DaVinci Resolve Cache the Right Way (Crush Complex Effects)

Featured Image Manual Cache Beginners Approach

Learning the caching process in DaVinci Resolve will save you a lot of frustration.

But, at the same time, there is a bit of a learning curve.

If you want to know the basics and follow the “set it and forget it” approach, then the below post will quickly get you started:

DaVinci Resolve Render Cache (3 Settings for Smooth Playback)

But if you want more control over the caching process in Resolve, you’re at the right place.

With illustrations, let’s fully explore and manually control the render cache in DaVinci Resolve.

Without wasting time, let’s dive right in!


Before getting into it, here’s a quick summary of the different caches you might need for different scenarios:

ScenariosWhat Caching?Smart And User Modes
H.264/H.264 (HEVC) clips edited in the timelineRender Cache Fusion Output (Edit Page) Smart – Auto/On, User – On
Camera Raw Clips edited in the timelineRender Cache Fusion Output (Edit Page) Smart – Auto/On, User – On
Motion Blur, Noise ReductionNode Cache (Color Page)Smart – Auto/On, User – On
Color Page – Resolve FX and OFX plug-insNode Cache (Color Page) Smart – Auto/On, User – On
Edit Page – Resolve FX and OFX plug-ins Render Cache OFX Filter (Edit Page)Smart – On, User – On
DCP, JPEG2K clips edited in the timelineRender Cache Fusion Output (Edit Page) Smart – Auto/On, User – On
Speed EffectsRender Cache Fusion Output (Edit Page) Smart – Auto/On, User – On
Fusion Clips or clips with Fusion EffectsRender Cache Fusion Output (Edit Page) Smart – Auto/On, User – On
Cache Entire Color Grade from Edit PageRender Cache Color Output (Edit Page)Smart – On, User – On
TransitionsSequence Cache (Only Automatic)No option to select. It is automatically taken care of by Resolve. For “User” mode, refer to the below sections.
Opacity AdjustmentsSequence Cache (Only Automatic) No option to select. It is automatically taken care of by Resolve. For “User” mode, refer to the below sections.
Composite modes (“Inspector” tab) Sequence Cache (Only Automatic) No option to select. It is automatically taken care of by Resolve. For “User” mode, refer to the below sections.

2 Important Places in DaVinci Resolve for Enabling Cache

  1. Edit” page (According to Blackmagic – changes you make to your timeline don’t require a grade (color grading) to be re-cached.)
  2. Color” page (Changes you make to a grade (in the “Color” page) don’t require the timeline to be re-cached.)

Resolve manages the caching process by dealing with them independently of each other.

Another important thing you must know is the difference between the Smart cache and the User Cache mode.

Smart Cache vs. User Cache

When “Smart Cache” is selected (go to the menu “Playback” > click on the “Render Cache” option > then select “Smart”), Resolve automatically caches timeline effects, grading operations, etc., (covered in detail below). This is the “Set it and Forget it” approach.

In “Smart Cache” mode, Resolve decides the caching on your behalf.

But if you want to force Resolve to cache, then you select “User” mode from the “Render Cache” option from the “Playback” menu. Then for each type of caching (like Fusion Caching, Node Caching, or OFX Caching – covered below), you manually flag the clips to “On” and then Resolve caches them accordingly.


Important Caching Mechanisms in Resolve

render cache in Resolve Beginners Approach

From the timeline of the “Edit” page, you can access the following:

  • Render Cache Fusion Output
  • Render Cache Color Output
  • Render Cache OFX Filter

Why Sequence Cache Is Not Displayed in Resolve

Sequence cache is a purely automatic caching that only Resolve has control over. You can’t manually force Resolve to Sequence cache a clip. However, you can enable automatic caching of transitions, composites, and Fusion effects in the “User” mode from the “Project Settings”. (Covered in detail in the below sections)

From the “Color” page, you can access the following:

  • Node Caching

What is “Render Cache Fusion Output” in DaVinci Resolve?

The “Render Cache Fusion Output” caches the clips in the timeline (before the color grading stage) that are struggling to play in real-time with computationally intensive effects applied. For example, H.264, HEVC, raw clips edited in the timeline are cached through “Render Cache Fusion Output”.

Render Cache Fusion Output – Automatic Caching

When the cache mode is set to “Smart” ( go to the menu toolbar, click on the “Render Cache” and select “Smart”) and the desired clip in the timeline is set to “Auto” (right-click on the clip > “Render Cache Fusion Output” > set it to “Auto”), then Resolve will automatically cache the below clips:

Automatic Caching – In Smart Mode, Render Cache Fusion Output set to “Auto”
1) H.264, H.265, DCP, JPEG2K, or camera raw clips in the timeline
2) Clips with Speed effects applied
3) Fusion Clips or clips with Fusion effects applied to them.

You can also force the clips to cache whenever you need to.

You can right click the clip in the timeline, click on “Render Cache Fusion Output” > and set it to “On”.

When it is set to “On”, go to the menu toolbar, click on the “Render Cache” and select either “Smart” or “User”. Resolve will immediately start caching whenever you hit playback or remain inactive for 5 seconds (as defined in the “Project Settings”).

Once the caching is done, the playback will be smooth and real-time.

