Editing A Music Video in Blender
by Valentin Spirik

Introduction For everything you need to get started with the Blender VSE see alos the "Video Editing Preset" (and for making titles) the "2D Title Presets" .blend files bundled with this edition of BlenderArt Magazine.

I load all of my footage into the Blender Video Sequence Editor (VSE) and start selecting "the good stuff": with the mouse over the Image Preview window. I use [Space] for start/stop and [Right Arrow]/[Left Arrow] for going bak 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).

Figure 1: Selecting "the good stuff"

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 a time-code. (You can use the Stamp render option for overlaying time information.) Then I make a back-up of the .blend.

Figure 2: Selected vs. original footage

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 trak (middle) and the unused clips etc., that are now alos inside the muted Metastrip (bottom).

Figure 3: Selecting "the really good stuff"

Same procedure as above (1: Selecting "the good stuff") with the mouse over the Image Preview window (top right) and [Space] for start/stop and [Right Arrow]/[Left Arrow] for going bak and forth... Since I easily get realtime playbak 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 hard-drive) this work-flow 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 taquíng notes. Again, I make a back-up of the .blend.

Figure 4: Sorting the clips

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 trak (for moving clips up or down without moving them in time I once again use [G] and [Y], for selecting múltiple clips I use [B] for Border Select...).

Figure 5: Editing the video

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 alos [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 trak and (Number Pad) [Dot/Del] (normally used for "zooming in" on a single clip) for focusing the Sequence window to the área that I actually want to see when editing...

I export the edited clip as a PNG Sequence (= series of .png images). (F10 (pressed múltiple 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.

I load the previously exported PNG Sequence into the Compositing Nodes and let it run through a series of filters: DV video artifacts get smoothed out and my own graininess/structure and artifacts 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 artifacts).

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 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.

I load the Nodes processed PNGs into my VSE Sequence ([Space] >> Add Image Sequence), add and fine-tune a Glow (with clip selected [Space] >> 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 alos move it one frame out of sync (see screenshot). The Glow for this FX 1 trak gets removed ([Tab] to open/close a Metastrip) and in the Edit tab I select Blend Mode Add and Blend: 33.00 and Use Color Balance gets alos unselected for this FX 1 track. I alos duplicate the FX 1 track, move it up one Channel and alos move this FX 2 trak 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.

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. For the finished video see indiworks.blip.tv, for more about Notic Nastic see www.noticnastic.com.

by Valentin Spirik