Leo:Blender

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Blender is a great tool for video sequencing among other things.

This is a wiki of my notes.

Video tutorials


My notes

Initial Setup

Properties Section

  • Start Blender
  • Select View layout to Video Editing
  • If you see graph Editor, replace it with Properties window (with "drop-up button")

Properties

Dimensions

  • Change the preset to your format, e.g. HDTV 720
  • Check the Resolution
  • Check the Frame rate. E..g. 30fps for youtube (should match the source video).

Output

  • Check the location of the output file
  • Set File format, e.g. MPEG or Xvid
  • Select RGB (for color)

Encoding

  • Set preset, e.g. H264 or Xvid
  • Set Format, e.g. MPEG4 or Xvid
  • Bitrate: 6000 is ok
  • GOP - should be half of the frame rate for Youtube
  • Select Audio Codec (e.g. AAC or MP3)

Timeline Section

Playback menu:

  • + Audio Scrubbing
  • + AV Sync
  • + Frame dropping

Save as defaults

  • Menu -> File -> Save Startup File

System settings

Open: Menu -> File -> User Preferences -> System

  • Sequencer / Clip Editor:
    • Prefetch frames: 500 (later versions may not have this setting any more)
    • Memory Cache limit - set to reasonable memory size in gigs: e.g. 10G out of 16G total RAM

Sequencer

  • Right click selects a stream
  • Home key zooms to the whole (project) view
  • S - sets start frame. E - sets end frame

Preview

Set the preview interval. does not change the project start and end time points:

  • Sequencer-menu -> Frame -> Preview (or press "P")

Selecting strips

  • Box select: Press B, then draw a rectangle over the target strips
    • Shift B - selects and zooms to the selection
  • Grab: G - grabs the selection and can move to different channel or time point
    • G, X moves only in X azes. Y restricts to Y axes.
    • Shift while moving strips slows down the movement - better precision.


Add media

  • Add media: Sequencer Menu -> Add -> Movie...
    • Make sure the frame rate matches.
    • To match the size for the whole movie, select the strip, then go to Sequencer-Menu -> Strip -> Set Render Size

Cuts

  • Soft cut: K (menu-strip-cut). Can move handles left-right to change the cut boundaries.
  • Hard cut: Shift+K
  • PageUp - PageDown takes you to the previous/next cut

Combining resolutions

  • Select the largest resolution strip for the final resolution
  • The other strip: in properties check "Image offset" to keep the aspect ratio.

Hiding strips

  • press "H" or menu -> Strip -> Mute Strips

Blending

  • Top strips will take all screen, unless you select "Blend" type in strip properties, e.g.
    • Alpha over - for images with transparent backgrounds
    • Over Drop - for overlay videos

Fade in/out

  • Sequencer-menu -> Add -> Effect Strip -> Color
  • Stretch as long as fade is needed
  • Select the color strip, then the video strip
  • Sequencer-menu -> Add -> Effect Strip -> Gamma Cross

Fade with key-frames

- better solution with key frames.

  • Sequencer-menu -> Add -> Effect Strip -> Color - above the video strips to be faded
  • Stretch as long as fade is needed
  • Set cursor to the beginning of the color strip. Select Opacity to 1 in the properties. Press "i" to insert a key-frame.
  • Set cursor to the end of the color strip. Select Opacity to 0 in the properties. Press "i" to insert a key-frame.
  • Now you have a fade effect that shows through all the strips, and that can be moved to a different location.

Cross-fading sounds

  • Select the audio strips
  • Sequencer-menu -> Strip -> Crossfade sounds

Wipe transition

  • Select the video strips
  • Sequencer-menu -> Add -> Effect Strip -> Wipe
    • Can select the input in the Wipe stripe properties and blur the lines

Correcting color, hue, etc

  • Select strip, then in strip properties go to Modifiers. Make changes.
  • Better to add adjustment layer and do the corrections there:
    • Sequencer-menu -> Add -> Effect Strip -> Adjustment Layer

Meta Strips

Make meta strip:

  1. Select multiple target strips (with box select)
  2. [Ctrl+G] Sequencer-Menu -> Strip -> Make Meta Strip

A Tab button will unwrap the metastrip. A Tab again will wrap it.

Key-frames

You can select a property (at a certain time position) and press "i" to insert a keyframe for that property.

Then move to a different location in time, and change the property, and insert the keyframe with "i" again

The property value will gradually change between keyframes. Use this for location, zoom, opacity, and any other property.

You can change the transition graph in the Graph and Dupe views. Open these views in the Project properties area.

Rendering out the video

Pay attention to Render tab and Scene tab in the project Properties View.

  • Display: Keep UI
  • Set render size
  • Set frame range
  • Set frame rate
  • Set ouput file location
  • Set movie format and RGB
  • Encoding: Set Codec (and container)
  • Set bitrate (6000 or test a different value on a small sample)
  • GOP size - set to half of frame rate for youtube
  • Audio codec: AAC
  • Audio Bitrate (160 or higher)

Scene tab

  • Audio, set Rate to 48000

Ready to test:

  • Click the Animation button - renders to file
  • Go test the result, quality.

For Lossles output to file

  • Chose AVI
  • H.264
  • Check the lossless option
  • For Audio select PCM

Use Handbrake to convert the result for smaller file size

Handbrake settings

Settings for Linux:

  • File menu -> Preferences
    • Deselect "Use IPod/iTunes friendly .m4v..."
  • Source button, select file
  • Select output file name and directory
  • Check "Web optimized"

Picture tab

  • Uncheck Auto Crop (all 0)
  • Storage geometry should match the movie resolution
  • Anamorfic = off
  • Keep Aspect ratio = Checked on
  • Filters - all off

Video tab

  • Codec = H.264
  • Framerate = Same as source
  • Framerate = Constant Framerate
  • Preset = fast
    • Tune = none
    • Profile = High
    • Level = 4.0
  • Constant quality = Checked on
    • Quality = 23 (could be larger number for less quality and file size, 23-20 is ok)

Audio tab

  • Codec = AAC (FDK)
  • Bitrate = 160
  • Mixdown = Stereo
  • Samplerate = 48 (or same as source)

Audio list tab

  • Delete the line (kept the old settings)
  • Add the line (Now will have the new settings)

Save as preset

At the bottom of presets click "Add" button

  • Type in the new name for the new preset.
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