Video Editing in Blender – Introduction

Have you searched high and low for a free bit of software to do your video editing? Are you on a PC or Mac, and are looking for something that won’t require you switching to Linux?

In this video, I take you through the steps of setting up a project and using Blender as your video editing solution. I’ve created a basic key configuration file and a .blend file with the Video Editing window layout I set up in this video. Download it from below, then follow along with the video. You should be ready to edit your video in less than half an hour!

 

32 Responses to “Video Editing in Blender – Introduction

  • hello, great tutorial.
    Sorry for the language. I only know the basics of English.
    I use the blender for some time. My suggestion:
    - You need not set the exact start and end points of clips. When two clips are overlapping, confirm the position. The second clip set at the end of the first clip.
    - An easy way to place clips: Move the cursor, click on the selected clip and press Shift + S.
    - To make it easier to navigate pres Ctrl + MMP. Timeline is easily scaled.

    • Hi – yeah I’ve tried to simulate the “close gaps” operation from FCP (which is simply select gap, delete, or CTRL-G). Blender can allow a close gap – provided there are no strips on other tracks above or below where the gap is. The simplest way is to place the scrubber at the end of a clip, then hit SHIFT-S to snap the following clip to the scrubber. I will look into this further, but it is one of the small compromises you have to deal with when editing in Blender.

  • Awesome. Thank you very much!!

  • Thanks for this intro. I’ve been using blender for a long time, but still learned a few things :) I’ve had trouble with dealing with video files that have audio. The audio and video seem to have syncing issues. If you could cover this in a future video, that would be very cool.

    • Hi Johnny – yes, there is a way you can overcome synch issues! Firstly: make sure the video you are importing is consistent with your project settings (ie: if you’re going to edit in NTSC, set your project settings to an NTSC time base; PAL – likewise). Another tip: try to compress your audio to LPCM WAV is possible. 44.1kHz works great, but I think 48kHz will also work – but again, make sure you’re working with consistent footage. This will prevent the error where the video strip comes in longer than the audio.

      Second (and I aim to address this is a future video) – take a look at the screenshot. In your “Timeline” Window (that’s the one with the small clock; not the Sequencer window which holds all our strips) click on the “Playback” Menu and select “AV Sync”. I find this increases performance of the playback while editing. Hope this helps!

  • Absolutely wonderful. This tutorial worth for a course!!

    I tried to install a free package – LightWorks – but it didn’t work because of missing of a dll file or something.

    But Blender has a lot funcionalities that we – modellers – don’t know.

    Thanks a lot!

  • Hi Paul, the context you give of being a Final Cut Pro user is interesting, and I wouldn’t mind hearing more about what features Blender’s VSE is lacking (I’ve only used the VSE, not FCP, and don’t do this stuff professionally). One quick tip you might already know: your ‘back of the envelope’ calculation at 17:30 — you can literally type the calculation into the frames field. All Blender’s numerical inputs accept Python expressions, so if you type in 30*75 it will evaluate as 750 automatically. You don’t need to make a note or even do the mental arithmetic. :)

  • What’s wrong with switching to Linux?

    • LOL!! As you know: NOTHING. But try explaining that to a lazy Windows user. Uh-oh… now I’m waiting for the “What’s wrong with Windows?” reply…

  • Thank you for the tutorial! really helpful!!, i have a couple of questions, can i see the keyframes drawed over the waveform??, and how i can edit a 5.1 audio, can i?? thanks a lot! Greetings from Chile!

    • Good questions, Belo! I shall endeavour to find out. As far as I know, you can’t overlay keyframes over the waveform. Waveforms will only be drawn over WAV files. keyframes can be added and adjusted in the graph editor separately. The good news is that scrubbing along the sequencer updates over the graph editor, so even though you look at two different screens, you can be sure you’re working on the same frame.

  • Blender has a very handy Edit tool indeed. I wonder if there is an option to snap the clip to the end of the previous one as we have in Final Cut or Premiere. Very useful option to avoid chewing frames when you are editing. Shift Key slows down offseting the clip but still, not a snap…
    Excelent introduction video on Blender Sequence Editor Paul. Thanks a lot for it.

    • Hi Rodrigo – see a reply to a comment below. It’s definitely something which could be added in future releases of Blender! Shift-S is the closest, and there is a “close gap” function, but this only works if there are no clips above or below the gap you’re trying to close.

