This is a Step-by-Step guide to fix media offline issue in DaVinci Resolve (version 18, 17, 16, 15).
Media Offline is shown when DaVinci Resolve is unable to read your footage successfully.
This could be due to various reasons like unlinked clips, VFR, 4K 60 FPS H.265 footage, etc.
Once you identify the root cause, the fix is easy!
(Based on your root-cause, you might need to install few tools to fix the issue – more on that later)
Let’s get started.
#1 – The Most Common DaVinci Resolve Media Offline Issue
Unlinked clips issue can result in media offline when when your imported clips inside Resolve lose their link with the source footage placed in the hard disk.
This happens when you unknowingly move your source footage to a different folder or drive...
… especially during exporting and importing your projects to another system (laptop or desktop).
- Go to Media Pool
- Select all of your offline clips
- Then right-click one of the selected clips
- Choose “Relink Selected Clips”
- From the dialog box, locate your folder which contains the source footage.
- Click Ok.
If for some reason, there are clips that couldn’t be found, then DaVinci Resolve would ask for “Comprehensive Search” in a dialog box.
Clicking Search will let Resolve search the source files inside sub-folders of the selected folder.
If (for some reasons) few clips are offline, then change the parent folder and start the search again.
If unlinked clips are not your issue, then proceed to the next one.
#2 – Media Offline Immediately After Importing the Footage
Sometimes DaVinci Resolve shows media offline, but it’s not.
When you import all the clips inside DaVinci Resolve, they turn offline.
If you drag them into the timeline and try to play, they are still offline but you hear the audio.
This issue is related with playing back H.265 or HEVC codec footage.
Smartphones like iPhone and the GoPros/DJI Mavics encode high resolution & faster footage (like 4K 60 FPS) into highly compressed H.265. (or HEVC), which could result in media offline issues in Resolve.
Even mirrorless cameras like Fujifilm XT4 and Sony A7S3 use H.265 codec:
- Sony A7S3 = XAVC HS (H.265) -> 4K 120 FPS, 4K 60 FPS, etc, in 10 bit 4:2:2 and 4:2:0 sub-sampling.
- Fuji XT3/XT4 = H.265 -> 4K 60 FPS, 4K 30 FPS, etc, in 10 bit 4:2:0 sub-sampling.
The root cause is the inability to decode HEVC or H.265.
Actually, this is more of a Windows 10 problem.
This means it needs HEVC extensions to successfully decode H.265 footage (in DaVinci Resolve or Premiere Pro, etc.)
Solution for Media Offline due to H.265 (HEVC) in DaVinci Resolve
- Go to Microsoft store or type “microsoft hevc video extensions” in Google and click on the relevant result.
- Click on “Buy” button. (You’ll have to purchase it for $0.99.)
- Download and install the extension.
- Restart your PC.
- Resolve should now be able to decode the h.265 video.
Keep in mind that both the DaVinci Resolve free and Studio version support H.265 decoding, but only the Studio version supports GPU acceleration for Windows. For MacOS users, the free version supports GPU acceleration for both encoding and decoding.
So, if you plan to upgrade to Studio version being a Windows user, working with H.265 footage should no longer be an issue.
#3 – Media Offline Frames or Flashing Issues
Sometimes after importing the H.265 clips, some random frames (not the entire clip) display media offline error, during scrubbing or timeline playback.
This mostly happens to footages (4K 60 FPS) shot through smartphones like latest iPhone models.
This intersplicing media offline frames are faced by DaVinci Resolve Studio users.
Make sure you have the latest version of Resolve and updated GPU driver.
If not, then follow the below steps (keep in mind that this issue could be solved in future DaVinci Resolve updates)
- For Studio users, go to “DaVinci Resolve” -> “Preferences” -> “System” -> “Memory and GPU” -> “GPU Configuration“
- “GPU Processing Mode” -> Instead of “CUDA” or “OpenCL”, choose “Auto“.
- Then go to “Decode Options” -> uncheck “H.264/H.265 using hardware acceleration”.
- Restart Resolve and see if it’s working.
Even though the above seems counter-intuitive, there are users who have benefitted from this checking/unchecking.
Just give it a go.
#4 – DaVinci Resolve Media Offline due to Missing Clips
Missing clips are denoted by a question mark in the timeline.
When you accidentally delete a file from the Media Pool, then you get a missing clip in the timeline.
Re-import the deleted files into the media pool from your source folder.
#5 – Either Audio Sync Issues or Media Offline during Playback
After you import all the clips inside DaVinci Resolve, they turn offline, but the audio seems to be fine.
Sometimes the video plays with out-of-sync audio.
This is a common issue with Variable Frame Rate (VFR) footages.
