As time goes on, edits get more and more creative. This is fantastic for us because it keeps the audience engaged while allowing filmmakers to be innovative. This is a technique that can be used for all different kinds of filmmaking, from corporate to experimental work. Thankfully, DaVinci Resolve makes this super easy to do, with multiple ways of achieving that look. Today I’m going to show you how to reverse a clip in DaVinci Resolve.
Why Reverse Your Clips?
There are a few reasons why this technique should be in your editing “tool kit.” While I only mention a few, the world is waiting for your creativity and innovation to use clip reversing in incredible ways! Let’s take a look at some of the most common uses.
This is a great technique to use when exploring a character’s perception of a situation or memory recall. It is important to have a visual distinction between the character’s internal thoughts and the present day. Visually this is explored by reversing footage while creating a surreal or dream-like effect. I love when music videos or stories are completely told in reverse. It creates something memorable.
On Set Safety
You know those movies where someone is hacking away at an object or a person? Morbid, I know. But depending on where the framing is, reversing the shot can make it look more realistic so the actors and stunt people are safer on set.
Changing The Storyline
Filmmakers can get really creative here. You can have a whole scenario play out, and just when the audience thinks they are following, you can completely remove what happened. This is effective if a character is thinking about the possible outcome of something and then showing the audience what actually happened.
Examples of Reversing Your Clips
The Hunger Games:
The Hunger Games (2012), directed by Gary Ross, uses clip reversal when Katniss gets stung by tracker jackers. The stings cause her to hallucinate and enter a dream-like sequence where the coal mine explodes. The clip reversal serves as a way to pass the time and bring her into the scene with her absent mother.
Memento (2000), directed by Christopher Nolan, starts off credits with a polaroid being developed in reverse time. Nolan uses this film-noir style to prepare the audience for the structure of the movie as well as introduce the audience to the mind of Leonard Shelby, played by Guy Pearce. Every memory in this movie counts, and clip reversal helps show that distinction.
Before we start, make sure you are on the “Edit” page at the bottom of DaVinci Resolve.
Method #1: Change Clip Speed
This is going to be the easiest method to reverse your clips. Not only can you reverse the clip, but also change how quickly you want it to happen.
- Select the clip you want to reverse
- Right-click your clip and select Change Clip Speed
- Select Reverse Speed
- Click “Change”
Method #2: Retime Method
This method works, but it does have its limitations. While you can reverse your clip, if you want to change its speed, you have to add another step. So while this is the only method that has a keyboard shortcut, it is limited. The FAQ below will go into more detail.
- Select the clip you want to reverse
- Right-click your clip and select “Retime Controls”
Mac Keyboard Shortcut: Cmd+R
- Click the arrow next to the 100%
- Click “Reverse Segment”
If you accidentally use Cmd+R or click on “Retime Controls,” you can use Cmd+R to remove it as well. Don’t hit cmd+z because it will end up deleting your clip.
Method #3: Inspector Method
If you already have the inspector window open, then this will be the fastest method for you! Not only can you reverse your clip, but there are also a ton of easily accessible features in this menu.
- Select the Inspector Method in the top right corner
- Make sure the Video tab is selected
- Click on Speed Change
- Click the arrow in the center pointing backward
Can I reverse a clip without the audio being reversed?
Yes! The beautiful thing about DaVinci is that the video and audio are automatically linked. But if you want to get creative with re-time speeds, reverse clips, etc. All you have to do is unlink them! Select the video or audio, and you will know that they are linked because they will both be outlined in red, right-click, and de-select “Link Clips.” Keyboard Shortcut- Optn+Cmd+L
Can I change the speed of the reversed clip?
Absolutely. Keep in mind, the lower the number, the slower the video will go. The higher the number, the faster the clip will go.
Method #1 Use the Speed option to customize your exact speed.
Method #2 Once the clip has already been reversed, you can right-click and instead of selecting “Reverse Segment,” select “Change Speed.” Keep in mind that if you use this option, you are limited to the available speed changes. To customize it, use method #1 or #3.
Method #3 Once you have the arrow facing backward selected, drag the dial next to “Speed %” to change your speed.
Do I need pitch correction?
The short and long answer is it depends. Have you noticed when you speed up a clip, the audio gets really high-pitched? Like a mouse. Or when a clip is slowed down, the audio gets a lot lower. Pitch correction will try to keep the audio attached to the clip as close to its original pitch. This can be helpful, but in slow mode, it can get a little wonky. If you are trying to keep the audio as close to the original, then you will want to have it selected. DaVinci Resolve automatically has it selected for you. So you will have to toggle it off if you don’t want it.
And there you have it! DaVinci Resolve makes it super easy to reverse your footage as well as gives you multiple methods of doing so. Play around with all of them and see which one meets your needs! In what ways do you use reversing footage in your films? Let us know in the comments if this was helpful to you, and happy filmmaking!