Page status (reviewing guidelines)
This page is a copy of the same page in 2.4 manual, need to be updated
Overview of the Sequence Editor
Blender's Video Sequence Editor is a flexible workbench for editing your video footage. It is used to review your footage, and glue many sequences of your movie together. It offers a number of built-in and plug-in effects to transition from sequence to sequence, providing advanced hollywood-style effects for a professional looking video.
The Video Sequence Editor has a header (where the menu and view modes are shown) and a workspace, and works in one of several view modes. The Marker menu allows you to add markers in the VSE. Markers are shared across animation editors. See Markers
The sequencer workspace is horizontally striped into channels and each video strip will go in a horizontal channel. Each channel is numbered on the left-hand side, starting from 0 (you can't put anything thing in this special one!) and going up; the picture to the right shows three channels (zero to two). Stripes toward the bottom are more dominant, which we'll get to in a minute. In the x direction, seconds of animation or frames of animation (CtrlT to choose) are used as the measure of time (seconds 1 through 7 are shown). You can scale the time using the zoom keys or mouse actions (see the Reference for more info).
When you click Render or Anim to generate an image or video, Blender has a choice of what image to compose for the current frame/scrub range:
- Current Scene layer result
- Sequence Editor channel 0 result
- Composition Node Editor renderlayer result
The video sequencer is enabled by default.
When you go to the render panel where ordinary renderings take place and you click animation or image with the VSE open, it will render the clips for the VSE instead of the scene.
Using the Sequence Editor
The Add menu is the main menu you will be using to add content to the VSE. In general, you load up your strips, create strips of special transition effects, and then animate out your sequence by selecting "Do Sequence" and clicking the Anim button. You can use the Add menu in the header, or hover your mouse cursor over the Sequence workspace and press ⇧ ShiftA.
Clips can be Huge
A three minute quicktime .mov file can be 140Megs. Loading it, even over a high-speed LAN can take some time. Don't assume your computer or Blender has locked up if nothing happens for awhile.
First, let's add a clip:
- A movie clip in the Audio-Video Interleaved format (*.avi file)
- A movie clip in the Apple QuickTime format (*.mov)
- A single still image to be repeated for a number of frames (*.jpg, *.png, etc.)
- A numbered sequence of images (*-0001.jpg, *-0002.jpg, *-0003.jpg, etc, of any image format)
- One or more images from a directory
- A Scene in your .blend file.
Blender does not care which of these you use; you can freely mix and match any of them. They all become a color-coded strip in the VSE:
- Blue is used for Avi/mov codec strips
- Grey is a single image that is repeated/copied
- Purple is an image sequences or group of images played one after the other
- Green is an Audio track
When you choose to add one of these, the VSE window will switch to a file browser for you to select what you want to add. Supported files have a little rectangle next to their name (blue for images, green for clips) as a visual cue that you can pick them successfully:
Add Movies or Images
In the case of (numbered) image sequences, you have a choice: Directory: RMB right-click on a directory name, and all files in that directory will be brought in as part of the image, in sort order, one image per frame Range: Navigate into the directory and right-click and drag over a range of names to highlight multiple files. You can page down and continue right-click-dragging to add more to the selection Batch: Shift-right-click selected non-related stills for batch processing; each image will be one frame, in sort order, and can be a mix of file types (jpg, png, exr, etc.) All: Press A to select/deselect All files in the directory.
When you click the Select <whatever> button, the window pane will switch back to VSE, and the strip will be rubber-banded to your mouse. You cannot load multiple movies at the same time by right-clicking them; no movies load if you right click them. Right-clicking only works for images.
Error: The selected file is not a movie or FFMPEG support not compiled in!
means that the file is not a movie that Blender can recognize, or you selected with the wrong button. You get this error message because you right-clicked on a movie file, OR you don't have a codec that can decode the avi file. If it's the latter, find a codec so you can play the file outside of Blender, and then you will be able to load it. If it's the former, you must left-click to select movies.
In order to add items to the VSE, left-click for movies, left-click for single images, or right-click and drag for image sequences. Move your mouse to the frame/time and stripe you want, and click to break the rubberband and drop the strip in place (in a channel and starting at a frame).
