the Blender Velvets

Learn how to configure Blender for video editing.



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How to configure Blender for video

The first Blender screen is the classic 3D cube, with all panel disposition set to animation. This can be a bit scary, but we’ll see that configuring the program for video editing is, actually, quite simple.

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Image 1: To leave the classic initial Blender interface, choose the screen option “Video Editing”, as seen on the image.


Note that depending on your Blender version, the screens may differ slightly from the ones shown here.
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Image 2: At the Video Editing screen, set the syncing option to “AV-Sync”.
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Image 3: Open the Blender Preferences with the shortcut Ctrl+Alt+U. On the first tab, “Interface”, set, unset or choose the options according to the image.
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Image 4: The same is valid for the “Editing” tab.
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Image 5: By default, Blender uses the right mouse button to select or drag objects, which can be counter intuitive. Change this behavior at the “Input” tab.
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Image 6: At the “File” tab, it is possible to define a standard destination folder for render files. Unsetting the option “Save Preview Images” can save RAM memory usage during editing and make the program extremely stable for 2D video editing.
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Image 7: At the “System” tab, change the audio options to the standard in video editing: choose SDL and let the sample rate at 48 kHz and 16 bits. If you have Jack installed in your machine, it will be shown in this same area. Save the configuration by clicking in “Save User Settings” (at the bottom of the screen, to the left); this way, every time you open the program, it will be already active.
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Image 8: As an additional configuration, you can change the language for the Blender interface in this same screen. The image shows the option for “Portuguese”. Notice that even though the language is selected, the interface is not translated yet.
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Image 9: To update the interface, click on the three boxes right below the language option. Notice that the change occurs immediately, as seen on the image. Save your settings by clicking on “Save User Settings” (at the bottom of the screen, to the left); this way, every time you open the program, they will be already active.
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Image 10: If you want Blender to start up directly at the video interface instead of the original 3D one, click on “Save Startup File” on the main menu (shortcut Ctrl+U) and confirm.

How to install the addons

When configuring Blender for 2D video, above, we made it visually ready to start editing projects. It is not practical, however, to try to edit videos the way the program is downloaded, clean. More than just adjusting the interface, we should install specific extensions for that objective, and the first step is to download them using the link below.

This section shows how to install the Blender Velvets addons; the links for each extension documentation can be found in the same download area.



Addons last update Aug 27, 2017 Head to the downloads area


Once downloaded, the addons are inside a zipped folder. Open it as you would do with any regular .zip file and extract its contents to any place of your preference (for example, at your Desktop).

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Image 1: Inside Blender, open the Preferences screen using the shortcut Ctrl+Alt+U or via the main menu in “File > User Preferences”.
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Image 2: At the “Addons” tab, click on the “Install from File…” button.
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Image 3: Find the blender_velvets-master folder. Select the addon you want to install and click on the “Install from file…” button.

Addon → File name
Velvet Goldmine → velvet_goldmine.py
Velvet Revolver → velvet_revolver.py
Blue Velvet → blue_velvet.py


Specific instructions for the files:
velvet_shortcuts.py → see below
space_sequencer.py → see here
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Image 4: The addon will be shown isolated on the screen. To enable it, click on the box to the right, as seen on the image. Keep following the specific steps below, according to the installed addon.
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Velvet Goldmine

Image 5: The Velvet Goldmine addon requires the additional installation of a new shortcuts map. For that, go to the “Input” tab and click on the “Import Key Configuration…” button.

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Velvet Goldmine

Image 6: The shortcuts are inside the same blender_velvet-master folder. Select velvet_shortcuts.py and click on “Import Key Configuration…”

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Velvet Goldmine

Image 7: Note that the new shortcuts are now already loaded and functional. To shift back to the standard shortcuts, select “Blender (default)” on the options box (on the image, “Velvet Shortcuts” is shown).

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Velvet Revolver

Blue Velvet

Image 8: The Velvet Revolver and Blue Velvet addons require the use of an external program, FFMPEG. Click on the arrow to the left of the addon name to open its Preferences panel, as seen on the image.

