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Software Graphics

HD Video Editing with Blender 73

Posted by timothy
from the like-riding-a-bike-on-a-camel dept.
Posthis writes "While the VSE sequence module has been part of Blender for a while, the upcoming version v2.46 comes with some new powerful video editing features, like Proxy editing, optimized FFmpeg support, and more. Not many use Blender strictly as a video editor because it's not very straight-forward, but given the fact that it now deals with HDV and 24p footage much more comfortably compared to other OSS video editors, it makes it a sound contender. This new tutorial shows the basics of how to use it as a video editor and put your masterpiece together."
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HD Video Editing with Blender

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  • by Skapare (16644) on Sunday April 20, 2008 @10:27PM (#23138666) Homepage

    ... a video input/output card for Linux that supports component [wikipedia.org] (YPbPr [wikipedia.org]) video.

    • Looking around quickly, I see a couple of capture cards that support s-video in - that's a component format.

      I'm not quite sure why you would focus on that though - if you're doing amateur stuff composite is fine and if you need higher quality you can just go digital earlier.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward
        S-Video isn't really component. It uses a luma and a chroma signal, while what people typically refer to as component video uses luma and a pair of chroma channels, or just map to straight RGB.

        I agree with your point about just going digital, though. For capture, sure, there might be some analog sources you might want to grab from, but there's no point in going to analog output these days. Professionals still dream about keeping everything in their pipelines digital; at the end of the day, they still hav
      • by Skapare (16644)

        S-Video [wikipedia.org] is not real component. S-Video still has NTSC subcarrier modulation. Its only benefit over composite is that the subcarrier is not mixed with the luminance, making it unnecessary to filter them apart later. That reduces the artifacts of NTSC, but it does not eliminate them. Component is all baseband; there is no modulated subcarrier.

        Additionally, S-Video only supports the NTSC format, which is 480i59.94. Component can support all the video formats used by ATSC and DVB video transmission stand

        • As for "going digital", suggest a digital input/output that is universally available (e.g. is input for monitors, output for cameras, input/output for computers including Linux supported, and input/output for recording devices like DVD-R, DVR, etc) ... and supports HD. Hint: I doubt you can find one.

          Who cares if there's a single universal input/output connector? All you need if you're actually trying to accomplish something is to connect *your specific setup* together.

          • by Skapare (16644)

            Who cares if there's a single universal input/output connector? All you need if you're actually trying to accomplish something is to connect *your specific setup* together.

            I care. But that is because right now various digital sources have different kinds of digital video output connections. Some have Firewire. Some have HDMI. Some have SDI. The video world went into this with too little planning.

            But for the time being, *my specific setup* has analog component. It looks like HDMI would be the first digital source. So you know of a card that handles HDMI input (HDCP is not needed ... this is not about ripping protected content) and works in Linux?

            • by HTH NE1 (675604)

              So you know of a card that handles HDMI input (HDCP is not needed ... this is not about ripping protected content)
              Tell that to my TiVo Series3 HD. The last two software revisions have again taken to interrupting playback of cable HD (and some digital SD such as compression-artifact-filled episodes of X-Play) content with "HDMI connection unauthorized. Press Select for more information."

              Pressing Select does exactly nothing.
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by ZERO1ZERO (948669)
          "Additionally, S-Video only supports the NTSC format, which is 480i59.94"

          Erm. That's bollocks. There are more countries and standards in the world than America you know.

        • by Bill Wong (583178)

          As for "going digital", suggest a digital input/output that is universally available (e.g. is input for monitors, output for cameras, input/output for computers including Linux supported, and input/output for recording devices like DVD-R, DVR, etc) ... and supports HD. Hint: I doubt you can find one.

          Uh, HDMI? Isn't that kinda the obvious answer?
          Pratically every monitor has support for it (since DVI is just HDMI with a different connector and all you need is the right cable) and more and more cameras/camcord

    • by Saval (39101) on Monday April 21, 2008 @02:19AM (#23139600) Homepage

      ... a video input/output card for Linux that supports component [wikipedia.org] (YPbPr [wikipedia.org]) video.

      There are lots of products from several manufacturers to choose from:

      Deltacast [deltacast.tv]

      AJA [aja.com]

      Bluefish444 [bluefish444.com]

      They are high quality professional grade cards and the price range is also high.

      • by Skapare (16644)

        At least Deltacast indicates Linux support. I can't find any indication for the others. Thanks!

