First steps with DaVinci Resolve, Episode I: Databases, Projects.

I publish here a series or free articles and tutorials, as an introduction and educational resource for my up-coming Editing and Color Grading Workshops and Seminars.

All my courses are for the moment online, using Zoom. Classes are in English, with a maximum of 10 students per workshop. From October to December 2020, al courses have a reduced price of 135 Euros, instead of the regular 195 Euros fee, to help a bit during the Corona Virus pandemic. This is a 60 Euros saving.

My Workshops include: DaVinci Resolve Editing, DaVinci Resolve Color Grading, Premiere Pro, Avid Media Composer, Final Cut Pro X, and Thinking the Edit (my Film Editing Theory and Analysis Seminar).

If you are interested, click here to find out about the next available dates. You can read reviews about my teaching here. I’m a highly experienced editing instructor, with more than 15 years of workshops behind!.

Now, to the free content of today!


With this “First Steps with DaVinci Resolve” guide, I want to show the very first couple of things you have to do when starting to work with DaVinci Resolve.

In this Episode we will cover these:

  • The Project Manager.
  • DaVinci Resolve Databases.
  • How to create a new Database.
  • Where to create our Databases.
  • Project Creation.

Some of the things I’m going to recommend you are not active by default in Resolve, and some are very important (like auto-save).

If you’re learning the software on your own, there might be things you’re not aware of. For example: most of my students know how to create DaVinci Resolve projects when they arrive to my workshops, but some of them are not aware about the DaVinci Resolve databases we actually use to save and organise projects.

So, here’s this little guide to start playing around with Resolve.

If you like it, please, share it!


At the beginning of my DaVinci Resolve Online Workshops, I always say that the first two hours are a little bit boring.

It’s just a joke, of course, but it’s true there are some areas we need to set up and customise before starting to work. Stuff not very exciting, but of great importance, if we wish to avoid problems in the future.


The first thing we find when we open DaVinci Resolve is the Project Manager.

It looks like this:


In this windows you can see DaVinci Resolve projects, and folders containing projects.

At the bottom you can see the button New Project.

It seems when can go ahead, click there, and create a new project, but hold on!

This projects, where are they being saved?

In other programs, like Premiere Pro, we create a project, we name it, and we choose a location in our system to save it.

DaVinci Resolve does this differently.


In DaVinci Resolve, projects are stored in what we call a database (DaVinci Resolve Database). The database exists in particular location in our system, that must be aware of.

Everything we do, every project we create, is stored inside this database.

Let’s go step by step!

DaVinci Resolve has default database. To access your databases, you click in the icon marked here:


Now you can see, left of the Project Manager, the databases of my system.

I have a couple.

The marked one is then one active in this moment:


If you never did anything, you will only see one database, the default one.

To know its location, right click on it, and lick on Open File Location, for example.

You will see this database is in a folder in your system, in your main hard-drive.

To simplify, specially if you are starting, you could just have this default database, and start crating projects in it. So, when you create projects, you don’t need to worry any more about where to save them. Everything is sabed in that database.

But, what if one day you need take a DaVinci Resolve project from one computer to another computer?

This will be, of course, possible. From one database, we can select a project to export it (as a DaVinci Resolve Project .drp), and then, in another computer, we can import that project, in another database, so we can work it with it. I looks complicated, but it’s actually not once you get used to this design. I will post tutorials about project management in the future.

Everything I said so far is what I recommend to start.

Now you know DaVinci Resolve has a database, and projects you create are stored/saved in it.

That said: it’s possible to create additional databases.

For example: instead of working with the default database, you could create your own new database, in a folder/location or your interest, like an external hard-drive. This would allow you to go with that database, and the projects in it, from computer to computer.


To add a new database to the system, click in New Database:




  1. Click the option Create.
  2. Select the option Disk. This creates the database in a folder in a disk. Nos aseguramos de tener activada la opción Disk. More about the other kind of databases, PostgreSQL, in future articles.
  3. Name the database. Upper-case and spaces are not permitted.
  4. Choose a folder in your system. Not possible to select just a hard-drive. You need to create at least an empty folder.
  5. Click Create.

This generates a new database.  You will see it now in your databases list.

When you have more than one database, you need to select one to work with it, double-clicking.

