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RilleL's guide on movie making, The guide to make a DotA movie (updated 2/11)

Discussion in 'DotA FAQ' started by DevoX, Nov 17, 2006.

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  1. DevoX


    Likes Received:
    May 11, 2006
    This is by no means a finished project. I will continue to add things as time goes by. If you wish, please reply/comment on the parts that has been posted.​


    Before I start, I'd like to recommend a program. To a movie maker, the media player is very important, and I feel that windows media player isn't good enough.
    I'm therefore recommending this universal media player: VLC media player.
    To those you don't know, this media player plays virtually anything. Plays every codex, can use subtitles and it's easy. And best of all, it's free.
    Assume that I use VLC media player to play every clip I might mention in this guide.

    Get it here: http://www.videolan.org/vlc/

    Are you a DotA movie freak who has seen all the movies in the media forum and more?
    Curious on how to make a movie, but lack the knowledge?
    Well wonder no more. Because in this guide I'm going to try and explain some of
    the mekanism, the different parts and how to proceed with the actually editing of a movie.

    Now, the reason for making this guide is because I've seen many bad DotA movies.
    The game Counter-Strike have far better movie makers than the DotA community, but i guess that's because CS have far more players.
    Still, there are DotA players out there who hasn't even a clue how to begin, so I'm going to start with the absolut basics.

    The feeling when you've created your first movie is amazing, and I'd like to help people get started and feel the same way.
    And hopefully, we will get alot more and alot better movies in the future. ^^

    Movie making
    Roughly said, the movie making consist of two parts.

    Part one is the recording.
    This is the part where you act as the director. How should the movie continue? Where should the camera angle be? Should I start the recording before or after the sniper has moved? Should I follow the hero or remain still when i record this? Things like that.

    Part two is the editing.
    All you got now are some enormous big clips that you just recorded. Now comes the hard part. This is where you turn the recorded replays into a big hollywood production.
    You cut, remove, add music/sounds, add effects and transitions ect, making it "movie-like".

    Part three (part of part 2)
    This would be to use a second program to further edit the movie.
    Modelviewers, 3D animation programs and such.
    This is not something I have experience in, and i'm just writing this for reference.

    Part one and two must be balanced. That's why It's best if you have thought about the movie before you start recording. Because, even if you have amazing clips, but lack the editing skills, your movie would be very plain. And if you are an editing god, but have boring/bad clips, It's not going to look
    good either.

    Before I start explaining the programs used, I'd like to share some general tips.

    General tips

    Change angle.
    You don't have to have a different angle everytime, but make it a habit to change it when it feels
    good to do it. When we play DotA, we all have the exact same angle. Seeing that exact same angle in a movie makes it very boring after a while.
    Remember: our goal is to make an actually movie, and that's why we need to change the angle some times to make it less "replay-like".
    This is of course IF you want to make a movie. Some of you might just want to show off your kills,
    and in that case, looking like a replay doesn't matter.
    You can change your angle with your mouse scroll, "Delite" & "Insert".

    Write down the time of the event you wish to record.
    Usually it's the time when you kill someone. Because of the way the replays are (no rewind, nothing) it can sometimes be a pain in the ass to record something.
    You fast-forward the replay to 1h 15min, only to shoot past it. The only solution now is to restart the replay.
    Because of this, each time you make a kill (or whatever you want to record), try to write down the time when it happend.
    So when the next time when you're actually recording you'll be prepared and can position your view or angle the way you want.

    Avoid the mouse scrolling.
    I mean seriusly, it looks really bad in a movie when you see a nightelf hand moving up and down all the time. Try to position your mouse somewhere on the edge of the screen, and use your keyboard to scroll instead.
    When it comes other programs than windows movie maker you don't have to worry about that.

    Slow down the keyboard scrolling.
    Sometimes when you want to make a smooth movement with you screen, it's best to lower the keyboard scroll sensitivity. That way, you wont get the quick movement you usually have.
    Use your "arrow keys" to keyboard scroll.

    How to follow your hero with your screen.
    Now, there are two ways to follow your hero (i like to call it "trailing").
    The first and most common way is to click and hold your mouse on the hero potrait. This way, your screen
    always center on your hero, and follows his movements exactly.
    The second way only works on replays, and that's clicking on the "auto camera" box on your replay options.
    It works basically the same like clicking on the potrait, but instead it have a delay on the screen movement.
    The second way gives a smoother feeling. Both ways are useful in different situations.

    Synchronize your music with the exciting part
    Alot of people here have just added some music with the clips, and that's about it.
    But what every movie maker should do is to synchronize/time the music with the most exciting part.
    Or just make the music "fit" with the situation.
    This is usually the time when someone gets killed.
    It's hard to explain, but easy to understand, so for more information, i'll recommend watching my first movie. It's not brilliant, but you can see that I've had the synchronize in mind when I made it.
    Not all songs has to fit perfectly. Some are ment to be background fillers.

    Link: The power of Nevermore

    Write the time of the exciting event on your recorded clips
    Because you want to modify, cut and work with your clips, you usually record longer than you actually need.
    By writing the time of the event counting for the start of the clip, you have a much easier time synchronizing the music with your clips.
    Noticed that your next good time to synchronize is 6sec from the last clip in your movie? Take a look at your clips and you find that the closest to it is the 7sec. Now, with a little cutting you can synchronize them perfectly, eliminating the time it would require to go through all the clips by simply renaming the clips with the time.