        • by Saval (39101) on Monday April 21, 2008 @04:48AM (#23140158) Homepage
          AJA has linux support, drivers and SDK for (at least) their OEM boards: [aja.com]http://www.aja.com/html/products_oem.html [aja.com]

          and Bluefish444 has Linux SDK available to registered OEM customers: bluefish444 OEM [bluefish444.com]

          We are about to try those for use in our product in Q4/08 (hopefully)... If anyone knows other possibilities we would like to know!
          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by Bill Wong (583178)
            I've been using a blackmagic intensity pro [blackmagic-design.com] for my own high definition video captures over hdmi/component
            No linux support though, which is unfortunate
            But it's very very very cheap (~$330 online for the pro, ~$235 for the hdmi-only version)
            Didn't post in reply to your parent post as he was looking for something that was linux native, but, if you're working for an OEM, your company might be able to convince blackmagic to finally provide linux support.. They've been tethering on the edge for a while..
          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by Bill Wong (583178)
            Oh, and your company might also want to look into a couple Japanese OEMs with products in that space
            The hardware is cost-competitive with most of the other products on the market, but, probably at the expense of increased support costs
            There's Sknet [sknet-web.co.jp] with their Monster X [sknet-web.co.jp]
            And, Canopus Japan [canopus.co.jp] has a notable HDRECs [canopus.co.jp] product.
            And, also earthsoft [earthsoft.jp] who I know has done some OEM work for Sony in their high defintion PVRs
      • by farrellj (563) *
        The other thing missing is a Time Base Corrector, or TBC...it compensates for the slippage there always is in a mechanical transfer of data from a magnetic media, and helical scan heads introduces erros. a TBC essentially is a huge buffer that waits for the whole frame to be collected from the source, and then passed along to the recording source.

        Anyone know of a cheap TBC, or software that will do the same job?

        ttyl
                  Farrell
  • I wouldn't use it for anything more than necessary.
    • by bky1701 (979071)
      Spoken as someone who doesn't know how to operate it, I think.

      Personally, I wish I could use it as a word processor. I already use it for flowcharts.
      • by LetterRip (30937)

        Spoken as someone who doesn't know how to operate it, I think.

        Personally, I wish I could use it as a word processor. I already use it for flowcharts.
        You can use it as a word processor :) Also Ton uses it for doing powerpoint style presentations; and Intrr uses if for page layout (see the Instinctive Blender fork).

        LetterRip
    • by Max Littlemore (1001285) on Sunday April 20, 2008 @11:07PM (#23138868)

      I'm usually pretty quick to defend the Blender UI, I'm one of those people who understands how quick and powerful it really is, but this time I have to agree.

      Any tutorial on video editing in Blender should be akin to a tutorial on cleaning teeth which starts with:

      First off, you'll need to remove all of your teeth so you can get a really good angle with the brush.

      Otherwise, it's lying or incomplete.

  • Excellent! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by _Hellfire_ (170113) on Sunday April 20, 2008 @11:53PM (#23139072) Homepage
    Now does anyone know how I can capture HD footage from my camcorder over a supported firewire input in Linux?

    Kino does SD great over firewire (my camcorder can downsample), but borks out (gray output) when I try it with HD. I've googled and sourceforged but cannot seem to find anything that will do it. I know my PC is fast enough because I used to do it with Premiere Elements.
  • Is it still insanely counter-intuitive and hard to learn? The blender i used for rendering was nigh-impossible to figure out without at least three tutorials.
    • by calebt3 (1098475)
      It gets easier when you start getting the hang of the hotkeys.
    • Yes, of course. :)
    • by AKAImBatman (238306) <.akaimbatman. .at. .gmail.com.> on Monday April 21, 2008 @02:30AM (#23139660) Homepage Journal

      Is it still insanely counter-intuitive and hard to learn?

      For the 3D part? Probably. But the video editing was (surprisingly) a snap. Just follow Eugenia's instructions and you'll be up and running in no time flat!

      If you don't believe me, check this out. After seeing this story, I downloaded the latest Blender and got cracking. A short time later I had this video uploaded to YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UUzVi_f5kyE [youtube.com]

      All the source videos were fairly large clips that Blender handled without issue. With only a smidge of practice, I was able to clip them to size and add transitions. So I'm pretty happy with the result. Especially since I have absolutely NO video editing experience. If I had a bit more time with this tool, I imagine I could whip up a pretty good promotional video.

      I didn't bother with the audio tracks on my first run-through, but it doesn't appear to be too difficult to include them. The one issue I'm concerned about is if there is support for a decent mixer. (e.g. Could I play background music, then at some point fade it to a less audible level, play the original speech/effects, then adjust the BG music back to full volume?) Worst case, that's probably something I could work out in an audio editing program, but it would be a major pain.

