Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Editing Canon 7D with Blender 3D

So I went on a trip without my editing rig.  No way was I lugging a quad-core desktop on my trip.   Instead I'll do rough cuts on the field with whatever machine I can borrow.   Unfortunately I had my Vegas and Cineform license information was locked away on a powered-off hard drive half the world away.  Windows Movie Maker wasn't going to cut it.   In comes Blender 2.49 and Super(C) to tide me over.  My purpose was to do rough cuts to see if I had enough footage.

The Super(C) is free software that will let you downgrade the high-bit rate H264 video from the 7D to AVI format with a codec of your choosing.  I selected and IPod-like format: MP4 with 6Mbit in AVI format at 480x272.

Tutorial on how to use Blender as an NLE

Switch to Sequence Editor
-> (upper bar) SR:4-Sequence (default is SR:2 - Model)
Set Clip settings
-> Format (lower right) -> change to whatever size you want to edit (there are presets like HD and FULL on the right) -> FPS: (change to 24, 25, 50 or 60)

Load a video
-> (middle-timeline window) -> use scroll wheel to unzoom the timeline (timeline is in frames) Shift-A -> Movie+Audio (HD -- stands for Hard Drive not High Definition) ->  Search for your clip on the hard drive -> Drag the icon to the frame marker you want -> Audio track is above Video, may not synch if FPS is wrong

Undo a grab or any operation

Grab video (to move clip around)
Shift/Right-Click (to select track),G -> drag the clip around -> the left side is the leading frame count

Cut a clip
Use arrow keys or left-mouse button to scrub the green vertical bar to scrub to the point you want to cut -> Shift/Right-Click (to select video track) -> Point to right-facing arrow at beginning to track  (or left-facing if cutting from end of clip) -> G -> Drag left or right to the green vertical bar you previously set -> Left-click to set

Cross-Fade Transition
Right-Click (to select track) first video that is the start of transition -> Hold down Shift -> Right-Click (to select track) of second video -> Shift-A -> Gamma Cross -> drag the gamma cross transition to a track number above the two clips

Change Last Frame
The third window down defaults to 256 (frames), change this to the number indicated on the last clip on your timeline so you can display the entire movie

Save Project
File -> Save -> Navigate to directory you want -> rename untitled.blend to any name you want -> Save As

Output to Movie
Change Q (Quality) from 90 to 100, Change format from JPEG to FFMPeg (or whatever format you want) -> Video -> Choose the Codec (MPEG-2 by default, H264 is available) -> Audio -> Downsample Mix -> Output: Change the output directory from /tmp to wherever -> Do Sequence -> ANIM -> Wait for the Animation to finish

Take note how I use the word Animate.  There is a Render button in Blender.  It serves a different purpose from our normal NLE nomenclature.    In Sony Vegas we say Render.  In Blender it is ANIM(ate).

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