How to crop a video with Adobe Premiere Elements 4

Here’s my really-simple guide to cropping a video, using the video-editing application Adobe Premiere Elements 4. This PC Windows mini tutorial is intended for film-makers who want to remove videogame HUD elements (such as statistics, your character’s hand/weapon, on-screen mini-maps, etc) from captured video, to leave only a clear view of the game-world. For example…

Cropping a video in Premiere Elements 4 involves a complex set of steps which seems likely to trip up machinima newbies when they first try it, and Adobe’s help files are as clear as mud on the topic. So here we go…

First, import a video and make sure you then load it onto the timeline.

“Zoom” only needs to be ticked if you want the cropped area to be re-sized to fit the original video’s dimensions. Depending on how small an area you crop, this could involve a drop in video quality.

Now save/render your cropped video to the hard-drive. Try to render at the very best quality, so as to keep the visual quality as high as possible. You may still see some unwanted colour-shifts. Here’s my cropped video from the tutorial, seen just finished playing in a video-player…

It will work best with games that have a first-person or “through the eyes” view. Or those that offer a cheat or mod that enables a free camera (freecam) or “spectator” view. A few games, such as Skyrim, sensibly enable you to take all the clutter off the screen for a completely clear view of the game-world. You can use video backgrounds in iClone.

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Making a low-poly spacecraft in Blender

The free blender.art magazine had a Space issue (No.7) a few years ago, which included a tutorial on making a low-poly spaceship using Blender. It’s fairly dull and basic, but might be what someone needs to start off with making a unique ship using Blender. The magazine also comes with some .blend source files, although the spaceship isn’t one of them…

$3,000 per minute

Interesting facts and figures in the Canadian Globe & Mail, on the Taiwanese company that uses real-time animation tools to quickly make recreations of news events for broadcast TV news…

“Next Media animation — a 197-person shop specializing in short […] animations of breaking news events […] is part of billionaire Jimmy Lai’s Asian media empire. […] Next Media charges about $3,000 per minute of animation for such projects, and produces about 350 minutes of animation a month, Mr. Simon said, adding that the company has signed on with a major Canadian media player, but not specifying which one. The company’s clients include other arms of Next Media, the BBC and Reuters […]”