Part 9: Video Editing in Blender

In this ninth part of our Blender guide, we show you how video editing works in the software.

In the previous part of our guide, we showed you how to animate and render our video’s in Blender. For those who have video editing software, this last part really is the last stage of the process. A top 3 YouTube video can be edited together and posted online without a problem. However, some of you out there might be thinking, “Uh, I don’t really have video editing software”. With Blender, that isn’t really a problem. If you have editing software, go ahead and use that. If you don’t, then read on!

Switching to Video Editor Mode

So, with a new Blender project open, you’ll start out with something like this:

Next, you can switch your view to the video editor view by clicking on the view drop down menu along the top:

Once you click on the Video Editing, your view will change to something like this:

Cool! Now we can get to work!

Importing Our Clips

The first thing we want to do is to drop our clips into the timeline (bottom part of the screen). Since we’ve already got three clips rendered out in a nice convenient format, let’s go ahead and add our animation for number 3. First, we need to use our famous Shift + A speed key:

Now, in this case, I want to add a movie because I saved the resulting render in the FFMPEG format (file extensions will be in MKV). Now, remembering where I saved my render files, I’ll just browse to the folder and select the animation that shows my number 3:

With our animation clip inserted, we can continue on with the process of editing. To move it around in the sequencer, hover your mouse over that clip and hit “g”rab. Move the mouse to move it to the new location and left click to stop movements. Remember, like other non-linear video editing software, if you import a second clip and position it higher up, the clip that is higher up will show. This allows you to overlap clips and edit more smoothly.

Importing More Clips

Unlike your numbers, chances are, the clips that you are importing will have audio. So, this will show up with two strips: one for the audio and one for the video. If you notice that your audio and video strips are different lengths, then this is an FPS problem. This, of course, is easily remedied. On the top left corner, you’ll see a graph editor. Remember how we switched views in other parts of our tutorial? Same thing here. This time, we want a properties pane:

Now, in the new pane that you get, click on the Frames Rate drop down menu and select a new frame rate.

Try 25 FPS to see if that causes your imported clips to line up. If not, then it might be just trial and error, but it should work the first time if you run into this problem.

The next problem you might run into is that scrubbing through your clips is almost impossible. This is because you have to manually tell Blender to reset internal proxy videos to allow for easier scrubbing. To do this, go into the right hand side of your sequencer and scroll down to get to your proxy/timecode section:

After you tick the box, you’ll get a sub-set of options. The percentages simply show how big you want the proxy video file for editing (won’t impact your final render). After that, click on the “Rebuild” button below:

A progress bar will appear and eventually disappear. Once done, go to your preview pane and hit “N”

In the new pane, under View Settings, click on the “Scene Render Size” drop down menu. In the menu, click on the Proxy size that matched your percentage size you set earlier. In my case, since I left it at 25%, I click on the “Proxy Size 25%” option. Hit “N” again to hide that pane once done.

Adding Transitions

If your project is much more involved than just making simple cuts (jump cuts is the technical term), then you’ll probably be asking whether or not you can add various transitions. The answer is, of course, yes.

One transition is a fade to/from a colour. Often, it is black if you are going for this, but white is certainly an option as well. First, we need to add in a colour to fade to or from off of. So, first step is to add a strip of colour:

First, you need to click on “Add” (or shift + A again), then “Effect Strip”, then “Color”:

When it adds the colour strip, you’ll be able to click on either the left or right arrow to stretch out the clip.

With this, you can determine how long your transition will be. Generally speaking, quick transitions work better in my experience with only a handful of exceptions. I recommend 10 or 15 frames in a 24 or 25 FPS format if you are using these transitions.

Next, since we are going to use a fade from black to the clip, we are going to use shift click and click on the colour strip, then the video strip second. Remember, the first item you click is the item you are transitioning from. The item you click second is the item you want to fade to.

Next, we are going to click Add or use Shift + A and go to “Effect Strip” and then “Cross”:

After you click that, you’ll see the effect strip added on the top:

In a similar manner, you can crossfade different clips as well. You just need to make sure that the clip you are transitioning to is on a higher tier in the sequencer then the clip you are transitioning from.

Cutting Clips

A final critical component to editing is the ability to cut different clips inside the sequencer. This is probably one of the easiest things you can do while editing. With your right mouse button, move your playhead to where you want to make the cut:

Next, with the clip you want to cut, simply hit “K” on your keyboard to make your cut:

That’s it. You can “g”rab it and move it somewhere else, delete it, or do whatever you want to do with it.

Rendering

So, you’ve done all of your cool stuff with your project (and, of course, saved the project file along the way), now, it is time to finally go render our project out.

All of this is ultimately handled the Properties pane that you opened up earlier in this guide part. In your properties pane, you have your resolution settings:

First, you can notice the resolution. Much like previous renders, you can do a test render at 50% whereas the final render can simply be set at 100%.

Next, you can render either a part or all of your video by setting the first and last frame in the sequence.

After that, you can set the output filepath (where you want to save it to) by either typing in the path or using the browser on the right hand side of the bar under “Output”.

After that, select the file type you want to use. Since this is a video sequence, you’ll probably want to select something from the video column. One possibility is FFMPEG, but definitely choose what works best for you.

Finally, when you are happy with all of your settings, click on the “Animation” button to render out your file. It may take a bit depending on what you have for a project and settings, so definitely try and be patient with this part of the process.

Note that you do have a few additional options next to “Display” just below the “animation” button. You can allow Blender ti display which frame you are on in a number of different modes. Alternatively, if you want to save some processing power, simply use “Keep UI”. Nothing will change in the UI and it will render in the background.

That is it! You can now understand some of the basics in Blender and take a project (namely your “Top 3” project) from the beginning all the way to the final product.

This is, by no means, comprehensive (you could probably fill and entire encyclopedia for a comprehensive look at Blender), but from a beginners perspective, you can put together some basic videos and mix in some fully custom 3D animations in the process. How cool is that?

Keyboard Shortcut Roundup

For those of you who are practising and don’t want to read through paragraphs of content to get to the keyboard shortcuts, here is a list of everything we covered in this part:

  • K = Knife / Cut

Below is a list of commands previously covered in other parts of the guide and mentioned in this part:

  • Shift + A = Add
  • G = Grab / move
  • N = Show Properties

< Animating Our Scene With Keyframes | Index | Some Final Thoughts on Blender >


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