Muuuh Nature & Wildlife

Video Editing Workflow

Last modified on 2023-09-18. This page is dedicated to nature lovers and wildlife photographers. Written and regularly updated by Karl-Heinz Müller Dipl. Natw. ETH, Biology. With 10 years of experience in wildlife photography, Karl-Heinz shares first-hand, on-site collected observations, photos and videos from his frequent visits to parks in and around Montreal.

Typically, we create a video for each species for which we have captured several minutes of behavior specific to that particular species. Additionally, we produce shorts/reels featuring interesting or humorous events that we were able to capture. On this page, we describe our workflow in DaVinci Resolve, commencing with data import and proceeding through all the essential steps up to the export of the final videos.

Data Import from Memory Card to Hard Disk

We use Photo Mechanic to quickly transfer media files from the camera's memory card to the hard disk. During this process, Photo Mechanic organizes the files into folders by date and renames them into their final format. Additionally, Photo Mechanic provides an optimized user interface for efficient quality checks.

Videos recorded with a GoPro camera are manually transferred to the hard drive via USB connection using Image Capture. The files are then renamed for consistency with those imported from the camera’s memory card.

Master Settings DaVinci Resolve

The default presets for our initial project settings are always consistent. We typically use a frame rate of 29.97 fps, 1/4th of the footage's original fps. All our footage is recorded at a frame rate of 119.88 fps (NIKON Z6) or 29.97 fps (GoPro). All our produced videos have a frame rate of 29.97 fps. We record with Nikon Z6 at 119.88 fps in order to be able to add slow motion up to 4x in the final video.

  • Timeline resolution: 1920x1080 HD (for YT Shorts check "Use vertical resolution")
  • Video bit depth: 10 bit
  • Retime process: Nearest
  • Motion estimation mode: Standard Faster
  • Motion range: Medium

Workflow DaVinci Resolve

We create a new project for each visit to a park. The project name consists of date and park name.

  • In DaVinci Resolve create a new project and double check project settings.
  • Import all clips from a park visit and drop them on a timeline named RAW in chronological order.
  • Create timelines for clips of each species and copy corresponding clips
  • Switch to a species specific timeline
  • Use cut persona to chip off low quality sequences (shaky, out of focus, unpleasant composition, artificial sounds)
  • Label interesting events (for shorts) with markers and delete very short clips without events
  • Rearrange clip sequence by species to fit the story.

At this stage, we have an overview of all the valuable footage and audio recordings. Our plan is to produce a video for each species for which we have collected at least one minute of useful footage. We will also create shorts about interesting or humorous events.

Starting with shorts. We aim to a length of shorts of about 30sec. Shorts may be published in YouTube and as reel in Facebook. Always use original sound of the clip or if necessary and possible recorded the same day in the same park.

  • Create a new timeline for each short. Make sure changing format to vertical resolution
  • Copy clip (or clips) from species timeline to short timeline
  • Stabilize, rotate, and zoom each clip to get best out of it.
  • Adjust speed of clips where appropriate. Unlink sound before changing speed!
  • Use keyframes to keep subject in the middle of the vertical resolution
  • Adjust exposure, shadows, highlights, contrast, saturation using a new node.
  • Add header and footer from a previous short.
  • Review sound and use "Dynamics" to adjust level.
  • Export and publish final short/reel.

Returning back to the species timeline.

  • Re-order clips to build a consistent story if necessary.
  • Stabilize, rotate, and zoom each clip to get best out of it.
  • Adjust speed of clips where appropriate. Unlink sound before changing speed!
  • Add transitions in between different clips. Add a 1 frame gap when the two clips are very different and "Cross Dissolve" when the two clips are similar.
  • Copy paste footer with scientific and common name of the species from another video.
  • Adjust colour, brightness, contrast of each clip. Use a second node for these adjustments which allows you to copy paste adjustments from one clip to another similar clip.
  • In "Fairlight Persona" adjust sound level using "Dynamics". Cut out remaining artificial sounds like talking, planes, loud cars and fill gaps with sound clips from other parts of the video.
  • In "Edit Persona" identify a screen used for the thumbnail. Export that frame in "Color Persona". The thumbnail is created in Affinity Photo using the exported frame.
  • Export and publish final video.

Occasionally, we produce a video about a park visit where we use clips from different species timelines and B-rolls from the raw footage timeline.

Checklist and DaVinci Resolve Final Render

Uploading a video, publishing it, and then noticing a minor error? A final review on a uploaded video should prevent this from happening.

  • No spelling errors?
  • Color grading consistent?
  • All clips stabilized?
  • Sound clipping, too loud, too low?

Settings for the final render in Deliver screen:

  • Format: Quicktime
  • Codec: H.265
  • Resolution: 1920x1080 (YT Shorts/Reels 1080x1920)
  • Playback: 29.97 fps
  • Quality: restrict to 60'000 Kb/s
  • Advanced settings: Uncheck "Bypass re-encode", check "Force sizing to highest quality" and check "Force debayer to highest quality".

YouTube Shorts / Facebook Reels

To create a YT short, minor adjustments are necessary. Resolution should be 1080x1920, fill clip, UHD not possible. Creating YT Shorts has been topic in two of our streams:


  • Photo Mechanic Despite the benefits of using Photo Mechanic, we are actively searching for an alternative. This is because Photo Mechanic is not available on the App Store, it doesn't work with GoPro connected to the computer via USB, it is costly and only provides a license for one computer.
  • DaVinci Resolve
  • Muuuh's YT Channel