Movie Making - Getting Started
Like it or not, many COD movies and clips are coming out of the Australasian COD scene. Unfortunately, most of these clips and movies miss out on a few of the basic steps to ensuring great quality as doing the research and finding all the right information can be hard. Having made a few movies myself, to varying degrees of success (and learning with each one), I thought it would be useful for me to write down a basic guide for those who are looking to make movies of their own to refer to whilst they are getting started. Hopefully this will ensure they don't miss out on a few basic tips that can certify great quality :]. This is not necessarily the best way, but it is the way I now do it and will get all-important crank approval.
Download Cybergamer Movie Pack here: http://www.cybergamer.com.au/files/829/
Copy "cybergamer_movie_mod" folder to C:/Program Files/Activision/Call of Duty 4:Modern Warfare/Mods
Copy "Cybergamer_movie_config" folder to C:/Program Files/Activision/Call of Duty 4:Modern Warfare/Players
First of all the programs you will need:
Call of Duty 4
(Will be using CoD4 for this tutorial but many of the tips will still be usable on other games in the series)
- I have included a custom Cybergamer movie mod in the pack above
Included in pack or can make your own (covered in tuturial)
COD4 Demo player
- can be found at www.cybopat.net
however I have also included it in movie pack
Fraps - Full version
(Used correctly quality will be comparible to avidemo and it saves a LOT of time)
Sound recording program
(I use fraps as it has always been fine for me, however if sound quality is not satisfactory using fraps use another program - you'll just have to record sound seperately)
Sony Vegas Pro
- I use 8, but presumeably an earlier version or the latest version 9 should work just fine
- Whenever you are making a movie this is very important, expect at least 100 gig to magically dissappear during your filming/production
Basic understanding of Sony Vegas
- Not a huge deal of knowledge necessary, but you should be able to find your way around the program, the editing is all up to you after all
Finally I am using windows XP for this tutorial, I know some things are different on Vista so if somebody in the know could post any corrections/changes that apply for vista users it would be great.
Step 1: Config
Possibly the most important factor in ensuring your movie's attractiveness on the eye. There is more to a movie config than just turning all of your in-game graphics to high. Always use a seperate config for making your movies than what you play on, if you don't your movie will just simply look bad. In this section I will cover the main aspects in how to create your own but you can also download a popular one off of a site such as tek9 or use the one included in the Cybergamer Movie Pack. Download the pack and copy the "Cybergamer_movie_config" folder and place it in C:\Program Files\Activision\Call of Duty 4 - Modern Warfare\Players*.
If you download a config, fire up the game and test the profile out, settings may look a little odd at first but that's just because the config has been created on another computer. Have a fiddle round with the options to suit your needs. From memory the main ones that need changing are resolution and brightness.
Creating your config
I will now cover how to go about creating your own movie config in cod4. To begin, start up your game and create a new profile, call it â€œmovie configâ€ or something. Go to the main menu and change your graphics options to match the following.
Finally open the console and type â€œ/cg_chattime 0â€ (without brackets) and press enter. This means there will be no chat displayed in any of your recordings.
Depending on what you want, the resolution should either be set to 1280*720, 1280*800 or 1280*960 . Because of the resolution we will be rendering out of vegas with which is 1280*720 (720p), these are the three best resolutions to use in-game. Whilst 1280*720 is the native resolution for our video, it shows the entire screen and doesn't give a whole lot of room to play. 1280*960 will give a slightly zoomed in appearance once cropped in vegas whilst still seeing everything on-screen and is generally what people prefer. For the purpose of this tutorial I will be using 1280*960 . (Note: I use a 17inch CRT screen, native resolution 1280x1024, I have my aspect ratio set to 4:3 yet run the game in windowed mode whilst recording to ensure the aspect ratio to resolution is correct. To do this the command in console is "r_fullscreen 0". If you are unsure about your aspect ratio take a look at the scope when zoomed in, it should be a perfect circle. If you are using 1280*720 to record, you should set your aspect ratio to 16:9, if you are using 1280*800 the aspect ratio should be set to 16:10)
Should just be set to what you think looks best/suits your computer. General rule of thumb is to set the brightness slightly higher than it needs to be, this way you can darken the image nicely in vegas and the image will not get grainy/noisy if you need it to be brighter.
Although your configâ€™s graphics are all set to high, there is still a bunch of ninja shit that needs to be done in order to complete your movie config. These are all console commands that need to be executed whilst in-game so you do this by binding them to keys which you constantly spam whilst recording (many of the commands have tendencies to turn off after every round or during a round). Most of the commands are cheat-enabled, so you have to be in devmap or watching a demo via the cod4 demo player for them to work. (To run an offline server with cheats enabled type â€œ/devmap mp_crashâ€ in console (excluding brackets)
These are a collection of crucial graphics commands that need to be executed in any movie config.
