Ok so admitedly I'm a bit bored at the moment and decided to write a little something on here. Hopefully some of you can take something from it, otherwise it was a total waste of my time lol!
Here are a few movie making tips (ranging from specific program usage to actual tips with general movie making!) that you may find interesting to know:





Adobe Premiere Pro
===============

Adobe Premiere Pro rates as one of the very best movie editing programs, so it is highly recommended you take a serious look at it. Adobe Premiere Pro has an extensive set of effects that you can easily apply to clips and use. Effects including the generation of certain objects such as a lightning bolt or a lens flare light source.

The basis of Adobe Premiere Pro is the same as with every other movie editing program out there. You create a new project with specific settings, you insert media you already have such as music, video clips, screenshots/photos, audio clips, etc, and then you place the media on the main timeline in sequence of playback. Once you have a final product, you can export to a movie or use the Adobe Media Encoder in Adobe Premiere Pro to render the final product with fully customizable settings.

The reason Adobe Premiere Pro is highly recommended is simply because it seems to have it all!
It is a very powerful piece of software that you can do almost anything you can think of in. And I say 'almost anything' because I haven't personally thought of everything and so haven't been able to find a limitation as of yet!


Codecs in Windows Vista x64
=====================

Ok so most of us are aware that in 64-bit operating systems, there's always some issue with codecs at the moment. What I recommend you do is install the latest version of "Vista Codec Package" and then the latest version of "Vista Codec Package x64" as well.

When you use the command "VideoRecordChooseCompressor 1" in World in Conflict to get prompted which codec to use to record the AVI with, I've found that "Microsoft Video 1" is a good one to use when you set it to "100% quality" and "1.00 temporal quality ratio". I've found that using the XViD codecs makes Adobe Premiere Pro take ages to import video clips as they're first decoded, plus it seems to eat up all your RAM (even with 4GB RAM!!). With "Microsoft Video 1" encoding, you get good quality, decent filesizes and it doesn't make Adobe Premiere Pro cough up. At the end of the day, these are the source video clips you're encoding with "Microsoft Video 1", the final product that you'll release can be encoded however you really want regardless!


Setting Up A New Project
==================

This assumes you're using Adobe Premiere Pro. When you first start it, click "New Project" then at the bottom browse to where you want to store the project and enter a name for the project below. At the top, click the "Custom Settings" tab. In the "General" section, select "Desktop" from Editing Mode and set Timebase to "30.00 frames/second" (default recording rate in World in Conflict).

In Frame Size, you must set the resolution your final product will be in. I recommend you set this to the resolution your video clips from World in Conflict are set at. By default, World in Conflict will record video clips at the same resolution as your game runs which for me is 1280x1024, which is way too large anyway. For this reason I use the program "VirtualDub" to resize all the video clips I record from World in Conflict down to 640x512 (half the resolution) and in the process, cut the bits I want out of what I recorded (see next section of this thread). Anyway so back to Frame Size, enter the resolution your video clips will be at to maintain the quality ratio between the final product and your video clips intact.

In Pixel Aspect Ratio, select "Square Pixels (1.0)" and in Fields, select "No Fields (Progressive Scan)".

Now in the "Video Rendering" section, tick "Maximum Bit Depth" and select "Video for Windows" from File Format, and "None" for Compressor.

Finally, in the "Default Sequence" section you can select how many video and audio tracks you want in your new project. By default you'll have three video tracks and three audio tracks. This always seems to suffice so unless you have a reason to have more, there's no need to touch any of this. You can now go ahead and click "OK" to create your new project!

Now, I'm all for being tidy and organised. It'll help you be efficient anyway!
When you're in your new project, go to the folder you created your project in and create a new folder called "Media", and extra folders inside that one called something like "Music", "Videos", "Screenshots", etc. Just make sure your movie material is named as such that you can recognize what each thing is and place the media in its appropriate folder. In Adobe Premiere Pro, in the project files list on the top left, right click and click "New Bin" to create a folder within the project. For example, create one called "Videos" and then right click on it and click "Import". Select all the video clips from the "Videos" folder you created before and import them in there!
You get the idea, just keeping everything in its place will help you be more efficient so you can concentrate on simply being creative with your movie!


