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  • Using Fraps and Battlerecorder Footage Simultaneously

    While reviewing the good and bad of my first video AAR, I realized that I used the BF2 in-game maps quite a bit which is good for me while playing, but detracts from in-game videos because you take your viewers away from the action.

    So, if I am making a video mostly recorded with Fraps and in the first-person (1P) perspective and there is a lot of map screen time, I thought I could trim those frames out in WMM and replace them with simultaneous BR third-person (3p) footage that I download in order to keep the viewer engaged.

    I was able to do this pretty easily once I had the clips in sync (more on that below). After doing this, I also realized that there might be times when it would be nice to see 1P and 3P simultaneously in order to give the viewers a more complete picture of the story unfolding before them. Well, after perusing Exploding Silver's TG plug-in for WMM thread and a little searching I found two additional custom transitions that allow you to do split-screen and Picture-in-Picture (PIP) in WMM. I then successfully used Fraps footage in one and BR footage in the other with pretty decent results.

    Here is a one-minute video I made using both split screen and PIP with some action from my first Video AAR:


    YouTube: Using Fraps and BR Footage Simultaneously


    Although I am happy with both methods, I think the PIP sequence comes off better. I think that a center zoom effect used in conjunction with the split screen might work well in order to not cut out too much of each perspective.

    If you are interested in how I made these clips, I will explain below:

    1. Getting the Custom Transitions

    One of sites in Silver's thread, http://rehanfx.com/, has both of the custom transitions you need. Download the "Split Video" and "PIP (Picture In Picture)" transitions. The split video .xml will need to be manually copier to your .../AddOnTFX folder. The PIP self-extracting executable will automatically install the files on running it.

    Note: There is a great tutorial video that shows how to use the PIP transition that can be found here: papajohn.org - Ayumilove - WMM Tutorial 4

    2. Adding and Syncing Your Fraps Clips

    Add your clips into WMM (You have to experiment which to put first to determine if it will be on the left or right side or which clip will be minimized for the PIP. You then need to get your clips in sync so that the action in each is simultaneous. There several methods to do this (a sound, a specific action, etc.) but I found that using the appearance of a specific server message in the upper left hand corner of each screen was the easiest (Although it should be noted not all server messages appear in both in-game Fraps and BR so you have to find one present in both). I isolated the frame that the server message first appeared and trimmed each clip to that frame. Your clips do not need to be the same length (if not as soon as the shorter one is finished the transition will end as well), but they do have to start at the same point. If you are using in-game sound in your video make sure you mute whichever clip you do not want to hear in the video. In my example above I used the Fraps recorded sound (so we could hear VOIP) and muted the BR clip.

    3. Adding the Transition between the Clips to Achieve the Desired Effect

    The hardest part for me in this whole process was overlaying the clips so that the transition would be correctly applied. When dragging the right hand clip towards the left one you may have to zoom-in the timeline quite a bit in order to get them overlaid as much as possible. This is crucial to keeping the clips in sync when the transition is applied. When looking at them in the timeline, they will never appear exactly on top of one another at close zoom but it does appear correctly when previewed/rendered. Check out the rehanfx site and the video mentioned above for more tips as well.

    4. Finalizing and Saving the Movie

    Whenever I previewed the final movies using the built-in WMM preview screen it never ran smooth when the transition was being applied but when saved and viewed in a video player they came out perfect. I imagine this has more to do with the logic of the effects rather than performance capability of my computer. However, if you go frame by frame in the preview player you will see the proper rendering of the split screen or PIP (BTW, there are several PIP location options available).

    There are several other effects out there that could also be used. There are circle (and other shape) and horizontal split screens and Brady Bunch (more than two) PIP effects as well. I'll be playing around with more of those later.

    Well, I hope you find this useful. There is some extra time involved to use Fraps and BR footage together, but I think it can make for a better movie in some circumstances. I will be adding these instructions to the Video Production Tutorial Wiki soon for posterity as well.

