AMV Hellspawn

Full Version: For Beginners: Basic AMV editing
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In this thread, I’ll be sharing some of the software and methods I used (and still use today) to create simple AMVs.
 
Video editing can certainly be a daunting and challenging hobby for newcomers, so it is my hope that the following guide will provide a little assistance and encouragement to any newbies here hoping to try out the bizarre art of splicing Chinese cartoons to ill-fitting music for themselves.

Skip to-
Step 1: Software (this post)
Step 2: Testing software (this post)
Step 3: Audio Editing
Optional step: Quality Checking
Step 4: Preparing Raw Video
Step 5: Video Editing

 
Extra tips:
Video Filters and Altering Play Speed (Avidemux)
Freezing and Extracting frames (Virtual Dub)
Lip-syncing



Before getting started:

Let's consider a few things/ make a few things clear:
  • I’m a PC user. So this’ll be a guide for PC users primarily.
  • I’ll be focusing on the editing part of AMV creation. I’m not going to tell you how or where to acquire your video and audio sources.
Whether you get your materials through legal channels or channels of a more dubious nature is none of my business. I’ll just share this video link and leave the rest up to you.
  • Video editing is a very data-expensive hobby. So you’re going to need a lot of space on your hard drive.
  • AMV creation involves a lot of trial and error, certainly in the approach I’m about to share with you. If you don’t have patience for that stuff, you’d better quit now.
  • I’m going to suggest a bunch of different programs and software for you to install; I’m sure there’s better software out there that other users can suggest, but the ones I list here work for me, and they’re free.
If you decide to install them, you do so at your own risk (obviously), but don’t worry too much, I’ve been using some of these programs a good three years or so and they haven’t made my computer explode… yet.
  • This document was a big help for me when I was getting started, so you might want to study it yourself now or later. Related thread.
 

 
Step one: Software
 
[Image: 6UgoAyW.jpg]
 
Here’s a list of software you’ll be needing to install before continuing with the SilentChaz approach to AMV editing. At the time of typing, all of this software is available for free:
  • Huffy – A “lossless” video codec. You’ll need this to maintain high picture quality when you render your videos. 
It’s worth installing the combined community codec package (CCCP) while you’re at it.
  • Audacity – For audio editing. Audio is half the AMV, so be sure to get this. If you plan on using audio samples from an .mp3 file, you may require an extra codec.
  • Avidemux – A basic video editing program. Every video I touch passes through Avidemux sooner or later.  Its features are very bare-bones and it can be fiddly to use, but it gets the job done.
You’ll want to grab multiple versions of it, so be sure to grab the latest version available- but I find that v2.4.4 is the easiest to use. I’ll be making use of v2.4.4 in my demonstrations.
  • Zarxgui – A video compressor. When the editing is done, you’ll use this program for finishing the video off.
  • VirtualDub – Optional, but I would still recommend getting it. It can do some things Avidemux can’t, so it’s good to have around.
  • MPC (Media Player Classic) – Optional. You’ll need a decent media player to actually view your videos on.
  • AVC (Any Video Converter) – File converter. As well as being able to convert video (including .mkv files), this program can also convert audio files.
It might be worth grabbing a copy of AAC (Any Audio Converter) too, but AVC should have you covered.
These programs (AVC and AAC) are useful for handling raw materials, but they are not 100% necessary to the process.
 

 
Step Two: Preliminary Test Run
 
With the software above gathered and installed- let’s do a quick test to see if everything works.
It’s been a long time since I installed everything myself, so there’s a chance I may have missed something vital. Better find out now before getting in too deep with this guide.

1. If you decided to get it- test AVC

Try dropping a video file then an audio file into AVC and convert them into something else. To make things easier- try dropping a small/short video or audio file. You may need to do this one item at a time (drop just the video, convert it, close the program, then do the same with just the audio)
 
[Image: LGcHPqo.jpg]
 
Try playing the output files.
If the files aren’t accepted into AVC or they can’t be played after conversion, we may be missing some codecs.

2. Test Audacity

Either drop an audio file into Audacity, or just open the program and hit the record button (even if you have no recording equipment the program will record silence).
Go to file > export; and save the audio as a WAV type.
Try playing the output file.

3. Test Avidemux

Try taking the video file you just made in AVC (or any video for that matter, ideally an uncompressed .avi) and drop it into Avidemux.
 
[Image: CJUdE9a.jpg]
 
Go to file > save > save video.
Try playing the output video.
 

 
Alright, if anybody is still reading this- please perform the tests above and let me know the results.
 
If everything works and you’re still interested- I’ll continue typing up this guide.
If nothing works- tell me, and we’ll investigate the problems, find solutions and I’ll append them to this post.
If you don’t give a damn about learning the whole process and just want pointers in using specific programs like Avidemux, say so.
 