VirtualDub and Video Clip Processing
==========================

VirtualDub is a free, awfully powerful program. Granted the user interface isn't very intuitive but it more than makes up for it in features. Even if you have a 64-bit operating system, I highly recommend you use the normal version and not the x64 version (which always seemed to crash on me and seemed to lack features!).

Say you've got a raw video clip recorded from World in Conflict and it was encoded with "Microsoft Video 1" and is at a resolution of 1280x1024. Open VirtualDub and open the video clip there. At the bottom is a seek bar for the video clip you've opened. Say you only really want a bit in the middle from what you've recorded, just go to the start of what you want, press HOME and then go to the end of what you want and press END. You'll notice that bit of the video clip is highlighted on the seek bar; this is what VirtualDub will save as a new video clip when you export.

Before saving the new video clip, go to the "Video" menu and into "Compression". Here select "Microsoft Video 1" again and again set the "100% quality" and "1.00 temporal quality ratio" (click "Configure") options. Then go to the "Video" menu again and go to "Filters", then click "Add". Here you'll find a list of all the various filters VirtualDub comes with to alter the video clip. Just find the one called "resize", select it and click "OK". When the window for the filter comes up, select "Absolute (pixels)" for New Size and set it to what you want, say "640x512", then click "OK" twice. Press "F7" in the main window to bring up the "Save As AVI..." dialog and just save it. It'll take a bit to process the video clip but what you'll then end up with is a compressed, resized and trimmed video clip that you should then import into Adobe Premiere Pro for movie making!


Tips for Recording in World in Conflict
==========================

The movie making tool is extremely handy and extremely professional; use it, always!
Massive Entertainment have a PDF manual in the "Downloads" page for using the movie making tool in the game (updated for v1.0005, which has new features!), which you should use to brief yourself in its use and various commands.

Just a few recording tips. Everything is about camera angles and given the freedom of the camera placement and the detail of the terrain and units in the game even at very close proximity to the camera, it's always good to be up-close to the units; it gives the feel of being part of the action. Unless you're really going for an 'overall' shot or a 'flying through the sky' shot, the camera should always be right down there where the action is!

Almost all of the time, the camera should never be still. I say 'almost all of the time' because sometimes you have the still camera shots, though these shouldn't be over-used because they're not as immersive if a movie is comprised of just still shots. It's always more immersive to keep the camera moving. It doesn't even have to track events or move fast at all, just simple constant movement to the side while something happens in the view of the camera, maybe even some camera banking (but not much if it's a small camera path otherwise it just looks like you're spinning in the air!).

The camera doesn't always have to strictly follow units or events. In fact it looks great when the camera doesn't have an 'attachment' to particular units or events. For example, imagine you want to record a video clip of an aircraft coming it from the harbour toward the city in the Space Needle map. The camera doesn't have to be placed in front or behind the aircraft as it flies and just track it all the way to the objective, unless that's what you want!
What looks great is to have say, the camera on the street a fair distance away from the aircraft's flight-path, and just moving very slowly to its side while it looks in the direction of the flying aircraft, either toward the side going along the aircraft's direction or the opposite. You could also set the camera somewhere in a street that's along the aircraft's direction, and have the camera face slightly up, and moving slowly forwards along the direction of the aircraft so the aircraft literally flies over the camera and you can see it moving further into the distance..
The point is that these shots tend to be more artistic and immersive than a more complicated shot where you make sure the camera is directly following the aircraft (again, unless this is what you want specifically!). Simplicity can mean extreme immersiveness and very artistic quality, sometimes even more-so than complicated shots!