      I can't complain, though, given what I paid for Blender. (i.e. Nothing!) It's possibly the best FREE video editing tool I have ever seen. Which probably says more about the lack of such tools than about the brilliance of Blender, but I'm still happy. :-)

      Feel free to give it a go yourself. If you need some footage to mess around with, the stuff I used can be found here: http://blog.wiicade.com/?p=177 [wiicade.com]
      • by QuantumG (50515) *

        Just follow Eugenia's instructions and you'll be up and running in no time flat!
        As he said, can't understand without a tutorial.

        Shill.
        • by Kjella (173770)
          Having tried quite a few video editors, I've still not found any (pro, "easy" or otherwise) which is so intuitive that you instinctively get it. At best you're flipping through menus or mousing over buttons trying to figure out WTF they do and where the function you want is. Still, when the first line of the review says it's not easy or intuitive, back away slowly.
        • by dwater (72834)

          Just follow Eugenia's instructions and you'll be up and running in no time flat!
          As he said, can't understand without a tutorial.
          No, he didn't. He may have implied it, but 'implied is in the ear of the listener'.

          This is actually what he said :

          The blender i used for rendering was nigh-impossible to figure out without at least three tutorials.
          One tutorial is not 'at least three tutorials'.
      • by Eugenia Loli (250395) on Monday April 21, 2008 @03:29AM (#23139878) Homepage Journal
        For bg music in addition to another audio track, use the "ADD" plugin between the two audio tracks and then use the iPO curve editor to make one of the two tracks louder or less loud.

        As for other audio options, go to the panel at the bottom and click the last toolbar icon, the one that reads "Sound block buttons".
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by MenTaLguY (5483)
          Unless they've changed things in the newer versions, you don't need the "ADD" part (though you do need IPO to set volume); all of the audio tracks are mixed automatically.
      • by damg (906401)

        Is it still insanely counter-intuitive and hard to learn?

        For the 3D part? Probably.

        And even for the 3D part, it's really not bad. I think most of the complaints you hear are from people who have spent a lot of time working with another 3D package and expect Blender to be a close clone of their favorite package. For example, you've learnt a small part of the app in a short amount of time, and I'm sure that with the same motivation, you could learn the other parts the same way, a little bit at a time. Another comment above compared Blender to Emacs, which I think is a great analogy. It wa

    • If you're making a long-term commitment to using a tool then spending a few hours to get a productive interface is worthwhile.

      It depends a lot on the type of application, but making something easy to learn should not make it harder for the power user. This is particularly true for applications like blender where learning the application is only a small part of learning the skills required for doing the job.

      My son got a reasonable grip on blender after a couple of hours of fiddling around. He had used 3D stu

  • Has anybody here used any good books that help one learn to use Blender? Online tutorials [wikibooks.org] only do so much good.
  • Yes, the UI sucks. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Animats (122034) on Monday April 21, 2008 @12:18AM (#23139172) Homepage

    I've used Blender extensively. I've even used the Game Kit and extended Blender in Python.

    Even after you know it, the UI still sucks. There's not enough feedback, it's too modal, the tools for aligning objects are weak, the keyboard shortcuts manual is over forty pages, and things that aren't implemented just silently don't work. Other than that...

    • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Wow, it sounds like every other 3d modeling app I've ever used!
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by rabiddeity (941737)

        Wow, it sounds like every other 3d modeling app I've ever used!

        Yeah, except this is an article about using it as a video editing and compositing tool, so we're not comparing it to Maya and the like. We should be comparing it to Premiere and Final Cut Pro. Does being powerful mean it must be difficult to figure out? I don't think so. Adobe Premiere took me about half an hour to figure out, behaves pretty much like film junkies would expect a video editing tool to work (with terminology like "razor tool"

        • by LetterRip (30937)

          Looking at the tutorial, it seems like you CAN use Blender to edit and compose videos, but it seems like choosing a Leatherman to do surgery because it has a scalpel and tweezers and a screwdriver all in one tool.

          You are looking at this from the wrong perspective - if you are using Blender for Compositing/3D animation/Visual FX/Color Grading etc. Then you can jump into video editing with similar tools and workflow. Plumiferos ended up using Blender for video editing after considering commercial packages and other open source packages because of it being easier to keep the consistent work flow.

          After 2.50 a skin that allows Blender to be used by individuals familar with other video editing packages without having to

        • While Premiere is a great tool and all, I'd hardly go as far as saying that its UI [grafika.cz] is completely straightforward. Honestly, my first time messing with it was an experience very much akin to trying to figure Blender out for the first time. Granted, I'm not an experienced "film junkie" or anything, but I really don't think it's accurate to call Premiere so much more naturally intuitive than Blender. At least, it sure as hell wasn't for me.