If nobody is reading and or I don’t get any responses to this thread… oh well. Can’t say I didn’t try.
I know I'm massively late in finding this post, but I'd be interested in reading more. I've never done any this kind of stuff before and have no idea how to do anything, really. Even if you don't bother writing more, thanks for the software recommendations.
You're hardly "massively late". I'll be happy to continue typing up this guide as long as I know there's at least one person reading. The next post will deal with basic audio editing, then move on to video editing proper.

Did any part of the first post not make sense? Did you run through the preliminary test run?
All the test runs in the first post worked for me. And thanks for continuing with this guide.
With the software installed, tested and ready- it’s time to get the creative process rolling.
 
Step Three: Audio Editing
 
Regardless of whether your AMV will make use of a music, song or dialogue clip- it’s the audio of an AMV that dictates how the video should be built around it; so of course you’ll need the audio sounding right before moving on to the actual video editing.
Don’t half-ass this step, you’ll regret it later.
 
What to do:
 
1. Create a folder for your AMV project.
 
You are going to be creating a lot of files, so getting things in order from the start will only be beneficial for you. Within this folder you should create two more folders for [video] and [audio] files respectively.
 
2. Get your raw audio file into audacity.
 
This could be as simple as dragging and dropping the file into the program, just don’t forget to move the file into your newly created project folder first.
If your file isn’t accepted by audacity- or if you’re hoping to rip audio from a video source, you may need to convert the file in AVC first. In that case:
 
Drop the file into AVC. Change the output profile to Common Audio Formats -> WAVE Audio.
 
[Image: u2BRfzO.jpg]
 
Hit [convert]. Move the file to your project folder. Open it in audacity.
 
3. Refine your raw audio.
 
While this step is an important one, it can also be very simple… depending on what your audio needs for refinement.

Probably 90% of the time- all you’ll really need to do to an audio file is trim it down to an appropriate length.
The other 10% may involve removing unwelcome noises, silences, unusable lines of dialogue, or even re-ordering parts of a song completely.

Whatever it is you need to do to refine your audio- audacity should have the tools for you to do it.
 

 
Audacity Crash Course
 
With a little exploration and experimentation you’ll be able to understand the workings of audacity just fine, but until then- I’ll outline a few helpful features.
 
The main toolbars you’ll want visible in audacity are the transport and tools toolbars.
The meter and selection toolbars are helpful, but not entirely necessary. (Set them under View –> Toolbars).
 
[Image: cfFopBC.jpg]

Every single audio piece you use is going to need trimming, so consider this the most fundamental task to master in audacity. To trim an audio clip:

1) Make sure the selection tool is active (by default, it is) and find the part of the song/dialogue you want to use in your AMV in the timeline.

2) Highlight the section of the audio you want. You’re going to copy this part and edit it.
Don’t worry about being too precise with your selection, it’s actually better if you highlight more than you need. I’d suggest you leave a space of a couple of seconds before the start and after the end.

3) Hit Ctrl + i. This will split the audio selection. You should see a black, vertical line appear in the blue wave form.
If you’re unhappy with the split you created, just click on the black line and the wave form will be repaired, no harm done.

4) Copy the selection with Ctrl + C. Go to Tracks -> Add new -> Stereo Track. This should create a new, empty track below the current wave form. 
 
[Image: T3Hmxwc.jpg]

5) Select the new track and hit Ctrl + V to paste the copied audio segment into it. Use the time shift tool to move it to the start of the timeline (far left). 

6) Mute the top track. Collapse it too, if you wish.
 
[Image: ABCcuWc.jpg]
 
Congratulations, you’ve just trimmed an audio clip.
 
You’re now free to do whatever you want with this audio segment, but if you feel this audio doesn’t actually need any adjustments made to it, you can export what you’ve made right away.

Go to File -> Export. Name the file, and save in your project folder as a .wav file. (WAV PCM)
Do not save your audio as an .mp3; avidemux works best with .wav files, which we’ll explore later.



Consider a few things before declaring your audio “done”:
  • Is your audio too loud/quiet?
Go to Effect -> Amplify. Experiment a little with the settings.
  • Is the pace of your audio too slow/fast?
Go to Effect -> Change Tempo
or
Go to Effect -> Change Speed
Experiment a little. I find Change Tempo to work the better of the two.
  • Does your audio begin/end too abruptly?
It’s generally not a good idea to have your audio start right at zero; that is to say- hear the start of a song’s verse or line of dialogue the very instant you press play. Having a very slight gap (even if it’s less than a second) between the start of the timeline and the start of your audio should help ease us into the start of your AMV.
It doesn’t sound good when audio suddenly cuts out at the end of an AMV, it might be worth allowing music/ambient sounds from a dialogue piece to continue playing even after the main focus of the audio AMV has played.
Sometimes a fade in/out helps with these aspects. Go to Effect -> Fade  In/ Fade Out.