When you add an image, Blender makes it into a 50-frame strip, which means that image will be in your video for two seconds (at 25 fps – PAL). Aside from re-positioning it, you will want to scale it by RMB -clicking on either the start or end arrow, and dragging left or right. As you move, the frame number updates to say where the arrow is. Click LMB to validate, or RMB to cancel the modification.
|Dealing with Different Sizes|
|Dealing with different sized images and different sized outputs is tricky. Think like a pixel. If you have a mis-match between the size of the input image and the render output size, the VSE does try to auto-scale the image to fit it entirely in the output. This may result in clipping. If you do not want that, use Crop and/or Offset in the Input panel to move and select a region of the image within the output. When you use Crop or Offset, the auto-scaling will be disabled and you can manually re-scale by adding the Transform effect.|
If you scroll up the workspace, you will see an information channel (at vertical location channel 0) that gives you some helpful hints about the active strip. The example above shows a color strip from frames 1 to 25, then a mov file, and then an image strip. The info channel shows handy information about the image strip, whose name has been scrunched in the strip display, but is clearly spelled out in the information strip.
9999 frames go by (IMAGE strips only!)
Ok, so that was a very obscure reference to a song about 99 balloons, but we really have not anticipated how fast Blender has moved into mainstream video editing. Unfortunately, we initially reserved 4 digits for the filename of each video image sequence set. While that provides for up to 400 seconds of video (about 5 minutes US), with Blender moving into movies, you need to break up IMAGE strips into 4 digits only, and others 5 digits (10000-19999), (20000-29999), etc. Important: that only affects IMAGE strips at the moment. All the other strip types work fine with up to 300,000 frames (approximately 3 hours, read: Ben Hur :) ).
You must have a codec on your machine that can decode the avi file. Blender does not control these. For example, the XviD codec is available from www.xvid.org
If you are using a Blender build with FFMPEG support, you will be able to load audio and video strips together; select Movie+Audio(HD) and when you drop the strip, the strip will split into an audio and video channel strips.
You can add the virtual image output of a Scene in your current .blend file as well. Select the scene from the popup list, and a strip will be added and rubberbanded to your mouse just like a movie or image. The strip length will be determined based on the animation settings in that scene (not the current scene, unless the VSE is operating in the same scene).
When adding a Scene strip, please note that, in order to show you the strip in the VSE Image preview mode, Blender must render the scene. This may take awhile if the scene is complex, so there may be a delay between the time you select the scene and the time the strip appears. To reduce the delay, simplify the scene rendering by selecting fewer layers to render.
The VSE can incorporate an audio channel which you can hear as you scrub. Add an audio track when you are trying to time your video/animation to an audio track, or vice versa. Please refer to the Audio Sequences section for more information.
Blender offers two categories of effects: Built-in and Plug-in. The built-in effects are listed to the right. They are built-in to Blender and everyone has them. The plug-in effects are separate files in a sequence-plugin directory on your PC that are loaded as they are needed. While a standard set of plugins are distributed when you installed Blender, everyone's computer may have a different set.
Every Built-in effect is explained in the next page individually, but they all are added and controlled in the same way. To add an effect strip, select one base strip (image, movie, or scene) by RMB clicking on it. For some effects, like the Cross transition effect, you will need to ⇧ ShiftRMB a second overlapping strip (it depends on the effect you want). Then select Add -> Effect and pick the effect you want from the pop-up menu. When you do, the Effect strip will be shown above the source strips. If it is an independent effect, like the color generator (described later), it will be rubberbanded to your mouse; click to drop the strip.
Since most Effects strips depend on one or two source strips, their frame location and duration depends on their source strips. Thus, you may not be able to move it; you have to move the source strips in order to affect the effect strip.
To use an effect that combines or makes a transition between (or composites) two strips, you must Box select or shift-right-click two of them. When you add the effect strip, it will be placed in a channel above the two in Grab mode (click to drop it on a channel). Its duration will be the overlap between the two strips as a maximum.