One tip to follow on to all this is variation. Don't make a movie full of shots that have the same style, angles and events. Ignoring for a moment the fact that it's always good to shoot scenes that go along with the soundtrack, the scenes should vary in style to keep the viewer interested. In the example above, you might want to combine the simple, artistic shots I described with a few that actually follow the aircraft, as an example. Simply don't over-use each kind of filming style, at least not in sequence within the movie!

When you identify something you want to film in a replay, pause the replay and go down there into the action, disable the HUD with "F10" and move the camera around the action, having seen what you want to film, decide what angle you want to approach the camera at and how you want the camera to move along with the action to provide a specific feel to the scene and therefore the movie itself. There's not a lot I can recommend here because every situation is different, just remember to combine various filming styles and angles, and to consider simple, artistic shots as well as more complex camera paths. Once you've got the entire camera path created for that scene, you can click the camera points to select them and bank them or zoom them slightly, depends what you want but usually adding a tiny bit of camera banking to a scene is beneficial in immersiveness unless you really do over-use this effect, but for some scenes you'd do well in banking a few camera points.

Now this tip is very important!
Always film in slow-motion. By default, the game records video clips at 30 FPS, which means that if the game is playing at "time.scale 1" (normal speed) while you record the video clip, your video clip will be at 30 FPS based on normal game speed. Now what if you decide to slow the clip down in the movie editing software (say, Adobe Premiere Pro) to 50% playback speed?
This means that effectively, your clip will playback at 15 FPS, which we all know that is too slow for it to look smooth to the human eye, and this spoils your movie unless you're really going for a 'blocky' shot, in which case you should just tell the game to record the camera path to image files and not an AVI video file!

Now, say you record the video clip at "time.scale 0.2" (five times slower than normal). Granted, the video clip will effectively be longer for a given event and therefore be bigger in file size but that doesn't matter. The video clip is still at 30 FPS, but based on 0.2 times the normal speed, meaning that it looks perfectly smooth but is in slow motion. When you put it into your movie editing software, you can compensate for the slow motion by setting the "Speed/Duration" of the clip to "500%". It will look perfectly, perfectly smooth and playback at normal game speed. However, say you want to make use of Adobe Premiere Pro CS3's time-control effects to create a transition to slow motion and back to normal speed. You can now insert the video clip, set it to "500%" playback speed to turn it into normal game speed and then create a transition to say "250%" playback speed and later, back to "500%". This makes your video clip playback at normal game speed but go down to 0.5 times normal game speed for that segment you remap time in Adobe Premiere Pro CS3. And because the video clip is originally recorded at 30 FPS based on 0.2 times normal game speed, it playing back at 500% and 250% speeds still looks perfectly, perfectly smooth so you don't lose quality of playback just because you've created a slow-motion segment!

This is also advantageous even when you don't really want to create slow-motion segments within video clips. If you record the original video clip at 0.2 times the normal speed, you can decide later if you want it at slow-motion (and at what degree of slow-motion) or at normal speed or at fast speed, when you put it into your movie in the movie editing software. If you record the video clip at normal game speed and then go to your movie, insert it and realise you prefer it a bit slower or even simply in slow-motion, you need to go back to the game to re-record the clip at a different game speed to not lose quality of playback. By recording in slow-motion from the very beginning, you ensure yourself that you can go back down to at least "100%" speed of playback for that video clip in the moving editing software, still guaranteeing yourself at least 30 FPS in video playback.

Just a note, if you record audio from the game using the movie making tool, make sure you use the exact same camera path as for the video component and that you record at the same game speed so that the audio and video files are at the same game speed and last just as long. You can edit out bits of the audio within the movie editing software anyway. If you do this you can even open the video clip in VirtualDub and then go to "Audio" and click "WAV Audio..." and open the recorded audio file. Once you save as a new AVI, the new video clip will have the audio attachment to it as normal and it will sound good because it was recorded at the same game speed as the video component!
You can even do this pre-processing in VirtualDub before inserting the video clip into the movie editing software, that way you're sure not to have audio-synchronisation problems as you might if you insert the video clip and audio clip individually.