If a gap of silence would help at the start/end of your audio, go to Generate -> Silence. Audacity won’t export a gap of silence (at the start or end of a clip) unless you make one this way.
 
[Image: bdoeJSd.jpg]

Other notes:
  • If you feel your audio is screwed up after using an effect- remember you can just copy and paste the same segment from the original track and try again.
  • Bear in mind that you can use multiple tracks in audacity, meaning (amongst other possibilities) you can add other audio files into the timeline. This is helpful if you e.g. want to add a censor bleep sound effect in the middle of a song.
  • Whenever you save a project in audacity (saved as an .aup file)- a folder of references is automatically created by the program (you should see a folder ending with “_data” appear). Leave this folder alone. Deleting or moving this folder will break the references in your .aup, losing your work.
 

 
The next step will deal with preparing raw video for editing.
One thing I'd like to add to this is you can also do a lot of this in your video editing software. That being said, the tools in said video editing software are likely quite a bit harder to work with (sometimes to even find, for that matter) than using Audacity. The video editor may also be missing audio tools that Audacity isn't.

Audacity is also a LOT less prone to crashing every 5 goddamned minutes than Sony Vegas is. <_< I need to start looking into other video editors, 'cause Vegas just isn't stable enough for me.
(02-29-2016, 09:09 PM)Thedarkmessenger Wrote: [ -> ]One thing I'd like to add to this is you can also do a lot of this in your video editing software. That being said, the tools in said video editing software are likely quite a bit harder to work with (sometimes to even find, for that matter) than using Audacity. The video editor may also be missing audio tools that Audacity isn't.

Audacity is also a LOT less prone to crashing every 5 goddamned minutes than Sony Vegas is. <_< I need to start looking into other video editors, 'cause Vegas just isn't stable enough for me.

I use Adobe Premiere CC (and for more advanced motion graphics or .mov layering  Adobe After Effects CC) and it works amazingly with audio/video splitting. In my 2-3 years of use I have experienced maybe 4 crashes, all of which were easily my own fault. As for the switch from Vegas to Premiere, it's a bit of a change, especially when a lot of the functions aren't too obvious, such as how to actually cut the videos, but it is pretty simple to learn. The program relies a lot on keyboard shortcuts such as "C" to pull up the cutting tool and "V" to go back to your normal mouse. I recommend looking into it and checking out a few simple adjustment tutorials (here is an example of a good one: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZKbePbOmQms). Aside from that, it's rather easy to just look up exactly what you want to do and how to do it if there is anything you are confused on.
I've been using Adobe Pinnacle a lot at work for editing.
it seems to work pretty decent for sound and video, though i'm only doing pretty basic stuff with it.
I'm not sure how it compares to some of these other programs though.
With your audio now prepared, it’s time to get your video source(s) ready for editing.
 
Obviously- you’ll need a video file or two (or however many you need) on your computer right now before continuing any further. As I mentioned earlier- I’m not going to tell you where to acquire your video sources, that’s all on you. Did you watch this video?
 
If your video sources are collected and ready- great, feel free to proceed to the next step. Before continuing however, it might be worth performing a quick quality check of your video source:
 
Optional Step : Quality Checking
 
Open your video in media player classic (MPC) and hit shift & F10. With the properties window open, switch to the “MediaInfo” tab. Inspect these key values: Width, Height and Frame Rate.
 
[Image: ip1rePR.jpg]
 
·        Width and Height
 
These are the dimensions of the video’s picture. If you’re using a modern, widescreen, high-definition video source, the width and height values should ideally be either:
 
1920 x 1080 = full HD
1280 x 720 = standard HD
 
At the time of typing- ^these two are the most common picture dimensions in modern shows. My personal preference is to use videos with pixel heights of 720; the picture is detailed enough and the file sizes are easier to manage.
 
If you’re using video from older shows however, you might find these values:

1440 x 1080 = full-screen full HD. Older shows that have received a HD remaster may boast this level of quality.
960 x 720 = full-screen standard HD
848 x 480 = standard definition widescreen. This is DVD-quality. Acceptable if there is no HD alternative available.
640 x 480 = standard definition full-screen. DVD quality again. If a show was made before widescreen (16:9) was the norm, and it hasn’t received a HD remastering- this is as good as the quality can get.
 
Anything with a pixel height value lower than 480 should be disregarded.
 
If you see screwy values like 768 x 576 for example, the video most likely hasn’t been properly rendered and this could mean trouble for you down the road.
Videos with these kinds of values can still be used, but it is not recommended. You would be better off looking for alternative sources.
 
·        Frame rate

A video’s frame rate can be a tell-tale sign for poor quality. A video that has been properly rendered will play at 23.976 frames per second, so that’s our golden value.
A frame rate of 24 or 25 isn’t uncommon- but you should inspect the video carefully and watch out for ghosting in the play-back. Try to find a scene with lots of movement and step through each frame. If you see something like this:
 
[Image: 1vyELGz.gif]
[Image: j7zh6Ux.jpg]
 
This is ghosting. Ghosting is a sin. The video was rendered incorrectly, so please use a different video source.
 