With some effects, like the AlphaOver, the order in which you select the strips is important. You can also use one effect strip as the input or source strip with another strip, thus layering effects on top of one another.
Note: The only exception is the Color Generator effect. It does not depend on a base strip; you can add and position it independent of any other strip. Change the length as you would any strip.
Mode: Sequence, Effects Strip Selected
Menu: Strip -> Change Effect
If you picked the wrong effect from the menu, you can always change it by selecting the strip (RMB ) and using the Strip->Change Effect selection. Or, you can press Change to switch effects on a selected Effects strip.
Adding Plugin Effects
VSE plugins are not working in Blender 2.6 currently…
The properties for the strip are examined and set in the properties panel, shortcut N.
- Edit - change properties of the strip
- Input - where to pull images from
- Effect - Settings for effects strips
- Filter - Image pre-processing
- Proxy - Use representatives of the real image, for low-powered PCs
- Scene - Settings for when a scene strip is selected
- Sound - Settings for a sound clip
The panels for each of these sets of options and controls are shown to the right
Edit Strip Panel
- You can name or rename your strips here.
- Displays the type of strip selected.
- Blend Mode
- By default, a strip Replaces the output image of any lower-level strips. However, many other blending modes are available based on the strip type. For example, Alpha-Over automatically overlays the image on top of a lower level strip. These autoblending modes obviates the need for separate effect strips. Blend percent controls how much of an (even over time) effect the strip exerts.
- Set the opacity of the strip.
- Hides the strip so that it does not participate in the final image computation
- Prevents the strip from being moved.
- Changes the channel number, or row, of the strip.
- Start Frame
- Changes the starting frame number of the strip, which is the same as grabbing and moving the strip. Tip: when you add a strip, I like to just drop it and then use this field to place it at the frame I want, rather that trying to drag and drop in exactly the right place.
- Specify the number of frames to use for the strip.
Use the Convert to Premul button if a strip has an Alpha (transparency) channel. Use FilterY if the strip is from broadcast video and has even or odd interlacing fields. Enhance the color saturation through the Multiply field. Play a strip backwards by enabling Reverse Frames. Tell Blender to display every nth frame by entering a Strobe value. Finally, when using MPEG video (VCD, DVD, XVid, DivX, …), an image is built up over the course of a few frames; use the Preseek field to tell Blender to look backward and compose the image based on the n previous frames (e.g. 15 for Mpeg2 DVD).
For all effects, use the Strip Properties panel to control the effects strip; each effect has different controls, but they can all be set in the Properties panel. Control the length of the strip to vary the speed with which the transform happens. Regardless of whether they are built-in or plug-in, all effect strips do some special image manipulation, usually by operating on another strip or two in a different channel. The effect strip is shown in some channel, but its resultant effect shows up as Channel 0.
Controls the source of the strip. Fields include file path, file name, image offset, crop settings.
This is here you can edit/update the path of the file used by a strip. Very useful when you moved it one way or the other – this avoid you deleting and re-creating the strip!
You have two text fields for path, the first being the path of the parent directory (Path), and the second the file name itself.
Enables you to quickly set common image pre-processing options.
- X flips (reverses) the image left-to-right, Y reverses top-to-bottom.
- Reverses strip image sequence
- Removes fields in a video file.
- Increase or decrease the saturation of an image.
- Multiplies the colors by this value.
- Premultiply the Alpha channel.
- Convert Float
- Converts input to float data.
- Use Color Balance
- Provides three filters to adjust coloration: Lift, Gamma, and Gain. Each pass can have a positive, or inverted effect by clicking the appropriate button. Set the amount of the effect by setting the color swatch; white (RGB 1,1,1) has no effect.
Proxy Strip Properties Panel
A proxy is a smaller image (faster to load) that stands in for the main image. When you Rebuild proxy Blender computes small images (like thumbnails) for the big images and may take some time. After computing them, though, editing functions like scrubbing and scrolling and compositing functions like cross using these proxies is much faster but gives a low-res result. Disable proxies before final rendering.
This panel appears when a sound file is selected.
Here you can specify the Sound Strip's file path and file name.
- Packs the sound file into the current .blend file.