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Velvet Revolver

Blue Velvet

Image 9: Note that there is a standard path pointing to FFMPEG. If you use Linux and has a recent version of the program installed (on Debian Stable, use the deb-multimedia repository), you can leave it that way. Otherwise, follow the next steps to download it.

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Velvet Revolver

Blue Velvet

Image 10: Go to the downloads area of the FFMPEG website and hover the mouse over the icon corresponding to your operational system (Linux, Windows or Mac OS). For Linux, choose Stactic Builds; for Windows, click on the link; for Mac OS, choose OS X 10.5 and above.

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Velvet Revolver

Blue Velvet

Image 11: The downloads page for the static FFMPEG versions for Linux. Extract the folder from the zipped file (for example, inside the same folder in which Blender is).

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Velvet Revolver

Blue Velvet

Image 12: The downloads page for the static FFMPEG versions for Windows. Extract the folder from the zipped file (for example, inside the same folder in which Blender is).

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Velvet Revolver

Blue Velvet

Image 13: The downloads page for the static FFMPEG versions for Mac OS. Extract the folder from the zipped file (for example, inside the same folder in which Blender is).

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Velvet Revolver

Blue Velvet

Image 14: Back to Blender, click on the folder icon, on the right corner, to open its navigator.

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Velvet Revolver

Blue Velvet

Image 15: Find the FFMPEG folder. You have to find and select the binary or executable file, with the ffmpeg name. Click on the “Accept” button. On the image, we see the example for Windows, but the process is identical for Linux or Mac OS.

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Velvet Revolver

Blue Velvet

Image 16: Blender is now pointing correctly to the FFMPEG binary or executable in your computer. Note that the path to FFMPEG has to be absolute (meaning it must contain the whole path to the file, as seen on the image), otherwise the addon will not work.

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Velvet Revolver

Blue Velvet

Image 17: If the path to FFMPEG is shown as relative (meaning it starts with “//” and “..”, as seen on the image), it is because you have a saved and open project in Blender. Click on the “Remove” button to remove the addon and restart Blender without opening any project. Redo the installation process.

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Velvet Goldmine

Velvet Revolver

Blue Velvet

At the end of everything, click on the “Save User Settings” button (below and to the left on the screen) to make Blender load the addon and the new shortcuts at startup.


How to start a project for video editing

When starting an editing project, the first thing to do is to set the frame rate (FPS) of the project, which must be the same as your footage’s. If your recordings FPS and the project FPS differ, a very common error of lack of sync between audio and video will happen, something we will see in this section.

To follow the steps below, it is advisable to have the Velvet Goldmine addon installed with its respective set of shortcuts (see the section above).

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Image 1: With Blender open, drag a media from a folder to the program’s timeline. The typical result when you have a project set for different FPS than your footage can be seen on the image: video and audio tracks will not have the same length. If you can’t see the end of the strips, zoom the view out using the mouse wheel or the shortcut Home (Linux, Windows) or Fn + ← (Mac OS), with the cursor over the timeline area.
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Image 2: On the Graph Editor screen, click on the window selector icon and choose the “Properties” option.
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Image 3: Observe that the icon for selecting windows is now gone to the upper part of the screen. In the “Dimensions” area, there is an option for selecting the frame rate (FPS). Change the values until both video and audio strips seem to have the same length. If you need to look closer to confirm, hover the cursor over the end of one of the strips (video or audio) and use the mouse wheel to zoom in.
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Image 4: When you get to the right FPS, the ends of both strips will be aligned. To be sure, click with the left mouse button in one of the strips (assuming you have the Velvet Goldmine addon enabled with its corresponding shortcuts set). Note that both strips will be selected at the same time – this means they have the same length. If you drag them around the timeline, they will move together.
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Image 5: A final warning: Blender has no support yet for motion interpolation. This means it is not possible to mix videos with different FPS on the same project. The result will be similar to the one on image: part of the videos will keep sync with their audios while others will loose sync. To solve this problem, you have to equalize the frame rate of all your material. Use the Velvet Revolver addon to make this process automatic.