If the frame rate on your video is something lower than 23.976 or significantly higher like 29-60, then that’s very, very wrong. You’d best rethink where you acquire your videos from.
Step Four: Raw Video Preparation
 
Before the fun and frustration of proper video editing begins- you’ll need to cut up your video source(s) into manageable and usable chunks, rather like what you did with the audio in the previous step.
Remember I said that AMV creation is a data-expensive hobby? You’re about to see why:
 
1) Watch your video source(s), find the scenes you want to use in your AMV and make a note of their start and end times. Seriously, write them down, or at least use the notepad application every computer comes with.
 
2) Drop your video sources into AVC and change a few settings:
 
·        Set the output profile type to: video files -> customized AVI movie.
 
[Image: PmEaWQc.jpg]
 
·        Go to options (hit the gear icon in the top right), select the “misc.” tab and un-check the box next to “Add video codec name into the output file name”.
 
[Image: Afrb9Q2.jpg]
 
·        Select “No subtitle” in the subtitles option for the video, if your video has any.
In rare instances- leaving subtitles on may sometimes bake hard subs into the output file, which is not desirable.
 
[Image: TjQ6zWU.jpg]
 
·        Be sure to switch the video codec to huffyuv in the video options.
Things such as video size and frame rate should be fine with their default settings of “Original” and “Auto”, but you can change them to actual numerical values if you’re the paranoid type.
Audio options don’t really matter for this stage, so you can ignore them.
 
3) Click on the scissors icon above the subtitles option for the video. Time to do some trimming.
 
[Image: J7Zq341.jpg]
 
Using your notes, locate the scenes you require from the video and use the “start point” and “end point” tools to bracket the scene in the timeline; hit the “new segment” button when you’re happy with your selection and you should see that scene appear in a track at the bottom of the window. Hit [OK] when you’ve found and segment-ed all the scenes you need.
·        Note that the preview isn’t always accurate and is usually off by a couple of seconds, be sure to focus on the time value instead.
·        On that same note- it would be wise to always include a little extra time at the start and end of a scene’s selection, to make sure you’ve highlighted what you need and not accidently missed a bit off the beginning/end.
·        AVC can sometimes crash if you create too many segments. To be on the safe side you could just create one segment, hit [OK] and return to this task again later for the other scenes you need, one at a time.
 
4) With the trimmer/clipper window now closed, uncheck the box next to the preview thumbnail of the original video (this will prevent the video from being converted in its entirety and creating a MASSIVE file). Hit the [convert now] button.
 
[Image: omkFNHo.jpg]
 
5) Let the conversion finish and the segments you just created should now be available to you as separate, mini video files. The output folder should automatically open for you or you should receive a prompt to take you there.
Rename the video files and move them into your AMV’s project folder.
 
Your raw video is now ready for video editing. You can proceed to the next step now, but there is one optional, special trick you can do before moving on-
 
6) Drop all of those new video files you just converted back into AVC. You’re going to create shrunken-down copies of them.
 
In AVC- under basic settings- click on the gear next to the video size value (add customized property)
 
[Image: MtEn5tx.jpg]
 
If your original video is widescreen (16:9), enter the values 640 x 360.
If your original video is full screen (4:3), enter the values 480 x 360.
Hit [Convert now].
 
7) Let the conversion finish. You should see another batch of video files appear, and their file names should match those of the video segments you created earlier. The only difference between the files should be their dimensions and file size.
 
Create a new folder within your AMV project’s directory and name it something like “HD”.
Close AVC and drop all of your original video segments (the big ones) into this new folder.
Finally- drop the new batch of shrunken video segments into your AMV project’s directory, just DO NOT drop them into the same location as the original, bigger video segments (the HD folder).
 
These shrunken video segments will help you work faster in the next step. 
 


The next step will explore the meat of the operation: proper video editing with avidemux.
I went ahead and recorded a video of me editing a clip for AMVRIP 2 and explaining what I was doing. I've never had to necessarily create a tutorial before, so I hope it's helpful. An added bonus to it is that you get to see one of the clips finalized that will be in AMVRIP 2 at the 22:46 mark in the video (in case you don't care about the tutorial and just wanna skip to there).


Your audio is prepared, and your video source(s) are cut down to size, so now it’s time to finally splice them together.

Step five: Video Editing

Avidemux will be the featured application in this step. At the time of typing- version 2.6.12 is the latest iteration of the software available, but I’ll be using Avidemux v2.4.4 in my examples, and I would recommend you do the same.
v2.4.4 is quicker to work with; it allows you to listen to your audio during video playback; and it has some handy filters built-in that the newer versions strangely seem to lack.

