REAPER 4 has brought quite a lot of improvement to REAPER video handling. With a little creativity it’s possible to add titles, cut between multiple clips, and insert stills, all with reasonable stability, excellent performance, and great audio processing. I’ve done a blog post and a video about using REAPER to sync audio and video, but I thought I’d do another one that looks at making a complete simple music video, with titling and overlays.
Keeping Up with REAPER Video
The REAPER forum is a regular stop for me. That’s where I learned about video in REAPER and where I look for the latest info. The video implementation is actually still in Alpha form, so it’s not fully supported and documented. Here’s the thread that announced the use of FFmpeg libraries.
Forum member airon has created a thread where he tracks the current state of video in REAPER, “Video Playback and Exporting” that I check often. He keeps it updated with the current FFmpeg libraries of choice, along with other news and tips.
Here’s the Cockos Wiki page describing video support. It includes details on installing the library files.
With all my enthusiasm, please remember that there are no video effects in REAPER currently. No fades, no transitions, no flipping or stretching. All we can do is move clips (and stills) around, trim them, and sync with separate audio tracks. So our style will be defined by those limitations.
Titles and Tricks
A static title is pretty easy to add to your project in REAPER. Just create a jpeg or png image in your favorite tool, heck, Windows Paint will do the job. Be sure to set the size to match your video, for instance 1280 pixels wide by 720 pixels high is a common HD video size. Start with an image or create a gradient, then add text, maybe in a couple of stages or pages. Then drag these into REAPER, drop them on the project timeline, and stretch them to match the tempo of your clip. You can see this technique in action in the tutorial video below.
You might have stills that contribute to your video, or a second or third camera shooting. Or you can extract stills from your video and use those for effects. REAPER 4 can handle multiple tracks of video along with multiple tracks of audio. The audio from all the video tracks will be part of the mix, but only the lowest (highest track number) video will be displayed. Once again, watch the video below to see these operations.
If you mute a video track it stops displaying the video as well as turning off the audio. To eliminate the audio but keep the video, just turn down the volume slider on the track, or use the Item Properties to turn down the audio.
Syncing and Slicing
The audio waveforms displayed in REAPER make syncing multiple video and audio clips a snap, especially if you create a sharp noise at some point when all the devices can capture it. The is exactly like the old “clapper board” you see in movies about making movies. You can simply clap your hands to get a spike in the audio that makes syncing easy.
Once you have tracks synced, take care to keep them that way. Use Item / Group to join items, or be careful to select all the items that belong together when you move, stretch, or trim items. In the video below observe how easy it is to select multiple items to keep them in sync. Also, I’m using ripple editing most of the time to maintain the correct relationship between items.
Cutting video items is just the same and just as easy as cutting audio. Select the item, position the edit cursor, press the S key, and your item is split at that point. As above, make sure all the items that you’re keeping in sync are selected and get split appropriately. I use ripple editing a lot when I’m trimming out parts of my videos.
Tweak the Audio
Even though there are no video effects available, the full range of audio processing definitely is present when working on video in REAPER. For instance, the clip I’m working on in the tutorial video below was shot with a Zoom Q3HD for the main video and audio. I raised the level, added some compression, applied a touch of reverb, and then put a limiter on the output to make sure I didn’t clip. The Q3HD delivers pretty clean audio but it tends to be a bit low in level and punch, so the ability to tweak the sound really adds to the usefulness of this little camcorder.
Currently the h.264 video codec seems to deliver the goods for internet video. With the FFMPEG codec library installed in REAPER this is my preferred output. So I select the following options:
Output format: Video (FFmpeg encoder)
Size: 1280 x 720
Video codec: H.264
Audio codec: 16 bit PCM
Watch the Action
I used the Q3HD and a Creative Vado 3rd Gen to shoot an old Hawaiian slack key standard, My Yellow Ginger Lei in the style of Uncle Leonard Kwan. I decided to turn the video into a little tribute to my Kathy Wingert Model E guitar, so I used the guitar for the title still and shot a video of the guitar on a stand. Then I used REAPER 4 to combine those elements into a final clip for YouTube.
While I did the editing job, I shot with a couple of Sanyo Xacti HD2000s and recorded audio on a Zoom H2n. I edited those together to create a tutorial video:
and by the way, I put that tutorial together in REAPER 4 as well.
If you’re interested here’s the finished version of My Yellow Ginger Lei on my slack key channel:
I don’t think anyone is going to cut a major motion picture in REAPER, but as a way to tweak YouTube performance clips quickly and easily with an emphasis on audio, it’s a pretty decent tool.
This entry was posted on Friday, October 28th, 2011 at 9:30 pm and is filed under Tutorials, Video. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.