From updates

Video tutorial + New functions for the Blender Velvets

The Blender Velvets have finally a long video tutorial on how to edit video with Blender using the Velvets addons! The video is divided into two parts: downloading/configuring Blender and installing the addons; and the actual editing.

Thanks for João Lacerda, a friend from Rio de Janeiro, who had the patience to sit besides me and ask pertinent questions about video editing in general. We tried the approach of having someone with video editing experience in other software (Final Cut) so that the general common doubts could pop up along the explanation – this made the tutorial richer as real-world issues were raised all the time, even if we were half asleep after having a long night in São Paulo.

The tutorial is currently only in Portuguese (sorry), but it should be easy to follow along because all the shortcuts we used are on the screen, both in Portuguese and in English. We can try and do an English version or subtitle it in English if there is some help/interest of the community. Feedbacks are welcome.

 

New functions for Velvet Goldmine

The Blender Velvets are currently being used in training four new Jongo leaderships – most of whom come from traditional quilombo lands – and a cultural hotspot in Rio de Janeiro that has a cinema project in the favelas. If you don’t know what Jongo is, you should definitely watch this video.

For this training, we added four new functions for Velvet Goldmine/Velvet Shortcuts. Now you can Deinterlace (Ctrl+Shift+I) and Remove Deinterlace (Ctrl+Alt+I) all selected strips and Delete joining the resulting strips (Ctrl+Delete).

Videos that have been transcoded with ffmpeg such as the ones made by Velvet Revolver have exactly one audio frame more than their video strips. This makes it very inconvenient to drag them around when you import them, since you’d have to select first one, then the other – especially if you import lots of videos at once to your timeline. To correct this behaviour, select them and use Ctrl+Shift+Alt+D to remove this extra audio frame.

 

Changes in Space Sequencer

The Playback menu comes originally from the Timeline window in Blender. Since we don’t need to use this window with the Space Sequencer modified interface, the “Audio Scrub” and the “Follow” menu items were brought directly to the Video Sequence Editor for convenience. The “Use backdrop” function was also added to this menu to save space.

Cheers!

Blender Velvets updated for Blender 2.78

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At the end of September 2016, Blender has released it 2.78 version, with very few updates in what concerns the Video Sequence Editor (VSE). Actually, with one update: now, when you toggle between showing/hiding the audio waveforms in the timeline (‘W’ or ‘Alt+W’ in Velvet Goldmine), Blender either shows the strip’s information or the clear waveform, without the text above.

This is great because it solves the oddity of having to zoom incredibly in to check if that cut you want to make is over any random audio you wanted in or out of the cut. Little by little, the VSE is improving!

Regarding the Velvets, there are two updates:

  1. When implementing support for h264 in Velvet Revolver, I used ffmpeg’s “ultrafast” preset for the operation. It turns out that preset was skipping whatever unkown thing in the transcoding world and ProRes422 files that came from Final Cut Pro were having trouble playing in Blender, achieving lower playback FPS than they should. The “ultrafast” is dropped and now things are smooth again.

  2. Some time ago, we reported a bug while changing the strip’s channel in the timeline. Even though the bug was considered fixed, well… the error was still there so I decided to solve it via re-writing the code for this function in Velvet Goldmine (“Alt+DownArrow”). Happy this is also working properly now.

Enjoy. =)

Velvet Revolver has now support for h264 conversion

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As requested long ago by Nathan, Velvet Revolver has now support for h264 encoding. This is still experimental, but should work both for proxy generation and full-res copy creation. Reasons for such change are actually simple.

Technically, the suitable formats for editing are ProRes and MJPEG. This is especially true when you want to change the speed of those videos by using the “Speed control” effect in Blender’s Video Sequence Editor.

Second, my old recycled laptop computer, a Pentium M from 2005 (!), finally died. I was never able to edit videos on it, for obvious reasons. Last month, I bought myself a newer machine, an i5 ThinkPad from 2010. Video editing there seems promising with SSD, but asking for ProRes or MJPEG is simply too much because disk space there is an issue – the files are simply too big.