This step can be divided into three parts:
Setting up; Workflow and Finalisation.



Setting up your Avidemux project

1) Open Avidemux and drop in your first video segment (the one with the scene you want to start the AMV with).

If you shrunk down your video segments in the last step- you have a choice here:
  • You can drop the shrunken copy into avidemux; your PC will run smoother this way- which aids your workflow, but you will be required to perform an extra, little action before finalising your AMV. 
  • Or you can drop the larger-sized video segment into avidemux; your PC may run slower whilst avidemux is open- but you won’t need to juggle files around before finalising your AMV.

Test your machine: try dropping in one of the larger video segments and hit the play button in avidemux. If the playback speed is normal, then you must be in possession of a high-spec PC and I envy you. In which case- you can stick with the larger files.
Slow playback? Go with the shrunken segments.

Don’t stress over this decision, your choice can be changed at any time… as long as you use video segments from your AMV project’s folder directory.

2) You might see a confirmation dialog box appear: “H.264 detected”. Don’t worry about this, just hit “Yes”.

Note: The picture size and frame rate of whatever video is first dropped into avidemux will become the base for the rest of the project.
i.e. If the first video you drop into avidemux is 640x360 at 23.975 FPS, all other videos added to the project will need to match these values.

3) Go to Audio -> Main track. Select “External WAV” in the source field and pick your prepared audio from step 3.

[Image: XeS6PiK.jpg]

By default avidemux will play whatever audio is currently attached to the video in the timeline. If you successfully change the main track- you should hear the audio you entered next time you hit play.

4) Adjust your render settings

[Image: yzozRCt.jpg]

On the left of the screen you’ll see the render settings for video, audio and format.
  • Set video to “Huffyuv (lavc)”. 
HuffyUV will render your edited video in high quality; this is the setting you will definitely want to use when your editing is finished. Bear in mind that this setting will produce large files.
Be careful not to select “FF Huffyuv (lavc)”.
For works in progress- you can experiment with other settings. “MPEG-4 AVC (x264)” for example will produce smaller files but with lower quality visuals; good for previewing. Your available options will vary depending on the codecs your computer has installed.
  • Set audio to “WAV PCM”.
Be careful not to select “WAV LPCM” instead and don’t leave it as the default “copy” either.
  • Set format to “AVI” (default)
5) Save. And save regularly.

Go to File -> Save Project. Hitting Ctrl + S won’t save your avidemux project.

You can expect plenty of crashes to occur, so be sure to save your project with every little alteration you make. Do yourself a favour and keep the names short and numbered. The sizes of avidemux project files are tiny, so make as many as you need.

Avidemux project files use the (.rs) extension, but saving without the extension is fine. Unfortunately you cannot double-click on .rs files or even drag and drop them into an empty avidemux to (re)open your project, you have to go to File -> Load/run project. Alternatively- you can hit the load project button.



The Basic Work Flow of Avidemux

Here’s where you take control. Avidemux is a simple, linear video editing program, good for cutting and appending videos; so that’s what you’re going to be doing now: Deleting frames, and appending extra videos to the timeline until your AMV is brought together.
  • Deleting frames
There will definitely be frames of animation you need to delete from the first video segment you dropped into the timeline; there may be unwanted scenes/ unwanted lip-flaps/ unwanted camera angles/ unwanted actions/ whatever. 

[Image: dyELbMu.jpg]

1) Use the play button (spacebar) and step left/step right buttons (left and right direction keys) or just scrub the timeline (drag the position tab along the timeline) to locate a frame you don’t want to appear in your AMV. Hit the “A” selection button.

2) Scrub further along the timeline until you reach the end of this unwanted part of the video, and hit the “B” selection button. You should see a blue selection bracket appear in the timeline.

3) Hit the Delete key. All the frames within the selection bracket will disappear from the timeline. Repeat this process as many times as you need to, and remember to save regularly.

The (A / B) Selection buttons are the two most important buttons in avidemux.
The frames inside a selection bracket will be copied, deleted or rendered depending on your commands.
If you don’t see a blue selection bracket- it means the whole timeline is selected (by default).
If you accidently deleted frames you wanted to keep, do not go to Edit -> Reset edits. More often than not- doing this will just crash the project. You would be better off either reloading the most recently saved project, or appending the video segment into the timeline again…
  • Appending videos
To append another video segment onto the end of the timeline- simply drag and drop the desired video segment into avidemux. Alternatively you can go to File -> Append (Ctrl + Alt + A) and select the video segment that way.

Remember- the appended video must match the picture size and frame rate of the video currently in the timeline.
You can append the same video segment into the timeline over and over again as many times as you want.
You can only append videos to the end of the timeline, never the middle. You have to get things looking right from start to end.

