Wrap for real

I mentioned before that there was still a small amount of green screen footage left to shoot, so I’m pleased to announce that nearly seven months after our first “wrap” we’ve finally taken care of it! Toshio and Akane, great work!

studio

It was a simple set up, and in fact it will only be seen as a program playing on an old, broken-down television, so it’s going to be seriously noised up in the finished movie. But it also happens to be the only part in the movie with real dialog, so getting decent sound was a priority. The shoot went incredibly well. I’ve already done a rough composite and I’m very happy with it.

techweek2The trickiest part with this is going to be to get a good finished sound-sync edit quickly that I can start experimenting with putting into the movie. I’ve come to the realization that while Blender is a fun and familiar option for editing sequences for me, it’s not up to the task of dealing with sound in any more than the simplest way. For one thing, the Blender VSE on my Macbook Air is simply not reliable for playing back sound. Once a certain number of sound strips (not a high number in terms of real editing work, but high enough to make bug reporting unwieldy) are in an edit, some simply go inexplicably silent for both playback and export. Closing and re-opening can fix the problem, or opening the same .blend on another computer, but whatever the issue, it’s no good. The other, arguably more serious problem (because it’s true on any computer) is that Blender simply does not offer options for working with others on edits. There’s no support for exporting EDLs or OMF data, which stops me dead in the water considering using Blender for this. You can’t even export a single edited sound clip or channel to its own .wav file easily. In fact, the VSE is much more restrictive than the rest of Blender in this respect. VSE strips aren’t even possible to link or append to other .blend files on their own, which is very inflexible even if you do all your work with Blender.

This is too bad, because open source options in video editing are extremely limited. Almost all the ones that look remotely decent are available for Linux only, and unfortunately as I’ve learned many times, looking remotely decent on the website often doesn’t translate into actually being usable. It’s hard to justify devoting a machine to installing Linux, with all of its starting-out pains, just to try out another editor. And a note to any would-be open source video editor developers who might be reading this: please, lay off with the fancy built-in transition effects. Double down on workflow, pipeline compatibility, and flexible import-export of standard data formats. The last thing I need is a twirling 3D transition between cuts. I need to get data about cuts to a sound mixer.

I’m not sure what I’ll do. I’ll either try out Lightworks (which is currently at a “proprietary freeware” stage of its purported transition to open source) or I’ll just suck it up and look into a monthly subscription-based Adobe Premier license. I think I’ll edit to the point of a finished frame sequence in  Blender, but then I need a suitable, pro-grade tool for working with the sound. Suggestions are welcome.

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5 Responses to “Wrap for real”

  1. Soundforge is more powerful for editing audio but Premiere will probably do everything you need. They both offer free trials.

  2. I think Premier will probably be what I wind up using. I really just want to sync up what I can and then pass that to the sound guy to save him doubling up on that basic editing work. He’s going to be working his sonic magic in more sound-oriented software. I do want to check out Lightworks though.

  3. Update: I took a look at both Lightworks and Premier. If LIghtworks were properly open source I’d have given it more of a chance out of principle, but judged only on its merits after a cursory attempt at doing the editing I needed, well, let’s just say Thelma Schoonmaker can keep it. I’m going with Premier (and the work has been going pretty quickly once I got it installed).

  4. I saw your work on blender.org
    I got curious as you wrote there about a custom made OSL script, and so I got m wondered what does it do ?

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