Editing with Blender, Ubuntu: Screenshots, workflow from my Notic Nastic live clip

“Sleep Tight” Notic Nastic Live Clip (1 min. 14 sec.)

*24.03.10*

As of today the Notic Nastic “Sleep Tight Live Clip” is no longer available. The act is now a member of their local equivalent to the American RIAA. Since I have nothing in written form that would give me reassurance that the deal I thought I had with them is still there (I make a video and get the right to show the video with the music on my blog), this is now simply what I need to do.

Every video I make is also a part of myself. In that context there is now a whole new meaning for me to the old saying that “The RIAA eats your babies.

I’ll be writing more about this on my blog in the days/weeks to come.

(Watch the Flash Video above or download (“Save Link As…”) the .mov.)

1: Selecting “the good stuff”

01_clips_in_top_row_selected_for_further_use

Click the image to see a larger version.

I load my whole footage into the Blender Video Sequence Editor (VSE) and start selecting “the good stuff”: with the mouse over the Image Preview window (see screenshot 3: Selecting “the really good stuff”) I use Space for start/stop and Right/Left Arrow for going back and forth. In the timeline (= Sequence): K for Cut and Shift S for snap editing (shortens/extends clip to the playhead when start/end is selected). The “good stuff” gets moved upwards a row (= Channel) with G for Grab and Y for Y-Axis. I keep the uncut original inside a (muted) Metastrip should I need it later since I am working without timecode. (You can use the Stamp render option for overlaying time information.) Then I make a back-up of the .blend.

2: Selected vs. original footage

02_selected_clips_moved_together

Click the image to see a larger version.

I move the selected clips together using Ctrl for snapping clip to clip. The white numbers on the right show the last frame of “the good stuff” (top), the music track (middle) and the not used clips etc. that are now also inside the muted Metastrip (bottom).

3: Selecting “the really good stuff”

03_further_selection_of_clips

Click the image to see a larger version.

Same procedure as above (1: Selecting “the good stuff”) with the mouse over the Image Preview window (top right) and Space for start/stop, Right/Left Arrow for going back and forth… Since I easily get realtime playback using DV footage (no effects applied) with Ubuntu 8.04 and Blender 2.48a on my PC (current Core 2 Duo processor, 2 GB of RAM and a reasonably fast 250 GB harddrive) this workflow allows me to find my in and out points while looking at moving images the way the audience will see it… Frame 6 067 is now the last one after “the really good stuff” is moved together (that’s down from 20 520 from the previous step). I use the Blender Text Editor for taking notes. Again I make a back-up of the .blend.

4: Sorting the clips

04_clips_get_sorted

Click the image to see a larger version.

I add a Text Editor window left of my Sequence and name/tag my tracks. I adjust the Sequence window with (Number Pad) Home and then use Middle Mouse Button and Ctrl to fit the Channels to my tagged tracks. Then I move “the really good stuff” clips in the appropriate track (for moving clips up or down without moving them in time I once again use G and Y, for selecting multiple clips I use B for Border Select…).

5: Editing the video

Click the image to see a larger version.

I use Markers for the points where the singing starts. Then I move the best of the previously sorted clips to roughly where I need them and work on the details again using Shift S for snap editing and also G for Grab to shorten/extend a clip’s start/end… The basic structure for the edited video: details/close-ups at the beginning, the artists performing in the middle and a longer zoom out close to the end. I move the unused clips into Metastrips on the left.

As before I use (Number Pad) Home for seeing everything that’s in the timeline. But since there are the unused clips on the left now I then select the music track and (Number Pad) Dot/Del (normally used for “zooming in” on a single clip) for focusing the Sequence window to the area that I actually want to see when editing…

I export the edited clip as a PNG Sequence (= series of .png images). (F10 (pressed multiple times) for switching between the Sequencer buttons when editing and the Render buttons when exporting.)

The annotations in the screenshot above show what’s important for exporting/rendering.

6: Through the Compositing Nodes

Click the image to see a larger version.

