Sunday, October 28, 2012

And More: How To Stop Ghosting or Blurring in Sony Vegas Video Rendering (Tutorial with Example Video and Screenshots)

 [Update 1: Added still frame examples of the difference, to help those who perhaps could not easily see the difference in the video or in their own renders, from the recorded video/output, found at **]
[Update 2 (2016-12): Updated some Screenshots and added additional example Screenshots of what the various Menus and Properties windows look like (to Vegas Movie Studio 13, the version I currently own at the time of this Update)]



As part of the 'And More' of this blog, I would like to present a Tip that will help everyone asking about and experiencing the 'blurry/ghost-y' effect that appears when rendering a video that they have created in the Sony Vegas line of products. An example of this blurring or ghosting is shown in this short video:



Recorded with:  Bandicam @ 1080p, Quality 70%  
Recorded Game: Left 4 Dead 2 @ 1080p, Dark Carnival Level
Recording Output: Rendered with Sony Vegas Movie Studio HD Platinum Edition, Sony AVC codec @ 1080p, 15Mbps data rate for smaller upload size


The first 10 seconds is the 'Smart Resample' setting that is on By Default in Sony's Vegas product line (Movie Studio, Movie Studio Platinum, Vegas Pro). The second portion is the same recording but with the 'Disable Resample' setting. Even with some quality loss from YouTube, the difference between the first "blurry" output that many have experienced - and the second crisper, clearer version without it can hopefully be seen... So then, how to fix it?


The simplest way is to right click on the video event (video clip) and open the Properties of the event/video. The pop-up menu that should show up when right-clicking on an event/video is seen here (shown from Vegas Movie Studio 13):





Then in the 'Properties' window, simply click on the radio button choice that indicates "Disable resample", as seen here (example Event Properties window shown from Vegas Movie Studio 13):





That's it!

Now, with any further work you do with the video, you won't have to worry about the 'ghosting' effect happening to you in the end render output. I suggest doing this at the beginning of your project and as you add new video clips, that way it is done for the entire clip, even if you split it up into parts.





**Below are two examples, one showing the "ghosting" or "blurring" effect in more detail (for those that could not quite tell the difference in the video example), shown as frames extracted from the video itself:
Example frame from video showing the "ghosty" or "blurry" effect that can occur with Resampling Enabled in the Sony Vegas Video Rendering Options (Smart Resample ENABLED).

Example frame from video showing the absence of the effect/problem that can occur with Resampling here being Disabled in the Sony Vegas Video Rendering Options (Smart Resample DISABLED).






Behind-The-Scenes: Additional Info About The Above Thingamajig And Related Doohickeys



While the above steps solve the problem, I would like to go into more detail as to why this is occurring. I see this question a lot in forums, particularly ones about gaming and video editing, and would like to clear up more of what is going on.

Many people blame Vegas and say that the resampling (which is essentially a re-structuring/blending device to correct for framerate, interlacing, etc.) is not working properly. Although Sony's method could use a little work, the program portion of it 'detecting' and 'kicking in' is actually working as intended, so there are other things that must be considered...

One of the reasons why this ghosting or blurring occurs, is that the project framerate (what Vegas 'assumes' you are going to be rendering to) differs from the recorded source (that source being your gaming video, recorded with Fraps, Dxtory, Bandicam, etc - whatever you prefer to record with).

One way to check what the output goal that Vegas has set in mind is: open up the Project Properties by going to the Project pull-down menu and select Properties. That pull-down menu looks like this (shown in Vegas Movie Studio 13):


You can also open up the Project Properties by clicking on the button/icon that looks like 'a grey box with an arrow in it', found in the top toolbar and also is found just above the main video preview window area. The button to click on looks like this (shown in Vegas Movie Studio 13):




In the Pro versions of Vegas, the pull-down menu will not be called PROJECT, it will be called FILE (but it will still be the first menu in the Toolbar). The small button that can also be clicked on, will still be located in the same place, just above the Preview Window area, as shown above.


Here is an example of what the Project Properties window will look like (shown from Vegas Movie Studio 13):



The main thing to check in the Project Properties, is the Frame rate (shown pulled-down and highlighted in the screenshot above).

Vegas' resampling capability will kick-in even if the frame rate is off by a small amount, such as if you are using a recording that is 30 frames-per-second, but being edited with a Vegas project setting/output format that is 29.97 fps (which is most standard DVD/BluRay/Render Presets that Vegas will load).

