An old drive-in is a fun summer theme, at least for those of us who used to
go to them... or still do.
Two regular posters on the windowsmoviemakers.net forums set the stage
for this issue. The Doctor a has an old picture of a drive-in on his
website. Dominator was asking about an animated stamp that would leave
an imprint and then go off-screen.
As a fun tutorial exercise, I used both ideas to make a
video clip for this issue. Here's the link:
We can do it either way, make the screen transparent and use it as a
title overlay on a video, or add the playing video on the screen by using a
Picture-in-Picture approach. PIP is a rectangular approach, while a
transparent cutout in an overlay can be most any shape, so I'll go with the
PIP approach as the screen is a head-on rectangular view.
We'll get back to it after rounding up the other inputs...
Let's do an old-fashioned cartoon. For that I turn to The Internet
and it's collection of oldies-but-goodies, free to
download and use.
Use the link, search for 'Popeye', browse the list, and there
will be 'Popeye The Sailor Man: Ancient Fistory'... one of many
The site offers a number of quality choices, the highest one
being MPEG-2. I go with that one and take it through a conversion process to
make it into an AVI or high quality WMV. The copy I'm starting with for
this tutorial is an MPEG-2 file of 142 MB, 720x480, 6-1/2 minutes...
Dominator (his handle on the forum) said he was looking for something
like the image at the right... the post said "...A stamp like this being slammed down onto a piece of paper
and leaving the symbol or words..."
looked around the house to see if I had anything that could be used as the
handle... there was a wooden handled wax sealing stamp, and a smaller wax
embossing seal with initials.
I put them on the kitchen counter and, using natural light,
took this picture.
Step 2 - Plan the
Before putting the parts together, we'll need to do some
work with the still picture, and then use it in an animation. There
are always many tools to choose from, and I'll pick those I'm
comfortable with, and can do the job. Here's what I see doing.
A - Use the wooden handle... it's closer to what Dominator
was looking for. It'll need to be extracted from its background and a wide
base made.... using Paint.NET
B - Rather than have the stamp moving in straight
lines as an image overlay, I'll have it move a bit more
complex in an animation... using RenderSoftVRLM... making an AVI
C - Add the cartoon to the drive-in screen, using
a Picture-in-Picture transition with custom xml code
D - Make an image to use as a title overlay... to
start when the stamp hits the cars, and continue through the movie. The image
needs to do two things: flatten the cars under the stamp, and have the URL or
logo that the stamp leaves behind.
E - Find a sound effect for the stamp hitting bottom.
F - Make the final assembly in Movie Maker.
Step 3 - Implement the
A - Make the Stamp...
We have the handle for the stamp, now cleaned up by making the
background transparent in Paint.NET, using the magic wand and erasing tools
To make the base look like it came with the handle, I selected
the rectangular part of the handle shown at the left, copied it, then pasted it
into a new layer, rotated it 90 degrees, and distorted
it to suit.
That's enough for a newsletter exercise. The stamp will only
appear for a few seconds. If I wanted to use the image for something that
showed it longer, I'd make the corners of the base a bit
rounded, and add a thin black line at it's bottom so it looks more
like the edge of a rubber stamp.
We're heading to Rendersoft VRLM for a more complex animation,
and we'll be having it play over a background video... so at this step make a
Tip: I first made the background black,
but got lots of black pixel artifacts when overlaying the animated stamp
onto the background video in Movie Maker... I resolved it by
changing the background to blue. Blue works best in Movie
Save the image as a BMP file to animate it in
B - Make the Stamp Animation...
Open Rendersoft VRLM and insert a simple shape, an unshaded
XY Plane (a square to start with).
Select the Picture (PCT) icon to add the BMP file of
the stamp to the plane.
Rendersoft uses a black background by default, and with
black coloring of the inserted unshaded XY plane.
As the stamp background from Paint.NET is blue, change the
background color of Rendersoft to align with it. Put the blue slider all
the way up to 255, leaving red and green at 0. All the blueness
The picture shows where I want the stamp to be when it's
crushing some cars to leave my URL.
I set the working window to about 640x480, opened the animation
panel, made it 500 frames long.... so it plays slowly. You
can speed it up as needed when it gets to Movie Maker.
