Freitag, 1. Mai 2015

A better Grip for the Fujifilm X-E1/E2

As an user of the Fuji X-E1 I was annoyed by the rather weak ergonomic design (let's call that retro, which has established itself as a more modern term ;) ), whereas I really love the camera for its many positive aspects.

Because most available mountable grips for the camera were either too small or too expensive in my opinion, I decided to design my own, which should provide a more DSLR-Like feeling, and finally realized that through Shapeways. You may find it on my Shapeways shop.

Have fun,
Björn :)

Mittwoch, 21. Januar 2015

Important video editing Addons for Blender


If you are goingt to attend to more complex video editing with Blender, you will most likely find yourself confronted with certain limitations of Blender's capabilities.

Fortunately there are ways to come by the most problems with the help of some nice Addons! Because finding those Addons turns out rather difficult, I am going to name some of the most obvious limitations in Blender followed by the Plugin that provides a solution.

3D Lookuptable editor

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 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.

There is also an amazing Addon that provides the capability to tag your footage and define in- and outpoints using a slightly different approach.
It enhances your workflow significantly by making you able to manage your media in a more semantic way. And there is also a video tutorial!

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.

There is also the very useful Jump to Cut addon. It moves the playhead to the nearest start- and endpoints of clips in the desired direction. It is a good Idea to assign this functions to shortcuts via Blender's user preferences. Simply hover over a button of the plugin and add the python command shown in the tooltip to new hotkey.

My setting is: Q to jump left, W to jump left and Shift+Q and Shift+W to trim the start and endpoint to the playhead using TrimTools. Those addons play together very nicely!

Then there are the sequencer extra actions. It's a great toolset which adds essential functions. The Wiki Page speaks for itself!

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.
(Because the initial developer is not active in the thread anymore, the recent download links are found on the last pages.)

The most NLEs provide an intuitive way to transform clips in the canvas.
This unique Addon adds exactly this functionality to Blender! Personally I have been waiting for such a feature for a long time.

The video tracking features of Blender are exceptional and we may use them for proper video stabilization!

And then there is something much more experimental:
The LUT Editor is capable to use Blender's features as a 3D editor to edit 3D Lookuptables. The caveat is that you have to recompile Blender to use the addon...

Generally it is a good idea to assign those important functions to shortcuts. It will take some time to understand how to use those addons efficinetly, but it the end there is a chance that you will gain a very intuitive and fast workflow!

Now have a try and enjoy experimenting! ;)

By the way:
I don't like the idea of disturbing your reading experience by showing annoying ads on my Blog. Yet, writing articles takes a meaningful amount of time, so as you can read in the right column of my blog, if you would like to say "thank you" for the hopefully useful posts, you can easily do this by making your next Amazon purchase using the links provided in the "Note" box. It won't cost you anything more, but helps me keeping this blog running! Thanks! :)

Dienstag, 12. August 2014

Better video stabilization in Blender


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.

A very good introduction to the basics of Blender's stabilizing features is found here.

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!

You can download it on BlenderArtists and I have a quick example comparing the standard and highpass stabilization for you:

Please notice that the wobbliness is caused by the rolling shutter of my camera und thus not introduced by Blender ;-)

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!

That's it. Have fun!