Whatever frame rate you are recording at (30fps, 60fps, 120fps, etc.), double-check the Project settings to see if it is the same as your recording. If it isn't, Vegas will try to restructure the video and blend the differences, resulting in that 'blurry', 'ghosty' output that many are familiar with.

[To be fair, Vegas is attempting to help/compensate for the framerate differences of possible recording devices (cameras,etc), and in live-action[real-life] recordings, it does help in a way; but in videogame recordings that are already crisp and clear, this process is not as needed and results in this ghosty/blurry 'problem' for gameplay recorders/editors]


There are actually three places in Sony Vegas that keep track of the frame rate:

1) In the Project Properties (eg. pulldown the PROJECT menu in the toolbar and choose PROPERTIES (FILE menu in Pro versions of Vegas))

2) Shown In Each Event/VideoClip (eg. Right-Click each of your clips on the Timeline and click PROPERTIES)

3) In The Render Options (eg. RenderAs and see it in the CUSTOMIZE TEMPLATE settings (CUSTOM button in Pro versions of Vegas))

If just Disabling Resampling [via the event on the timeline] is not working, try to see if all of these three locations match the framerate of your recorded video clips.



Alternatively, you could try to change only the framerate in the final Output Format rendering settings to match your source recording(s) framerate (location is shown highlighted below in an example Settings window from Vegas Movie Studio 13):

Looking at the Frame Rate (shown highlighted, near center of window) in a Template of High Quality Render Settings (shown from Vegas Movie Studio 13). Feel free to use these Settings in your Projects!

By doing this one adjustment at the very end of your editing process (just as you finish up and start the Render) - as long as you are sure that all of your source clips involved have the same framerate and you are going to do your final render out to that very same framerate - then you can try to change this one setting at the end and see if it works as well.


Note that although the Setting for "Frame Rate" may only allow you to go up to "59.94fps" (even if you type it in); don't worry, that framerate is still seen by YouTube [if you are using YouTube to share your videos] as "60fps". I did a short Vegas render and Upload to YouTube to test it out [kept Private, done just for this test] and below is what it looks like at YouTube after Uploading:


As you can see, even though Vegas had 59.94 fps in the Frame Rate box/area, it is 'close enough' to be accepted as "1080p60HD" at YouTube.



Whichever way you go about it, hopefully checking these few things will help you create clearer, crisper game recording videos.

Have fun with it and See You In The Games!

28 comments:

  1. I do trust all the ideas you have introduced in your post. They are really convincing and can definitely work. Nonetheless, the posts are too short for newbies. Could you please lengthen them a bit from next time? Thank you for the post.

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  2. @Anonymous said:
    I do trust all the ideas you have...

    Reply:
    You are quite welcome for the post! I hope it helps anyone out there that is experiencing this output effect.

    I apologize that the post seems too short. In earlier posts on this blog, I sometimes made quite large articles, explaining things in great detail.

    While I enjoyed doing that and feeling it was helpful, lately I have tried to 'tighten' them up a bit, to be more streamlined towards one specific issue, usually targeted towards people that are having that exact problem. In doing so however, I do not want to alienate people that do not have the background to understand the steps that are being shown and why they would want to do them.

    It is unfortunate that I cannot give sufficient background training for every example. I wish to, believe me. However due to personal energy/physical limitations, I cannot do so every post and I apologize for that. I do hope the information I provide is helpful still, even if I cannot explain the background in detail every time. I certainly hope so..

    In the future, while I will still maintain 'tighter' posts - with specific problems and solutions (most of the time) - I will try to always include at least the reasons behind the choices of steps I am offering. Hopefully this will help many of you out there with this same concern.

    Take care and thanks for stopping by!

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  3. Hey, I have disabled Resampling and matched the frame rates but I still get this horrid "ghost" effect, any suggestions?

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  4. @keegan said:
    Hey, I have disabled Resampling...

    Reply:
    Hi, Keegan. There are 3 different places that Vegas keeps track of the framerate: in the Project Properties (pulldown PROJECT and choose PROPERTIES), In Each Event (Right-Click each of your clips on the Timeline and click Properties), and In The Render Options (Render As and see it in the Custom Settings in the Template). You could try making sure all these match the framerate you are recording at [your source clips framerate], if setting all your clips on the Timeline to 'Disable Resample' doesn't seem to be working.
    Good luck with it and let me know if you need more ideas!