      • Tip: drag the strip till it highlights in red and drop – the clip will snap back to the frame after the underlying strip. This has worked in blender for a long time even before 2.49, the strips have to be in the same channel, you can align on the same channel and then move on y to change channels without changing the start frame. Another option is to go to the frame you want the clip to start (shown by the green scrub line) then select the strip and press shift-S to snap the selected strip to start on the current frame. Also you can have blender calculate values for you – for frame rate enter 30*25 – the * is scripting for multiply and / is for divide, + and – you should know.

  • Hi Marco – cheers for that. I also noticed I left a board from the previous edit I did saying this video was from SMASH! I really with Youtube would let me replace the video or at least perform a minor edit if I overlook small details like this! I’ll be a bit more attentive to the minor details in future.

  • Hi. Really nice and clear intro to VSE: thank you!

    I’d like to suggest two tips to speed-up real-time preview.
    One is to enable Frame Dropping in the Playback menu within the timeline viewport: when this option is enabled, the player tries to drop frames to keep the render output frame rate set.

    The second is to open the properties panel (N key) in the preview viewport. Near the bottom you will find the “Proxy render size” option selector. You can select “Proxy size 50%” and the video will be previewed rescaled, thus faster.

  • Great tutorial. I never knew VSE was so easy yet worked as good as a standalone app. I’m sure you plan to go over this in a later tutorial, but you got me looking into the wiki about the VSE and effects. I was wondering how to correctly use slow motion, it seems its the only effect I can’t get to work right.

  • Thanks for the great tutorial. A suggestion for a future tutorial: an explanation of the output settings. As an absolute amateur in video editing it would be great to get a description of the various output settings by someone who does editing professionally. Thanks!

  • This an excellent introduction. As a newcomer I’m still confused about how to do basic edits on video with an accompanying audio track. They don’t seem to be linked, so cutting and moving the video track takes it out of sync with the audio.

  • But HOW we get the rendered movie clip? I press “render animation” (ctrl F12) and the rendered clip is AUDIO only – no video.

    • Hey Jiri, just make your render settings to the video standard you want to render out to – just as you would for any render. I’m still working on a follow-up tutorial on effects and final outpu.

  • Is there a way to overlay a timecode (hh:mm:ss.ss) over a video strip and see the timecode in the preview window – during scrubbing? The time would start counting with the beginning of the timecode-strip. The goal is to measure and display time from an arbitrary time-point in the video.

    • Not to my knowledge as yet. Is this for use during editing, or to render out a clip with a time stamp?

      • This is for measuring finish times of races from the video recording of the finish line. On Windows I used Vegas Video where there is a TimeCode generator which creates a small box of [hh:mm.ss.ss] in an additional video track and this track can be overlaid over the video track with the finish-line recording. And the composite – the original video plus the time code – is visible in the Preview window (during scrubbing).

  • I wonder – so far I haven’t discovered a way to record/grab a video stream from a camera connected via firewire DIRECTLY to a macbook’s hard drive. “Directly” means the video is continually stored to the hard drive and does not need a “save” (a time consuming operation) after finishing the recording/grabbing. The camera is a Sony DCR-TRV310E PAL. I can record with QuickTime but there is a save operation (needs some time PROPORTIONAL to the length of the recording) after the end of the recording.

  • Great intro. I have grown tired of some of the other editing programs. These seems both powerful and user friendly. Thanks for sharing it!

  • you probably got this info already. in your tutorial you were
    misinterpreting the red outline that happens when clips overlap. it’s
    actually a nice feature that you can go ahead and drop the offending
    clip anywhere in the area that causes an overlap, and the software will
    force it to be placed exactly at the end of the existing clip.

  • Hi Paul,

    and thank you so much for your well-structured tutorial. I’m trying to learn some video editing, so this was really helpful.

    However I’d like to ask if you have already ready (but I for some reason can’t find it) a tutorial which shows how to render/export the final video? I’m asking it because I have some problems here; when I go to Render -> Render Animation, the whole program simply crashes and I’m wondering if I’m doing something wrong.

    I have Mac, OS X 10.7.5., I downloaded Blender yesterday (29 Aug) so I’m using the version 2.71 and I’m working on .mov files from my Canon 5D Mark II. I’ll be happy to provide further information if needed if you have time to answer this.

    And while I’m at it, I’d like to ask why the speed of my preview is so slow; it varies but it gets as slow as 10 fps (instead of 25).

    Thank you once again for your tutorials,
    Laura

    • …I’m continuing my own message: I actually managed to solve the rendering problem as I found on the internet another tutorial video which had been done with v. 2.71 and I changed my Output and Encoding settings according to the instructions on that video (I’m very beginner with video editing…).

      However the preview slowness persists! Might be also my computer which probably isn’t powerful enough.

      Cheers,
      Laura

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