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Old November 9th, 2009, 07:49 PM   #1
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Batch render Excalibur vs Ultimate S vs VeggieToolkit?

I need to do batch renders from either multiple selections or regions in veg file (vegas 8) and have the option to name the output files in sequential order..does any of these programs do that? is one better than the other? the flexibility on the naming conventions is the most important part for me..thanks, John
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Old November 10th, 2009, 07:27 AM   #2
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I haven't added a true batch render function in Excalibur because of all the other options that are available. The big "grand daddy" batch rendering program is Veggie Toolkit. It has a ton of options available. Ultimate S recently added batch rendering as well. If you want the cheapest option, you might try Tools - Scripting - Batch Render. It's in clear text code so it can be modified to suit specific needs. In fact, I have several different versions of that script and code for specific changes on my site. I don't think you'll go wrong with ANY of the options.
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Old November 10th, 2009, 10:39 AM   #3
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Methinks Edward is too modest. True, I've not tried the other products, but there is a batch script as part of Excaliber, "DVD Asset Collector", that is flexible enough for me, and I use it quite often. (it's not just for dvds, you can use any saved render template)

Previously, I used the native Vegas script, then later, a freeware version that had slightly more flexibility with render filenames. Excaliber gives me yet a bit more flexibility, and allows saving a default setting. I am having filenames follow region names - it's quite enough for me.

In terms of sequential file naming, the native vegas script will include the region numbers, so, if you've created your regions in order, you'll have sequential naming.
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Old November 10th, 2009, 01:07 PM   #4
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thanks for the tips you guys, I will give excalibur a shot, sounds good to me..
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Old November 10th, 2009, 01:10 PM   #5
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Well... I did say it doesn't have a "true" batch render feature. But I agree that some batch rendering can be done with the DVD Asset Collector tool.
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Old November 10th, 2009, 03:07 PM   #6
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Sorry for asking what I'm sure is a dumb question, but the OP's concern is the same as mine and I'm totally new to scripting: whatever solution is chosen to batch render regions, for instance, do those regions get rendered with all applied FX/pan/crop/etc.? That is, if I define a region within a project on an event that has one or more event-level FX, does batch rendering that region automatically apply that event-level FX?

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Old November 10th, 2009, 03:40 PM   #7
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Yes. The script-based batch renderers create output just as if you'd used File | Render As | Render Loop Region only, repeatedly, selecting each region. All efx that are active and visible in the preview window will be included (event, track, bus, project efx).

I find this to be a powerful method, I do quite a bit of video for the web and for insertion in multimedia projects. I have about 4 templates I use all the time. When I finish a project, I may have 6-20 clips on the timeline to be rendered individually, for which I create regions. I name the regions with the intended final filename.

Revisions are also straightforward. Project-wide revs are easy of course. If I'm outputting just a few clips, I'll select those regions manually and use manual Render As.

A true batch renderer is a little different, and I've used several. Typically, you can use multiple templates, different templates on each clip, submit the "job" and keep working on other "jobs", designate watched folders for automatic rendering, automatically FTP to remote servers on completion, and watch all progress in some sort of "job" monitor. Compressor on the Mac, Sorenson Squeeze, Canopus Procoder are examples of this class of product.

I don't really know Ultimate-S' or Veggie Toolkit's batch render approach, maybe someone can chime in with specifics.
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Old November 10th, 2009, 03:56 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Seth Bloombaum View Post
Yes. The script-based batch renderers create output just as if you'd used File | Render As | Render Loop Region only, repeatedly, selecting each region. All efx that are active and visible in the preview window will be included (event, track, bus, project efx).

I find this to be a powerful method, I do quite a bit of video for the web and for insertion in multimedia projects. I have about 4 templates I use all the time. When I finish a project, I may have 6-20 clips on the timeline to be rendered individually, for which I create regions. I name the regions with the intended final filename.

Revisions are also straightforward. Project-wide revs are easy of course. If I'm outputting just a few clips, I'll select those regions manually and use manual Render As.

A true batch renderer is a little different, and I've used several. Typically, you can use multiple templates, different templates on each clip, submit the "job" and keep working on other "jobs", designate watched folders for automatic rendering, automatically FTP to remote servers on completion, and watch all progress in some sort of "job" monitor. Compressor on the Mac, Sorenson Squeeze, Canopus Procoder are examples of this class of product.