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  5. Hey, Keegan Again,
    I have done all of your suggestions, and to no avail:( I record at 1920x1080 at 30fps, and match the framerates and resolution but it still persists.I do have the non-platinum version of Sony Vegas Movie studio 11, could that have something to do with it? I find it hard to believe that such an important feature would be left out.

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  6. @keegan said:
    Hey, Keegan Again...

    Reply:
    Hi there, that's really odd! According to Sony's "Vegas Family Comparison" page (http://www.sonycreativesoftware.com/moviestudiope/compare) the only main differences with the Platinum version is that it came with DVD Architect and has Image Stabilization (which is invoked non-automatically in a pull-down menu) and extra Tracks.
    The apparent effect isn't present in your original recording clips, correct?
    Another thing you could try is to 'Render As' and choose a different resolution (say, 720p). You could also try another codec. I myself noticed that Mediaconcept's AVC sometimes gives me corrupted output, so I then just use Sony's AVC at a slightly higher bitrate (since it doesn't have as adjustable VBR, but seems to deblock ok). Even try XviD or MPEG-2. See if those renders have the effect in them.
    If you are Disabling Resampling on all the clips in the Timeline, or if you are recording at 30fps and all those three 'framerate' locations are also set at 30fps - this really shouldn't be happening.. So odd.
    See how those tests work out and come back, I still have a couple more ideas!

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  7. Hello Keegan again,
    I tried your suggestions and still to no avail, Im sure I must be overlooking something but I would love to hear any suggestions you might have left.

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  8. @keegan said:
    Hello Keegan again...

    Reply:
    Sure! The next step would be to test some external things out, things that aren't directly "Vegas" and see if we get them still.
    Try another program to render a bit of a video (short so you don't have to wait forever for a result/test), use a free one to test MPEG-4 AVC encoding, such as Avidemux. Choose as many of the same settings as you can that you are using in Vegas and see if the output has the same 'ghosting/blurring' effect.
    Another "external" thing to try, is to take one of the videos from Vegas and view it on a different monitor and/or computer, take it to a friend's house or something if you have to, just to see if it is your playback/player or monitor that is creating the effect for you (and it's not even Vegas). Some monitors' Refresh Rates are lower and it will create this 'ghosting' effect, even if you were just watching TV on it.
    Another thing that could be "externally" causing it, is your videocard. Check in the Control Panel of your Videocard for Video filtering, that is things like, Deblocking, NoiseReduction, Deinterlacing (that last one can cause the same effect) and other things that are sometimes 'on' by Default. Turn those off and see if it goes away on playback of your videos. For both NVIDIA and AMD/ATi cards, there is a Video category in their respective ControlPanels that has these settings.
    Getting back to Vegas for a moment, don't forget to try another CODEC, such as MPEG-2 or WMV and see if it happens rendering using those, too (while checking the framerates).
    Good luck!

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  9. Thank you very much for your great blog, i am doing frag movie with Sony MS Platinum and Unreal Tournament 3. Your tip about ghosting seems to help a lot, however. When creating a video from games and then edit it in Vegas it seems to me its very difficult to keep the level of details of maps and also the movement. UT3 is a very fast paced game and lots of quick movement. I use Mirilist Action! (superb program for recording) at 1920*1080 @ 60fps. I import the video to Movie Studio and i followed your trick, it seems to have helped quite alot in terms of ghosting and bluring as i noticed before. But i wonder 2 things.

    - Do you have any tip how i can customize Render as profiles, i see from one of the picture you have made multiple "gaming" profile". I tried to choose one of the Sony AVC profile and edit it and click the Save/Diskette button to save it with a new name, but it seems it just revert back to NTCS 59,xx i would like to have pure "60 fps", how can i create my own profile as you have done.

    - As mention above i would like to keep as much details from the gaming map as possible and at same time as movement so the video does not get blur-ish, do you have more tips as this one to keep the video as sharp as possible, like the source material i have (which is an AVI file in 1920*1080 @ 60fps).

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  10. @Anonymous said...
    Thank you very much for your...

    Reply:
    Yes, I have ideas! :)

    First of all, it may depend on what version of Vegas you have. If you have just "Movie Studio" (not Platinum anything for instance), you may not be able to Customize the Templates and save them (under the Output Format section, you will see an About button but not a Customize Template button). You could upgrade to the next Platinum version, or..[I'll let you in on a little secret shh heh you can highlight your edited videos in the Timeline and go to TOOLS>RENDER TO NEW TRACK. Then, after selecting your Template, there should be a CUSTOM button on the right, where you can customize the settings and Render with them [/winknudge lol] and if I remember correctly, even save the Template for use in the main Render window]. Try it, I hope it works for you.