    How to create a movie without numbers
    If you want to create a movie without all the gold numbers floating around when you kill a hero or a creep, it's pretty simple.
    All you have to do is to switch the replay vision to someone else. Switching to an ally is a good idea, so you wont get the "team mate has been killed" message like if you switched to an opponent.
    This works best with Sony Vegas and other programs than Movie maker because of the hero portrait on the top left corner. People might confuse which hero they should be focusing on otherwise.


    Ah yes. The core program in every game movie. This program can record and take very high resolution clips and screenshots, provided that you have a good computer.
    This is the only program you need for part one: the recording.
    It's very simple to use:

    When you open your game program (in this case: wc3) some numbers are going to appear at the upper left corner (default). This is Frap's frame per second counter.
    Just press the hotkey to record and press it again to stop recording. Easy as a pie(monger).
    As you can see in the picture, it turns red while recording. Also notice that the fps dropped when recording, because i've set the recording to 30fps. A movie usually only have max 30fps, so you shouldn't need higher.
    Although you might see the numbers, the numbers won't appear on your recorded clips.
    Because of the high recording speed, Fraps don't have time to compress the file, and the total amount of clips might end up serveral gigabytes.
    Because of this, a large hard drive is recommended.

    Difference between registred/unregistred
    Fraps is not a freewave, but it might as well be.
    There are two differences between the trial and the registred version:
    • Watermarks
    • 30 second maximum
    With the free version your clip has a "www.fraps.com" on top of your recorded clips.
    You also have a 30sec max on your clips, meaning you can't record clips longer than 30 seconds.

    Now belive it or not, but this isn't such a big problem, since most of the clips in DotA hardly last longer than 30 seconds anyway.
    The watermark is a little trickier, and you can't do much about it in Windows Movie Maker, but when it comes to other programs... [​IMG]

    Get Fraps here(unregistred): http://www.fraps.com/download.php


    Uncheck the sound
    It's very anoying to hear the constant sound of metal clash when fighting. And if you haven't turn off the sound, all the "MMM-Monster kill" and "Trippelkill" is going to sound stupid.
    It doesn't sound professional with all those unreal tournament sounds all the time.
    When using other programs than Windows Movie maker you can just remove the sound later.

    Windows Movie Maker (WMM)
    This WMM part of the guide won't have indeep explanations, simply because I feel that it's so simple
    that everyone should be able to figure things out themself.


    How to start
    To sum things up: what you basically do is to import the recorded files from Fraps, add the files to the timeline, add music and edit them.

    To import the files, use Ctrl + I. The files will appear in 2 and 3.
    Drag the files from 3 to the timeline (5).
    Hold the cursor on the edge of your clip in the timeline, and drag to adjust the lenght of your clip.
    Click and drag the clip into another clip for smooth transitions between them.
    Adjusting by dragging the edge wont delite that part of the clip. The original clip is still there if you wish to prolong the clip again.

    You can rearrange the clips by hold and dragging them on the timeline, and/or using Ctrl + L to cut them.

    I wouldn't recommend using the WMM effects, because basically, they're rubbish. If you decide to use one, don't overdo it.
    Also, adding an effect to a clip is going to last the entire clip. Cut the clip if you only wish to add it to a part of it.

    Transitions is the animation between the clips. You know, when a clip switch to another clip.
    It's mostly used to avoid a sudden switch between the clips.
    The amount of possible transitions is endless, ranging from simple fading, to complicated animations like the screen shatters/explodes.

    The transitions is located in tools and appears in 3. You can preview the transition in 4.
    Drag the transition from 3 to 5 and drag it between the clips.
    Because the total lenght of the movie is a little shortened by a transition, it's recommended that you put all the transitions you want in place, before you synchronize it with the music.
    You can zoom in/zoom out the timeline for more precise editing/synchronizing

    The effects works the exact same way as the transitions, with the exception that you drag and place it on the clip instead of inbetween.
    A clip with an effect applied has a star on it.

    Transitions, effects and text are all in the tools menu.
    When you chose text, the program gives you options whether you want to add a text before the movie, on the movie ect. Chose your option and proceed.
    Next you have to write the text you want to add on the movie. You'll have an option to switch the text animation too.

    Save the movie
    Now when the movie is done, you'd want to convert this project into an avi file.
    Press Ctrl + P to do this. Chose to save the file on your computer and chose the quality of your movie.
    The convertion should take a couple of minutes depending on the lenght and quality of your movie.

    The "import" is not limited to clips and sounds. You can also import pictures.

    To "freeze" the movie, you can do the following:
    Select the frame in the timeline where you want to freeze the movie.
    After you've assured in the preview(4) that it's indeed the place you want to freeze, click on the camera
    button in the lower right corner of 4. Save the picture, and it should've automatically been imported to 3.
    Drag it to the timeline like any other clip and drag the edges to prolong/shorten the freeze.

    That's about the things you can do with Windows Movie Maker.
    Sorry for the lack of pictures and the brief explanations, but i feel that WMM is so easy that it shouldn't be any problem for anyone to use it.

    Congratulation! You now have the knowledge to make a DotA movie!

  2. saint

    saint Retired Staff Member

    Likes Received:
    Nov 23, 2005
    I like it. It gives a good information to people who want to make videos. Moved to the DotA FAQ.
  3. DevoX


    Likes Received:
    May 11, 2006
    Sorry to trouble you because i dont know where to put this lol too coufuse.

    I'll update whenever the Auther of this update it.
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