I don't really know Ultimate-S' or Veggie Toolkit's batch render approach, maybe someone can chime in with specifics.
Great. Thanks, Seth. (What is your batch render approach?)

I tend to use NeatVideo a lot to render out cleaned versions of my clips before I do rough edits and color grading. This particular FX offsets the video up to 5 frames from the audio when temporal noise reduction is engaged, and so the resulting offset wreaks havoc on accurate editing if the FX is part of a chain, rather than as a 'pre-applied' FX.

Anyway, I find myself rendering out many, many events with NeatVideo and it just got to be mind numbing before I even got down to do my rough edits. Glad there is a workaround through batch rendering! Is it possible, in my scenario, to tell a batch renderer "nudge the video 5 frames in advance of the audio before rendering out"? If so, then I could wind up with clean clips having A/V in sync with minimum effort.

Steve
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Old November 10th, 2009, 06:45 PM   #9
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Great. Thanks, Seth. (What is your batch render approach?)...

...Is it possible, in my scenario, to tell a batch renderer "nudge the video 5 frames in advance of the audio before rendering out"? If so, then I could wind up with clean clips having A/V in sync with minimum effort.
My batch render approach, so far, is to use the DVD Asset Collector in Excalibur, as described further up in the thread.

Wow, 5 frames offset. I had no idea of this issue with neatvideo! Forget the true batch renderers, I think - you want something that runs in Vegas, so, you can apply neatvideo and render in a one-step process. I think you'd do best to connect with someone who writes scripts for Vegas, to adapt an existing batch render script.

I know the scripting engine doesn't expose every control one might want, if possible, you'd want to do the following:

1) drag all clips for processing to the timeline.
2) (script or manual) insert 5 frames of time (drag the audio of the first clip 5 frames forward) on the audio track, and ripple that track only. This involves "ignore event grouping" so that the video track is unaffected.
3) autocreate regions clips, automatically named with the original filenames (Excalibur is great at this).
4) Select a destination folder, and batch render that timeline!

What I don't like about this approach is that in the automatic creation of regions from clips, which Excalibur can do, the offset means that either 5 frames of your audio will be outside the region at the end of the clip, or, 5 frames of video will be outside at the beginning. This is probably a minor concern, as you could fix any problem clips later in your edit, if needed. I guess it's only 1/6th of a second, and probably doesn't matter 99.9% of the time.

There are other ways to construct a workflow to compensate for the 5-frame offset, but that ought to be straightforward.

Any comments Edward?

Just a note on step 2, above. Precise time manipulation like this is kind of mysterious for many vegas users. It can be done with a simple and very reliable technique:
2a) Snap to cursor should be on. Ignore event grouping should be on.
2b) park the cursor at the end of the first audio clip, make sure it's snapped there.
2c) Hit ctrl-g, and type in +5 enter
2d) click and drag the audio clip till the end of it snaps to the cursor.
2e) hit the f key to ripple that track only
2f) you're done! turn off Ignore Event Grouping

This is much quicker to do than write about - use this technique in a couple projects, and you'll be going very fast. Ctrl-G (go to time) is the key; the plus (or minus) sign means goto a time relative to the current cursor position.
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Old November 10th, 2009, 08:12 PM   #10
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Wow, Seth, that's exactly what I need. I've got a jumble of very expensive letters after my name, but I've shied away from writing scripts on the grounds that I don't know how, so for the meantime, it looks like I'll be able rely only partially upon scripting for my needs, such as with one of the packages mentioned in this thread. Still, your elaborations on step 2 will cut out A LOT OF manual work for me (I didn't know about the ctrl-g 'trick'! Nice!)

Just yesterday I installed Excalibur to try it. I'll give the DVD Asset Collector a try. The 5 frame loss at the beginning or end of events doesn't concern me too much, as I tend to shoot (as I should) several seconds of footage on either side of what I'm interested in. So, just these two tips should help me immensely.

OT: NeatVideo is just about the closest to a miracle plug-in that I've found. I suspect that most users (like me) use it to clean up heavy sensor noise in dimly lit video, but I use it even on well lit scenes. The result looks just fantastic if NV is used smartly and sparingly. Unfortunately, something about the way that Vegas interacts with NeatVideo cannot compensate for the frame offset, thereby increasing my labor dramatically...to good effect, nonetheless.

Thanks,
Steve
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Old November 10th, 2009, 09:05 PM   #11
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OK, I did it. Ten minutes with Excalibur and I'm up and running exactly as I want. Dump clips on timeline, apply NeatVideo, offset audio 5 frames, auto-select and autoname regions based only on the audio events, and render regions. Done.