    EDIT: If you have Vegas, make sure to also see Waffle House's Vegas PIP Thread
    Last edited by loyalguard; 06-20-2007, 06:43 PM. Reason: Additional Info
    LoyalGuard

  • #2
    Re: Using Fraps and Battlerecorder Footage Simultaneously

    Definitly reading this and giving this a go this weekend. PIP is one thing that I've wanted to have for awhile and now that I know its possible, hopefully it'll kickstart my lazyass into making a video!

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Using Fraps and Battlerecorder Footage Simultaneously

      Yeah, I really like the PIP. I am thinking about plunking down the $8 for PIP-Plus that allows you to set custom sizes and locations for the PIP window.

      I may have also found a better split-screen transition that reduces the size of each clip and and repositions it before splitting the screen so that you can see the entirety of each clip side by side (not just cut down the middle). That is what the description says anyway...I will try it out as soon as I get home and report back.

      I tried using the some of the custom crop effects (that Silver and others have created) but applying an effect and a multi-clip transition in WMM causes the video to render with some frame anomalies. There is a way to do it, but it involved applying the effect to each clip one at a time, saving it as a movie (so the effect is incorporated when rendered) and then reimporting the clips into a new project before applying the transition...more on that later too!
      LoyalGuard

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Using Fraps and Battlerecorder Footage Simultaneously

        Originally posted by loyalguard View Post
        Yeah, I really like the PIP. I am thinking about plunking down the $8 for PIP-Plus that allows you to set custom sizes and locations for the PIP window.
        Buy too many of these plug-ins and you might as well just join the ranks of the Vegas-ites. ;)

        Excellent writeup!
        sigpic


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        • #5
          Re: Using Fraps and Battlerecorder Footage Simultaneously

          Well, as I mentioned above, I applied the new split screen transition method. It is better, but still not quite perfect. The .xml code stretches each clip inward vertically so that you can see the full clip (not just cut off in the middle), but, the picture is skewed (smushed) so the height/width ration is a little off.

          Here is an example (using the same clips):

          YouTube: Revised Split Screen

          I'll keep working on it (hopefully a version that also stretches horizontally so we can get back to 4:3) In the meantime, here is the .xml code:

          Code:
          <TransitionsAndEffects Version="1.0">
          <Transitions>
          <TransitionDLL guid="{F088DE73-BDD0-4E3C-81F8-6D32F4FE9D28}" >
          <Transition name="Side by Side" iconid="41" comment="DXImageTransform.Microsoft.Stretch">
          <Param name="stretchStyle" value="PUSH" />
          <Param name="progress" value="0.5" />
          </Transition>
          </TransitionDLL>
          </Transitions>
          </TransitionsAndEffects>
          and the relevant post at the WMM forums:

          Side-by-side Videos (See Post #2)
          LoyalGuard

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Using Fraps and Battlerecorder Footage Simultaneously



            I have found there is a way to cut battlerecorder footage into fraps footage without loosing the fraps soundtrack.

            6 minute "how to" video showing editing in WWM and the video output
            http://files.filefront.com/Fraps+and.../fileinfo.html
            Last edited by Exploding_Silver; 06-21-2007, 05:52 PM.

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Using Fraps and Battlerecorder Footage Simultaneously

              Good stuff Silver...that is exactly how I planned to do what I described in my second paragraph in the OP...that is an awesome tutorial vid! +rep
              LoyalGuard

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Using Fraps and Battlerecorder Footage Simultaneously

                Originally posted by loyalguard View Post
                Good stuff Silver...that is exactly how I planned to do what I described in my second paragraph in the OP...that is an awesome tutorial vid! +rep
                Thanks

                The PIPS is coming on well, can WMM export in widescreen if you had two movies together in 4:3 perspective. i have not found a way to expect in widescreen in WMM

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Using Fraps and Battlerecorder Footage Simultaneously

                  Originally posted by Exploding_Silver View Post
                  Thanks

                  The PIPS is coming on well, can WMM export in widescreen if you had two movies together in 4:3 perspective. i have not found a way to expect in widescreen in WMM
                  I've seen some possible leads (or potential workarounds) in the WMM forums but I am not sure...it would be great to put to 4:3 side by side in widescreen format!
                  LoyalGuard

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Using Fraps and Battlerecorder Footage Simultaneously

                    Since PIP is looking pretty good all around, I wanted to concentrate on split screen again.

