Holy Grail timelapse in DaVinci Resolve

A "holy grail timelapse" is called that because it used to be “the holy grail of timelapse photography”. After you finish this tutorial you’ll see it's really not that difficult anymore!


A Holy Grail timelapse is a timelapse where you go from day to night or from night to day.

It’s called that because it used to be “the holy grail of timelapse photography”.

After you finish this holy grail DaVinci Resolve tutorial you’ll see it's really not that difficult anymore.

Let’s begin with capturing the timelapse photo sequence, and then we’ll use DaVinci Resolve Studio to color grade, deflicker, and render the video file.

Click here to watch my previous DaVinci resolve timelapse tutorial.

How to shoot a holy grail timelapse

  • Make sure you’re shooting RAW files 
  • Set your camera to manual mode
  • Disable Auto Focus
  • Dial in your exposure and focus
  • Set a fixed white balance like daylight
  • Make sure your setup is sturdy
  • Set a 6-second interval, or more
  • Start shooting, and keep an eye out on your light meter.
  • While the light changes I let my exposure slowly drop down to -1 EV. When the exposure goes lower I add 1/3rd of a stop of light by carefully adjusting my shutter speed.
  • Adjust your shutter speed before your ISO to keep the noise levels low.
  • Keep an eye on your light meter or histogram and keep adjusting the exposure in between photos until the light stops changing.
  • Make sure you are very gentle when adjusting exposure so to not bump the camera.
  • Now we’re done shooting the holy grail timelapse let’s edit and deflicker it with DaVinci Resolve.

Editing and deflickering a holy grail timelapse in DaVinci Resolve

  • First we need to turn the RAW files into DNG files using the free Adobe DNG converter.
  • Select your input and output folder and click convert.
  • Depending on your system and number of photos this might take a while.
  • Open DaVinci Resolve and drag your DNG folder into the media library.
  • Right click the sequence and create a timeline from it. 
  • Open the timeline and adjust the size of your shot to fit the frame using the Zoom parameter.
  • With the clip in the timeline selected, go to the Color tab.
  • Open the Camera Raw panel, setting the Decode option to Clip.
  • Using the sliders, add a primary colour grade to the DNG sequence so that it looks good for the day and sunset period of the sequence.
  • Then go back to the timeline and duplicate the clip on top of itself.
  • Drag the start of the top clip to where you want the white balance to start changing.
  • Then go back to the camera raw panel and adjust your white balance as needed.
  • In the timeline, use the opacity handle of the top clip to crossfade from the bottom clip with the first white balance, to the top clip with the final white balance.
  • Select both clips in the timeline and create a compound clip.
  • Go back to the Colour workspace and on the first Node you are going to drag the Color Stabiliser effect.
  • On the first frame of the clip, click the Live Region Analysis button.
  • Set the mode to Balance and Brightness and deselect Stabilize White Balance.
  • Set Stabilize to Levels and Contrast and drag the low level and high level slider to a point where your footage looks good.
  • You can use the histogram as an extra visual aid.
  • Depending on your clip, this might be all you need to do. 
  • But sometimes you still have some flickering, if that’s the case you can add an extra serial node and apply the deflicker effect and set it to timelapse.
  • Add an extra serial node for further colour grading if you want and then go to the deliver space and render out your video with a codec like Apple Prores 422 HQ.

And that is how to edit a holy grail timelapse in DaVinci Resolve Studio.

Do you want me to make a comparison video between LRTimelapse and DaVinci Resolve? 

Let me know in the comments.

If you want to learn more about timelapse photography, check out my free e-books and video courses.

Get all the best tools and techniques to become a great timelapse photographer.

Notify of

Most Voted
Newest Oldest
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
1 year ago

Yes it would be fantastic if you could please do the comparison with a version created using LRTimelapse.