I load the previously exported PNG Sequence into the Compositing Nodes and let it run through a series of filters: DV video artefacts get smoothed out and my own graininess/structure and artefacts get added. The particular filters used here may be experimental and only make sense for this clip, but a couple of combinations can be useful for other projects (values would need to be adjusted): Gauss-Darken for a toon look, Screen-Overlay-Mix for optimising an image, Sharpen-Soften for focus related compositing tasks (high values for Sharpen may introduce artefacts).

The yellow and blue annotations in the screenshot above show what’s important for processing a series of PNGs with the Compositing Nodes: in this set-up navigation is possible by moving the Sequence playhead (the green line at frame 90 940) for previewing different parts (individual frames) of the Nodes processed video. I export the Nodes filtered PNGs once more as a Sequence of PNGs.

7: The final look

Click the image to see a larger version.

I load the Nodes processed PNGs into my VSE Sequence (Space to Add Image Sequence), add and finetune a Glow (with clip selected Space to Add Glow), make a Metastrip of both (with clips selected and M) and use Color Balance (with clip (Metastrip) selected: Filter tab > Use Color Balance) for creating the basis of the yellowish (but at this point rather dark) look. I then add a one step Strobe (Filter tab > Strobe: 2.00). With Shift D I duplicate the Metastrip, move it up one Channel and also move it one frame out of sync (see screenshot). The Glow for this FX 1 track gets removed (Tab to open/close a Metastrip) and in the Edit tab I select Blend Mode Add and Blend: 33.00. (31.01.09: And Use Color Balance – as can be seen in the screeshot above – gets also unselected for this FX 1 track.) I also duplicate the FX 1 track, move it up one Channel and also move this FX 2 track out of sync for yet another frame. There is one last step not shown in the screenshot: a final, subtle Glow is applied to all strips.

I once more export the clips as a Sequence of PNGs, import them one last time and change the export settings in the Render Buttons > Format tab to FFMpeg, make my selections for the video and audio format/codec and make sure that Multiplex audio is selected in the Audio tab before exporting the finished video clip with sound.

8: Credits

08_making_the_credits

Click the image to see a larger version.

This is actually done somewhere before finishing the editing (5: Editing the video) and using my own 2D Titles Preset .blend/tutorial. I adjust the text to the right size first. In order to have the Center where I need it for my title animation: Object > Convert Object Type… > Mesh. Then: Object > Transform > Center New.

Tutorials etc.

Download my Video Editing Preset .blend (Quick Start tutorial inside) for all the basics you need to get started with the Blender Video Sequence Editor.

Download my 2D Title Presets .blend (tutorial inside) for making “crystal clear” titles with Blender.

*Update* These presets are meant to be used with the old/classic stable Blender 2.49b: get it here!

Or get a recent version:

Download Blender for all major platforms.

Thanks to Paul for hosting these .blends on the Final BUG server!

See Using VSE (and Previous/Next pages) from the Blender Wiki for the official Blender Video Sequence Editor documentation.

See Using Nodes (Blender Wiki) for getting started with the Compositing Nodes.

Check out Ubuntu for getting started with GNU/Linux.

Notes for editors new to Ubuntu

While many to most things in Ubuntu will “just work” this is not the case for most things related to FireWire. Either plan some time for testing/research or get help from an experienced Linux user. It may be best not to rely on external FireWire drives for anything other than copying media to your internal drive as long as you are new to Ubuntu.

For help with all things related to Ubuntu and multimedia see also the Ubuntu Studio pages.

(26.04.09:) Ubuntu 9.04 users who experience problems with opening Blender 2.48a, exporting video with sound or audio playback in Blender see my comment below (April 26, 2009) for solutions!