Important- only append videos from your AMV project’s folder structure; if you start throwing in videos from all over your hard drive, you’re going to regret it later. This is especially applicable if you’re using shrunken video segments. Keep everything in the same folder.

After appending a video segment, continue like before and delete any frames you don’t want.
  • Preview the project
After appending a bunch of videos and deleting some frames (a process also known as: “video editing”), you’ll want to take a look at how your AMV is really shaping up:

1) Use the selection buttons to highlight a part of the video you want to check, or just highlight everything from start to finish (which should make the selection bracket disappear).

Optional)  One helpful trick is to add a filter to the preview video- hit the video filter manager button/ Filters

[Image: rT4f38x.jpg]

Go to miscellaneous, scroll down, select “Add Framenumber” and click the green cross.
There are plenty of filters you can experiment with here. I’ll go over a few of the most useful ones on a later date.

2) Hit Ctrl + S. Choose a name for your preview video and give it the .avi extension.

3) Save, and an encoding window should appear.

[Image: jRc6obR.jpg]

4) When it completes, watch the video.
  • Refinement
[Image: 6wtY4OZ.jpg]

Watch and listen to the preview video carefully and ask yourself:
Did some parts of the video fall out of sync with the audio?
Would the AMV be improved if a frame or two was removed before that cut?
Should that part be extended a little?
Does that scene even fit? Would a completely different scene work better?

How much of a perfectionist you want to be is up to you.

Return to your avidemux project and continue to delete frames, append segments and preview the results until you’re happy with the result. Remember remember to save regularly.

I said there would be lots of trial and error in video editing, and here it is.

Very important – Are you using the shrunken video segments to build your AMV? Yes? Then before refining your project any further- you might want to perform a test: read the first 5 steps of the finalisation process below and see if your project is able to successfully open with the unshrunken video segments.
If the project keeps crashing, you might want to start over again from the top of this post. Just stick to using your bigger, unshrunken video files next time.  



Finalising your AMV

When you’re happy with your work, it’s time to render the AMV out properly.
Did you use the shrunken video segments from step 4 to make your AMV so far? Read on. If you didn’t use shrunken video segments- skip to 6)

1) Save your project and close avidemux.

2) Go to your AMV project folder’s video directory, if you followed step 4 correctly- your shrunken video segment files should be there alongside a folder named “HD”.

3) Create a new folder, name it “LQ”. Drop all of your shrunken video segments into it.

4) Move the contents of the HD folder back into the location the shrunken files just were.
Essentially- what you’ve done is swapped the shrunken videos for the HD ones.

5) Reopen your avidemux project. If you followed this guide correctly from the start- the preview window should be the correct, big size.

If the project crashes- there’s a chance you may have appended video segments from other folder directories and or the picture sizes of some of the segments no longer match.
You can still salvage your avidemux project- just make sure the file of every video segment used in the timeline is the correct picture size and frame rate.
If that still doesn’t work- you’ve goofed big time. Swap the “LQ” and “HD” files back to how they were and the project should open just fine again- albeit still with the shrunken picture size.

6) Make sure all your output settings are correct. Video = HuffyUV, Audio = WAV PCM etc.
If you added the frame-number filter before, then you’ll need to remove it.

7) Render your AMV (Ctrl + S). Expect a big file.

8) Open the Zarx264gui and drop your rendered AMV into the input video field.

[Image: jzpczaj.jpg]

9) Adjust the settings and hit encode.
Feel free to experiment with your settings; the Zarxgui documentation just recommends the values you see above. MKV container, FLAC audio and 15 Quantizer constant quality.

You should receive a high quality, low file-sized video at the end of the encode process. Ideal for uploading to youtube, vimeo, or possibly even sharing with AMV Hellspawn.



There are still a few more extra tricks here and there left to share (I’ll post a few of these next), but this guide should now cover the very basic basics of video editing.

With the information provided in this guide, and a little experimentation and exploration of your own, I believe you will now be able to make simple, cut and paste AMVs.
Extras: Video Filters and Altering Play Speed

There are a few features you can play with in avidemux that wasn’t covered in the last post, so I’ll share a couple of them here.



Video Filters

Like before- click “Filters” under the video output settings and the video filter manager will appear:

[Image: 0cM16ri.jpg]

There are plenty of filters available for you to utilise in avidemux, and what most of them do should be fairly self-explanatory. The filters you are most likely to find a use for will be:
  • Crop – You can use this to chop off parts of the screen you don’t want to see, like a watermark or… heaven forbid… hard subtitles. 

[Image: y8h6KmO.jpg]

Bear in mind that using the crop filter will change the picture dimensions of your video, so you will need to correct it with either the resize or add black borders filters.
  • Resize / MPlayer Resize – If you want to alter the size of your video - simply enter the values you want in the resize dimensions fields. 
[Image: dRWLDmX.jpg]

If you untick the “lock aspect ratio” box, you can enter whatever crazy values you want without the filter automatically keeping the aspect ratio constant; this isn't advisable, but should you ever need it- the option is there.
  • Vertical Flip and Rotate – These two filters are useful for mirroring the video.
To do so- you simply apply both filters, and set the rotate angle to 180.
  • Fade – Fades the picture in/out. Go figure. 

