LiVES Video 1 Part 1 HD

Hello, in the next few minutes we’ll get to know LiVES, the exciting free video program. First, you should know that LiVES has two main modes. What you see here is the Clip Editor. Later on we’ll move on to the second one, which is the multitrack window. Inside the clip editor window you will be able to manipulate video, image and audio files individually. You can trim them to create snippets you will use later in the multitrack mode. Or, if you are a VJ, you can play with those clips directly. To begin, open a file. Go to File / Open or press control O on your keyboard. The open window will pop up. Here you can open a single file, or multiple files holding down the shift key. Notice that in there’s a Preview window, so you can easily see the file before actually open it. To do so, select the file and hit the this button to activate it. If the file displays properly in this window, it means you will be able to open it in LiVES. Once you select the proper file, open it to begin working with it. You will shortly see a progress window while LiVES analyses the file, including an estimate of the remaining time. There are also 3 buttons: Preview button: It will show a preview of the file whilst is being opened. During an opening preview you can also apply realtime effects. We will see what realtime effects are later on. Enough button: It stops opening the current file, but whatever has been opened so far, will be loaded into LiVES. If multiple files are being opened, LiVES will continue with the next file. Cancel button: Will interrupt the process for all the files and nothing will be loaded into LiVES. Note that many types of video can be opened instantly, so you may not always see these buttons. LiVES supports video subtitles. So if you have a .srt or .sub format file in the same directory as the video clip, with the same name, it will be loaded with the clip and the subtitles will appear. In case you have a video file from which you will use just a segment, you can import just the part of the video you need. To do so, go to the menu File / Open file selection. The first window will be the same we just saw, but once you hit OK a second window will pop up from which you will be able to select the start time and the amount of frames to load into LiVES. You can also preview the video, and once you are done just hit OK. You can also import video or audio files from a remote location. Go to File / Open location/stream. Enter the URL of the file or stream and click OK. Another option is to import from a DVD or VCD. Click on the menu File, then Import from dvd/vcd, and then choose Import from dvd or Import from vcd. In this window, enter the Title, Chapter and Audio ID required and click OK. In the next window, enter the Start Time and Number of Frames desired, and click OK. The material will load into LiVES. Depending on the compilation options, some versions of LiVES also have the ability to download and open clips directly from Youtube. You can also import material into LiVES from a dv or hdv camera. In order for this option to be present, LiVES must have been compiled with libdv support and dvgrab must be installed. If all required components are present, you can go to the menu option File / Import from device. Here you should see further options: Import from firewire device (dv) and Import from firewire device (hdv) . Connect your camera, and then select the appropriate menu option. If all is well, a window with shuttle controls will open. Choose a directory to save the files, input the file name and start recording from your device. Let’s take a look at the webcam capture feature. First thing you need to do is go to File, add webcam/tv card, and then Add Unicap Device. In the next window you will see listed your webcam device, choose it and hit OK. Next thing to do is hit the play button to enable the webcam to playback, and then go to menu Play / Start Recording, or hit the R key. Once you are done recording, go to menu Play / Stop Recording or hit the Q key. Another way to get video into LiVES, is capturing it from an external window. Go to the menu Tools / Capture External Window. A window will appear where you can set your record preferences. The main features are the frame rate, and the maximum record time, or you can leave this as unlimited. Once you have set your record preferences, you can click OK, and another window with instructions will appear. Click OK again, and then select your target window. After a brief pause, LiVES will grab the window, and embed it, recording it. You can still interact with the embedded window with mouse clicks. When you are done recording, press Q key to stop recording. Once recording is stopped, LiVES will clean up the recording, filling in any gaps in the recording, and making sure all frames are correctly sized. Finally you will get a new clip containing the recording. Optionally, audio will also be grabbed with the window. Within LiVES, it is possible to backup and restore single clips, losslessly. This is only recommended if you want to keep a permanent copy of a particular clip, without encoding. Simply go to menu option File / Backup clip as lv1. Then enter a filename you wish to use. You can later restore the clip using File / Restore clip from .lv1, and selecting the back file you wish to restore from. Each time a new clip is opened from any of the options we previously saw, it is added to the Clips menu. Using this menu, you can switch from one clip to another. The currently selected clip is known as the Current Clip. You can also switch clips by using control / page-up and page-down keys, or with the mouse scroll wheel. The menu Info / Show clip info shows various details about the current clip. For example, the Format, Frame size, File size, Frames per second, the total number of video frames and the Total time (in seconds). And here is the audio information. You can rename any clip in the Clips menu. This is simply to make it easier to identify a clip when selecting it, and has no other effects. To rename a clip in the menu, go to menu Clips / Rename Current Clip and the enter the new name for the clip. Once you are done, click OK. You can also close a single clip by switching to it, then using menu File / Close This Clip. If the clip has changed since it was last encoded, saved or backed up, then a window will appear informing you of this, and asking if you are sure you want to close. You can also close all clips via the Menu option File / Close/Save all clips. In this case you will have the opportunity to save all clips as a Set before closing them. So let’s see what a Set is. A Set in LiVES is simply a group of clips. Every time you import one or more clips in LiVES, you either create a Set or add to an existing Set. A Set can be saved and then reloaded instantly. The only limit to how many sets you can have on one machine is the disk space required. However, only one set can be open at any one time in LiVES. There are two ways to save a Set in LiVES. Via the menu File / Close/Save all clips. Here you will be prompted if you want to keep the existing clip Set and just close it, or whether you want to delete all of the clips (and hence the clip Set too). Select Save, and give the set a name, then click OK. The clips will be closed, but will remain on the disk ready for