first need to capture video, or import still images. After capturing video
or importing a still and placing it on the timeline, each
clip or still will contain a small crop symbol. Notice in the figure 1, that the
image in the monitor screen does not entirely fill the video preview
area. By clicking on the cropping tool, a dialog will be opened which
allows the user to entirely fill the preview screen, and match the image
view to the aspect ratio of the preview screen.
This is particularly useful when creating videos of
scanned-in still photos or cropping unwanted content from a video image.
With the crop dialog open, right click on the image inside the
crop window, and select “Match Output Aspect.” (fig 2)
This will cause the image to be cropped to a size that will
completely fill the preview area. Now, the preview screen is completely
filled, with no black background showing. (or whatever color the default
background may be set to) Now, the aspect ratio of the photo appears to
be correct, even if the photo itself really isn’t. This will assure that
all imagery mixed with DV and other graphics can be made to completely
fill the viewing screen at all times. However, this accomplishment isn’t
without it’s specific issues; we no longer can see the entire image that
comprises the photograph as seen in figure 1. Notice that the gramophone
has lost the overall view in figure 3? The viewer is now forced to see
only the part of the gramophone that the editor allows them to see.
Useful in some situations, but not in others. Wouldn’t it be great if
the still image could move? Almost as though a camera had been used to
capture the image rather than a scanner?
can create that movement, by the use of ‘keyframes.’ A keyframe is a
marker that is placed on the timeline, telling the computer what to do
with the image at a specific, ‘key’ point in time, and at what point we
wish to manipulate the ‘frame’ contained in the image. This is how still
images are made to appear as though they were captured with a moving
Right click again and select the cropping/panning tool
again. (or click on the cropping tool icon found on every clip or image
on the timeline) Make sure the ‘sync cursor’ is engaged. This will allow
Vegas to automatically track movements or view selections. Now, simply
move the selection/crop window to a new position. The keyframe tool will
automatically insert a keyframe, telling the timeline that at a given
point in time, the photgraph should be cropped differently. Zoom in on
the photo, zoom out of the photo, placing keyframes at each point of
movement. Notice in figure 4, the added keyframes. To see how this works
in real life,
to view the streaming media file. The file is a series of
still photographs with movement applied via the keyframing tool. All
photos were scanned in with an inexpensive Epson scanner. Coloration and
movement applied by Vegas 3.0.
This same technique is applied by producers of PBS specials,
wedding videos, and broadcast, to create the illusion of movement. Even
if the image is exactly the correct aspect ratio, no one really likes
looking at a static photo on a computer or television screen. Even the
tiniest bits of movement are far more interesting to watch than a static
What makes this really great, is that the pan/crop tool
can also be used to correct bad camera movement to a limited extent. It
may also be used to generate camera movement where the camera is static,
or not moving at all. If the clip is tripod shot and static of a soccer
game for example, then the camera movement could be generated to tell
the viewer where they should be looking. A word of caution, don’t zoom
in too much, or the pixels will become too large and the colors, detail
and intensity of the clip will wash out. This tool should be used in a
subtle way for video. Still images can usually handle larger zooms, if
the resolution is set high enough on the original photo. Photos
generally are considered best at 720 x 480 or larger for video; in most cases, I save
my photos at double that, if I know that I’m going to be doing much
panning/cropping on the photo. When importing still images to the Vegas
timeline, use PNG, JPG, BMP, or GIF formats rather than a TIF format.
Tiff formats require Vegas to call out for an external reader, and it
slows down render time significantly. You won't be able to read .tif
formats if you don't have the
Quicktime reader/player installed.
last note, Vegas' pan/crop tool may also be used to crop or pan on video
sequences. Perhaps a locked down camera should have had a slight zoom.
Vegas can create that zoom using the above techniques. Or, reverse the
sequence and use Vegas to pull out of a shot. Either way, it's a great
creative tool. Be aware that it's quite easy to zoom in TOO far and your
images will pixelate from the resolution loss. Use an external monitor to always know just what
you are really getting.
Now, go create some killer video,
and make it move!