The filters you select do not have to affect the entire length of your timeline.
By hitting the “partial” button you will bring up a small menu asking for start and end frames; the frames you enter will have the selected filter applied to them. 

If you want to see the effect the filters are having on your AMV whilst you work on it- hit the preview output button. Alternatively you can go to View-> Preview mode -> Output.

[Image: L6wgQDn.jpg]

You’d do well to experiment with all the filters and see what avidemux can do for you.



Speeding up / Slowing Down Footage

This can be a fiddly task, but it can be done in avidemux through some trial and error:

1) First drag the video segment you want to affect into avidemux. Important- make sure the video segment is unshrunken/ full-sized. You can create a shrunken clone of it later.

2) Go to video -> Frame rate. The change frame rate window should appear.

[Image: W59fzRx.jpg]

Enter a new frame rate into the field.
If you want the video segment to play at double the normal speed- enter 48. Triple speed? 72.
If you want the video segment to play at half the normal speed- enter 12. Quarter speed? 6. Basic math, you get the idea.

3) Leave the output options for the video with their default settings (Video = “Copy”, Audio = “Copy”) and render the video (Ctrl + S).

When the rendering is done, watch the video to see the effect of the changed frame rate. It’s normal for the audio to be out of sync, so don’t worry about that; and if you entered a particularly high frame rate- your computer may struggle to play it on the first attempt.

4) Drag your newly created video segment into another avidemux. Set your video output setting to “HuffyUV” and open the video filters manager (click filters).

5) Apply the “Resample fps” filter.

[Image: vZ0nbwj.jpg]

Enter a new frame rate into the field. In this case, we’re returning the frame rate to its original value- which is/was: 23.976.
Avidemux only allows four characters to be entered, but this is no problem.
If you wish- you may tick the “blend” box*.

6) Render the video.

The newly created video segment will appear to play at a slower/faster frame rate, but it is actually playing at the regular speed of 23.976, and can now be added to the timeline of your AMV project.

If you feel the video segment still isn’t as fast/slow as you want it to be, go back to the start and try different frame rate values.

* Ticking the box will cause frames to blend together in the rendering process, and in turn- create ghosting frames:

[Image: HpqXys3.gif]

Yes, ghosting is a sin, but when video footage is sped up… one could argue that it’s acceptable. Use your best judgement.



I suggested you install VirtualDub, yet I haven’t mentioned it in the guide yet.
I’ll show you one neat trick you can do with VirtualDub you can’t do in Avidemux next.
Extras: Extracting and Freezing Frames with VirtualDub

It can sometimes be tricky to freeze a single frame in avidemux; maybe you want to hold the shot on a character’s expression- but there’s too much movement going on in the background or the character is lip-flapping when you don’t them want to…
Maybe you have a copy of photoshop or some other image editing package and wish you could alter individual frames in a sequence…
This isn’t a problem everybody will need solving, but if you ever need to know- VirtualDub has one feature you may find useful…



Working with VirtualDub

1) Open up VirtualDub (VD) and drag and drop in the video segment you want to extract/freeze a frame from.
Important- make sure you’re using a full-sized/ unshrunken video.
If the file opened- you’re lucky. Skip to step three. 90% of the time however you’ll see this error message:

[Image: E4LRwxl.jpg]

Annoying, yes. I’m sure there’s a codec out there that can fix this, but I haven’t found it yet. 
No matter, we’ll just need to quickly re-render the video segment before VD accepts it.

2) Open up avidemux. NOT avidemux v2.4.4, open up the latest version you have. (The example I’m using in the screenshot is v2.6.9).

[Image: ZRjnkmH.jpg]

Drop in the video segment and set the video output to (FF)HuffyUV. Render the video (Ctrl + S). Simple as that. Just give the file name something indicating that it’s the re-rendered copy of the video segment.
Drop this new video into VD. You may still get a VBR warning after dropping the file in, but you can ignore it.

3) VirtualDub isn’t too different from Avidemux, you can select frames in the timeline and delete them, but VD is much better than Avidmeux at copying and pasting frames.
[Image: KYftnBb.jpg]

Find the frame(s) you want to freeze and or image-edit, highlight them, then go to File -> Export -> Image sequence.

[Image: r1Fna6J.jpg]

Name your output whatever you like, I just favour “slide” myself. Keep the files set to BMP for maximum quality.

4) Congratulations, you just extracted a frame. Feel free to edit the image however you want.