Note that the default value is always “Auto”, which means when you set the cache to “Smart“, Resolve may or may not pick the clip for caching.

Setting the mode to “User” (with the default “Auto” value in the “Render Cache Fusion Output”) will not automatically cache the clip.

If “User” mode is selected, then make sure “On” is set for “Render Cache Fusion Output” for the desired clip in the timeline so that you force Resolve to start caching it.


Can the “User” Cache Option Automatically Render Cache in DaVinci Resolve?

User cache can be set to automatically render cache – composites, Fusion Effects, and transitions. First, click on the bottom right corner cog wheel – the “Project Settings” > then click on the “Master Settings” > scroll down till you see “Optimized Media and Render Cache” and enable all of the below three checkboxes.

  • Automatically cache transitions in user mode
  • Automatically cache composites in user mode
  • Automatically cache Fusion effects in user mode

What is Render Cache Color Output?

“Render Cache Color Output” caches the clip’s entire grade (that is, caches all the nodes for the desired clip in the “Color” page) from the “Edit” page timeline. This drastically improves the real-time playback. But any grade changes will need to be re-cached for smooth playback.

This will be very useful when you have complex grades, and OFX applied to the nodes on the “Color” page.

“Render Cache Color Output” works only in manual mode.

When you are in the “Smart” or “User” cache mode, right click the desired clip in the timeline > click on “Render Cache Color Output” to manually flag it.

Resolve will start caching the clip when you hit playback or are idle for 5 seconds (as defined in the “Project Settings”).


What is Sequence Cache in DaVinci Resolve?

Sequence Cache” will help you automatically cache transitions, opacity adjustments, and composite mode super-impositions (other than the value “Normal” found in the “Inspector” tab) – which are specifically applied within the timeline on the “Edit” page.

“Sequence Cache” works only in automatic mode (so there is no option for forcing Resolve to cache manually).

In the “Smart” mode, “Sequence Cache” works automatically and caches transitions, opacity adjustments, and composite modes.

In the “User” mode, “Sequence Cache” will only cache when you have enabled the below settings (go to the “Project Settings” > then click on the “Master Settings” > scroll down till you see “Optimized Media and Render Cache”):

  • Automatically cache transitions in user mode
  • Automatically cache composites in user mode
  • Automatically cache Fusion effects in user mode

(Refer to the previous sections for screenshot).


What is Node Caching in DaVinci Resolve?

“Node Caching” lets you cache specific nodes on the “Color” page for a clip. For example, if Nodes 1, 2, and 3 are cached, you can continue adjusting Nodes 4 and 5 without needing to re-cache (or re-render) your grade.

Node Cache – Smart (Automatic) Caching

DaVinci Resolve automatically caches all nodes that use

  • Noise Reduction,
  • Motion Blur,
  • Resolve FX,
  • OFX plug-ins

Manually flagged nodes (right click a node > click on “Node Cache” > select “On”) are also cached in the Smart mode.


Node Cache – Manual (User) Caching

According to Blackmagic – DaVinci Resolve only caches nodes that have been manually flagged by right-clicking them and choosing Node Cache > On to force that node to cache in User mode, along with all upstream nodes to the left of them.


Caching of Resolve FX and OFX Filters

Adding Resolve FX filters like Box Blur, Light Rays, Film Damage, etc., and OFX plugins, from the “Edit” page to the clips in the timeline or from the “Color” page to a node, can also be cached but only in the manual mode.

Both Smart and User cache work only in manual mode.

To enable caching of Resolve FX and OFX filters, right click on the desired clip in the timeline on the “Edit” page > then click on “Render Cache OFX Filter” > then select the effect you want to cache.

According to Blackmagic – be aware that making changes to a filter being cached in the Edit page timeline will force that clip’s grade to be re-cached in the Color page and vice versa.


Davinci Resolve Render Cache Media Offline

If, for some reason, a clip that has been cached (with various caching mechanisms like Render Fusion Output, Node Cache, or OFX Filter cache) in either Smart or User mode, it could display “Media Offline”.

The best way to solve this “Media Offline” issue is by selecting the desired clip in the timeline, then going to the menu toolbar “Playback” > click on the “Render Cache” option > then selecting “None”. Then click on the “Playback” > “Delete Render Cache” > “Selected Clips”.

Then re-cache the clip. This should solve the issue.

For more details on clean deleting of the cache, click on the below post:

DaVinci Resolve Delete Render Cache in 3 Clicks (Save Space)

If you are specifically facing the media offline issue for ResolveFX or OFX filters, then select the clip in the timeline, go to the “Inspector” > “Effects” > delete the filters, and then again add them and re-cache the clip.


Render Cache Not Working in DaVinci Resolve

If the render cache is not working – that is, Resolve is still struggling to maintain real-time playback after render-caching, then it could be due to the wrong type of caching.

For example, automatic caching with the “Smart” mode selected might not cache a clip if it is set to “Auto”. In those cases, you must select the “User” mode and manually flag the clip to “On”.

Similarly, clips containing ResolveFX and third-party OFX effects are not automatically cached in the timeline of the “Edit” page. You must right-click to select “Render Cache OFX Filter” and select the appropriate effect from the contextual menu.


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