The stamp goes down vertically at the left to where
it leaves its mark, then moves up some to the right, and angles away
to the upper right. It took a few keyframes in Rendersoft to define the
I exported it as an AVI movie file... at a frame rate of
30.... using the Cinepak compression codec. In a couple minutes I had the AVI
file of 639x478 pixels. Rendersoft isn't exact about video size, but for what
we're doing, this is close enough. That's why I made the animated stamp first.
It's easier to align the still pictures to its location than it is to make
the images first and make the animation to suit.
Using the Persian Chroma - non-red transition... I did a quick
check in Movie Maker as the animation moved over the image of the
drive-in... here it is at the frame where the stamp hits the lowest point, where
I'll be flattening the cars and leaving the URL to play for the rest of the
The quick check showed it looking good...
checked each of Persian Gal's 5 chroma transitions. 'Chroma non-red' and 'Chroma
white' worked well, while the other 3 didn't... see the Editing Movies > XML
- Persian Section > Script Types > Compositing page for the xml
C - Put the Video on the Drive-in
The steps to embedding the video are:
Open the 640x480 png file from the Doctor in IrfanView and
resize it to 720x480. As I work with DV-AVI files for each rendering
pass, and DV-AVI has a fixed size of 720x480 pixels
(NTSC), determining the position of the embedded video is easiest by
using a picture of that size.
Copy the 720-x480 image from IrfanView to Paint...
note that I tend to do all my resizings in IrfanView... you could open it
directly in Paint and resize it there, but for me it's just as easy to
copy from one app and paste into another. I have both apps open and
routinely move images back and forth between them.
Note the positions of the 4 corners of the drive-in
The upper left corner is the first position you need to enter
in the xml code... the x distance over in pixels and the y distance down.
Do a little arithmetic to determine the width and height of the
screen, the other two numbers needed for the code. Here's the XML file.
Open Movie Maker, put the still picture on the timeline as the
first clip and the cartoon as the second.
Add the PIP transition between the two, overlap the two
clips enough to have the video playing over the drive-in picture. As
the first clip is a still picture, you can grab its right trim handle and pull
it to the right as far as needed to make its duration slightly
longer than the video for full overlap.
Using this XML code doesn't show the results in the preview in
Movie Maker. Render the movie and it'll be there, saving to a DV-AVI
At this point, the drive-in movie is playing on the screen but
the stamp hasn't entered the scene yet.
D - Make an Image to Use as a Static
...to start when the stamp hits the cars, and continue thru the movie.
The image needs to do two things
While the Picture-in-picture works in 720x480 mode, an image
overlay works at a true 4:3 aspect ratio of 640x480. Here are the steps:
Use Movie Maker to overlap the animated stamp with the still
picture of the drive-in. When the stamp is in its lowermost position, take a
Bring the snapshot into Paint.NET.
Use the rectangle select tool to copy the base area of the
stamp to a new layer... that'll be the area that'll get the URL.
Flatten the cars in the rectangle by using various
Effects such as Pixelate.
Use the text tool to add the URL.
Play with the layer properties so it looks OK when positioned
over the original image of the drive-in. I used a blending mode of 'Darken'
with an opacity setting of 103. Play with the layer until you think it looks
Save the image as a PNG file... the checkerboard area shown
above will be transparent.
Copy the PNG file into the Movie Maker\Shared folder named as
Overlay1 if you're using my Starter Overlay Kit (see the Editing Movies >
XML - Persian Section > Script Types > Custom Overlays
E - Find a sound effect...
... to use when the stamp flattens the cars. I picked
a metal gate closing sound effect from one of my Sound Dogs
F - Assemble in Movie Maker and Render the
Making the final project is a minor step but important...
the main video, animated stamp, and sound effect all have to come
together at an appropriate time, and align. Let's focus on the 6
second segment where it all happens.
The main video clip was the movie with the embedded
cartoon playing on the drive-in screen. To insert the stamp animation,
I split the main video, selecting a point between
scenes when the visual went black and the audio tapered to
I inserted the animation clip between the split parts.
The animation clip was made in Rendersoft to play too
slowly... at this point I added the Speed-Up, Double effect twice so it
played at 4 times the original speed.
Overlap the animation clip with the first part of the split
main video file... so it almost fully overlaps.
Then overlap the second part of the split main video file so
it abuts the first part. That results in the main video playing without a
pause, while the animation is applied over it.
Use the Persian - Chroma Non-Red transition so the
stamp background is transparent.
Have a great week...