General Movie Making Tips
===================

First and foremost, save your replays when you play the game. When you decide on making a movie, think of an idea; a main theme to base the movie on, perhaps even a storyline. Once you've got the idea in your mind, even if vaguely, select a soundtrack (this is extremely important). Co-ordinating the music to the video is one of the strongest 'selling points' in making and releasing a good movie. The soundtrack needs to suit your main ideas for the movie as to how it progresses from scene to scene and also to provide the feel you want to convey.

Think of a horror movie. How would the movie be and feel if the music didn't co-ordinate with the scenes or even, if you had no music whatsoever or had something completely inappropriate?
Your soundtrack needs to convey the feel of the movie itself and in particular, the scenes that exist in the movie as they progress from one to the other, transitions included. Watch my current movies "Bombshell" and "Infinitus Ruina", particularly the latter when it goes from the scene where soldiers are running across the bridge and get napalmed to the scene where the carpet bomber is flying in, and then to the scene where it starts bombing the crap out of the town. You'll notice the distinct changes in the soundtrack and how well they fit to the scenes and the feeling they convey.

This brings me to mention how important it is for the soundtrack you select to vary in intensity. Say for example, a classical music soundtrack. You'll have calm and cool parts where you can have scenes that don't have any action and might even be to just present the environment where the battle takes place, before it takes place. Then suddenly it can move on to very intense and loud parts, in which you can perfectly time various events occuring, maybe even fast-paced. Then at the end they can be quite calm again, in which you can place scenes to demonstrate how calm the battlefield is after a war and how much destruction has occured. This is just an example but just to describe to you exactly what I mean by saying that it's important for your soundtrack to vary; to have different parts you can identify to different scenes in your movie.

I've already mentioned the difference between complex and simple camera paths above so I won't re-iterate that here, but it applies to general move making tips as well. All in all, as you make your movie, scene by scene, go back a few seconds and play it back to yourself in the movie editing software. Watch it and see how it looks and how it feels. Is it correct?
Is it what you imagined?
Does it suit your idea and feel?
Can I add anything?
Go into your various video clips within the movie and think about any special effects you might want to put in. Maybe making colour corrections, maybe adding the brightness and contrast effect to the video clip so you can make the video 'flash' in brightness when several explosions occur, maybe change the transition between the scenes slightly so that it's more timely or slower, or even the transition type entirely.

That brings me to transitions. Use nothing tacky!
Things considered tacky are whirling and twirling transitions, pixelating in/out transitions, etc. The best always seem to be the immediate where there is no transition (good for scenes that change quickly as the soundtrack does), the opacity blending between two scenes and the fade in/out from/into blackness effect. Never be afraid to leave a few seconds blank where there is nothing on video and there's just soundtrack...sometimes this gives more immersion and accentuates the feel you're trying to convey. It really does depend on what you're displaying on screen, but being creative is the most important thing.


Codecs in Windows Vista x64 - Continued (Exporting/Rendering)
===========================================

I admit I haven't looked into this loads to check if I can get some version of DivX or XViD working in a 64-bit operating system for something other than watching video files (which I have) - an encoder to use in "Adobe Media Encoder". What works really well for me however is the following.

Say you've completed your movie and want to render it to release it, or even to just check how it looks after exporting. This again, is assuming you're using Adobe Premiere Pro. Click the timeline area where your movie is to select it, then go to "File" and down to "Export", and click "Adobe Media Encoder" at the bottom of the list.

