In this tutorial, you will learn how to use Blender as a video editor!
You might have worked with other video editors such as Windows Movie Maker, or Cyberlink PowerDirector or even other higher end video editing software like Premiere. While Blender isn’t primarily known to be a competent video editor, it still is quite powerful. In fact, my own films “Uyir”, “Vetri” and “Tripping” were all edited within Blender!
So how do we use Blender as a video editor?
The Video Sequence Editor (VSE)
In Blender, all you need to do is change the screen layout from ‘Default’ to ‘Video Editing’. This gives you a new layout of Blender that mimics a professional video editor.
Working with Video
To import video or image sequences, go to the Video Sequence Editor window and press Add -> Movie (for movie clips) or Add -> Image (for an image or image sequences). You then proceed to select your clip or image. For image sequences, go to the folder where you have your image sequence and then press A. This will select all the images in the folder. You can also do box select by pressing B and left-click dragging (middle-click dragging will de-select). Once you have selected your sequence and pressed Add Image Strip, you will see your new strip in the editor. The same goes for a movie clip. We call these “strips”.
You can work with these strips and do whatever you like with them. Just like when modeling, you can move them around by pressing G. You can hide them by pressing H and unhide by Alt+H. You can duplicate a strip by pressing Shift+D. You can also cut a strip in half. You do this by left-clicking anywhere near the middle of the strip (this moves the current frame to where you clicked). Then press K. The cut should be made. You will have 2 different strips to work with. To delete a strip, you just press X -> Erase strips.
You can overlay a strip on top of another strip. You can create a nice fade effect or transition effect by animating the “Opacity” value on the right. You will be able to see a preview in the top right part of the screen.
If you want to trim a video strip, you can right-click on the edges of the strip where you see the arrow to select and move (by pressing G). You can then trim up to where you want. Right-clicking in the middle of the strip will select the whole strip, and right-clicking the sides where the arrows are, will select the handles to trim.
Working with Audio
You can also throw in audio files as well. Most common formats will work well. Sometimes you might find that there will be a syncing problem with the video and audio in Blender. That’s because Blender might not be fast enough to catch up the video playback with the audio. You can fix this at the bottom where you see “No Sync” to “AV-sync”. This will drop some frames from playback so that it matches the audio. Great for dialogue scenes where lip syncing is important.
Creating cool effects
You can create some cool effects with Blender. In the VSE, select a strip and if you go to Add -> Effect Strip, you will see a bunch of effects that you have at your disposal. For example, if you choose Speed Control, you can control how fast or slow your video goes. You can create a slow-mo effect yourself. You can control how fast or slow you want your video to go by selecting one of the side arrows on the speed control strip and moving it out or in. This will automatically slow down or speed up the strip to fit the new length.
Sometimes you might be happy with how 2 strips are interacting with each other and combine them into 1 strip. You do this by pressing Ctrl+G -> Make Meta Strip.
One the video editing is all done, you can render it out. Just change the screen layout back from ‘Video Editing’ to ‘Default’. Then change the rendering settings as appropriate. The settings I usually use is 1920×1080 (100%), H.264 video, MP3 audio with 192kbps. You don’t need to mess with sampling or anything like that, the video editing sequence doesn’t care about that. Choose an output folder and give your video a cool name under the Output settings. When ready, press the Animation button (or Ctrl+F12). Wait, go outside and smell the fresh air, and then come back to see your video masterpiece all ready to be uploaded to Youtube or shown to family/friends.
That’s all! Blender’s video editor isn’t the best in the world but it does get the job done. There’s actually a lot more advanced stuff you can do with Blender’s video editor, too much to fit into one post, so I will disperse them in several posts later.