                    As I posted above, I found a way to capture the full clip on each half of the screen, but it gets smushed/squished sine there is not enough room for each full-size side-by-side.

                    But, as I mentioned in my second post, I think I have found a decent improvement on applying the the split screen transition in conjunction with a move effect that minimizes picture loss. It does require a couple extra steps taking about 5-10 total (including rendering time and depending on the size of the clips), but I think the overall results are well worth it. Here it is:

                    The main problem in the OP method was that the screens were split, but the split occurred right down the middle of each clip and since each camera angle focused on the middle, we lost a lot of what was going on in each clip. To minimize the loss I used a custom effect (two actually) that I found called "Move left for 3 way split" (and its counterpart "Move right for 3 way split). What this effect does is move part of the each clip left or right off screen about 33% so what was in the middle of the picture of each clip (and what got cut-off) is now either further to the left/right and the actual split occurs in a less critical part of the view (assuming whatever you want to focus on is in the center of the camera angle). Below is a screen shot of what the effect does to each clip if viewed alone.



                    By applying these effects and using the split screen transition together, we can see a vast improvement over just use of the transition only:



                    On the Left - Transition Only On the Right - Effect and Transition

                    Notice how each clip is still in proportion and captures more of what is in view in the middle of the original clips in the example to the right.

                    But, there is a small catch. WMM cannot handle applying these custom effects and transitions at the same time in the same video track (and of course, WMM only utilizes one video track hence the need for custom transitions in the first place). Thus, even after rendering, you will get missing scan lines or other artifacts in your movie leaving it non-viewable. So, here is where we add the extras steps to avoid this.

                    Extra Step 1 - Import your first clip (assuming you have already synced the clips) and apply the "Move left for 3 way split" effect. Do not add the second clip or add any transitions, rather, simply save the movie as is with the one clip/effect. Try to save the movie at the highest level of quality possible in order to maintain a higher level of quality throughout the project. After doing so, clear the storyboard/timeline.

                    Extra Step 2 - Import your second clip and apply the "Move right for 3 way split" effect and again simply save the movie as is and clear the storyboard/timeline.

                    Extra Step 3 - Now, import your two newly saved clips and then apply the transition as described in the OP. Your results should look like this:

                    YouTube: Improved Fraps/Battlerecorder Split Screen

                    By applying the effect, saving each clip anew, and then importing the new clip with the effect already rendered you avoid whatever conflicts caused by the split screen transition that produces the anomalies/artifacts.

                    Now that I have both the PIP and split screen tweakedI will re-compile the instructions in a user-friendly format in the wiki (I wish I could do video tutorials like Exploding Silver (one day maybe!). If you are intimidated by any of these instructions, fear not, I never even really touched WMM until last week so all of the little nuances that make this stuff work can be picked up very quickly. I hope you find these useful!
                    LoyalGuard

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Using Fraps and Battlerecorder Footage Simultaneously

                      Yes good
                      we're really pushing the limit and bending what MMW can do.
                      The improved split screen is good now and enhances the viewers experience, it works well, a final version I think

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: Using Fraps and Battlerecorder Footage Simultaneously

                        Ok, I have taken all the relevant and pertinent material from above (discarding the chaff) and put it all in the Windows Movie Maker Tutorial Wiki for clarity and posterity. I cover PIP and the two split screen versions. I have also left a parking spot for Silver's custom TG plug-in (hint, hint).

                        Silver, regarding:
                        Originally posted by Exploding_Silver View Post
                        ...can WMM export in widescreen if you had two movies together in 4:3 perspective. i have not found a way to expect in widescreen in WMM
                        In WMM, if you select the "Tools" menu and select "Options..." there is a selectable property to change the aspect ratio for capture/export from 4:3 to 16:9. This is only really useful if the source is the same ratio as your intended export but in the WMM forums I have seen some discussion about switching formats back and forth in the movie using custom effects and titles believe it or not (although, the titles are just a container, there is no actual text). I think this is well worth exploring for future use!
                        LoyalGuard

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