          Now, that's not to say I would ever want to do video editing in B
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Qbertino (265505)
      Even after you know it, the UI still sucks. There's not enough feedback, it's too modal, the tools for aligning objects are weak, the keyboard shortcuts manual is over forty pages, and things that aren't implemented just silently don't work. Other than that...

      I see you haven't used 3DSMax yet.
  • by Qbertino (265505) on Monday April 21, 2008 @06:41AM (#23140584)
    Once again lots of Blender UI bashing from the less knowledgable here. Please listen to this:

    3D kits are difficult to handle. Period. That goes for Maya, Softimage, Lightwave, 3DSMax, Houdini and Blender. That even goes for Cinema 4D, allthough they claim to be the easiest to use in the pro legue.

    Pro-level 3D with pro-level tools is a non-trivial task, and trying out every feature in each of these packages and learning to use it takes well over a year, a stack of books and porbably even some hands on training by a professional. Somebody who is good at operating a 3D kit usually knows nothing else about computers. These software behemoths are like Emacs with the brakes removed - allmost an operating system by themselves.

    That you need a stack of tutorials to get going with a full-range 3D package is the *norm*, not an exception. Blender has some unusual UI concepts (most of which make perfect sense and actually are and allways were innovative) but it is definitely not any more difficult to handle than Lightwave or 3DSMax. Take that from someone who has a full commercial license of Lightwave 8 *and* has been using Blender since 1.8.
    • by nevali (942731)
      While all of that may well be true, it doesn't make the âoeUI bashing from the uninformedâ inherently wrong: it just means that they all suck.

    • by chammy (1096007) on Monday April 21, 2008 @07:50AM (#23141080)

      That you need a stack of tutorials to get going with a full-range 3D package is the *norm*, not an exception. Blender has some unusual UI concepts (most of which make perfect sense and actually are and allways were innovative) but it is definitely not any more difficult to handle than Lightwave or 3DSMax.


      Finally somebody says it. 3D graphics have been a hobby of mine for the past 10 years, so I've played with quite a few trials of various editing packages. NONE, I repeat, NONE of them are "pick-up and learn" tools. The sheer amount of information you work with when modeling in 3D makes any sort of editor horribly complex (or horribly simplified).

      I like to think of Blender as "GIMP for 3D" because people like to complain about the UI. It seems complex, but once you get to know it you see how incredibly flexible it is. After several years of using an old Maya license, I actually prefer Blender because I can customize panes and save views into what my "ideal" 3D package would look like. There are also quite a few tools and scripts I can't live without (brush vertex selecting, anyone?).
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward
      I'd like to mention that the 'most' intuitive 3d Modeling interface I've come across is probably Sketchup [www.sketchup.com](from @Last and then bought by Google!). It's not one for Nurbs or any of the more complicated features of modeling, but for the basics of solid items, it's a dream. And then export the results into your preferred editing/rendering package and continue to fine tune the work.

      My current workflow is either model in Sketchup then build the scene and render in either Blender or 3DSMax or
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Bombula (670389)
      These software behemoths are like Emacs with the brakes removed - allmost an operating system by themselves.

      Funny how creating a powerful, intuitive, user-friendly GUI for OSs is what catapulted computers from being nifty novelties into being essential productivity tools from the top to the bottom of society in every sphere, from social to economic. Funnier still is how many bozos are too stupid to realize this, still think command-line interfaces are where the cool kids hang out, etc. It's ridiculous.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Tetsujin (103070)

        These software behemoths are like Emacs with the brakes removed - allmost an operating system by themselves.

        Funny how creating a powerful, intuitive, user-friendly GUI for OSs is what catapulted computers from being nifty novelties into being essential productivity tools from the top to the bottom of society in every sphere, from social to economic. Funnier still is how many bozos are too stupid to realize this, still think command-line interfaces are where the cool kids hang out, etc. It's ridiculous. Get. Your. Farking. Interface. Sorted.

        Compared to the challenge of creating the tools themselves, the task is trivial; but it takes the skillset of a designer, not a math jock or code monkey.

        Let's get this straight:

        It doesn't just take a designer. It takes a designer who understands what the program is and what it's supposed to do, and how people are going to work with it and (if you really want to pander to the audience) what they expect, what they're used to. In short, it's a harder problem than you acknowledge.

        And, in general, for an interface to be easy to use it must be limited. Too many options means users complaining that your app is too complicated, or too cluttered with buttons and

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