It’s important to understand this: when are in one particular database, you can NOT see any projects created in other databases.

The active database in the image below is “monday”. In this one, I can’t see any of the other projects I created in the other database, “resolve_project_database”:


Why all this?

If you work for different clientes, you could, for example, create one database per client. This way, no client would be able to see or open projects from another client.

The way I do it is: I use at least two different databases, one for my workshops, and another one for my personal projects. So, when I’m playing around and creating projects in my courses, I make sure my personal projects are safe, because I can’t access them from my “workshops” database.

Also, just one big database with hundreds and hundreds of projects in it, is not a good idea. It’s better to work in smaller units.


So, if we have a number of databases in our system, where should they be?

What Black Magic Design recommends in this: databases may be created in any kind of hard-drive/disk, as long as they are not remove-able.

In other words, a typical external USB-C hard-drive that we me move from computer to computer is not the best place. Why? Because different computers with different operating systems might assign to those external drives a different system letter when we connect them, resulting, potentially, in issues.

So, any internal drive, or drive that stays connected to the same system, is better.

OK, but… What if we need mobility? This is: what if we need to take projects or whole databases to a different computer?

Well, we have tools for that: exporting and importing DaVinci Resolve project files, for example. I will write about that soon in another post.


Once we select a particular database to work, now we can go the right panel of the Project Manager, and click New Project, or New Folder, if we wish to organise our projects in folders:


For example: if you wish to work with just the default DaVinci Resolve Database, you could create folders, one per client/type of work, and inside each folder create the desired projects.

When we click New Project, the project is generated, and we enter the DaVinci Resolve inter-face:


If we need to go back to the Project Manager, for example to create another project, or to load a different database, we click in the home icon, bottom-right:



There two ways to display projects: icons, and list.

This is icons, where we can also move the marked slider to make them bigger or smaller:


We can also use the list mode.

This displays columns, with useful information, like Date of Creation:



To start, you may work with the default DaVinci Resolve Database, and create projects in it. This way, all your projects are stored in it.

If you need to take a project from computer to computer, this will be possible (with or without media). Again: I will post a tutorial abut this in the future.

When you are more experienced, you may also create your own databases, in the folders/locations and hard-drives of your interest, as long as they are in non-removeable drives.

You have enough information to start now!

If you have a question, write a comment below!


If you are interested in my upcoming Editing and Color Grading DaVinci Resolve Online Workshops, please click here to find out about dates and details.


6 thoughts on “First steps with DaVinci Resolve, Episode I: Databases, Projects.

  1. Hola! I found the First steps with Davinci Resolve tutorial really useful for setting up the database but I’m still getting the write permission error for my projects and need to know what settings to use to get this to work? Are there any other getting started tutorials I could use? Thanks! Heather


  2. Hello Flavio. Great article. I am study to migrate from Adobe Premiere to Resolve. I have an issue about folder structure. Where can I make my Media Folder? And should I create a Cache Folder for each project or should I create one Cache Folder for all my projects?


    1. Hello, Fernando! Thanks for reading! Databases in DaVinci Resolve are only about project information, not media. So, your media should be in another location, tipically in a dedicated media/hard-drive. It is recommended to create your Databses in your internal HD’s. It doesn’t have to be your system drive. It could be another data drive in your system. The condition is: whatever drive you select, shouldn’t be a removeable drive. Is it clear? And then, your media, goes in your dedicated media drive, and there you use the folder structure that works best for you, similar to what you would do to organise media when working with Premiere Pro. About the Cache Folder: my opinion is that it’s best to have just one Cache Folder. So, not per project, but system wise.The location could be your media drive if that is what you have. Some people use a dedicated Cache drive, in parallel to the media drive. I hope it helps! Flavio.


    1. Hi Steve! Please read my answer above for more information. About your iCloud Folder. I don’t have experience with iCloud, but I can tell you what I do. I’m on Windows, and use One Drive. My One Drive Folder is located in one of my internal data drives (non removeable). I have my main Resolve Database in my One Drive Folder. It syncs automatically with the cloud. It’s a cool workflow, because I also sync that folder to my laptop. I can take my external media drive with me, and work easilly with that Database in my Desktop PC or my laptop. Not at the same time, of course. I hope it helps! Flavio.


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