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What is Video Rendering?

written by: Kristina Dems•edited by: Rhonda Callow•updated: 8/3/2010

In this article, we discuss what video rendering is. We also talk about how it is done and its different uses in entertainment that include movies and video games.

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    Video Rendering

    What is video rendering? To understand what video rendering is, you must first understand the purpose of it and what elements are involved in producing the final video product. Video rendering is the process of finalizing a video file from different elements that include edited video files and special effects. Let's take a closer look at what video rendering is and how it's done.

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    Materials

    Video rendering requires a set of edited video elements, audio files, digital animation clips and effects. Usually, video rendering involves all of these materials. The final product is a mix of all these elements which are enhanced by several effects both audio and video in nature. It is like cooking where different elements that seem to exist fine individually are brought together and blended into something new and greater than all its parts.

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    The Process

    The process of video rendering starts with the assembly of video elements and the basic effects needed to enhance the final product. A pre-rendering method is first done before the main rendering process is done. In this method, an outline is drawn and models are arranged to align with the video elements. Audio elements are also mixed in. Gradually, the models and outlines are improved on every pass until the video elements, audio elements and special effects are aligned correctly. Once the video is ready for rendering, it is now handed over to the video rendering software.

    The software determines the shading, textures and dimensions of the video elements and the effects. This gives all the elements a united look and feel, mixing them to achieve one visual image. In live action movies, rendered digital images are slowly becoming staples. Sometimes, they act as doubles for actors and the audience may not even notice. The audio is added to the mix to add mood and atmosphere to the rendered video.

    In video games, video rendering is done in real time. As the images are produced, they are rendered immediately on the screen as the game is being played. The more complex the game elements are, the more processing power it needs.

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    Animation

    Bringing together animated objects and video clips first requires video editing where the right sequence of scenes and clips are arranged in a manner that makes sense in the storytelling aspect of the video product. Video rendering software usually have the built-in capability to texture, shade and light 3D or 2D shapes. Rendering drawings or 3D models result in short or feature length video files. Sometimes, adding these animated elements enhance live action video files that usually become movies with special effects after being rendered.

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    Render Times

    Video rendering time can range from a couple of seconds to several weeks. It all depends on the elements being mixed or how large the video files are. A short video that requires minimal digital effects can be rendered in just a few minutes while a feature length animated movie can take up to several weeks because of the complexity of the effects needed and the 3D animation itself. Video rendering requires a lot of processing power so not all computer systems can be effective video rendering machines.