The "the price of freedom" Movie Project

AD

Finder of things, Doer of stuff
Hey all!

I've been spending a lot of time, first converting, and then editing the DVD video from WC4. I'm a little limited in software, but I've managed to convert the Vob's to MPG and downmix the AC3 to a reasonable sounding stereo mix. (Someday I may get ambitous and try editing in 5.1 channels but right now am limited by software)

My goal it to produce a unique WC4 experience. I know I have a lot of friends who would never sit down to watch the game much less play it. However they may like to see a movie... So I've been editing the clips into a logical path (omiting alternate choices etc.) As well, although not Including gameplay all clips in any given path add up to around 2h50min, My goal is to also include necessary info from gameplay and yet keep the running time to around 2h 30min...

I have almost finished cutting together all the video I havent dropped either for time or pacing... I may still drop more scenes in the future. Curently I just have the end sequence (the 3 or 4 part battle with the vesuvius) that I need to work out. I've been trying to minimize the number of gameplay scenes, partly because of the effort needed, but also so that it's not too repetitive.

So now, with that exception I'm ready to move on to phase two, where I would appreciate any suggestions or help I can get. I would prefer to have video of the gameplay to cut and edit, but I havent found an option that displays properly. I'm currently working on recording the sound (i have audigy 2 zs) in windows while I play mission... This actually has good quality sound results yet you cant edit the dialogue or sfx indipendently of each other. Then i am combining it with screen shots... It works (but some of the screen shots end up wierd looking), the idea is conveyed but the end result are poor.

So here are some of the area's I need help in:
1/ Feedback/ Ideas
2/ Suggestions on, or ability in, video/screen capture (Hypersnap dx sort of works for stills, but end up with wierd coruption, other programs only give black image with bursts of color.
3/ Help in extracting gameplay dialogue and or sound fx's from tre files (So far havent been able to get this to work )

I will probably release it with the needed "gameplay" roughed-in. And Re-release as It is possible to improve the quality.

Ultimately the best would be if someone ambitious animated new scenes but for now that's just a wish

A bit of a disclaimer now: This project is in no way intended to exactly mirror the experience of actually playing the game... Most people would rather play, than watch someone else play. Therefore in the necessity to create an entity that is interesting and flows naturally, some edits intentionaly, and sometimes inadvertently, change the context and certain details surounding events that appear in the game. You have been duly warned...

I have made a sample that I hope will soon be available for viewing soon. It no longer reflects accurately the finished product, but will give you an Idea of the kinds of edits I've been doing and it also it starts with a bit of the "gameplay" stuff so you'll get an Idea of some of the Challenges ahead.

Thanks in advance!

AD
 

luminon

Spaceman
Hi there AD. I actually attempted to do this about a year ago. I completed wc3 wc4 and wcp but the in-game video came out really bad for the first two games. My computer might be to blame. Maybe your computer will make it better.

I never figured out how to get the audio from the gameplay dialogue in tre files so I just recorded it while playing the game using snagit. But as soon as any combat started the frame rate dropped to someting like 1 or 2 fps for wc3 or wc4. However it came out fine in wcp.

Unforunatley I could only get video capture to work for kilrathi saga wc3 (my dos version came out all black) and windows 95 wc4. Maybe that's why you are getting black images. Patching my wc4 dos to the win95 version from the patch in the CIC files section solved this.

My suggestion regarding the FMV is to try and keep the storyline flowing as much as possible. When I showed my original version to some friends they said that it got boring in the scenes where blair is constantly talking to people which has little or no impact on the story at all (except some of the funny Maniac scenes of course). I then cut out many scenes which I "considered" unnecessary and got better feedback.

Hope that helps and good luck with your project.
 

Wedge009

Rogue Leader
For extracting in-game dialogue, you can use HCl's TRE Manager. A while back I compiled a list as best as I could of the various bits and pieces I found in the TRE files. Rename the files extensions from IFF to RAW and use any sound editor to open them as raw sound data. There will be a little static at the start because of the meta data, but that can be removed easily in the editing process.
 

