. In The Timeline
  2. In The Inspector Window
  3. With Retime Controls

Please read these first two pro tips, as they will be helpful to you before you start any of the methods below.

Pro Tip 1:

If you accidentally blade in the wrong place, click on where you bladed, and it will turn green. Then you can drag that blade around to wherever you need. I have seen this cause some audio hiccups, so be careful with it. This will only work on one blade at a time. You cannot select multiple blades and move them simultaneously.

Like our Facebook page for more great content!

Pro Tip 2:

Use Cmd + Z (Mac) to undo your actions instead of trying to correct any changes within DaVinci. The same as the pro tip above, it can cause audio issues whether you have your audio and video linked or not. So keep that in mind! 

Let’s now explore how to create freeze frames in DaVinci Resolve.

1. In The Timeline

  1. Make sure you are on the edit page
Make sure you are on the edit page
  1. Drag your skimmer and blade where you want your frame to be paused (or select clip)

(Keyboard shortcut Cmd + B to blade where your skimmer is)

(To blade, hit the B key and then left-click where you want the blade to be)

  1. Use your right arrow key to move a frame or two to the right and blade.
Use your right arrow key to move a frame or two to the right and blade
  1. Right-click on your clip and select “Change Clip Speed”
Right-click on your clip and select “Change Clip Speed”
  1. Select Freeze Frame and hit Change

To resize your clip, select the Trim Edit Mode (keyboard shortcut: T) and drag the right side of your clip to extend it.

select the Trim Edit Mode

Pro Tip 3:

Make sure when dragging the right side out that there is only one arrow pointing right and not two arrows pointing left and right. That ensures that you are only adjusting the length of one clip.

2. In The Inspector Window

  1. Make sure you are on the edit page
Make sure you are on the edit page
  1. Drag your skimmer and blade where you want your frame to be paused (or select clip)

(Keyboard shortcut Cmd + B to blade where your skimmer is)

(To blade, hit the B key and then left-click where you want the blade to be)

  1. Use your right arrow key to move a frame or two to the right and blade.
Use your right arrow key to move a frame or two to the right and blade
  1. Select your clip
  2. Open up your Inspector Window
  3. Select Speed Change 
  4. Click on the snowflake icon
Click on the snowflake icon

To resize your clip, select the Trim Edit Mode (keyboard shortcut: T) and drag the left side of your clip to extend it.

select the Trim Edit Mode

Pro Tip 4:

If you select a clip that you haven’t already pre-bladed for freeze-framing and use the Inspector Window method, it will blade where your skimmer is and freeze-frame the entire clip. The whole clip will now be the frame frozen from the beginning of the clip. 

Pro Tip 5:

If you have multiple tracks on your timeline and try to apply a freeze frame, DaVinci will automatically apply the freeze frame to the top video track. To avoid that, blade your top video on the same frames as your desired freeze frame clip and disable it. (keyboard shortcut to disable: D)

3. Retime Controls

  1. Make sure you are on the edit page
Make sure you are on the edit page
  1. Drag your skimmer where you want your frame to be paused
  2. Right-click and select Retime Controls
Right-click and select Retime Controls

(keyboard shortcut: Cmd + R)

  1. Click the down arrow and select freeze frame
Click the down arrow and select freeze frame

You will now see that DaVinci hasn’t created a bladed clip or applied the freeze to the rest of the clip. It has embedded the freeze frame within the clip. From here, you can drag the right side to adjust the length of the freeze frame within the clip.

Freeze Frame in DaVinci Resolve 13

Pro Tip 5: this pro tip is very important

If you don’t want the rest of your clip to be affected by adjusting the freeze frame length, make sure you are in the Trim Edit Mode. (keyboard shortcut: T) If you don’t, the audio can get wonky, as well as the rest of the video.

Main Reasons For Freeze Framing

Emphasizing a Moment

Freeze frames can be used to draw attention to a particular moment or detail in a scene. By freezing the action, the filmmaker can highlight an expression, a gesture, or a particular object in a way that might otherwise go unnoticed.

Adding Dramatic Impact

Freeze frames can be used to create a sense of dramatic impact or to heighten the tension in a scene. By pausing the action at a key moment, the filmmaker can build anticipation and create a sense of anticipation for what is to come next.

Give Some Time to Reflect

Freeze frames can give the audience a moment to process what they have just seen or to reflect on the significance of a particular event. By freezing the action, the filmmaker can create a pause in the narrative that allows the viewer to catch their breath and consider what they have just witnessed.

Breaking The Fourth Wall

Freeze frames can be used to break the fourth wall and create a sense of direct engagement with the audience. By having a character address the audience directly or by using on-screen text or graphics, the filmmaker can use freeze frames to comment on the action or to provide additional context for what is happening.

Examples of Freeze Framing in Modern Films

Thankfully, we have all been inspired by past films! Freeze frames are something we still use today and have become a staple of modern-day filmmaking. Some great examples of films that use freeze frames are Baby Driver – directed by Edgar Wright; I, Tonya – directed by Craig Gillespie; and The Big Short – directed by Adam McKay. 

Freeze frames are a technique used in film to pause a scene, creating a momentary break in the action. In the movie Baby Driver, director Edgar Wright uses freeze frames during high-speed chase sequences to give the audience a visual break and help them keep up with the fast-paced action. This technique is especially effective in a film with such a frenetic pace.

Freeze Frame in DaVinci Resolve - Baby Driver

I, Tonya also uses freeze frames to powerful effect, using them to emphasize the violent attack on Nancy Kerrigan by Tonya Harding and to illustrate the impact it had on Harding’s life and career. The freeze frames serve to underscore the emotional weight of the scene and add an extra layer of impact to the story.

Freeze Frame in DaVinci Resolve - I, Tonya

In The Big Short, director Adam McKay uses freeze frames in a unique way to help the audience understand complex financial concepts. By breaking the fourth wall and using freeze frames to explain the jargon associated with banking, McKay makes the story accessible to a wider audience.

Freeze Frame in DaVinci Resolve - The Big Short

There are countless examples of films that use freeze frames and other effects, such as reversing a clip creatively and effectively and incorporating this technique into your own work can add a new dimension to your storytelling. With a good understanding of the technique, you can use freeze frames to achieve a variety of effects and enhance the impact of your film.

Since you’re already in DaVinci Resolve, here are some additional DaVinci Resolve Resources and tutorials that I also wrote:

Conclusion

Fortunately, with DaVinci Resolve, incorporating freeze frames into your movies is a straightforward process. You now have two distinct methods for highlighting specific moments. Have you ever observed freeze frames in films? Share your favorite examples in the comments, or let us know if you have come across any of the ones mentioned above. Happy filmmaking!