- The sound file is decoded and loaded into RAM.
- Set the volume of the Sound file.
- Attenuation in decibels
- Trim Duration: Start/End
- Offset the start and end of a sound strip.
Specify the scene to be linked to the current scene strip.
- Process the render (and composited) result through the video sequence editor pipeline, if sequencer strips exist. This is the same function as in the render settings.
- Camera Override
- Change the camera that will be used.
Adjusting the View
Use these shortcuts to adjust the sequence area of the VSE:
- Pan MMB
- Zoom Wheel
- Vertical Scroll use ⇧ ShiftWheel , or drag on the left scroll bar.
- Horizontal Scroll use CtrlWheel , or drag on the lower scroll ;bar.
- Scale View Vertically, drag on the circles on the vertical scroll bar.
- Scale View Horizontally, drag on the circles on the horizontal scroll bar.
As usual, the View Menu controls what and how you view in the workspace.
- Properties Panel
- The Properties Panel contains options for the the way the preview is displayed.
- View all Sequences ↖ Home
- Zooms (out) the display to show all strips.
- Fit preview in Window ↖ Home
- Resizes preview so that it fits in the window.
- Show Preview 1:1 1 NumPad
- Resizes preview to a 1:1 scale (actual size).
- View Selected . NumPad
- Zooms in the display to fit only the selected strips
Use this when working arranging a lot of strips and you want to use all of your screen to work.
Menu: View -> Show Frames, View -> Show Seconds
- Draw Frames
- Diplays the frame number instead of the time, int he Frame Number Indicator.
- Show Frame Number Indicator
- Toggles the units of measure across the bottom of the workspace between seconds or frames.
- Safe Margin
- Displays an overlay on the preview, marking where title safe region is.
- Separate Colors
- When using Luma Waveform view, this separates R,G, and B into separate graphs.
- Transform Markers
- Transform Markers as well as Strips.
To move back and forth through your movie, use the Timeline window. LMB click and drag left/right in the timeline window, moving the vertical bar which indicates the current frame. As you do, the image for that frame is displayed in the VSE window.
Real-time scrubbing and image display is possible on reasonable computers when viewing an image sequence or movie (avi/mov) file. Scene images have to be rendered individually, which may take some time.
The icons in the header allow to change the view of the VSE. By default, only the sequencer is displayed. The second button displays only the Preview window, and the third button displays both the Sequencer and the Preview.
When the preview is enabled, you have several options to change what type pf preview to display. They are explained in the Display Modes Page.
When using a Scene Strip in the sequencer, these settings in the Properties Panel determine how they are shown in the preview window.
- Open GL Preview
- If you have Open GL, enable this setting to use Open GL for the scene preview renders.
- The drop down menu allows you to change how the Scene is displayed (Bounding Box, Wireframe, Solid, Textured).
The View Settings section in the properties panel contains addition display options.
- Show Overexposed
- Increasing this number to 1 or greater displays a striped overlay to the preview image, showing where it is overexposed. A higher number gives a higher threshold for marking overexposure.
- Safe Margin
- Displays an overlay on the preview, marking where title safe region is.
- Proxy Render Size
- Draws preview using full resolution or different proxy resolutions. Render resolution is determined in the render settings panel. Using a smaller preview size will increase speed.
Certain operations, like moving an object in 3D View, may not force the Sequencer to call for a refresh of the rendered image (since the movement may not affect the rendered image). If an image or video, used as a strip, is changed by some application outside of Blender, Blender has no real way of being notified from your operating system. To force Blender to re-read in files, and to force a re-render of the 3D View, click the Refresh button to force Blender to update and synchronize all cached images and compute the current frame.
The Select Menu helps you select strips in different ways.
- Strips to the Left
- Select all strips to the left of the currently selected strip.
- Strips to the Right
- Select all strips to the right of the currently selected strip.
- Select Surrounding Handles AltCtrlRMB
- Select both handles of the strip, plus the neighboring handles on the immediately adjoining strips. Select with this method to move a strip that is between to others without affecting the selected strip's length.
- Left Handle AltRMB
- Select the left handle of the currently selected strip.