[Image: urHF4Y2.jpg]

An image file cannot be dropped into your avidemux project, so we’ll have to turn this single image into a video for it to be of any use to us…

5) Open a fresh copy of VD, and drop in your image. You should see a single frame on the timeline. Naturally- if you edited the image in any way, you’ll see those changes applied.

[Image: iGHX0gb.jpg]

Is your timeline longer than one frame? It’s because you have more than one “Slide” image file in the same folder, a “Slide2”, “Slide3” etc.
VirtualDub likes to load all of them into the timeline, as long as they are in a straight, numbered order.
You can simply delete the frames you don’t want, or you can move the single image you want into its own folder and then drop it into VD again.

Hit [Ctrl + C] and [Ctrl + P] a bunch of times and you’ll see your timeline grow.

[Image: jKnIsQ0.jpg]

Keep pasting until the timeline is as long as you need it to be. 24 frames is a decent length, one full second.

6) Before rendering this new video- a couple of settings need to be confirmed. Go to Video -> Frame Rate, or hit Ctrl + R.

[Image: ONkXlu6.jpg]

Set the frame rate to the standard 23.976.

[Image: vlGtSf4.jpg]

Next go to Video -> Compression, or hit Ctrl + P… stupid shortcut if you ask me. How does it know you’re not just pasting?

[Image: 0Rd6Fuw.jpg]

Make sure the video compression is set to HuffyUV.

7) Go to File -> Save as AVI, or hit F7. Save the video.

There you go, a video of a frozen frame, ready to be added to your AMV project.



I’ll end the “regular” updates to this thread with a brief introduction to lip-syncing practices next time. 
If there are any specific questions on how to do X or Y, I’ll try to answer as best I can.
Extra: Advice on Lip syncing
 
There is no easy way to lip sync, it’s a tricky and often difficult process. It’s sad, but true.
The only way to get lip syncing right is to just keep doing it until it looks right enough.
 
I find that there are two main approaches to lip-sync editing, either you:
 
A) Edit a pre-synced sequence
I guess you could call this the “normal” way of doing it. You take a sequence of a character talking and just delete a few frames here and there until the lip flaps match up to your audio. This is usually the quicker option and a good starting point for newcomers.
 
Or you could:
 
B) Sync from scratch
You piece together a sequence using only the frames of animation you need, when they’re needed, from start to finish. This option is more time consuming, but can yield better results with the right amount of effort.
 
Regardless of your approach- it should be a big help to have some extra materials at the ready:
 
The Three Key Frames
 
There are three important frames of animation you need to look for during any sequence with a talking character:
 [Image: 1Kq5C7W.gif]
The open mouth, the closed mouth, and the tween.
 
You will find that the vast majority of Japanese toons will utilise the three frame model, it isn’t versatile, but it gets the job done.
 
It would be a big help to have these frames ready and at your disposal to be dropped into your avidemux project.
You will have to search through the timeline of your video segment, find each of the key frames and save them out as three separate videos.
These videos will be very, very short: 2 frames (0.125 seconds) long.
 
You should be able to do this easily enough by following the freezing frames guide outlined in the previous post. Examples of the kind of videos you want to create can be found here.
 
With those three videos ready, you’ve got your essential materials sorted. The rest is up to you.



As you work your way through the syncing process, consider a few things: 
  • Be sure to make use of the “Add Framenumber” filter in avidemux. It’s useful to see how many frames are being played as you watch test render videos, you’ll get a better idea of how many frames need to be removed/added when things don’t appear to be syncing quite right in your sequence. 
  • Open Audacity and drop in your audio. Observe the timelines in both audacity and avidemux. When certain sound cues are hit- check the values in the time field of audacity, then try to match the timings with your cuts in avidemux.
[Image: a9DHl3K.jpg] 
[Image: psgy8WM.jpg]
  • Your lips close whenever you pronounce an M, B or P sound. Just try saying “Pop” without closing your lips. You can’t. Make sure your character does likewise. 
  • Don’t neglect the tween frame. The mouth of a character lip-synced correctly will rarely go something like: Closed Open Closed Open Closed
A more natural looking sequence may go something like this: Closed Open Tween Open Tween Open Closed
 
When you talk- your mouth doesn’t constantly shift from being completely open to entirely shut between each word you utter. We’re not Muppets. Sometimes between words you just half-close your lips.
With that in mind- be sure to make use of the tween frame in your sequences. 
  •  Beware of “Ones”  
When your character’s lips change shape with every new frame- generally speaking- it looks bad. This is animating/editing on “ones”.

[Image: WqBF1sJ.gif] 

Even if your character is speaking at a quick pace- their mouth really should hold a shape for a minimum of two frames before changing. This is animating/editing on “twos”.

[Image: W9EgwzO.gif] 

Ones are a trap you might see inexperienced “abridgers” on youtube fall into these days. It works for some, just be wary of it.
 


That does it for the guide. For now.
If there are any subjects not covered you’d like some advice on, ask away.
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