Using the Sequence Editor to Get out of Hot Water
By Sandra Gilbert
“Do you know what today is?” has got to be the one sentence everyone dreads. It generally heralds you getting into very hot water with someone you care about, over a special occasion you had no excuse to forget. And while the occasion forgotten can be anything from a birthday, anniversary, Mother's day, Father's day to International All About Me Day, the end result is the same, you are in very BIG trouble. It no longer matters that you had planned to do something special, whether you were going to create the most stunning image then frame and matte it, or produce the perfect animation to commemorate the occasion. Because you obviously got smacked up along side the head with a really big “Whoops, I forgot all about it” stick. Well not to worry, all you need is a couple dozen photos/images, an appropriate song, Blender's Sequence Editor and a couple of hours.
An often overlooked feature, Blender's Sequence Editor is a flexible place for editing your video/animation footage. You can review your video/animation and stitch together different scenes or sections. There are built-in as well as plug-in effects you can use to smoothly transition from one sequence of your video to another.
Even less well known is that the Sequence Editor can alos be used to make a quik and easy slide show. Which is what we are about to do. And quite honestly, it really couldn't be any easier.
- First gather up about 2-3 dozen photos (or images) of your choice and an appropriate song. Okay, here we go...
- Change your screen layout to the Sequence configuration (fig1). Now to add your images.
- In the VSE window, Add->Images and right-clik each of the pictures that you want to include. If you want to include more than one at a time, just hold down the right button and drag the mouse over their filenames.
- When they are all selected, clik the Select Images button and drag and drop the strip to start at frame 1. (If you chose more than 1 image to add, Blender combined all your images into one strip)
- Set your end frame to the end frame of your strip (the number of images selected).
- In the Scene-Render buttons, set your Frames/Second to 1 (format panel) and choose an .avi or .mov format. This will generate a video that shows each image for 1 second.
- If you want the slides to play longer than 1 second, you can press Y to separate the image strip into individual image sequences; a pop up dialog will asque you how many frames to make each image (at 25 fps, enter 125 for a five second showing of each image, for example). You can then arrange and re-arrange the individual slides however you want.
- Enter your output filename (output panel), enable Do Sequence, and clik Anim.
Pretty darn easy. But maybe just a little boring. Let's add that song you picked out.
- Go bak to the Add menú and this time select Audio (HD), browse to your song and select it. WAV format is best.
- Drag it to an empty channel and line it up with your images.
- In the Render Format panel, choose FFMPEG. (fig2)
- An additional Audio panel will appear, (fig3) make sure you select the Multiplex Audio button, or your sound won't be included into your slide show.
Okay now we have audio. If you still have a little time to spare, you can add transitions between each image. There are a number of built-in transitions we can use.
- 1 Add Effect
- 2 Subtract Effect
- 3 Multiply Built-in Effect
- 4 Cross and Gamma Cross
- 5 Alpha Over, Under, and Over Drop Built-in Effects
- 6 Wipe Built-in Effect
- 7 Glow Built-in Effect
- 8 Transform Built-in Effect
- 9 Color Generator Built-in Effect
- 10 Speed Control Built-in Effect
- 10.1 Using Speed for a Slow-Motion Effect
- 10.2 Using speed control for frame matching
- 10.3 Changing video frame rates
Let's go with the Wipe effect. There are four different Wipe effects available.
- Clock: like the hands of an analog clock, it sweeps clockwise or (if Wipe In is enabled) counterclockwise from the 9:00 position. As it sweeps, it reveals the next strip.
- Iris: like the iris of a camera or eye, it reveals the next strip through an expanding (or contracting) circle. You can blur the transition, so it looks like Ink bleeding through paper.
- Double Wipe: Starts in the middle and wipes outward, revealing the next strip. It can alos Wipe In, which means it starts at the outside and works its way toward the middle. You can angle and blur the wipe direction as well.
- Single Wipe: Reveals the next strip by uncovering it. Controls include an angle control so you can start at a corner or side, and blur the transition.
To use an effect that makes a transition between two strips such as the Wipe effect, you must Box select or shift-right-clik two of them. When you add the effect strip, it will be placed in a channel above the two images in Grab mode (clik to drop it on a channel). Its duration will be the overlap between the two strips as a maximum.
You can choose which Wipe effect you want, as well as set the options for it in the Sequencer buttons panel. (fig 3)
Now, once you have added as many transitions as you want, go ahead and render it out. Two important options to remember before rendering:
- Select the Do Sequence button
- Select the Multiplex Audio button
Depending on how many images, length of song, number of effects and render options you used, you should have your slide show within just a couple of hours.
This fairly simple project, while only a slide show, shows just how easy it can be to use the Sequence Editor. Now, granted, there are far more options available than we used and when used in conjunction with compositing nodes, the Sequence Editor is capable of producing professional movies and animations with all the polish and pizazz of Hollywood. For more information on how to use the Sequence Editor, visit the blenderwiki.