AD

Finder of things, Doer of stuff
So far I used your suggestion and extracted a bunch of IFFs from gameflow and missions. I don't know If I missed a step but IHowever I couldn't do so with specials or language.

Of the extracted files, I tried renaming, but the end result was static all the way through... not just at the begining...


luminon said:
Unforunatley I could only get video capture to work for kilrathi saga wc3 (my dos version came out all black) and windows 95 wc4. Maybe that's why you are getting black images. Patching my wc4 dos to the win95 version from the patch in the CIC files section solved this.

My suggestion regarding the FMV is to try and keep the storyline flowing as much as possible. When I showed my original version to some friends they said that it got boring in the scenes where blair is constantly talking to people which has little or no impact on the story at all (except some of the funny Maniac scenes of course). I then cut out many scenes which I "considered" unnecessary and got better feedback.

Hope that helps and good luck with your project.
Thanks. I'm using the DVD though so it is the win95 version. I don't have any problems with the movies, only when trying to get screenshots or video of the gameplay.

I agree that some scenes need to be dropped for pacing... While they provide interesting details and insights into certain characters, they simply slow down the experience too much.

Oh and video capture program made by the people who made snagit gives me the same results as all the others... Is it maybe an overlay problem? Theres no probles capturing stills on board a carrier (flight deck etc) just in-flight.
 

luminon

Spaceman
AD said:
Oh and video capture program made by the people who made snagit gives me the same results as all the others... Is it maybe an overlay problem? Theres no probles capturing stills on board a carrier (flight deck etc) just in-flight.
What exactly is your problem with video capture in-flight? Do you actually see something every few seconds or is it just completely black throughout?

If it is completely black throughout I'm not sure what it could be. Maybe trying a different video capture program like hypercam might be worth a try.

If you do see something this is probably just your computer only capturing 1 frame per second or maybe even less. This happened to me at first but I found making my pc run with 256 colours helped (the game didn't lose any colour quality) and I set snagit to capture uncommpressed frames and compressed them later with virtualdub. Finally, I set it to capture 25fps. It was obviously capturing less than this but this setting gave me the best results.
 

AD

Finder of things, Doer of stuff
When I try to capture video in-flight, I get a black screen with a crosshair in the middle... Any gunfire shows up too. But, there are no huds or ships. This has happened with more than one program, so it may be a directx or overlay problem... I'm still trying. If I can't get that working soon I will keep working with stills and sound. I'll try and get more variety of stills in the finished version, compared to the samples... if a solution comes in the future I would re-release it with updated scenes.

(Just a note: The low res sample is actually a different couple of scenes than the Higher res Sample)

Edit: I managed to solve the pink problem with screenshots by tweaking settings in hypersnap... Now I only have 5 days to get all the shots I need! Still trying to work on a video capture solution.
 

Ruadrim

Spaceman
Hey man, a wonderful initiative! I hope you can find the courage to complete this movie.

I'm looking forward to it.
 

Conrad

Rear Admiral
looking good,

Try to have some movement during the in game scenes, as in your preview it was very static.

keep up the good work.
 

luminon

Spaceman
AD said:
Now I only have 5 days to get all the shots I need! Still trying to work on a video capture solution.
Does this mean you are in a hurry to complete this. If there is no solution to your video capture problem and you are in a hurry, then I might be able to record the in-flight videos for you and send them to you to release in a later version, as I've done video capture of wc4 and it works on my PC. Although the flight does not come out smoothly it is probably more followable than various still shots.

I saw your sample and the DVD version looks great. I only have the CD version so the quality of my movies are very poor when converted them to Xvid. I would look forward to see a good quality wc4 movie.
 

