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 How to create great videos

Videos interpolate between a first (=first video frame) and second (=last video frame) image. It is important to know that videos can be extended after rendering. This means that a complete video may comprise infinite segments, each being rendered separately.

To start a video, we need a first (or last) image definition. There are 4 ways:

  • Go to the "Video" screen and click "Define first video frame"

  • In the "gallery", select an image and click "Start video"

  • In the "gallery", select an already rendered video and click "Continue video at last frame"

  • Download a video, e.g. from the online gallery and alter it

After defining the first image and going back to the "Video" screen, you will notice three preview windows: the leftmost is the first frame of the video and contains the image you prepared. The middle window allows to preview all video frames. Moving the slider below the window will show the belonging frame. Before doing so, the last video frame must be defined. This is done by clicking "Define last video frame" below the right preview window.

Once clicked, Mystica goes back to the "Design" window. You will notice that some controls are not visible anymore. Only those controls are visible that technically speaking can be interpolated from the first to the last video frame. A color switch cannot be interpolated as it is either on or off, but a color itself can be blended.

Although it is tempting to alter lots of controls (zoom in, change color, edit chaos level etc), keep in mind that a video looks best if not too many things change at the same time. The most interesting videos result from editing the following parameters (just one or two of them):
Algorithm Mix Slider
Chaos Slider
Iteration Depth (e.g. set to almost zero)

These mentioned controls change the image design. Alternatively (or additionaly) you may want to use panning, zooming, and coloring to change viewport and appearance.

After you hit "Done editing", select the video resolution and duration. The "Render this video" button adds the video to the Render Queue where it is rendered frame by frame. You can exit Mystica any time, the rendering will continue with the next unrendered frame on the next start of Mystica. Videos may need hours to be rendered completely.

If the video is ready, it is moved to the gallery. Click "Show" to invoke the Mystica built-in video player. You now can add effects as with still images and/or continue this video by clicking "Continue video at last frame". In this case the last video frame becomes the first one for a new video that will then be appended to the existing one. This allows for fairly complex videos as controls can be changed randomly again.

A nice feature is to use the effect section to add an emblem to the video (perhaps your name or copyright). To do so, render your video, then visit the effect window and paste an external image (black except for white text) into the layer section. Choose "add" as mix function. On clicking OK, each video frame will receive the superimposed icon.

To export the video or to run it with your own video player, click "Create video for this video". A menu appears that asks for the video compression to be chosen. Select a compression format. the dialog shows all compression formats currently installed on your system. The chosen codec can be configurated to match quality vs bandwidth. Best results are achieved by using MPEG-based compression formats.

The resulting video is named "video.avi" and can be opened by clicking "Open folder". Make sure to experiment with available video compression formats to ensure small file length.

Beside saving the video this way you may want to save the ".mys" file (Click ".MYS"). This file contains all parameters so that you can edit the video later on.

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