/bind MWHEELDOWN "ui_hud_hardcore 1; sm_enable 1; r_smc_enable 1; r_normalmap 1; r_distortion 1; cg_drawfriendlynames 0; cg_drawcrosshairnames 0; r_desaturation 0; r_fog 0; r_lodbiasrigid -1000; r_lodbiasskinned -1000; r_forcelod 0"
/bind MWHEELUP "waypointoffscreenpointerheight 1.18; waypointoffscreenpointerwidth 1.8; r_fog 0; waypointiconheight 1.18; waypointiconheight 1.18; waypointiconwidth 1.19; waypointdebugdraw 0; set_readyup_over 1"
As you can see I have pre-binded all the commands to the mousewheel buttons (Just copy/paste them into your console and press enter), this means every time you go to record your movie config, you scroll the mousewheel up and down. I wonâ€™t go through what all of the commands do right now but you should see your screen clear up considerably once youâ€™ve executed them (donâ€™t worry if a couple of errors come up in the killfeed if youâ€™re running around in devmap, they wonâ€™t be there whilst playing back a demo).
These are commands that change the look of your config and can be changed to suit your preference, Iâ€™ll give a brief run-down of what each of them do. (If you want to see the variation in values each of the commands can take, type them into the console whilst in-game and have a look at the values that come up)
/r_lighttweaksunlight â€“ Determines how strong the sunlight is
/r_lighttweaksuncolor â€“ Changes the colour of the sun
/cg_fov â€“ Field of view whilst not aiming
/cg_fovscale â€“ Field of view scale (affects both when aiming down the sight as well as un-aimed)
/cg_drawcrosshair â€“ Depending on what you want adds/removes gun crosshair
/r_filmusetweaks/r_filmtweakenable â€“ Disables/enables filmtweaks
/r_filmtweakbrightness â€“ Sets brightness
/r_filmtweakdarktint â€“ Sets colour of tint for the black areas
/r_filmtweaklighttint â€“ Sets colour of tint for the white areas
/r_filmtweakcontrast â€“ Sets contrast
/r_specularcolorscale 3 â€“ Higher values makes everything shinier
/r_filmtweakdesaturation â€“ Sets saturation levels
(Note Regarding filmtweak colours: In CoD4, the colors are represented in a Red-Green-Blue-Alpha format. That means that a number like 1 0 0 0 gives us "RED" and a 0 1 0 0 gives us "GREEN", 0 0 1 0 is "BLUE" and the alpha value is the transparency of the number - you can forget about the alpha value for filmtweaks. So for any of the colour filmtweaks - dark tint, light tint, sun colour etc - you play around with these values to make the colour of your tint)
Below is an example of how I have my current config binded, I generally leave everything in the F10 bind the same and just change the F9 filmtweaks if I want to change the look of my config. If you want to turn filmtweaks off altogether and run with the stock colours simply â€œ/bind f9 r_filmtweakenable 0; r_filmusetweaks 0â€
/bind F10 "r_lighttweaksunlight 1.6; r_lighttweaksuncolor 0 0 0; cg_fov 80; cg_fovscale 1.125; cg_drawcrosshair 0"
/bind F9 "r_filmusetweaks 1; r_filmtweakenable 1; r_filmtweakbrightness 0.14; r_filmtweakdarktint 0.8 0.8 0.913; r_filmtweaklighttint 0.85 0.86 0.913; r_filmtweakcontrast 1.4; r_specularcolorscale 3; r_filmtweakdesaturation 0.2"
If all goes to plan, once youâ€™ve put those binds in the config should look something like this and be able to be modified to your liking by changing the F9 and F10 bind values
As a comparison hereâ€™s what the same screen looks like without filmtweaks
Other useful binds/commands (any key):
/bind "key" noclip
- Allows you to fly around the map when cheats are enabled
/bind "key" kill
- Kills your player so you can capture some death animations
/bind "key" god
- Puts god mode on when cheats are enabled meaning you can fly under the map and not die (very useful)
/bind "key" cg_draw2d 0; cg_drawgun 0
â€“ gets rid of any 2d elements on screen and the gun, useful for filming 3rd person etc because you donâ€™t have to be in spectator mode
Step 2: Setting up Fraps
Fraps' simple layout makes it a breeze to set up once you know what you're after. First of all open fraps, in the general tab nothing should really need changing it's just down to your personal preference on whether you want fraps to start on windows startup etc. Moving along to the FPS tab you can pretty much ignore everything except for the "Overlay Display Hotkey". Bind this to a key of your choice which will not interfere with any binds you have in your movie config or demo player commands. This will just mean that you can display the FPS on screen whilst capturing and not have it sitting in the corner of your captured video. Finally move over to the Movies tab. This, obviously, is all the settings you will be using for your captured video. First of all change the output folder to where you would prefer. Change your capture hotkey to something that once again will not interfere with any other binds you may have in your config. Make sure the "Full-size" checkbox is checked and the "Record Sound" box is checked. Lastly, make sure that the capture FPS is set to 30 . Because you will be recording at a quarter speed and then speeding up the video later in vegas, this fps is all you need to ensure smooth playback whilst keeping the file size down. Having said that still expect each clip you record to be between 1 and 3 gigabytes.
