Tagged Velvet Revolver

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.

Major update on Velvet Revolver

Major update on Velvet Revolver: now you can have any combination of extensions you want for full_res and proxy files as long as they are recognized as video extensions by Blender.

Currently, they are the following: ‘.mov’, ‘.flc’, ‘.mpg2’, ‘.xvid’, ‘.avi’, ‘.mp4’, ‘.mpeg’, ‘.m2v’, ‘.flv’, ‘.m4v’, ‘.m2t’, ‘.mv’, ‘.vob’, ‘.mkv’, ‘.ts’, ‘.divx’, ‘.avs’, ‘.wmv’, ‘.ogg’, ‘.mpg’, ‘.ogv’, ‘.dv’, ‘.movie’, ‘.webm’, ‘.mts’, ‘.mxf’, ‘.m2ts’, ‘.r3d’.

This means you can mix a full_res.mkv with a proxy.avi proxy file, for example and all should go well.

Of course, as described at Velvet Revolver’s page, it is always recommended to stick to ProRes422 or MJPEG codecs when editing (for both full_res and proxy files) because using any intra-frame codec can be tricky – especially while mixing them. Theoretically, there’s great chance of losing frame precision when toggling between the proxy and/or full_res files, so be warned. If you’re going to do that, make tests before trying to edit a monster video.

Updating Velvet Revolver is recommended.