    The main thing that affects the 'crispness' or 'sharpness' of the output video is the Bitrate. With lower bitrate, things get blurred or smudged (called Quantization) and compression artifacts like Blocking can occur (visible 'ghost blocks' that can be seen in high-motion areas). Depending on the codec used, there can be compensation done however (such as MPEG-4 Deblocking). I go in-depth in an article here at this page:
    http://gametipsandmore.blogspot.ca/2013/05/game-recording-with-mpeg-4-using.html
    Or you can do a search on this blog's built-in google search bar up there for terms like "mpeg-4", "avc", and "x264". These will show you articles I have written on using MPEG-4 for game recording and rendering. You will want to concentrate more on the rendering/output aspects. I plan to do an article/post on Rendering and what settings to use in the future as well, but for now check out those articles and see what is said about the various codecs and output problems and see if any of it helps you.

    The thing with Bitrate is, it causes the files to be larger. If that is not a problem for you, great, but if it is (they may get too big to handle or upload to sharing sites), then if you don't want to reduce the Bitrate below a certain amount, try lowering the Resolution (rendering out to 720p instead of 1080p for example), then the Bitrate can go lower without losing 'as much' detail and your file will be smaller. If you don't like the lower resolution (some of the sharpest detail is always lost when lowering the Resolution), try switching to AVC/MPEG-4/H.264/x264 as your rendering codec. This codec has many built-in compensators such as Deblocking (as in the above paragraph/posts). An example with a screenshot comparison is here: http://gametipsandmore.blogspot.ca/2013/07/quality-test-h264avc-game-recording-2k.html

    I hope these ideas at least start you off, Anon. Come back for more ideas anytime and take care

    ReplyDelete
  11. @Anonymous said...
    Thank you very much for your...

    Reply#2:
    Sorry, I see in your comment that you are using Sony MS Platinum and are able to edit the Templates, but it reverts back to 59.xx fps. Try typing it in manually and then hitting OK right away. Also, try opening one of the default templates and editing that and saving quickly. I'm sorry but using MS Platinum 11 (version 322) I am able to save it, so I am not sure what is causing that problem. Also try the Rendering To New Track way of saving the Template.

    Another comment on keeping sharpness, I talked about using MPEG-4/AVC/h264, which is a good idea for a final render to keep the file size low, but it will not guarantee sharpness. A high bitrate (data rate) and keeping the high resolution (whatever you are recording in) both will keep sharpness. Compressing to a lower bitrate will always reduce the detail slightly.

    Youtube seems to recompress the videos a lot, so another thing you could try to maintain quality, is to use a different format. Compressing to MPEG-4/AVC and then having YouTube compress it again in MP4/AVC will re-compress the same areas over again heavily. You could try a final rendering out to say, WMV (Windows Media Format) at a high bitrate or high quality setting, if it is not too large for you. Then, when YouTube recompresses it into an MPEG-4, it is not recompressing the same areas in the same way again (as you are uploading a different format/codec). That helps to keep some apparent quality as well (using an intermediate codec/format).

    Just a few more ideas.. Good luck with it!

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  12. Thanks for this tip!
    The resampling was really ruining my videos.

    ReplyDelete
  13. @-TheAwesome- said...
    Thanks for this tip!...

    Reply:
    You're very welcome! I'm always happy to hear that my info has helped someone out. Enjoy your clearer videos :)

    ReplyDelete
  14. Thank you very much! This was really helpful!

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  15. Great Tip! Fixed the issues I was having after hours of trying to figure it out. Thanks again.

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  16. Hello can you please help me ? I am using Movie Studio Platinum 12 and want to use a gif as overlay for a video. i already desampled the Gif but it is still blurry and ghosted :(

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  17. Hiya Monster, sure I'd be happy to try help out, with some ideas:

    As seem to already you know, GIFs are usually animated, and import easily into Vegas (using a GIF with Transparency - or portions you can 'see through', to use as an Overlay - is a good use for such images). The problem with using some GIFs (as you have run into), is that many of them are lower quality images. This isn't the fault of the creator of the GIF (whether it was a person or automated, in a program), the format itself has certain limitations. One of them is that the loss of colour required, results in a loss of Quality. GIFs are usually 256 colours, especially if they are Animated and have Transparency. That's just a limitation of the format (picture type).