you to reload. The other way to save a Set is when exiting LiVES with open clips. In this case you will be prompted whether to keep the current clips as a set, or whether to delete them. Note that Sets can be merged. If you give the name of an already existing Set, LiVES will ask you if you want to merge the current clips with that set. If you click OK, the two sets of clips will be combined into one big Set. When saving a Set, there is also the option given to auto-reload the Set the next time LiVES starts up. You can manually open a set choosing the menu File / Reload clip set, and enter the name of a Set which you would like to reload. Any existing clips are added to the set when a set is opened. After opening a Set you can continue as normal opening more clips. Any newly opened clips will be automatically added to the Set when you come to save it again. However, once you have opened a set, you will not be able to open a second set without closing or deleting the first one. If you want to merge two sets, you will need to save both sets with the same name, as we just mentioned a little earlier. If you want to to delete a Set, you must first load it. So if you have other clips loaded, you need to close them first, then load the clip Set which you want to delete. To delete the current clip Set, either select the menu File / Close/Save all clips, and choose the option to delete the clip Set, or alternately, quit from LiVES and choose the option to delete the clip Set here. Now let’s talk about Projects. In LiVES, a Project is a Set of clips + various other files associated with that Set. Projects can be used in various ways, for example to back up a Set, so that it can be archived and deleted, then retrieved later as necessary. Or for example, to copy a Set from one machine to another. To export a project, select the menu option Advanced / Export project. Enter the filename of a the file to be used to contain the project. It is recommended that you leave the file extension as the default. A project can be imported via the menu Advanced / Import project, and then selecting the file to import from. You can only do it if there are no clips open. So you may need to close or save all your current clips, or restart LiVES with no clips. Now let’s see how to encode. LiVES has over 50 different encoding formats. Encoding the current clip can be done from the menu File / Encode clip as. A file selector appears to allow selection of the file name. Here you can choose the location to save the clip to, as well as whether to allow LiVES to set the file extension. Since the file extension varies depending on the video codec used, it is best to let LiVES set this, unless there is some specific reason to override the default. After picking the file name and location and extension option, click OK. Now you can choose the Target Encoder. Lives has several encoders, each has different formats available. Choose any of the encoders to see what video and audio formats it supports. Some encoders may require additional libraries or programs to operate, and usually you will see a message informing you of this, if you select such an encoder. The multi_encoder is very good. It has many formats. Manuals for some of the encoders are available on the LiVES website. Please refer to these if you want to know more about the requirements of a particular encoder. In some cases, depending on the format chosen, some other options must be set, such as frame size (width and height) and frame rate (frames per second). For some advanced encoder / codec combinations you will get an options window, which will allow tweaking of certain values. An example of this is the mjpegtools_encoder / mpeg2 custom format. After clicking OK, another window appears – this will let you set the name of the author, title and comments. Click OK once more, and encoding will start. Encoding can take a considerable amount of time, depending on many factors, for example the number of frames, the size of the clip to be encoded and of course your own computer speed. So please be patient ! It is also possible in LiVES to encode just part of the current clip. To do this, select the frames which you would like to encode. We will see later how to make a selection for a clip. Then choose menu option File / Encode Selection As. The options are exactly the same as for encoding an entire clip. By default, both video and audio for a clip are encoded. Audio is trimmed or padded with silence to fit the length of video. However, some codecs do not allow audio (for example, animated gif) – For other codecs, it is possible to force encoding without audio. This is done by deselecting Encode/Load/Backup with sound, from the File menu, before encoding the clip or part of the clip. Now let’s take a quick look at the functions of the Clip Editor. To play the current clip of video or audio, you can go to menu Play / Play all, or you can press the P key in your keyboard, or you can click on the Play All icon in the toolbar. To stop the playback, you can go to the Play menu, then select Stop. Or you can press the Q key on your keyboard while the clip is playing, or click on the stop icon in the toolbar. Also, when the end of the video or audio is reached, it will stop automatically unless loop continuous option is set. You can also play only the currently selected frames of the current clip. The playback pointer shows the position where playback will begin, and it appears as a line in the timeline. Normally this is the first frame in the clip, but you can alter this by clicking on the timeline. The pointer can be rewound back to frame 1 via menu Play / Rewind, or by pressing the “w” key, or clicking the Rewind icon on the toolbar. LiVES provides a choice of playback, either embedded in the LiVES interface, or in a separate window. The separate window can also be used to select start and end frames when editing a clip. In full-screen mode, playback occupies the whole monitor. Full-screen playback can be internal, in which case the LiVES interface is still visible, or it can be in the separate play window, in which case the whole of the screen is devoted to video playback. In this latter mode, playback can be done via a playback plugin. LiVES has a variety of playback plugins, both for video and for audio, and depending on the way it was compiled some or all of these may be available for use. For example, some playback plugins allow for optimised video playback, others allow streaming output. To use a playback plugin, go to Tools / Preferences / Playback, and pick a playback plugin from the drop-down list. In Preferences, video playback plugins have an Advanced button, which can be clicked on to set the video playback plugin properties. Remember that video playback plugins are currently only active in full-screen, separate window, (fs) mode. If you have multiple monitors, you can choose whether fullscreen playback spans all of them or select just one monitor. With a dual-head setup, you can opt to edit in one monitor and play back in the second.


  1. Joshua Hollenbeck March 3, 2019 at 4:09 am

    How the hell do i save a video from multi layer mode??

  2. CountryfiedLinux May 3, 2019 at 1:57 am

    Can you please make an updated tutorial? The menus are different now. Thanks.

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