8 Responses to Editing with Blender, Ubuntu: Screenshots, workflow from my Notic Nastic live clip

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  2. […] JAHSHAKA SLIDESHOW CREATOR BLENDER (per animazioni ma non solo, come puoi vedere da questo tutorial) Per aver maggiori dettagli guarda direttamente il post originale da cui ho preso questa […]

  3. Hi! Thanks a lot for the guide. I have a problem though.
    When I choose FFMPEG, I get a “Error Initializing Stream” if I select Multiplex Audio. If I don’t select Mux Audio, it doesn’t show an error, but it still just sits there doing nothing. Using AVI JPEG renders no problem, but without sound, and I need sound. If needed, I can mix them in Avidemux, but I can’t figure out how to export the sound.

    Thanks!

  4. vsworks says:

    FFMpeg can be a bit frustrating sometimes, not all combinations seem to always work on all platforms…!

    Try exporting the sound only via the Sound block buttons (F10, last option) > Sequencer tab > MIXDOWN (button).

    I think it makes a lot of sense to have an alternative/back-up workflow in place with e.g. using Avidemux for combining video and audio…

    Hope that helps!

  5. vsworks says:

    Ubuntu 9.04 users:

    Problems:

    * the official blender.org Blender 2.48a might not load/open (while the one via Synapatic will but that one seems to have other issues, read on…)

    * the Blender 2.48a version that is currently (as of 25./26.04.09) distributed via the Synaptic Packet Manager does not seem to produce video with sound (!)

    * sound playback in Blender does not seem to work

    Solutions:

    * install python2.5-minimal via Synaptic in case you made a clean install of Ubuntu 9.04 since it looks like Ubuntu 9.04 does not come with Python 5 (but 6) and Blender 2.48a needs Python 5 (or 4)

    * use/download the official Blender version via blender.org:

    http://www.blender.org/download/get-blender/

    With python2.5-minimal installed the blender.org version will load (without it it will not!) and it will export video with sound! (The one via Synaptic will still not export video with sound!)

    To get sound working (in the blender.org version):

    * close Blender – open Rhythmbox or the VLC and play back media with audio – *while* the audio is playing open Blender and play back some audio… (this workaround only seems to works for the blender.org version, not for the one via Synaptic…!)

    For more about Blender and Ubuntu 9.04 see also this discussion on Blender Artists:

    http://blenderartists.org/forum/showthread.php?t=153233

    Also: it probably is still a good idea to install the Blender 2.48a Synaptic version anyway – even if you only use the blender.org version – because of the other components (dependencies) that get installed via the Synaptic install of Blender…!

  6. vsworks says:

    (Update) Ubuntu 9.04 and Blender 2.48a sound issues:

    I am now back to 8.04, after initial success with audio/video export this stopped working in 9.04 after I (successfully) tested audio/video export with Blender 2.49 RC1 – I still had sound in 2.49 RC1 but could not get it to work any more in the official Blender 2.48a. What I found even stranger: 2.48a still seemed to export video with sound but the VLC did not play the sound, even though in the movie’s info it told me that the audio track existed…

    If you need audio in Blender for video editing, animating to music or simply exporting video with sound it may be better to stick with Ubuntu 8.04, it seems to be the most stable current Ubuntu version. In order to have audio in more than one app at the same time I previously found the easiest solution to get rid of PulseAudio (see the Ubuntu forums for details).

    Whatever keeps breaking audio in Blender and other apps: Ubuntu’s implementation of PulseAudio or PulseAudio itself, as a user this situation has become rather frustrating. 8.04 works for me and I can recommend it as a starting point for switching from the corporate owned desktop (OS X in my case). But in the long run other distros might also be of interest and some may be better suited for multimedia work: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comparison_of_Linux_distributions

  7. […] the article in BlenderArt Magazine and e.g. want to have a closer look at the node setup see the blog version of the article and click the screenshots to see the […]

  8. […] https://indiworks.wordpress.com/2009/01/21/editing-with-blender-ubuntu-screenshots-workflow-from-my-n… Filed under: Arte-Comunicación, Centroamérica, Guias y Tutoriales Tags: blender costa rica, boruca, comida, platillos, tradicional […]

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