Edit Strip with Compositor
The color grading and compositing features in the VSE are rudimentary while Blender comes with a great nodal compositor that cannot be used in the sequencer directly. What a pity! This addon tries to unleash Blender's great grading capabilities by offering a way to grade sequencer clips in the nodal compositor. The initial Addon had been written by TMW in the Blender Artists community and for some time, Carlos Padial and I are trying to further improve the script. You can follow the Development here.
Usage: The addon's interface provides two menus: The first one is located in the Sequencer's panel and provides Buttons to create compositor strips, which are newly created scenes with a prebuilt node setup, from existing video or image strips in the timeline and to jump to the compositor in order to edit the created compositions. The second menu is located in the node compositor panel. It provides buttons to return to the video editing view and to open a compositor strip from the sequencer timeline. After a klick on the "Set Masterscene" button in the addon's menu in the sequencer panel, which sets the current scene as the scene where the video timeline of your project is located, the main controls appear. It is recommended to give "Show Options" a tick and set the compositing and editing screens to the screen layouts you prefer for video editing and compositing. All options provide tooltips on mouse hover explaining their purpose. The Addon is designed for two different workflows:
- Single monitor setup: After using the "Create Comp from Strip" button to create composite strips of all selected videos, select the composite strip you want to edit and press the "Edit Composition" button to jump to the compositor and after editing the composition, use the "Get Back" button to return to the sequencer view.
- Dual monitor setup: Use window -> duplicate window in Blender's top panel to create a new Blender window. Use one window on the first monitor to display the sequencer view and use the other one to display the compositing view. After using the "Create Comp from Strip" button to create composite strips of all selected videos, select the composite strip you want to edit in the sequencer view and then use the "Edit Composite" button in the node editor panel in the compositor view to open the selected composite strip.
Dedicated NLEs provide a way to manage your video material before adding the clips to the timeline. Blender does not allow this, but using the SunTools Movie Manager Addon you are able to view and trim your clips before adding them and you can even sort out clips that are not usable by hiding them in the file manager. It works with one Blender Window but is actually designed to be used with a dual monitor setup: Duplicate the Window in Blender's info header so that you end up with two windows, each showing your timeline setup. Now you can add a file manager section to one of them and use that window to pretrim your clips and then add them to your main timeline in the other window using the operators in the plugin. There is also an option to insert those trimmed strips as a metastrip with combined audio and video.
Trimming strips and navigating through the timeline is not really comfortable. For example there are many situations which demand for a way to move and trim clips quickly and precisely in relation to each other and to the playhead (for example if a clip should start exactly after the previous one ends).
The SunTools Addon provides a second section called TrimTools. It enhances the efficiency of trimming and cutting clips in the timeline by providing operators to trim a clip's starting- or endpoint to the current playhead position. You can also select a video strip and it's according audio strip simultaneously and use a snapping operator that works in analogy to the Blender's one, moves the strip so that it's endpoint matched the playhead, not it's starting point.
Blender has got a great tracking tool, which can also be used to compensate unwanted camera movements. A common use case is represented by the intention to make a shaky handheld video look stable. Though if you try to deshake a video you will encounter the Problem that the algorithm compensates all camera movement. This is fine if you are going to stabilize a steady shot like it is shown in the tutorial above, but in most cases there is some intended movement like a camera pan that should be preserved while annoying jittering needs to be removed.
To make this kind of selective video stabilization possible I have written a small addon which applies a rudimentary highpass filter to a selected tracking marker. After the filter is applied, only the fast, jittering moves are represented by the marker so that you can use it to get much better stabilization results!
Using the addon is very simple: Find a good feature and track it, just like in the tutorial. When you have done this, select the marker and use the addon whose UI is located on the bottom of the Clip Editor's tool panel.
The numeric value represents the range of frames over which the motion is smoothed. A higher value makes slower motions being stabilized, too. Usually a value between 5 and 15 gives good results. The Apply operator filters the selected marker in the scene's frame range (the start and end frame that are found in the timeline window's header). Please make sure that the marker is tracked/keyframed for every frame in that range; otherwise the addon will fail.
Now a second trackpoint is created. Simply use it for 2d stabilization instead of the original track. You can also repeat the procedure for a second track point and use it for rotation stabilization!
Because it is my favorite application for editing Videos, but the internal (quite powerful) Node compositor is too slow for Visual Effects Work and complex color grading, I have decided to use Natron for that and thus try to integrate it into the Blender editing workflow.
It works in a similiar way as the edit Strip with Blender compositor Addon: You will find a new Section in the Sequencer panel w named "Natronizer". Make sure to enter the correct Paths to your Natron and NatronRenderer executables.
- Clicking in Natronize will create an Imagestrip, which is associated with a natron Project, above every selected movie Strip. Natron will open and then close immediately when the Natronize Button is pressed. The reason behind this is that Natron is only started to setup the Natron project for the strip. As soon as that is done Natron is closed and the new Imagesequence Strip should appear in the Blender Timeline. The Edit Button opens Natron for editing the Project.
- If one of those Imagestrips is selected, the "Edit" Button opens a new Natron window where you can edit the composition. Save the Project to apply the changes.
- The render Preview button will render all selected Natron associated Image Strips so that get a preview of the Strips in the Blender Sequencer.
- If the live preview checkbox is activated, natron Image Strips will be rendered for the current frame on framechange. That means that means that, even without having used the render Preview button, the Natron Image Strips will show the composition Result from Natron. There is also an intelligent Caching system: Frames are only re-rendered if the natron Project got changed and otherwise already rendered Frames are used. So if the Checkbox is activated, also Frames of already rendered Strips via render Preview won't be rendered again so you get smooth playback wherever it is possible. When the Project is rendered, all Natron Image Srips are Prerendered before the the actual rendering starts.
You may enter a Natron plugin ID into the custom Plugin box. That plugin will be inserted into a new Composition which is created by the Natronize operator. Leave the field Blank to disable this.
Please notice: While frames or strips are rendered (either using the render Preview Button, before Rendering or with live Preview) Blender will freeze until the rendering is finished. This is not an error. To track the rendering progress, start Blender from console where Natron outputs its messages.
Support this collection
I am developing my work during my free time with the hope that it is useful for you and that you have fun with it. If those addons are useful for you and you would like to say thank you, there are two ways to support me:
- If you are based in Germany or USA, you can place your next Amazon order by using the following links: AmazonDE AmazonUS. It will not cost you anything more, and amazon will give me a small fraction of the price. So this is a win-win situation ;) Usually my share from an order corresponds to the price of a hot chocolate. And isn't a hot chocolate a great way to say thank you?
- Especially if you are a user of Fujifilm cameras, you may take a look at my Shapeways Shop, where some of my 3D-Printed camera accessories are offered.
Thank you very, very much!