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Edit To The Beat

There are several methods for editing to the beat and although the best way is still by ear and manually, some people want Davinci Resolve to do the work. Currently, neither the edit page or Fairlight offers a one-click solution to editing to the beat.

However, as with any piece of software, there is a way. Excited!

So this works for Davinci Resolve 16 & above on Windows, I don’t know the mileage with Mac because I don’t have one.

Pre-requisites
Download and install Audacity
Download AHK (AutoHotkey)

Ideally, the song will be a .wav format but it worked with .mp3 so your mileage may vary.

First, let’s get Davinci Resolve to talk to Audacity (this isn’t critical)
Open the “Preferences” settings in Davinci Resolve
Select “Audio Plugins” > “Setup External Audio Processes > Add

You can double click and rename New External Process

Double click in the empty “path” field and your explorer window will open
Navigate to C:\Program Files (x86)\Audacity and select “audacity.exe”

Ensure the “Type” field is set to “command Line”
Select “Save”

Davinci Resolve can now talk to audacity. The changes will take effect when you restart Davinci Resolve.

Bring your music track into Davinci resolve as normal and create a timeline with just the music track.

Head over to the Fairlight page > Right-click on your music track and select > External Audio Processes > Audacity

Davinci Resolve will now bounce the clip to Audacity.

In Audacity “Ctrl+A” (Select All) or click to the left of the wave file.

Select:- Analyze > Beat Finder

The beat finder controls will appear, select a “threshold percentage” 65% worked well for me.
Click “OK” and Audacity will create a “Label Track” with the beats laid out.

At this point, you can experiment with the “Threshold Percentage” to see if you are happy with the beats indicators.

Select:- File > Export > Export Multiple (Ctrl+Shift+L). Choose where you want the new file to be stored. I usually place it in the Davinci Resolve Project Folder structure of the project I am working on.

For this example, I am going to leave it in the Documents? Audacity Folder. I am also leaving the “Format” as default .mp3

  • Select:- Split files based on labels & Include audio before the first label
  • Select:- Name Files > Numbering files after name prefix
  • Select:- Export (wait)

Your bounced file (a copy of the original) has now been split into sections based on the beat.

Select OK > Minimise Audacity (or close)

Go to Davinci Resolve edit page and open the “Media Pool”

Drag the folder containing the bounced split audio file into the media pool.

Select all the clips and “Create New Timeline with Selected Clips”

You now have a timeline with cuts on the beat.

You could just drag the full audio clip to another track and mute the beat detection track or we can add markers.

Ensure the track is not selected and nothing else is in the timeline press the down arrow to move to each cut and press “M” to place a mark in the timeline and not on the clip. Repeating down arrow then M until all the cuts are marked.

Adding markers manually is a slow process so I use AHK (Autohotkey) to do it for me.

I am assuming you know what Autohotkey is and have a rough idea on how to use it.

Here’s the script:-

^g::
loop 300 {
sleep 500
send, {down}
sleep 500
send,m
}

Press “Ctrl+G” starts the script which then presses the down arrow and m 300 times. You can change the 300 to whatever you think but it’ll stop at the end anyway.

Sleep 500 (wait 500 milliseconds) is important and could possibly be reduced but if it’s too low it opens the marker dialogue.

So why add the markers? Well, you can save them for next time you use this track.

In the “Media Pool” right-click on the timeline and select > Timelines > Export > Timeline markers to EDL. Keep it safe for next time and you can just drop the markers on the master clip, without using Audacity.

To import the markers:- Create a timeline with the same complete music track on.

Right-click on the timeline select > Timeline > Import > Timeline markers from EDL (wait)

Now you can edit to the beat!

Alternatively, just tap M every time you hear the beat and then edit It’ll save you time.

Video coming soon!