    One suggestion I could give, is that if the image/animation is based on something else (a part of a movie, music video, or piece of gameplay), find that source for the image (what the image is based on) and use that video/image instead of the GIF version [for Importing into Vegas], as the GIF version would have had to be made into a lower quality version (256 colours, etc). You can usually download the images you see on the Interwebz, and you can use something like Bandicam to record the section of the screen, if watching a video [that the GIF came from] – be careful about violating Copyrights of one type or another doing these things, but for the most part, 'making your own copy' of whatever the Source was for the GIF is usually OK. So, if you can find the Source of the GIF and use the Video version of it, it should look a lot better in Vegas.

    Another little idea is, try to find larger versions of the GIF you want to use, as the larger the source is (of anything, mostly), the better it will look. Images and Videos always look better when you reduce the size down (resize it to a smaller resolution) as opposed to enlarging it ('upsizing' it to a larger resolution – anything enlarged will become 'blurred' and not look as good, for the most part. So, try to find a larger version of the GIF you want to use, and Import that into Vegas.

    Another related suggestion, is that if it is NOT an “Animated” GIF, but something that is merely a still picture in GIF format (probably done so by someone in order to have Transparency in the image – that is, parts you can 'see through'), then you would be better off using the image in a PNG format, if you can find one, or if you can convert the Source image of what you want. PNG is a higher-quality format than GIF that also can have Transparency, just like GIFs. If the image you want is some Text or a symbol (let's say an “O”, where you can see through the hole of the “O” to your video behind it), a PNG will not have to reduce it's amount of colours (remember, GIFs usually have to be reduced to 256 colours) and it can still have Transparency (the “O” can be 'seen though') and a PNG version of the same image will look better overall – that is, if you can find the image you want to use as an overlay, in PNG format (or convert it into PNG, instead of using it as a GIF).

    Lastly for now, there are many image editing programs that will convert whatever the image is that you want, into something that has transparent parts, that you can can then use in Vegas (programs that will Export the PNG format). One free program, for example, is “GIMP”, which can import images and you can make portions of the image Transparent if you want, then you can Export it into the PNG format (where you don't have to reduce the colours like a GIF would), and then you can Import that PNG into Vegas as an Overlay (and if you are converting some picture, it should look better than if it was saved in GIF format).

    These are just some ideas to start you off - come back and let me know if you want more, or if you are having some other sort of trouble with your image you want to use. Good luck with it!

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  18. I really love your write-ups guys continue the good work.Toomky Games

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  19. Wow, the ghosting has been driving me nuts , I thought I was just screwing up fps settings between dxtory, OBS, and Sony MSP 12 somehow, but just unclicking that resample nailed it. Thanks so much!

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    Replies
    1. @Unknown... You're most welcome! Sorry I took some time to reply, but I always enjoy hearing my info has helped :) Take care

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  20. So right!!!
    This post gave me right answer, and here I was spending a lot of time going back and forth to my project and render properties thinking they were "somehow" related. Thank you for the tip.

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    Replies
    1. Yes, there is something related to how it analyzes the video stream... I do not know 'exactly' how it works - sometimes only adjusting one of these cleared it up, other times I had to do all three, it may depend on the format the video is in (the codec, etc) - but if you can find all three settings, it should work every time. Glad it helped you! :)

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  21. Thanks man. Spent 4hrs trying different renders and settings.Your site helped.
    Here is one more tip to disable resample if there is already 9000 clips
    Click the first clip and shift+click the last one to select all the clips in your project.
    Right-click anywhere and select Switches - Disable Resample.

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    Replies
    1. Thanks, Anon! What a great Tip for multiple clips or large Projects - thanks for stopping by to share, glad I could be of some help to a smart person like you :)

      Delete
  22. I can't find a way to change the framerate from 29.970 to 30fps how do i do that im using vegas pro 11. Video came from dslr

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  23. There are a couple of places the Framerate is kept in Vegas Pro versions, one is:

    - Open the Project Properties (for Vegas Pro, pull down the FILE menu and select PROPERTIES), or press ALT+ENTER
    - In the Project Properties window, type in your desired framerate in the FRAME RATE box, about a third of the way down the window

    Also, when you go to Render your Project, double-check the output Frame Rate by:

    - After pulling down the FILE menu and selecting RENDER AS... hit the CUSTOM button on the right side of the Render window
    - Type in your desired Framerate in the FRAME RATE box

    Now, these steps are from Vegas Pro 10; but they should be similar in Vegas Pro 11... Hopefully they will get you started at least - good luck with it!

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