Here you've got a lot of options for rendering your movie. Select "MPEG2" from Format at the top and make sure it has "Entire Sequence" selected in Range. Make sure "Export Video" and "Export Audio" are both ticked. Then in the "Video" tab, set "Quality" to maximum "5" and set the "Frame Width" and "Frame Height" to the resolution of your final product, which you must have set when you first created the project. In Frame Rate select "30", in Field Order select "None (Progressive)" and then in Pixel Aspect Ratio select "Square Pixels (1.000)". Scrolling down you'll find Bitrate Encoding. Select "VBR, 2 Pass" here and in Minimum Bitrate select about "2.3". Then in Target Bitrate select about "2.5" and in Maximum Bitrate select about "2.7". These numbers won't be exact as the scrolling is a bit awkward to select an exact desired value but basically a small range of bitrate, averaging at about 2.5Mbps seems to be a good compensation between quality and filesize as much more bitrate doesn't provide anymore real quality to justify the much larger filesize. At the bottom you can see "Estimated File Size" for your movie so you can see how the bitrate changes this!
In the "Audio" tab you should have "MPEG" selected in Audio Format and then "MPEG-1, Layer II Audio" in Audio Layer for MP3 based audio. You can then set Audio Mode to "Stereo", Frequency to "48 kHz" and then Bitrate to about "160". I've read 128kbps is about CD quality, so there's no need to go much further than that. 160kbps seems to be of very high quality MP3 audio so there's no need to select something like 320kbps, although the increase in filesize isn't very large!

When you click "OK" you'll be shown a video to save the video file as an MPEG2 (.mpg) file. Save it anywhere you want with whatever filename you want...this'll be your final product!
It will take a while to render the whole film. This can range from a few minutes to literally an hour or hour and a half. It depends on your computer specifications (the processor is very important in this!) and mainly, on the complexity of your movie. Scenes that make use the blurring effects and time remapping effects for example, can take considerably long to render.

You might end up with more than one file for your final product where you saved it, like say "movie.mpg" and then "movie.xmp". You can delete everything that's created by the rendering process except your "movie.mpg" file obviously (only once rendering finishes though!), which is your final rendered product. Make sure you're ok with the quality of both the video and the audio and that everything suits you before you release it obviously. You can always alter the movie slightly and re-render or even change the rendering settings for higher bitrate or something if you decide it's not good enough!




Right, there's not much else I can think of saying at the moment, mostly because I've been writing for ages!!
If you have any further things to add, any comments, and even questions (especially if Adobe Premiere Pro related in terms in movie editing software), please feel free to post on this thread!

[Edited 5 time(s). Last edit at Jan 27, 2008 17:26 by [CsMB]Gib007.]
Thank you for making this thread a sticky on the forum! :)
I'll be adding to this thread in the very near future. Namely with techniques and tips within Adobe Premiere Pro and perhaps further general information. I was having a look at the "Wiki" earlier but can't quite work out how to add my own pages to it with all this applicable information. Would be great to have it there!

[Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at Jan 28, 2008 22:52 by [CsMB]Gib007.]

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Quote from [CsMB]Gib007:
I'll be adding to this thread in the very near future. Namely with techniques and tips within Adobe Premiere Pro and perhaps further general information. I was having a look at the "Wiki" earlier but can't quite work out how to add my own pages to it with all this applicable information. Would be great to have it there!

Click Edit on another page and copy the templates used, and just change the text. To create a new page, just enter the title of the thread in Search, and you'll get the option to create that page.

Or just mail it to me and I can add it to the wiki :)
Мир ~ former community manager ~ massive entertainment

I don't work for Massive anymore. Thanks for the great times!

[Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at Feb 05, 2008 12:50 by [MSV]Mir.]
would be nice to know what kind of free software is out there for movie editing. I used the trial version of Adobe Premiere 6.0 for the two that I made, I can't make anything else until I get some kind of professional level software.

So it's either free or... someone donates to me? :P
Windows movie maker is for free :)
i use sony vegas pro 8 and i'm happy, it's my prefered program for movie making
Maybe an addition on how to encode the recorded video (not using the in-game encoder, unless thats what you are supposed to do for a three minute movie) and more on converting files from the replay to tga and others, as well as were to find them after opening up other video editing software (in my case, from virtual dub).

Everything else has been a huge help, thanks. :)
-Ray-
Actually i was not interested about such movie making because i thought it is a very tough job. But after reading these tips i have became confident. Thanks for the tips.