Newsletter #172 - Oct 20, 2007
The goal in 'bluesceening' is
to make the background in a single color, so you can tell Movie Maker to
treat that color as if it was transparent. In the computer environment,
a single color can start as a perfectly even one.... like RGB
values of 0, 0, 255 being all blue. But by the time you go through screen
captures and video file compressions to get a moving image in front of the
bluescreen, the end result isn't a perfectly solid
Movie Maker handles
variations in blueness much better than variations in other colors, so
we'll use a blue screen.
In last week's newsletter I
gave a link to a short blue-screened video... a stage performance with
our grandson Nick in it. The surprise performer was Aeromouse, added by
bluescreening. Here's the link again...
This image is a composite from
about every 4th frame of the animation clip... being previewed in the MM2.1
Before getting into it here
first library training session of the season was very well
attended... the subject of YouTube brought more out than the subject
of Movie Maker. I hadn't prepared, and used last year's handouts made for Movie
Maker and Photo Story, combined with my website. Overall it went
support sessions I've been using the Skype service to free up
my home phone line, and an Xbox 360 bluetooth headset to free
up my hands. They work well in tandem with SupportSpace
and GoToMeeting sessions.
.... back to the main
Background image or video
The background in the movie project can be any
image or video clip... it's the foreground that needs the transparency to let
the background show through. The overlapping is done by a custom transition with
the two clips overlapped as fully as they can be, all but that last frame or
two. A fade to black effect on the bluescreened clip takes away any flash of
blueness at the end.
In the analog world, use blue paint, blue sheets or
fabric, anything blue you can video moving characters in front of.
The digital world is easier... if all you want is a
couple ducks like these... from GifAnimations.com
Any graphics app can do blueness... so can other
software such as Excel or Word. For a blue background that shows animated
GIF files over it, I tried a number of things and settled on a web
page. In second place was an email like this one with a solid blue
If you want a copy of the web page and/or the ducks, here are a
Simply replace the duck file with your own
animated GIF... and change the size in the html code to align with the size of
the new image.
Shoot the ducks or other animated GIF with
your camcorder or camera, capture them with the Encoder, or do whatever else you
want that will give you a video clip to use in
I didn't have my bluescreen web page at the time I
captured the mouse animation, so I used the Paint.exe app. Make the
canvas whatever size you want. I used about 700x500, slightly larger than the
640x480 screen capture I was planning. Use the paint bucket to fill it blue
- 255 (the maximum... all blue), with zero red and green. Here's a screen shot
of the bluescreen as Aeromouse makes his appearance.
Here's a link to run Aeromouse. Let him run around your
computer screen as you read this. No need to download first. He's fun and
moved the bluescreen around so it was toward the bottom of my laptop screen, and
dragged and dropped Aeromouse many times so I'd capture him moving across the
bluescreen (you can do that... drag and drop the mouse... here he is being
dropped on the newsletter).
Shoot or capture
You have a couple options to capture the mouse with the blue
In newsletter #170 ago I used the video
feature of a Canon PowerShot SD750 digital camera to shoot an animated
URL with the blueness of a Rendersoft VRLM background.
For the mouse, I used the screen capture option
of the Windows Media 9 Encoder. The image at the right shows my
compression settings. I used a 640x480 pixel capture area size, slightly
smaller than the bluescreen so I wouldn't have any noon-blue edges in the
I hadn't preplanned using it in a widescreen project like the dance
scene, as I ended up doing... Movie Maker 2.1 resizes a video clip to fit the
working aspect ratio. In this case, a slightly fatter mouse is OK.
the Movie Project
The bluescreened mouse clip overlaps the dance scene as fully
as it can. I fade it to black so you miss seeing the last couple frames of
blueness flashing by.
There are a number of custom bluescreen transitions you
could apply. I used the XML code on my
website's Edit Movies > XML - Persian Section > Script Types >
Compositing page... the transition named "Chroma Blue". Here's a link to a copy
of my xml
One thing to be careful of when doing such bluescreening is
the audio of the starting clip. Just as the visual fades from one clip to the
next in a transition, so does the audio. If you don't want the gradual fading of
the audio, drop another copy of the clip onto the Audio/Music track and
mute the one on the video track.
Once you have the blue-screened mouse footage, it's
available to accent other videos. Build your own library of bluescreened
I'm currently writing a review of CrazyTalk software, a specialty item
that animates a face from a single still picture.
Here's a short video clip that started with Cat Scan...
one of those oldie images in a book of copyright free pictures. I made
the talking clip in CrazyTalk and assembled it in Movie
Maker with the bluescreen mouse footage.