Smartphones, OBS(Open Broadcaster Software), game-play recording software like NVIDIA ShadowPlay, etc, record videos in VFR format.
(To the contrary, a DSLR or mirrorless shoots constant frame rate videos.)
Please keep in mind that any editing software (NLE) like DaVinci Resolve or Premiere Pro will expect constant frame rate videos.
(Learn more about – Frame Rates in DaVinci Resolve (Things You Should Know))
Hence it’s a good practice to convert variable framerate footages into constant framerate ones.
- You’ll have to install Mediainfo for checking the type of framerate.
- Then install Handbrake to convert VFR into CFR.
Here we go…
How to Check your Video for VFR or CFR?
#1. Navigate to Mediainfo.
#2. Click on the dropdown to select your OS.
#3. Download the “Universal Installer” and install it.
#4. Launch the application.
#5. Go to “File” -> “Open” -> “File” -> Select your video file.
#6. Click on “View” -> “Tree”
#7. Scroll down till you see “Frame Rate Mode” -> Variable or Constant (based on your footage) underneath “Video“.
How to Convert Variable Frame Rate Video into Constant Frame Rate
#1. Navigate to “Handbrake” website.
#2. Go to “Download” section and select the installer file based on your OS.
#3. Install the setup and launch the application.
#4. Go to “File” -> “Open Source” -> Select your video file.
#5. Select the required “Preset” (Most probably you will find your required resolution under “Web” or “General” menu).
#6. Head over to “Video” tab -> Select your required framerate from “Video Codec”.
#7. Then select “Constant Framerate” radio-button.
#8. Click on “Start Encode” on the top.
#9. After the re-encoding is complete, open “Mediainfo” app and check the “Frame Rate Mode”. It should display “Constant“.
Note: Sometimes, the output video from handbrake could result in “Variable” framerate video, despite selecting “Constant Framerate” radio-button.
In that case, while selecting framerate (in step no. #6 above), don’t select “Same as Source” for “Video Codec”.
Select the nearest frame rate of your footage and start encoding again (assuming that “Constant Framerate” radio-button is selected).
This should solve the issue.
But despite doing this, if it’s still variable, then try selecting different frame rates like:
- For 30 FPS video, try selecting “29.97”, re-encode and see if it’s constant.
- If not, try selecting “30”, re-encode and see if it’s constant.
- Similarly for 60 FPS video, try with “59.97” option, etc.
- You get the idea.
Now import this new video file into Resolve.
There shouldn’t be any audio sync or media offline issues.
Next time if you have the option of shooting a video in VFR or CFR, go for the constant framerate option and save your valuable time!
#6 – Still Facing Issues? Then Try this Foolproof Method
Even after following the above steps, if you are still unable to fix the media offline issue, then the best possible solution is to…
Transcode your footage.
It is nothing but re-encoding your footage into other codecs like:
#1. H.264, Mpeg-4, VP9, etc. These are highly compressed codecs which can demand a lot of horsepower from your laptop/desktop. (Can use Handbrake)
#2. Post-production friendly codecs like DNxHD (Windows) or ProRes (Mac). These take up huge disk space but are easy to edit and color-correct. (Can use FFMPEG – a command line interface utility).
If you need editing friendly codecs like DNxHD, PRORES, etc, but are facing difficulty working with FFMPEG, then try either of the below steps using Handbrake:
1. Batch transcode your footages into the codec that DaVinci can decode, like H.264.
Then import the footages inside DaVinci Resolve and then go to delivery tab and export the footages into your required format and post-production friendly codec.
This will export videos that are huge in size but are easy to edit (less stress on your computer’s resources).
Go ahead and import these videos into DaVinci Resolve and start editing.
2. After importing the footages that DaVinci can decode:
- Go to “Project Settings” -> “Master Settings” -> “Optimized Media and Render Cache”
- Select your required editing friendly codec like DNxHR HQX or Uncompressed 10-bit (can result in huge file-sizes)
- Click “Save”.
- Go to “Playback” -> Check “Use Optimized Media If Available” option.
- That’s it.
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Whenever you face any problem related to media offline issues, keep a check on the following items:
- DaVinci Resolve updated to the latest version (this can solve some codec support related issues)
- Latest GPU drivers (preferably Studio versions) are installed and compatible with DaVinci Resolve.
- The codec of your footage like H.265, H.264, etc.
- The container or format like .mp4, .mkv, etc.
- Mirrorless/DSLR cameras, GoPros, Drones like DJI Mavics – can pack the video into highly compressed h.265 codec (in 4K 60fps).
- Videos shot using Smartphones, Screen Capture software – which can result in variable frame rate videos.
- Does the footage play in media players like VLC, etc.
The above knowledge can help you zero-in on the root cause…
Which can further help you in coming up with a solution using the various methods we discussed in this post.