Tolwyn

Vice Admiral
Have you tried FRAPs? It is an excellent capture program, although I am not sure if it will work with WC IV. It requires 16 bit color depth, CD version of WC4 uses only 8-bit. I do not know about the DVD version though.
 

BrynS

Mr Kat says...
Looks good so far!

AD said:
Hey all!

I've been spending a lot of time, first converting, and then editing the DVD video from WC4. I'm a little limited in software, but I've managed to convert the Vob's to MPG and downmix the AC3 to a reasonable sounding stereo mix. (Someday I may get ambitous and try editing in 5.1 channels but right now am limited by software)

AD
Which programmes are you using for the extraction and editing process?

Although it's not a non-linear editor, VirtualDub is a great piece of open source software that would be useful for trimming individual segments and for the final encode. VirtualDubMod is a slight modification that accepts MPEG2 streams and VOB's IIRC, as well as AC3 (I'd also recommend AC3Filter as your AC3 directshow filter). AviSynth is another very powerful, open source video utility, but it uses a basic scripting language, so I'd start with VirtualDub(Mod) first. For links to all of these utilities and some comprehensive guides, visit Doom9.net.

Tolwyn said:
Have you tried FRAPs? It is an excellent capture program, although I am not sure if it will work with WC IV. It requires 16 bit color depth, CD version of WC4 uses only 8-bit. I do not know about the DVD version though.
I'll try using FRAP's with my WC4 DVD version later tonight and see if it's possble to capture the gameplay sequences.


Cheers,


BrynS
 
A long time ago I used a video capture program called hypercam. It sounds like your video capture is set too high or the screen too big. Have you tried capturing the game play in a window?
 

AD

Finder of things, Doer of stuff
Thanks for the feedback everyone!

luminon said:
Does this mean you are in a hurry to complete this. If there is no solution to your video capture problem and you are in a hurry, then I might be able to record the in-flight videos for you and send them to you to release in a later version, as I've done video capture of wc4 and it works on my PC. Although the flight does not come out smoothly it is probably more followable than various still shots.
No, I'm not really in a hurry. Mostly I've been trying various programs to get video and screen capture, so I am only running trial versions so far..

With the regards to the comment about the gameplay being static lookin... that's exactly why I need to work out a capture solution.

I have tried running the game in a window, but i cant remember why that didn't work so I am going to look into it.

To begin with, I extracted all the ac3 tacks from the vobs and then used a program to convert them all to wav format. I've been using PowerDirector to edit and that program reads the mpeg2 video from Vobs but not the 5.1 audio. So I produced mpg-extension mpeg2 videos by combining the Vobs with the wav audio. That Allowed me to edit the sound + video together, and makes cutting scenes easier. For the Samples I compressed to Divx 5.1.1 (highres) and mpeg1(low res).

I really need to rough in the gameplay first though before I get anyone to record anything for me so that I can communicate exactly which pieces I need.

Thanks again

Edit: Just tried trial of fraps and it worked beautifully... if it werent for a 30sec time limit.. Is this program worth the 30 dollar cost?
 

DK2IT

Spaceman
Greetings,
I've see your demo, it's very good, I like it; well, maybe the in-game part is too static :)
I've the same idea to make a movie from the great WC3 and WC4 games, but unfortunately, I have no time to dedicate on those projects.

Here's my sparse ideas, if they could be useful:

- use high quality audio encoding for the movie (AC3 if have WC4DVD); later can be converted to a stereo to create a small version
- re-editing in-game movie with an AC3 processor software to recreate a 5.1 effects

- grab game session with FRAPS or similar software (better using DosBOX emulator ???)
(or use TV-OUT mode to record on VHS then regrab on PC with a TV-GRABBER?)

or

- recreate from scratch battle cutscenes with a customizable simulator (Prophecy, Freespace or others engine), using models from WC3/4 (or similar) and grabbing (with HCI movie player) pilots communications mini-movies; audio for communication and music are extracted from .TRE files with some tool I do not remember (music are normal .WAV files, so a file ripper like MRIP do the job).