Used and older computers are great because you save some electronic waste and prove, at the same time, that 2D video can be achieved at lower cost machines, which can be crucial for activist groups. If you’re in the field, you need something fast, light and at hand, so h264 makes a hell lot of sense in this scenario.

Thanks Nathan for pointing that out in the first place and encouraging it, even though time has been short here and it took way longer than expected to have the peace of mind of implementing those changes.

Beware, though! Changes with the “Speed Control” effect may not render or work as expected since h264 is not an intra-frame codec. Test whatever you want to do before assuming things will go smooth with the 30′ documentary you have to deliver in the next 2 days.

 

Also: as computaholic pointed out at GitHub, Velvet Revolver was having issues when converting files down from 59.94fps to 29.97fps. When Blender 2.77 was released, direct access to the project’s FPS* seemed not to be working, so I changed the code to mimic the way Blender was supposedly calculating it. It turns out the old code is actually working now, so I raised the previous version from the dead and any problems should be fixed now.

 

*bpy.context.scene.render.fps

 

Blender Velvets updated for Blender 2.77

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The Blender Velvets are ready for the recent Blender 2.77 release! An important note is that there are some internal changes in the new Blender update, so the Velvets for Blender 2.76 are not compatible with 2.77 – just download the new versions and reinstall the ones you use.

 

New features in VSE

Blender 2.77 has introduced two interesting features this time: the first is that new projects change their FPS according to the first video you insert on your timeline. Cool stuff. =)

The second and most important one is that you can add whole nested scenes to your timeline using Shift+A and chosing “Scene” – remember that with Velvet Goldmine, you can navigate through your Scenes using Shift+Tab.This is probably a very expected addition so many kudos to the Blender team, that has been improving the VSE steadly these last years!

The bad news. Thing is if you try to use Velvet Revolver to toggle between full res and proxies, you’ll realise it won’t affect the nested scene, even though the code has been recently reviewed to affect metastrips (thanks Nathan for pointing that out!).

This issue will probably addressed by the Velvets in the near future but until then, in case you want to use the new “Import Scene” function with Velvet Revolver, you’ll have to run the shortcuts in all the scenes you’re using: Shift+Tab to navigate to them, then Ctrl+Alt+P/Ctrl+Shift+P to toggle between proxies/fullres in each scene.

Also, there is a small change in one of the Velvet Shortcuts. The function “Set Timeline start to frame one” has now a new shortcut, since Alt+S is now taken for “Swap Inputs”, so use Alt+1 instead.

 

Blender bugfix?

Blender 2.77 also brings a bugfix of an error that ocurred especially when using Ctrl+UpArrow and Ctrl+DownArrow with the strips in the timeline. Unfortunately, the new behaviour is not as it used to be in Blender 2.73 (long ago!). If you Ctrl+DownArrow your strips until they get over the ones on the channel right below them, they’ll be thrown to the end of that strip, messing up completely your edit. A new bug report has to be added or the Velvet code will have to be rewritten – until then, watch out.

 

Community rises

The community around the Blender Velvets is starting to sprout. Thanks Nathan, Magali and mentat-fr for help with the code, documentation and thrown out ideas. Things have been rushy, but hopefully all email answering and code reviewing will be done soon.

 

Some video

 

This is a somewhat strange video as teaser for the Cryptorave 2016. The Cryptorave is a huge crypto party conference in São Paulo and since Brazil is now all about politics (and the rise of NeoFascism), the audio is loud and messed up with the bombs (just in case no one has ever blown teargas in your face). Just don’t take it too seriously and things will be fine.

The Blender Velvets are ready for Blender 2.76!

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The Blender Foundation recently updated Blender for its 2.76 version, and the Blender Velvets are up for it! Updates should be done as usual: just download and run the program, install the addons according to our documentation and be happy. Ardour is currently on version 4.4.0 and FFmpeg is currently at 2.8.1.

 

New features in VSE

Two new interesting features regarding the Video Sequence Editor (VSE) are worthy noticing.

First, it is now possible to insert simple texts into the video directly from the VSE, and even exporting those to .srt format. It’s a cool addition and a very requested one by video editors, but to me this is not the main thing to notice.  The text effect seems the first implementation (which is great!) of something that probably will evolve and become more complex with time.