This is just too cool, largely because I spent literally weeks doing this manually FOR EACH CLIP on my previous project. I just knew that something automatic could be implemented to do what I wanted, but I couldn't figure out what. Now I know. Many thanks to the kind folks here for pointing the way. (Edward, I think you found another customer.)

Steve
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Old November 11th, 2009, 12:22 AM   #12
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...your elaborations on step 2 will cut out A LOT OF manual work for me (I didn't know about the ctrl-g 'trick'! Nice!)...
It's just so darn easy to drag a clip to the timeline, drag/trim the in, drag/trim the out, drag it to a new position - I think most people who started editing in the modern era of NLEs got so comfortable with this style of editing that they never had reason to look at other technique.

Anyone who finds a need to do sync work in Vegas will, I think, be pleasantly surprised by just how good the tools are. And, so fast to use...

But I use the ctrl-g plus/minus all the time, even for non-sync editing. For example, working with a canned open - snap it to the first clip, then ctrl-g + 115, drag/snap it to cursor - I've got a precise 45 frame dissolve in about 3 clicks.
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Old November 11th, 2009, 08:14 AM   #13
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Scripting is very powerful in Vegas. It is conceivable that a script could render out a segment containing Neat Video, replace the old clip with the new clip, and even "nudge" the event 5 frames. If you're nudging 5 frames, though, you would need to make sure you had a proper "head" or "tail" depending on which direction you were nudging, though.

For using Neat Video, a specific script could be written just for handling that situation. I don't know of any batch renderers designed to handle that specific situation, though.
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Old November 11th, 2009, 08:33 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by Edward Troxel View Post
Scripting is very powerful in Vegas. It is conceivable that a script could render out a segment containing Neat Video, replace the old clip with the new clip, and even "nudge" the event 5 frames. If you're nudging 5 frames, though, you would need to make sure you had a proper "head" or "tail" depending on which direction you were nudging, though.

For using Neat Video, a specific script could be written just for handling that situation. I don't know of any batch renderers designed to handle that specific situation, though.
I think that might be going farther than what I want. The reason is that the noise reduction from the NV plugin is quite specific to how each clip was shot, thereby requiring tweaking to each clip or at least to groups of clips that were shot under identical conditions (to ensure identical noise profiles). Thus, totally automatic (i.e., blind application of the NV effect) is not the way to go here. I think where I arrived last night following Seth's suggestions represents a sweet spot where about 90% of my manual labor was eliminated. That is, once I've set all noise reduction parameters, I can just render out my entire collection of clips.

I'm not bothered by the nudging of 5 frames: depending on whether I choose the audio or video track for defining regions prior to batch rendering, I wind up with short black portions with sound or short video with no sound. No matter: I shoot plenty of head and tail, so to speak.

The real value to me of my revised workflow based on Excalibur is starting to edit afresh with a bin of noise-reduced video clips. It's a little extra effort up front, but it sure beats my old workflow of locking down an edit (with original clips), separately noise-reducing the used clips, bringing those back into my main project, then trying to match up the in/out points of the noise-reduced clips with my originals in the locked down edit. Whew.

Steve
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Old November 14th, 2009, 08:07 AM   #15
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Not so automated after all :(

I thought I would post back after playing a few days with Excalibur. I think it's just great. What isn't great is what I had hoped would be just an overnight render, courtesy of Excalibur, has turned into a nightmare of repeated cycles of Vegas 8.0c crashing.

My screen grab below shows how I've had to baby sit my project: define regions, hit "DVD Asset Collector," begin render, Vegas crashes after about 5-10 clips, restart Vegas, move rest of project A/V to new tracks, delete old regions and define new regions for remaining project (so as to avoid defining regions that have already rendered), lather, rinse, and repeat. Argh! This was supposed to be easy and instead I'm losing sleep.

I don't think my troubles have anything to do with Excalibur. I'm running 8.0c on a freshly installed Windows 7 x64 system. I have 8GB of RAM and Task Manager indicates that Vegas is not even approaching a memory limit during renders. 8.1 was a total nightmare, despite what memory advantages it may offer, so I'm not even going there. I wonder if the trouble resides with NeatVideo, which is a known resource hog. But still, on a screaming system?

I realize my problem is OT for this thread, but if someone has any ideas, I'd sure welcome them.

Steve
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