- for the in-game battle, capture from different view (external view, cockpit, etc.), to recreate a cinematic like experience
- subtitles option for other languages
- could be useful use some footage from "WC The Movie"

Of course they are just my old ideas, that require lot of time (especially recreating battle cutscenes), but I think, in this way, we could create a really interesting movie!

DK

P.S. Sorry for my not so good english
 

Wedge009

Rogue Leader
I actually didn't mind the static screenshots, although I was a little confused at first when the Hellcats weren't moving - thought something was wrong with my download. Still, even with those static scenes, some more descriptive shots would have been nicer. Although I guess they're just place-holders for now.

The transitions between scenes are really nicely done. Good job. :)
 

AD

Finder of things, Doer of stuff
DK2IT said:
use high quality audio encoding for the movie (AC3 if have WC4DVD); later can be converted to a stereo to create a small version
- re-editing in-game movie with an AC3 processor software to recreate a 5.1 effects
I would like to do this... I really would but at the moment it is too cumbersome to attempt since I dont have a way to edit the ac3 at the same time as the video. I will be looking into the possibility though. Keep in mind that I'm not willing to download cracks. As yet I dont have the funds to purchase a pro suite. (I blew my extra cash on an x800xt 256mb)

DK2IT said:
- recreate from scratch battle cutscenes with a customizable simulator (Prophecy, Freespace or others engine), using models from WC3/4 (or similar) and grabbing (with HCI movie player) pilots communications mini-movies; audio for communication and music are extracted from .TRE files with some tool I do not remember (music are normal .WAV files, so a file ripper like MRIP do the job).
I actually thought of this Idea too. I don't have a friggin clue about editing prophecy though. The mentioned game audio player worked for me to extract a few of the inflight coms but mostly the responses to taunts and damage reports, rather than stuff that's plot essential. However, I realized the solution to that was simpler than I thought. Alt-o in flight and you can turn off everything but speech or sound effects or whatever or turn off just music (which may be best option) and record using wavestudio... basically a digital audio capture. I don't know why I didn't think of it before. Or with video capture, you can cut without chopping up the music and then use the wc4 extracted music while editing to put music back in.

DK2IT said:
- for the in-game battle, capture from different view (external view, cockpit, etc.), to recreate a cinematic like experience
- subtitles option for other languages
- could be useful use some footage from "WC The Movie"
I agree, and intended to do this If I'm happy with the video capture results. I don't see how the WCM would be useful though since the style, ships, actors are completely different.
 

luminon

Spaceman
DK2IT said:
- for the in-game battle, capture from different view (external view, cockpit, etc.), to recreate a cinematic like experience
I agree that it would be really good if this could be done but when I tried to do this once I found it near impossible to fly acceptably from an external view so had to record the whole thing from the cockpit. Shame wc4 doesn't have a replay function (unless I missed it) like wc2 did as this could have been useful for recording different views. Its probably just me and maybe others are better than me in using the chase camera.

AD said:
Just tried trial of fraps and it worked beautifully
When you say beautifully do you mean that the video runs as smoothly as the game does in-flight. If yes, then I can't wait to see it as I have never succeeded in capturing anything better than 1 or 2 fps from wc4.
 

AD

Finder of things, Doer of stuff
luminon said:
When you say beautifully do you mean that the video runs as smoothly as the game does in-flight.
Yes.



Oh... when I get around to compiling a playable dvd, those behind the scenes videos (although fairly low res) would make great special features.
 

AD

Finder of things, Doer of stuff
I guess it's too late to edit...


Anyway, I think I'm on the right track... Thanks again for all the suggestions.

I don't think a 30 second time limit is going to inhibit me. I a practical sense the more angles and cuts (as long as they're not too short) make for a better, more kinetic feeling action sequence. And by recording the video with music turned off The cutting process is simple.

Look for a sample soon :)
 
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