Me, programs, examinations and coursework.

Posts tagged ‘software’

Encoding Exports

After doing all the editing, the final stage of any videomaking process is to render the whole thing.

Adobe Premiere has a built-in Export tool, which allows manipulation of tens of settings that all change the final output of the video. I chose H.264, a common encoding format for videos, and used PAL DV High Quality at first, although switched to another preset later on.

What’s most interesting is the buttons along the bottom right of the user interface. There’s the standard Cancel button, a Metadata button that allows me to edit all the metadata included with the video (every single bit, which is thousands), and then there’s a Queue and Export button.

What’s the difference?

Export immediately creates the video, from anything that Premiere has on hand. It’s the fast, dirty option, programmed for quick results.

Queue, however, sends all the Premiere data to the Adobe Media Encoder and renders the video there. It’s much sleeker and efficient because the Media Encoder is better at creating the file type, and saves space. Unfortunately, the rendering takes several times longer.

After it’s all set, all that’s left is to hit Return, let the Media Encoder start, drain a tonne of Alex’s resources, and render the video.

I sat watching the Encoder go through the entire project for a full ten minutes, spending the first eight of those minutes rendering the first 5 seconds of the video and the last two minutes rendering the remaining 3 minutes or so. Apparently, Adobe Media Encoder is very good at rendering out video clips but takes painstakingly long on still images. I have not thought up a plausible explanation for why.

Still, Adobe’s powerful suite of programs is pretty good, I must say.

Correcting Edits

I hate video taking, and the reason for that is simple: I look terrible in front of a camera.

What goes on after that, however, is something I find very fun and probably the most interesting bit of any videomaking process.

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Alex: Linear and Non-Linear Video Editing Systems

Having just finished a video editing project, I find it fair to launch into an explanation here.

Video editing suites have changed substantially over the past couple of years. At the beginning, film was edited manually. The special effects of that age were limited and often simple. Even transitions were incredibly easy. 

The film industry term ‘cut’, to refer to a rapid change in scene (no less than 1 frame), is derived from the ancient technique of doing so. Back then, film strips were literally cut by the editor and pieced together again to form a final video. It was crude, and any error on the part of the editor would result in irreparable damage. You can imagine the pressure that they were under at that time.

It also meant that video editing was linear. Editors had to start at the beginning and piece everything together bit by bit. Sure, they could assemble everything outside of sequence, but it still went from the beginning and straight to the end. Nothing more.

A Sony BVE-910 linear editing system's keyboard

These controls were specially designed for linear video editing. Image via Wikipedia.

When computers were invented, they further enhanced the limitability of linear editing systems. At this point, random access still had not been invented, so that the editor had to load pieces up in order and assemble them like so. I have never run a linear editing system, so I can hardly go into the details.

Today, however, the majority of video editing happens on non-linear video editing software, like iMovie, Adobe Premiere, or Sony Vegas. These programs are use non-destructive video editing techniques, rather like how Adobe Photoshop works.

The principle is simple. These editing suites, instead of editing the video, simply write a text file stating the location of the video clip, which sections of the video clip to play, and then where that is placed in the relative timeline. This means that the original video file is never altered or edited — being non-destructive — but the fact it writes the relative position on the timeline also means that they could be rearranged at leisure. After all, you’re not moving about 1.5Gb of video data — you’re simply rewriting one line of text in a 1KB file.

Naturally, this revolutionised the film industry. Now, nearly all video editing takes place on some non-linear video editing software because of its ease.

The downside to using non-linear video editing software was that none of the actual video files were placed together. As a result, the software file itself was meaningless. To share the actual video, the user needed to render the video out, so that each individual bit was converted into a video, and assembled to form the final film. This process often took hours, perhaps even days, depending on the intensity of the editing. In other words, the system traded the time around, granting ease and speed of editing and increasing time needed to produce the product.

Premiere logo.

Adrian loves this program. Image via Wikipedia.

Still, Adobe Premiere runs fine on me, and I’m not complaining. Even if it does drain my RAM a bit. A bit more than a bit. 

Get the joke?

DAZ 3D: My Wallpaper

As most of you already know, I’m a pretty big fan of video games artwork and 3D CGI artwork. I just love it. It is just simply amazing. And awesome. And the people just look so… brilliant and cool and everything!

So, today, I think I can join the circle of people who produce things like this.

"Inspire Yourself." As a writer, I know what these words mean.

DAZ 3D

The DAZ 3D logo. Image via Wikipedia.

I know it looks brilliant, and awesome, but actually it was only created in a couple of minutes on DAZ 3D software’s DAZ Studio 4 Pro, on Alex. I think the only reason why it’s so powerful is because of Alex’s own built-in GPU, something I have found very helpful in rendering fractal landscapes and now, my wallpapers.

I’m not sure what made it a wallpaper. I just knew then when I had rendered the image, I wanted it to have some kind of symbolism. So I added a background and some text, and it turned out to be a wallpaper. Well, I’m not objecting. I could use something else to stare at in times of creative poverty now.

The background is a lovely photograph of Hong Kong’s night skyline. As a proud part of Hong Kong, I couldn’t resist putting that image in when I saw it. I’m pretty sure it’s public domain, but if it isn’t, I’d be more than happy to cite you.

To All Confused Planners: XMind

XMind is the answer to all your planning, organisation, mind mapping, and strategic problems.

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