DaVinci Resolve MKV: Import / Export (& Fix Issues Quickly)

davinci resolve mkv import export beginners approach

Mkv (Matroska) file format is generally exported by screen recorders like OBS Studio.

With a high surge in screen recording in recent days, it is necessary to have a basic knowledge of how DaVinci Resolve works with Mkv format.

Especially importing, exporting, editing, transcoding mkv, etc.

So today, we’ll see how Mkv files are handled in DaVinci Resolve’s latest and older versions.

Without wasting time…

Let’s get started!

Does DaVinci Resolve Support Mkv?

The latest versions of DaVinci Resolve like version 18 (above 17.2) support Mkv natively. This means older versions like DaVinci Resolve 16 do not support Mkv. There is a workaround to make sure the mkv files are handled by older versions – DaVinci Resolve 16, 17, 17.1, etc.

DaVinci Resolve 17.2, which was released on May 12, 2021, can decode mkv clips.

It’s good news!

I, especially, export a lot of videos from screen recorders like OBS Studio, which are of H.264 codec with Mkv container (or file extension).

With older versions of Resolve, it took few more steps to import mkv files to Resolve.

Now it’s really easy to import mkv files to DaVinci Resolve.

A ton of time could be saved!

How to Quickly Import Mkv files to DaVinci Resolve?

  1. Launch DaVinci Resolve (version 18 or 17.2 onwards) and create a new project (if not already).
  2. Click on the “Edit” page.
  3. Click on the “Media Pool” tab from the upper left hand corner.
  4. Press “Ctrl + i” (or “Cmd + i”) shortcut to import mkv media.
  5. Locate your mkv files, select them and click on “Open” button.
  6. The mkv files are now imported. (If not, then you might be having older version of Resolve).

What to Do If DaVinci Resolve Doesn’t Support Mkv files?

DaVinci Resolve versions 16, 17, 17.1, etc, don’t support Mkv files natively. The best way is to either upgrade to the latest version or convert the mkv format to the one recognized by Resolve, like, Mp4 format with H.264 codec.

OBS Studio or other screen recorders record video with H.264 codec, wrapped within Mkv file format. In fact, mkv is the default output recording format in OBS.

Even though you can change the default to mp4 or other formats (which are recognized by Resolve) from the OBS Studio settings, most users don’t do that.

Even if you recorded in mkv format, not to worry, OBS Studio has a built-in feature called “Remux Recordings” to convert your mkv to mp4.

Click on the below to learn more about converting mkv file format to mp4 format within OBS Studio:

Can DaVinci Resolve Record Screen? ( + Helpful Tips!)

You can also convert mkv to other formats using the Handbrake application.

How to Convert Mkv to Mp4 for Editing in DaVinci Resolve Using Handbrake?

  1. Go to theHandbrakewebsite.
  2. Go to the “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 mkv video file.
  5. Select the required “Preset” (Most probably you will find your required resolution under “Web” or “General” menu).
  6. Click on the “Summary” and select “Mp4” from the “Format” dropdown.
  7. Head over to the “Video” tab -> Select “H.264(x264)” from the “Video Codec” dropdown.
  8. Then select “Constant Framerate” radio-button.
  9. On the bottom, choose your folder location for the output and rename the file to .mp4.
  10. Click on “Start Encode” on the top.
  11. Done!

You can then import these transcoded mp4 files to DaVinci Resolve with no issues.

Another effective way is to use FFMPEG – a command-line utility.

With the help of FFMPEG, you can convert any video format to Mp4, and on top of that, you can also convert any video format to editor-friendly codecs like Prores (Mac) and DNxHD (Windows).

(Keep in mind that Mp4 format with H.264/H.265 codec is not editor-friendly and puts tremendous pressure on your computer resources.)

The below article will show you how FFMPEG is used to convert a wav file into mp3.

Can DaVinci Resolve Import / Export Mp3? (+ Helpful Tips)

Mkv or Mp4 Editing Performance Issues in DaVinci Resolve

After making sure DaVinci Resolve can import your mkv file (or transcoded mp4 file), you start editing your footage.

You realize that Resolve is struggling to playback the footage smoothly in real-time. This is mainly due to the codecs H.264 or H.265 of your mkv or transcoded mp4 file.

Both of them are highly compressed codecs – especially H.265 is more compressed than H.264. So naturally, your CPU/GPU is under tremendous load to unpack them (decode) and process them in real-time.

The best option is to optimize the footage to a lower resolution by right-clicking your mkv/mp4 files and selecting “Generate Optimized Media“.

Then change the “Timeline Proxy Mode” to half or quarter resolution from the menu “Playback”. This will lower the burden of your GPU so that you get real-time playback.

Apart from that, read the below articles to make sure you utilize your GPU to the fullest:

DaVinci Resolve Mkv – No Audio After Importing

Sometimes after adding an Mkv file into Resolve’s timeline, you can see the video, but the audio is not present.

This could be due to Resolve not being able to recognize the audio codec.

The most common issue could be variable bit rate Mp3 audio codecs (since only a constant bit rate is supported by Resolve).

It is better to transcode the audio to a constant bit rate mp3 or, still, a better option would be aac – since Resolve can recognize the “aac” format with constant or variable bit rates.

You can open handbrake, import your mkv file, go to the “Audio” tab, select “AAC” against the “Codec”, and click on the “Start Encode” button.

See if you can hear the audio in Resolve. If not, again, come back to Handbrake and select other listed codecs, encode and import into Resolve.

DaVinci Resolve Mkv Media Offline Issues

Sometimes when you drag and drop the mkv files into Resolve’s timeline, you might see media offline error. This means that DaVinci Resolve is not able to recognize your mkv (or transcoded mp4) files.

It could be due to multiple reasons, like your video having H.265 (HEVC) codec, or your mkv (or transcoded mp4) file might contain variable frame rates instead of a constant frame rate. (Please keep in mind that Resolve only recognizes constant frame rate files.)

To solve this issue, click on the below for a detailed step by step guide:

6 Ways to Fix DaVinci Resolve Media Offline Issue

How to Export Mkv from DaVinci Resolve?

DaVinci Resolve doesn’t have the option to export projects in mkv format (maybe the future versions might support, but not at the time of this writing).

The point really is where are you going to deliver your final product.

If it’s YouTube, then mp4 format with H.264 codec is enough. In fact, most deliveries that are geared towards screening like YouTube/Vimeo, film festivals, etc, require you to have h.264 codec in containers like mp4, mov, etc.

If you really need mkv export, then you should do the following:

You may also be interested in the below posts:

DaVinci Resolve MOV: Import / Export (& Fix Issues Quickly)

DaVinci Resolve AVI: Import / Export (& Fix Issues Quickly)

Quick Export in DaVinci Resolve (+ Shortcut & Useful Tips)

Tips to Save Your Precious Work in DaVinci Resolve (IMPORTANT!)

Essential DaVinci Resolve Project Settings (For Beginners!)

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