Step 3: CoD4 Demo player
Fairly easy to set up, this is what you'll be playing back your demos in to record. The one thing you have to change is the mod path so that it knows to run the game using the Cybergamer Movie Mod (Cybergamer Movie Mod is just the default game with scope fix - this means you get to keep all the effects such as muzzle flash). To do this make sure you have first copied the "cybergamer_movie_mod" folder included in the movie pack to C:/Program files/Activision/Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare/Mods folder. Open the player and click on the large setup button. In the box next to where it says "Mod name: +set fs_game mods/" just type in the name of the mod folder you are using. In my case it was just "MovieMod" but make sure you set yours to cybergamer_movie_mod. Finally in the "Speed slow ultra" box make sure the value is set to 0.25
(important). After that click save and open a demo to test. It should be loading the demo in cybergamer_movie_mod.
Step 4: Recording Footage
Easily the most tedious aspect of frag moviemaking. Open Fraps and minimize. Make sure that CoD4 is running your movie config and /quit. Load your demo using the CoD4 demo player which will now be running the demo in Cybergamer_movie_mod. Depending on how far in the demo your footage is, fast forward to the round. I use a binded key for timescale 50 (/bind [key] timescale 50). Just be alert and watch the round numbers closely, it is very easy and also very annoying when you go past the round you are meant to be recording. Once you have reached the round you are meant to be recording, instead of hitting playback at normal speed (num5), hit num2 for playback at a quarter speed. Record your footage by pressing your fraps record hotkey, whilst doing this make sure you are constantly spamming your config command binds - in the movie pack config these binds are Mousewheel scroll up/down and either one or two of the "F" keys, depending on what colorset you decide to use (details in readme). Whilst you are recording, the Fraps FPS overlay should be sitting in one of the corners having turned from yellow to red and sitting at a constant 30 (make sure you can get a constant or near enough constant 30). Once the recording has finished stop your recording by pressing the record hotkey again and quit the game. The raw footage in high quality will now be sitting on your harddrive.
Step 5: Recording Sound
Only if you are unable to record sound with fraps. Almost the same as step 4 except this time recording audio. Open up your audio recording program and fire up the demo again using CoD4 player. This time whilst you're recording, playback at normal speed (num5).
Step 6: Setting up Sony Vegas
First of all open Vegas and start a new project. Click on file>properties to change your project settings.
In the project window set the template to custom with a resolution of 1280*720 and change the FPS to 50. Make sure that the Pixel Aspect Ratio is set to 1.0000(square) - VERY important! Going down the list in the video tab the only other thing you should look at would be the "Full-resolution rendering quality", change this to best. Finally make sure the "Start all new projects with these settings" box is checked and click apply and save your project.
Now you are ready to start editing. Import your footage and drag it into the timeline. Delete the audio layer for now by right clicking on the audio layer (not the track) and selecting delete track (make sure nothing else important is on the same layer). If you recorded at 1280*960 resolution crop your video sizing about centre until it fits the frame by changing the y value in the top left corner to 720, make sure the lock aspect-ratio box is not checked. (Yes it's wrong in the screenshot, the value taht is 720.2 should be 720 :P)
If you used 1280*720 resolution to record your footage the framing should fit perfectly and not require any cropping.
To speed up your footage to get that nice and smooth playback, simply right click on the footage on the timeline, go to properties and in the window that comes up, where it says "Playback rate", change it from a 1 to a 4 and hit okay. The footage will now play back in normal time, just trim your clip back as it will now be playing over 4 times in the space of time it used to play once..
Finally, for sound import the clip again onto a new
video track. This time delete the video layer with the clip on it by right clicking on the layer (not the clip) and selecting delete layer. You are now left with an audio segment. To speed it up to the right length, shorten the clip as far as it can go by holding down Control and dragging the right-end of the clip all the way to the left. This shortens the length of time it takes to play the clip whilst keeping all of the data to a speed of up to 4X. Despite having been sped up, the audio will still not sound right and will be very quiet. Don't worry this is normal and easily fixed. Right click on the audio clip, go to properties and make sure the boxes "Normalize" and "Lock to Stretch" are both checked. Click apply and line the audio up with the video and you are done.
And there you are ready to edit! As I mentioned earlier, this is not necessarily the best way to do it, but it is the way I do it, if there are any glaring mistakes in my process someone please tell me and I'll correct it.
P.S. As I have edited this whole thing changing bits and pieces there are probably a couple of mistakes, let me know if yoiu find one and I'll change them ASAP
Cybergamer Movie Pack
COD4 Demo Player
Readme covering binds etc
Iâ€™ll come back and do a few fixups laterEdited 13 times, last edited 28/8/10 - 7:31pm