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Old 24th March 2016, 14:13   #1  |  Link
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avisynth for creative editing / alternative to NLE

Not sure if this thread belongs here, it does not have a really have a technical question.
Instead, I want to share my thoughts on using avisynth and AvsP for "creative video editing", like usually done with non-linear-editors such as Movie Maker or the Sony and Adobe products.

Since years (really) I was searching for a free video-editor to do basic editing:
Trimming, combining clips, small effects like fading between clips, adding audio, adding text. This would be for small just-for-fun videos about videogames and such.
I do not want to pay the prices of 'real' editors because they cost hundred million dollars and I would only use fraction of the features.
Free software (Moviemaker, Blender, VideoPad,Lightworks,etc) either had some wanted feature missing, too steep learning curve for the GUI, or something else.

My impression is avisynth is usually not (at all?) used like this, but if others have tried then I am interested in your experiences too
To give idea, my resultings videos were like this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kEDZTrqrLXg
(The artistic value or content does not matter, only that this is a video edited with avisynth.)

Trimming and combining clips is the heart of editing. Long chains of AviSource() and Trim() commands seemed possible even for me.
The question was more: Would in practice this be too cumbersome or mind numbing?

Generally every clip that gets added also needs to be trimmed, so first thing I did was to combine AviSource().Trim() into a function vT(), meaning "video, Trimmed."
Now instead of having to type AviSource ("clip.avi").Trim (100,500) I could do:
vT ("bla.avi", 100, 200) \
+vT ("blub.avi", 0, 300) \
+vT ("tralala.avi", 700, 900)
The vT-function also adds running frame-number and filename via subtitle, to help with editing. (For export that gets commented out of course)
Small thing, but already felt much better. Looks like in the attached picture:

I did not need fancy transitions. For me those were enough:
Disolve(), FadeIn(), FadeOut() and bit slide-effects with Animate()
I saw even some transitions-plugins exist but somehow did not use those yet.

My feeling was that the cutting/trim/combine process with avisynth was similiar speed as videos I had created with normal NLE.
This would probally not hold true for all projects:
For most part I already knew in which order the clips would go: There was very little shuffeling clips around, so I did not miss the more flexible NLE.
All footage was recorded by me of a videogame, that is maybe as perfect raw footage as it can get? Clips were short, the start&end points did not need much trimming and bad clips I had already deleted right after recording. So I did not have to scroll through hours of unuseable footage like they probally get produced during the filming of a nature documentary or so.
All left-over clips I simply dumped into some sort of 'highlight impressions', there the order did not even matter much.
It also helped that for many clips it did not matter if the cut was a some secondes sooner or later.

I used short and (to me) descriptive names for folders and files. So from reading the filenames I never got lost in the script, even without a real timeline GUI.
I also very much liked adding comments in the script, very useful for 'report-style' video. Similiar function I missed any other video editors.
Another great advantage is text-search: With other projects I sometimes had left-over clips that I wanted to add, but then accidently left out! With search I could quickly check if/where a file was already inserted into project.

-Adding overlays
I wanted to include graphical overlays as usual in motorsport videos: lap counter, driver names, results.
Writing some functions for that was all very easy and I could find lots of examples on google. Result does not look too great, but I think that is more due to missing artistic talent.
Even adding a running race-timer/clock in one video, no idea how this would work in other software?

This was important feature for me, even though ended up using it only a few times. (VideoPad had been the only other editor where I could figure this out)
Takes bit trial&error with the coordinates, but not too bad.

Adding audio commentary.
Important for a 'report' style video.
I wanted each 'scene' to have its own audiofile because I figured this would be easier to record than one long take.
It also makes syncing audio&video easier, because at each scene a new audiofile begins playing at right time.
I made a function addVoice(fileName.wav) that also optionally includes the fileName on video with subtitle, plus the clip length.
Knowing filename and length helps with recording commentary. This way I could also send a preview-version to other people, so they could record audio and know how to save the files.
The folder-path was saved in a variable, so it was easy to create both a german and english version.
(One might think in every NLE editor this is possible too, by simply changing the actual files. But many complain when files differ from the one used in project.)

-Using too many AviSource() does not work:
(For me with win 7 64bit the limit was iirc 75.) I could export a section that used many clips and then re-insert it was one large clip, but bit annoying.
-With 1280x720x60fps video, the playback was not always smooth/realtime, especially when fading from one clip to another etc. Was no problem because I did not need to preview video much.
-Subtitles together with animate-function uses surprising large amount of memory.
-Editing audio is so-so. When the playback stutters it is difficult to judge volume too. It would be cumbersome/impossible to adjust volume only in parts of a clip. Luckily I did not have to.
Using "voiceVolume" and "videoVolume" variables was useful to adjust volume of all clips at once.

The resulting videos are nothing special but good enough for me.
Overall this is bit strange way to edit videos, but depending on content I think avisynth can be an option.
I also used avisynth for more basic editing (Combining speaker of a presentation with footage of the presentation itself, add bit of text, stuff like that) and found this to work well, too.

Sorry this text got longer than planned. Attached is script of the posted video.
It is rather primitive scripting but maybe that gives someone an impression how this would look like. Would also like to hear about mistakes or possible improvements.
Suggestions for functions or plugins that could possibly be useful are also welcome.
And thanks to all contributors of avisynth/tutorials.
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File Type: zip my avisynth video.zip (134.5 KB, 15 views)
kilo70 is offline   Reply With Quote

avisynth, editing

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