The second one is something anyone who has finished editing and started color grading for final render using modifiers will recognize immediately as extremely useful.

You can now select one single strip, add your modifiers to it (say, curves or color balance) and… copy those modifiers to all other selected strips you want! This is just awesome and incredibly time-saving. No more trying to find that exact spot on your curve to correct the white balance on similar footage to the one you just corrected!

Actually, this addition is so incredible for video makers that it’s surprising it’s not even listed on the overall list of new features.

Well, now you know it. Have fun!

Blender Velvets updated for Blender 2.75

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Blender has recently released their new 2.75 version, with a few changes in the Video Sequence Editor. All the Velvets tested ok for this new version, with minor updates.

The Space_Sequencer is pretty much specific to each Blender version, so you should always update it along with the program. Velvet Goldmine had a minor change in one of its shortcuts: now, to toggle between different Resolution Percentages, use Ctrl+Alt+R instead of the former Ctrl+Alt+Shift+R. Also, both Velvet Revolver and Blue Velvet have been tested with FFmpeg 2.7.1 and the new Ardour 4.1.0 (for the latter).

Here are the links for the download sections: English, Portuguese, French, Spanish.

Rock on!

Blender Velvets finally updated for Blender 2.74

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The Blender Velvets are finally updated for Blender version 2.74. Velvet Revolver and Blue Velvet were also tested using FFmpeg and Ardour latest versions – 2.7.1 and 4.1.0, respectivelly.

This is just a compatibility update, because Blender has just released their 2.75 version, so I’ll update the Velvets right away for it.

Blender 2.74 is out + thank you!

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Blender 2.74 is out and, as usual, with many cool new features which you can check here. As for the Sequencer (VSE), the improvements are: “Slip tool, Setting proxies improved; preview individual strips (feature back from Blender 2.4x)”.

This, of course, brings us to the fundamental question: when will the Blender Velvets be updated? Hopefully, soon. Things have been very rushy here, but as soon as I have some time, they will be. =)

Also, let me use this post to say thank you to everyone.

In a bit more than 3 months, this website has had almost 11.000 views. The download link for the Blender Velvets addons has also been hit over 350 times – this particular piece of information being actually the reason the whole website has been created. A special thanks goes to Alban Sanz, who has not only translated the site to French and Spanish but also managed to spread the word (and the glitter) in Europe about it. Glow!

Velvet Goldmine and Velvet Shortcuts are ready for Blender 2.73a + bugfixes

Velvet Goldmine and Velvet Shortcuts are now ready for Blender versions 2.73 and 2.73a.

Changelog

Bugfixes

Markers – Delete Closest” now recognizes markers that have been moved in the timeline (for example, when “View > Sync Markers” is turned on) and/or that had their names changed. This bug goes all the way back from the early days of Velvet Goldmine but I was finally able to track it down and reproduce it, so it’s now fixed.

Major changes from previous version

  • Metastrip – Make Direct” is now deprecated. Behaviour has been incorporated into Blender itself so the function became useless.

  • Strips – Jump to Next” and “Strip – Jump to Previous” (former Ctrl + PgUp/PgDown shortcuts) are deprecated. Recognition of the end of the strips (instead of just their start) has been incorporated into Blender 2.73, so the functions became useless.

  • Strips – Concatenate selected” (shortcut Shift + C) is still active and on the code, but in most cases the recently added “Insert Gaps” (shortcut Shift + =) and “Remove Gaps” (shortcut Backspace) will do what you expect of this function. I left it there for the time being, but it may suddenly vanish from the code if it proves pointless.

Velvet Shortcuts note

Blender comes with an odd “non-shortcut” for screen.screen_full_area by default – basically, if you press the mouse button on the screen, the screen will become fullscreen and hide all the buttons. Curiously, this does not seem to affect Blender when the set of shortcuts is set to default, but manages to screw up everything when you add other shortcuts such as the Velvet Shortcuts. So the code for this part is commented here to prevent this odd behaviour and for the sake of user sanity.

Update of Velvet Goldmine and Velvet Shortcuts is recommended.