- Right Handle CtrlRMB
- Select the right handle of the currently selected strip.
- Select all strips linked to the currently selected strip
- Select All A
- Selects all the strips loaded.
- Select Inverse
- Inverts the current selection.
- Border Select B
- Begins the Box mode select process. Click and drag a rectangular lasso around a region of strips in your Sequence workspace. When you release the mouse button, the additional strips will be selected.
Moving and Modifying Strips
G Moves the selected strip(s) in time or in channels. Move your mouse horizontally (left/right) to change the strip's position in time. Move vertically (up/down) to change channels.
- To snap while dragging hold Ctrl
- To 'ripple edit' (Make room for strips you drag) hold Alt when placing a strip.
If you have added a strip by mistake or no longer want it, delete it by pressing X or using this menu option.
The Strip Menu contains additional tools for working with strips:
- Grab/Extend from Frame
- Cut (hard) at frame
- Cut (soft) at frame
- Separate Images
- Deinterlace Movies
- Duplicate Strips
- Erase Strips
- Set Render Size
- Make Meta Strip
- UnMeta Strip
- Reload Strips
- Reassign Inputs
- Swap Inputs
- Lock Strips
- UnLock Strips
- Mute Strips
- Un-Mute Strips
- Mute Deselected Strips
- Snap Strips
- Swap Strips
Snap to Frame
⇧ ShiftS Position your cursor (vertical green line) to the time you want. Snap to current frame to start a strip exactly at the beginning of the frame. If your Time display is in seconds, you can get to fractional parts of a second by zooming the display; you can get all the way down to an individual frame.
Separate Images to Strips
Y Converts the strip into multiple strips, one strip for each frame. Very useful for slide shows and other cases where you want to bring in a set on non-continuous images.
- RMB in the middle of the strip selects the entire strip; holding it down (or pressing Grab) and then moving the mouse drags a strip around.
- RMB on the left arrow of the strip selects the start frame offset for that strip; holding it down (or pressing Grab and then moving the mouse left/right changes the start frame within the strip by the number of frames you move it:
- If you have a 20-image sequence strip, and drag the left arrow to the right by 10 frames, the strip will start at image 11 (images 1 to 10 will be skipped). Use this to clip off a rollup or useless lead-in.
- Dragging the left arrow left will create a lead-in (copies) of the first frame for as many frames as you drag it. Use this when you want some frames for transitions to the this clip.
- RMB on the right arrow of the strip selects the end frame of the strip; holding it down (or pressing Grab) and then moving the mouse changes the ending frame within the strip:
- Dragging the right arrow to the left shortens the clip; any original images at the tail are ignored. Use this to quickly clip off a rolldown.
- Dragging the right arrow right extends the clip. For movies and images sequences, more of the animation is used until exhausted. Extending a clip beyond its end results in Blender making a copy of the last image. Use this for transitions out of this clip.
- STRIP EXTEND. With a number of Image strips selected, pressing E enters EXTEND mode. All selected strip handles to the "mouse side" of the current frame indicator will transform together, allowing you to essentially extend the strips that fall exactly on the current frame marker and having all others adjust to compensate.
While splicing two strips happens just by placing them finish-to-start, cut a strip by pressing K to cut. At the selected frame for the selected strips, K cuts them in two. Use Cut to trim off roll-ups or lead-ins, or roll-downs or extra film shot ("C" was already taken for Change).
When extending the start beyond the beginning or end after the ending, keep in mind that only the last image copies, so when viewed, action will stop on that frame. Start your transition (fade, cross) a little early while action is still happening so that the stop action is not that noticeable (unless, of course, you want it to be, like the 80's drama sitcoms).
Change the length of an effect strip by changing the start/end frame of the origin strips.
Copy and Paste
You can copy a clip and paste it using the two header buttons.
A Meta-Strip is a group of strips. Select all the strips you want to group, and Make them into one meta. The meta spans from the beginning of the first strip to the end of the last one, and condenses all channels into a single strip, just like doing a mixdown in audio software. Separating (ungrouping) them restores them to their relative positions and channels.