Sequencer

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Strip blend modes

The new sequencer has now strip blend abilities just the way you are used to using "The Gimp" or "Photoshop".

That means: every non-effect strip can work as an effect strip itself by changing it's blend-mode to say "Alpha Over".

Global opacity can also be changed.

The effect can be controlled in its intensity by IPOs. IPOs have been added to non-effect strips for this.

Semantic change to previous versions:

Previous versions chose the rendered output strip by some kind of voodoo magic (if you used an effect strip, the uppermost strip was rendered else the lowermost strip was rendered...).

That has been fixed: now the strips are rendered always top to bottom and the uppermost strip will win, if that is in REPLACE-blend mode.

What will make things a lot easier for new users will certainly break some old files! So keep in mind, that you might need some strip shuffling on your sequence editing, when switching to the new version!

Since the sequencer doesn't make that much sense without using effect strips, you are most probably not affected, but: better be safe than sorry!



GUI reworked

The strip editing area has been cleaned up, to make working with the strips a lot faster and easier.

The N-keys dialog has been removed in favor of a brand new four-tabbed panel below the render-buttons within the panels view.

That made it possible to finally add an Editing Tab to make it possible to easily cut and resize by number. Source files can also finally be changed afterwards, which caused headaches, if you moved files around in earlier versions of Blender.

The status bar has been nicely integrated into the Editing Tab, cleaning up the strips view a lot. (It was always either invisible or in the way...)

All strips, not only Audio strips can now be muted/hidden and alternatively locked against accidental transformations. Hotkeys are H (Alt-H) (now consistent with 3D-view) and Shift-L (Alt-Shift-L) likewise.

Metastrips can now be built from single strips.

The new A-Start and A-End options make it possible to extract a specific portion out of a source files (image / movie or scene strip). No more handle moving and display cluttering with the small hinting lines. Another advantage: if used in concert with the speed control effect, you finally get precise control on what source range is actually retimed!

New consistent input filter

Every input strip (movie/images/scene) used it's own way of postprocessing the input. That is now consistent across strip types finally.

Also, an easy way to transform and crop on input was added, so original resolution can be preserved for logos. Blender always rescaled the input files to render resolution. So adding a simple little logo was a real pain. Three way color correction

Since it can be done a lot faster within the input filter, a new three way color corrector has been added in the spirit of Rebel CC / Colorista. (Not exactly the same, but hopefully comes close.) Blender's gamma sequencer plugin always worked that way, but it was driven by sliders not by colors (which are obviously a lot easier to use).

White balance is now as easy as hitting on "Use color balance", use the color picker on the "Gain" color and finally clicking on "Inv Gain". Proxy support

By default, Blender tries to render the movie strips directly using the input files, you specified (which is very different compared to the way, e.g. Avid works, which always imports files into it's own preview data format).

What makes things very fast on strip import (since there is nothing to import actually) can ruin your day, if your machine isn't fast enough to render at full resolution.

Luckily, the new version of Blender offers a solution:

Disk preview proxies

Every strip (besides audio, that's todo) can have a low resolution proxy bound to it, thereby making it possible to edit high resolution footage even on slow machines. This is done by writing out a directory of JPEG-files. Those proxies are only used, if one enables Preview Resolutions.

That makes it easy and fast to preview or render out low resolution versions. Best of all: final rendering is enabled by a simple click on full resolution rendering again.

Proxies for movie + images are written to a default directory "BL_proxy" relative to the input file location that can be shared across several blend-files without hassle.

Custom storage directories are also possible on a per strip basis.

But here it doesn't stop: everything can be proxied! You only wanted to proxy a certain intermediate result of your effect pipeline? No problem! Only thing to remember, since Blender can't guess a sensible proxy-directory here, you have to choose your own.


Preview updated

There are plenty of additions to the preview display

Title save margins have been added, the same way, it was available in 3D-view. This can be toggled using the little "T"-button in the preview header.

Spotting over-exposed regions can be very tricky sometimes. So a Zebra view was added (can be enabled using the "Z - ..."-menu). The usual defaults you might be acustomed from your camcorder are available. Over-exposed regions are then drawn over with zebra stripes (which you can't really miss, see pictures below). The zebra triggers, if one of the RGB-channels hits the limit, so don't be surprised, if e.g. bright blue regions also trigger the display - that is intended!

The waveform scope can now be switched to color-seperated mode, so that one can spot over-/ under exposure in each channel seperately. This also makes color balance a little bit easier.

Finally, a color histogram can be chosen from the preview button as a new scope view.


Optimisations

FFMPEG has been ported to the latest version and the color conversion routines have been updated to use libswscaler (which makes heavy use of MMX-optimisations (and ALTIVEC on PPC !)).


Threaded rendering with prefetch caching has also been integrated, which can make things a lot smoother, if you got a dual-core system. (One render-thread and one display-thread for now, so sorry folks, quad-core won't run any faster :)


True NTSC and 24p-support

Probably awaited since Blender 1.0 : true NTSC support with fractional FPS.

Old versions of Blender never worked with NTSC, since NTSC has a framerate of 30 / 1.001 frames per second (29.97 is also only an approximation).

We therefore added fractional framerate support to blender, so that the render FPS can be controlled in an exact way.

24 / 1.001 is also possible, as you might have guessed. Sequencer Strips Color and single image strips

Transforming single image and color strips are now treated differently to image sequences, movies and sounds.

Now you dont need to deal with their start and end offsets. they just have a start and end value that can always be dragged to any point.

   Image strips were used extensively for making the peach animatic storyboards into a preview of the movie.

Hiding Strips

Hiding now works in the sequencer as it does in object and editmode, hidden strips are drawn with a halftone fill.

(H, Shift+H and Alt+H keys) Strip Transform Snap

While grabbing sequencer strips holding Ctrl will cause the start and end frames of the selection to snap to adjacent strips on the same chennel, markers or the current frame. Extend (Transform)

Extend is similar to grab except it only operates on one side of the current frame. When all strips are selected the affect is to add or remove time at the current frame.

This was added for the peach open movie to speedup re-timing parts of the animatic, where many edits were needed to make the story work.

(This is accessed from the Ekey)

Markers

Timeline marker display and editing has been added to the sequencer.

Transform Markers can be enabled from the Marker menu, this means Grab and Extend will also move selected markers.

Sequence strips will snap to markers when transforming and Ctrl is held.

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